Flashlight Review: Light Excursion Sport RGB
Light Excursion’s colour mixing flashlights are proving very popular with light painting photographers. I recently reviewed the Deluxe RGB, and this is the review of it’s very different brother, the Sport RGB.
In response to mediocre colour changing light options on the market, Frank Parhizgar (Light Excursion) started researching and developing RGB(W) colour mixing flashlights designed specifically for light painting photographer’s requirements.
At the time of writing there is no website, however if you contact Frank (links at the end of the review) he is very responsive at discussing which design is most suitable for your requirements. The lights are all hand made, with a wide range of customisable options. The products are always evolving based on user feedback.
This review is of the Sport RGB LE model. The reviewed model has a 18650 battery holder, combined momentary/full on switches for Red, Green, and Blue (RGB), a master switch for on/off/dynamic modes, and a LE connector. Other customisable options are available on request.
The lights are handmade from mainly off the shelf components in a plastic shell. The fact that it doesn’t resemble a traditional flashlight is good, as the accessible side switches allow for a much better user interface for light painters. Construction quality seems good, though I still haven’t dropped one!
The LE connector is designed primarily for use with the Light Painting Brushes system, for which the tools plug straight into the grooved connector. However, as the external diameter is 31mm, it can also be used with Light Painting Paradise system (with better stability, but with a little bit of light loss compared to the LP connector ). I have also seen the LE connector in use connected by a Liteblades KYO. The LE connector contains a reflector and lens combination that creates a very pretty beam pattern when projected onto surfaces. The Sport RGB is also available with the LP connector (28mm external diameter) which was reviewed as part of the recent Deluxe RGB review.
The Sport RGB light has a very different user interface to the Deluxe RGB. There are 3 colour switches for Red, Green, and Blue (RGB). These can be used as momentary switches with a half press, or constant on with a full click. A subsequent full click will turn off that colour. Combinations of RGB can also create Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and White, providing 7 colour combinations.
There is a single master switch, with three locations – on/off/dynamic modes. When switched to on, the light will illuminate on full power using the selected colour combination. When selected to dynamic modes, then the light will illumination with a combination of the selected colour combination and the chosen strobe modes (or constant output) from the RF remote control (which also needs to be turned on). With the supplied RF remote control, there are 8 strobe modes, with up to 10 speed/strobe frequency steps. Most of these strobe modes are very useful to light painters, with a range of different strobe on/off times (see the 2 strobe mode test photos). The RF remote can also allow the brightness to be dimmed when light painting under moonlight or astrophotography. The light memorises the last used effect even if the remote has been turned off and back on. However, you cannot change dynamic modes, speeds, or brightness whilst the master switch is set to off.
From previous experience of using similar RF remotes for LED strip lights, I have experienced the button battery running out rather quickly. I have not experienced this with this light, however I would recommend removing the CR2025 battery when not in use to prevent parasitic drain. Button batteries should always be kept out of reach of children. It should be noted that the RF remotes can communicate with multiple colour changing lights that use similar LED controller units.
The beam with RGB all on was measured at approximately 100 lumens. This is x3 brighter than most other RGB colour mixing lights suitable for light painters. On full output, using a Light Painting Paradise Plexi Rod, I used an exposure of f/8, ISO200.
As is to be expected in colour mixing RGB flashlights (due to having to control 3 different channels), Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) can be noticeable as very fast strobing if the light trail is close to the camera. However this is less noticeable than most other RGB colour mixing lights I’ve tested.
The light tested used the 18650 battery option, using a new longer battery holder that allows for both protected and unprotected 18650 batteries. The longest protected battery that I could fit in was 69.2mm long, which means that some protected 18650 batteries will not fit – I’ve listed recommended compatible batteries below. It can also be a little bit fiddly to get the battery out. As I’m not sure if there is any low voltage or reverse polarity protection, it is important to make sure that you insert the 18650 battery correctly, and make sure that the voltage does not go below 2.5V. Other battery holder options are 2×10880 li-ion or 9V alkaline. If you do not understand the safety implications of li-ion batteries, then go for the 9V option!
High quality unprotected 18650 batteries that I would recommend are the Panasonic NCR18650GA (most recommended), LG MJ1, or Samsung 35E batteries. Added button top versions may be easier to remove. High quality protected 18650 batteries that should fit (<69mm) include the Keeppower 2600mAh 2900mAh, 3000mAh, and 3400mAh (Worldwide), Olight 3200mAh and 3400mAh (Worldwide), and Blazar 3500mAh 67mm long version (AU). Most Nitecore, Fenix, Klarus, and Orbtronic protected 18650 batteries will be too long.
This is another excellent colour mixing light, that is fantastic for light drawing with an impressive range of strobe modes, all with variable speed/frequency. It is a very different beast to the Deluxe RGB model. How does it compare to the Deluxe RGB?
- Multiple colour fade modes
- 20 colour combinations (7 in strobe/pulse modes)
- Can change effect/colour/speed modes when light is off
- Rotary brightness control
- Master momentary switch
- 2 different strobe modes – strobe (20% on time) and pulse, with 3 speed/frequency steps.
- No colour fade modes
- 7 colour combinations
- Momentary switch for individual colours
- Brightness control via remote
- Cannot change effect/speed modes when light is off (but can change colours or effect modes to constant on the fly)
- 8 different strobe modes, with 10 speed/frequency steps.
If you want a wider range of colour options and colour fade modes, go with the Deluxe RGB model. If you want a wider range of strobe modes and strobe frequencies, go with the Sport RGB model. Both are currently “best of breed” RGB flashlights, and have considerable creative potential.