Thursday, August 25, 2016

LED Modeling Lights for Novatron Standard Heads

I needed to replace a modeling lamp in one of my Novatron studio flash heads (N2140C, N2110C, N2110C, etc) and decided to go searching for an LED bulb that will work instead. Thankfully I was able to find bulbs that fit at my local Home Depot.

The incandescent N4101 Novatron replacement bulbs aren't cheap. They cost around $9 each and I'd have to head into NYC to pick them up. Besides that, my main issues is that I feel guilty wasting so much electricity after having converted most of my interior lighting to LEDs and they get hot!

Heat was a big concern. Not just fore safety or because when I gel the unmodified heads the gels sometimes melt on the bulb but also because each bulb is like having a 100w heater in the room. It's been pretty hot recently, I don't have AC ducts running down to the basement where I shoot and I haven't figured out how to vent a portable AC yet.

I went to Home Depot looking for suitable bulbs to replace my Novatron modelling lamps. I needed bulbs that were bright, short enough that they didn't protrude past the reflector so they still fit in the case, thin enough at the base that I could screw them in without a problem, and narrow enough at the bulb end so they didn't block the light coming from the actual flash tube.

The EcoSmart 60W Equivalent Soft White A15 Dimmable LED Light Bulbs fit the bill and they were only $17 for a 3 pack.

Even after being on for over an hour they're still cool enough you can touch them. I was hoping to get 100W equivalent LEDs but I couldn't find them in an A15 size anywhere. They light output they produce though is sufficient and they only use 6W each. One hour running the 100W incandescents would cost me $0.04 an hour while the LEDs would only cost $0.002. Not a huge cost savings as it would take over 400 hours for them to pay for themselves but eliminating the heat issues is a huge plus. Also, there's no thin metal filament to break when I accidentally knock over a light stand. The main reason for replacing the bulb in the first place!

The LED modeling lights produce a harder light than incandescent bulbs. That's partly the nature of LED bulbs and also partly because less light is directed towards the bottom of the bulb towards the reflector.

Since flash in a bare reflector is harder than incandescent light anyway I like this. Makes it easier to get a more accurate preview of the lighting.

They weren't available in daylight colors but the soft white matches the color of the incandescent light they replaced. My last shoot it was easier to keep my shooting space comfortable without the added heat from the 100W bulbs so it was well worth the small investment.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I had the same challenge Re unit fell over, what to do, and let’s face it incandescent is less available but lighting unit is fine even if old. I do not use it for flas, just modeling light