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Kaiser K5850 LED desktop light

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Kaiser K5850 LED desktop light

96 LED flat lighting panel

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The Kaiser K5850 is a flat lighting panel ideal for basic product photography.

It’s an LED based light that gives a bright flat light with a near daylight colour rendition.

Keith has been looking at it as a lighting solution for photography of smaller objects.

Our test unit was from Fotospeed in the UK.

We’ve also reviews of two LED ring lights from Kaiser, the R60 and R90

lamp unit

Looking for product photography workshops? Northlight offers on site product photography training in the UK

Kaiser LED light

LED lighting has improved dramatically in recent years, both in power and in colour rendition.

The Kaiser K5850 light is a mains powered panel wth 96 LEDs behind a diffuse cover.

Specifications

  • LED panel:    96 High-CRI-LEDs
  • Colour rendition index:  CRI = 95
  • Colour temperature:   5600 Kelvin
  • Max. illumination:   480 lux (at 1 m / 3.3 ft.)
  • Angle of radiation (half value angle):  110°
  • Panel size:    14 x 20 cm (5.5 x 7.9 in.)
  • Operating voltage:   110 – 240 V
  • Power consumption: 18 W
  • Dimensions (WxHxD):  140 x 200 x 20-35 mm (5.5 x 7.9 x 0.8-1.4 in.)
  • Mains lead:   approx. 190 cm (6.2 ft.)
  • Weight: light with mains lead: approx. 335 g (11.8 oz.)
  • foot with hinged bracket: approx. 270 g (9.5 oz)
  • Maximum height with foot and hinged bracket:  48 cm (18.9 in.)

The panel has a range of mounting options, so can easily be used as part of a larger product photography setup.

box contents

The kit comes with clear instructions.

instructions

The mounting brackets can be used in a variety of ways. Note the threaded mounts (1/4″) and flash style mounts.

light stand

The adjustable arm is a little less stiff than I’d like. You just need to take a bit of care and realise this is not big hefty studio lighting. Mechanically, it works fine though.  I’d also prefer a slightly longer mains lead, but these are minor quibbles.

Light quality

There’s no dimmer on the unit, so when you switch it on you do get a bright flat light source.

A much shorter exposure shows the LED light sources.

underexposed

Where you need to remember this is if you have direct reflections of lights.

It’s very noticeable in this shot of an old lens I had laying around.

reflections

Whether this is an issue depends on you – there are some occasions the dots might work.

Without the direct reflections the light give a smooth coverage.

diffuse light

As with any light source the illumination drops off with distance, so remember that the closer the light is to the subject, the more obvious difference in illumination there will be from near (to the light) to far.

You can control this by moving the light, but for consistent product shots it often helps to keep things in the same relative place. So, if shooting a collection of items check your setup with the largest and smallest to see if differences are too much for you.  A second light and/or reflector (see below) can help with consistency and control of shadows.

Light colour

One potential problem with LED lighting is that whilst it looks white when you look at it, the colour captured by a camera can show all sorts of colour variation.

A way of fixing this is to make a custom camera profile. I use DNG profiles, created by photographing my ColorChecker Passport. These work fine with my Adobe RAW processing software (and now with DxO PhotoLab V2)

You just need a correctly exposed photo with the ColorChecker target in it.

flat lighting

The (free) software automatically finds the coloured patches in the photo.

Once the profile is made, restart your editing software, and the profile will be available to use when processing your RAW camera files.

Here’s an animated GIF file switching between using the profile and not using it (click to enlarge).

profiled view

The difference is relatively small – certainly better than many light sources I’ve used in the past.

Do you -need- a profile?

Well it depends on what you’re photographing and the level of colour accuracy you require. Of course to see these changes reliably you need to be using a reasonable monitor, and have calibrated it (see my recent Benq SW240 review for an example).

Lighting

Flat single light sources can give a distinctive look to smaller product shots not dissimilar to using a single window. A simple reflector (sheet of white cardboard)  off to the other side will help fill shadows if need be.

no reflector

As with any shiny subject look out for bright reflections. Make use of them or move some part of your camera/light/subject arrangement to reduce the effect.

with reflector

Conclusions

A very good flat light source that will not produce sharp shadows.

It’s also a light that won’t damage fragile subjects, since it’s free of UV light, and runs quite cool. Colour rendition is good with a near daylight output.

–ooOoo–

The unit reviewed was kindly lent by Fotospeed – it’s listed at £88 (inc. VAT)

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Site Notice: Like many working photographers, our work has completely dried up in these challenging times, so I'll be at home a lot. The silver lining is that I've lots of articles and reviews to write - if you've any suggestions or questions, please do let me know - Keith ...Why not sign up for our (ad free) Newsletter to keep informed about new articles.


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