Stephen Knight | May 15, 2020 | 0
Light Painting Paradise Tools Review
Light Painting Paradise Tools Review
Light Painting Paradise has kindly provided the tools for this article. No other payment has been made for this review nor do I receive a commission on sales.
The package was sent at 18:35 from Madrid and by 14:15 the following day I had it in my hands – that’s what I call a speedy delivery! Ivan from Light Painting Paradise has assured me that he intends to delivery all orders just as quickly.
In terms of the box itself, everything was safely packaged inside a sturdy box. The only thing missing was a bag of gummy bears 😊
What Was In The Box?
The box sent to me by Light Painting Paradise contained
- All of their torch adapters
- All of their colour filters
- Two plexiglass rods (“Plexy Rods”)
- Five different fibre optics
- 4 Plexy Shapes
The Adapter System
The adapter system created by Light Painting Paradise consists of two types of adapters. The adapters with round holes are for use with the Plexiglas Rods, Plexiglass Tubes and the Fibre Optics. The adapters with the rectangular slots are intended for use with the flat Plexy Shapes.
The adapters are formed of a very thick material compared with the other adapter systems I have used and therefore feel very stable in use. Even with long, heavy tools and thick, heavy flashlights, the connection always feels very solid. Everything worked perfectly with the adapters, nothing wobbled and there was no danger of the tool flying out of the adapter during light painting. The only downside to this is that fitting the tools can be a bit of a tight fit.
The adapters can fit any flashlight with a head diameter between 25 and 38.5mm.
The flat adapters come in two variations; one which fits a single plexy shape and one which can fit two plexy shapes at the same time. The round adapters similarly come in a choice of single or double adapters. The double adapter, in particular, opens up some new possibilities, for example mounting two different colour fibre optics at the same time.
A final option with the round adapter is the “crosswise” adapter which allows a rod or tube to be mounted at 90 degrees to the flashlight rather than illuminating it from the end.
Two adapter systems = two filter systems.
The color filters for the flat adapters are matching strips of color filter film (PAR 64 by Lee Filters). They are packaged, just like the round color filters, in a small metal tin. Obviously, if you already have Lee color filters, you could cut your own strips to size, but these filters are designed for the beginner who does not have 20 rolls of Lee color filters in their basement! Equally, if you went out and bought 12 rolls of Lee color filters it would definitely end up more expensive.
The round color filters are disks of colored acrylic glass which are inserted into the adapter between the tool and the flashlight for a secure fit.
The flat color filters consists of 12 colors and the round color filters of 13. All the colors looked good to me as they are fairly subtle: bright red, strong blue, grass green – that’s what most Light Painters already have in their backpacks anyway. You just pick out one of the filter strips or disks, put them into the adapter and away you go.
Interestingly, four of the color filters (in the picture they are the ones in the lid) are UV active. At the same time as normal illumination I had shone a small UV flashlight at the tin for this image. This is not mentioned in the description on the website – just something I discovered by accident.
The Plexy Shapes are delivered in matching bags to protect them from damage during transport. The edges of the shapes are not polished, but fairly rough, and as a result they produce well-defined traces of light (as seen in the pictures). With most other light blades you end up having to sand the edges of the blades with sandpaper whereas this step is not necessary with these Plexy Shapes. Ivan had sent me the shapes I found most interesting – Diablo, Italian Horn, Thunderbolt and Ice Cream but Diamond, Rectangle and Round forms are also available in the shop.
All the plexy shapes are cleanly cut. They fit perfectly in the adapters although it can get a bit fiddly when you put a colour filter in at the same time. However, once installed, the fit is bombproof even with two blades in the same adapter.
The plexy shapes are between 23 and 27cm long and about 10cm wide. I found this to be a good size – with almost every flashlight the entire blade was well lit and a focus system like that from LED Lenser is actually unnecessary with blades of this size. My first attempts were made with a Convoy S8 and looked great.
Four different types of rods are available on the website: Bubbles, Linear, Spiral and Transparent. The rods are 40cm long and have a diameter of 2cm. Although the rods are rather heavy they are still held securely by the adapters.
Transparent is, as the name suggests, transparent, the bubble rods contain small air bubbles along the entire length, the linear rod contains straight lines down the middle of the rod and the spiral has a twisted helix through the centre which looks a little like a strand of DNA. In my package were the bubble and spiral rods
The bars can be illuminated completely and evenly with almost every flashlight. Again, you don’t need an expensive focusable flashlight as the adapter system keeps the flashlight and the rod closely joined together.
We have been using different black and white fibre optic brushes for a very long time in our light painting pictures, but I was not aware that blue, green and pink existed until now. The package I was sent included all 5 types of fibre optic brush.
The fibre optic bundles are slightly thinner than the fibre optics from other light painting shops which means that they fit into the same round adapter as the rods and tubes. However, despite the smaller diameter, they seem to pack in almost the same amount of strands as the others. If you put the tool in the adapter and stand it upright on a table the “bouquet” produced by the fibre optics is just as big as the fibre optic tools from other suppliers.
The black fibre optics illuminate solely at the ends. Blue and green emit very little light to the side and are very similar to the black fibre optics in that respect. Pink shines red along the length and white at the ends or, if you put a color filter in the adapter, in that color at the end. The white fibre optics illuminate along the entire length, with the ends being the brightest.
I did not receive the plexiglass tubes for testing although I did have practically everything else! However in the shop, they are available in lengths of 14, 36, 50 and 100cm. They are 2cm in diameter and, as you might have guessed, fit perfectly into the round adapters.
Comparable tools are more expensive in most other light painting shops. The adapters are not exactly a bargain at €23 for the single round adapter and €32 for the double round adapter, however if you buy a kit instead you can save a few euros. On the other hand, the universal connector is also not much cheaper and not as stable due to the thinner material.
The prices for the Plexy Shapes, Tubes and Rods seems reasonable to me. Plexiglass is expensive to buy – if I buy a sheet of it and cut the parts myself, I’d hardly save anything, and I’d run the risk of making a mistake and ruining the sheet.
What Else Is There?
In addition to the above-mentioned “exclusive products” the Light Painting Paradise online store also sells other things that make the hearts of light painters beat a little faster; flashlights, lasers, el-wire, el-tape and a few other bits and bobs. Just have a look around the shop and see what you fancy.
On first glance, I’m liking the look of the thick 3-way EL wire. The thickness means it should be much brighter than the normal EL wire we usually use.
What Can The Tools Do?
Once assembled, the Plexy Shapes and Rods feel comfortable in the hand. The weight distribution is good with a medium sized flashlight such as a Convoy M1, allowing you to swing the tools cleanly and safely through the air. Everything feels tight and secure – even with fast movements I did not have any worries that a plexy shape or even the heavy rods would slip out of the adapter.
The round color filters also fit perfectly in the adapters. If you pull the tool out of the adapter quickly, you can shake the color filter out of the adapter. However, given that in the dark, the small filters could easily get lost on the floor or down a hole, it is best to prepare the tools beforehand and disassemble them when you come home.
When removing the fibre optics you need to exercise care, as they fit quite tightly into the adapters. However, fibre optic bundles always have a limited lifespan as, no matter how carefully you handle them, the fibres eventually break as they are very thin and brittle. For transport, you should therefore always keep them in the supplied cases.
Let There Be Light!
I was very pleased with the light trails created by the blades. Due to the relatively rough edges, the trails are well defined with a nice structure.
On the left you can see the rod with the spiral centre and on the right the rod with the bubbles.
The blue and green fibre optics are much brighter than I expected. When they were on the table with the lamp turned on, hardly anything was visible of the green and blue. Interestingly with the colored fibre optics (pink, blue and green) there is the possibility of combining the color of the fibre options with a second color for the ends of the glass fibres (as in figure one)
Here are a few more pictures with the plexy shapes and glass fibres.
If you have no desire or ability to build your own tools, Light Painting Paradise offers a good opportunity to get a set of well-made tools for a reasonable price. Unpack the box, put the adapter, color filter and flashlight together and the light painting fun can start.
As always I wish you good light
A huge thanks to Tom Hill for the translation.