BY KEITH PATANKAR
We all know how important light and light control is to photography. And in the age of digital cameras that can shoot both still and video, finding the right light source can seem overwhelming. LED lighting has now become one of the most popular sources of light. Not only in photography, but everywhere; you see it in building fixtures, flashlights, automobiles, track-lighting and on and on. So it only makes sense to try and balance the light we are using on our camera with the light that is in the environment we are shooting. But with hundreds of models on the market, which one is right for you? Like any equipment in photography today, that largely depends on your needs as a photographer. In this article, I will show you a model that is reasonably priced and will fit a large number of photographers’ and videographers’ needs: the GiSTEQ Flashmate F-198C LED light.
The GiSTEQ Flashmate F-198C LED Light is a moderate size LED light that comes with an adapter to fit the accessory shoe on top of your camera. Like the name suggests, it features a panel of 198 LED bulbs. One thing that I always suggest is to get an LED with a dimmer. The Flashmate F-198C features an easy-to-turn knob on the back that allows you to adjust the light output. One really nice feature is there is a separate adjustment knob to control color temperature from 3200K-5500K. Most LED lights in this price range or higher will only come with a separate gel you have to take on and off to change color temperature. This color control knob is extremely useful when working with mixed lighting or moving in and out of different lighting situations. Another unique feature is the use of “matrix lighting” technology. This technology places narrow angle LED bulbs in the center and wide-angle LED bulbs around the edges. This creates even lighting on the subject from center to edge. It also allow for brighter illumination when you zoom in on your subject. The Flashmate F-198C uses six AA batteries or has the option to use a Sony lithium L-series video battery. With connections on all four sides, you can mount the LED light vertically or horizontally or even stack multiple LED lights together for a brighter output.
I personally found the GiSTEQ Flashmate F- 198C LED light to be one of the best LED lights on the market under $200. It has good, even light output and the ability to adjust color temperature easily is a nice feature. The battery life is very good. I have been using digital AA batteries and have not yet run out of battery life. The only downside to some may be the size. If you are used to smaller LED lights or like to keep the size down, this LED light will require an extra spot in your bag. The dimensions are approximately 6-by-4-by-2.25 inches; not huge, but something to think about. On the other hand, lighting is so important to getting the right shot, it is well worth fitting this LED light into you bag. ◊
Keith Patankar works in outside sales, marketing and specialty market at Hunts Photo & Video in Melrose MA. Please feel free to contact Keith directly at 781.462.2340 with any related questions. Contact Patankar to get special pricing by mentioning this article.
BY KEITH PATANKAR