Light-painting can be performed with any light source but if you want to create suggestive shapes with tubes you need some bright and reliable flashligths. This review compares two cheap but very good models that I still use nowdays after two years.
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The models are:
- WUBEN L50
- Supfire A2
I have tried many, many in the past years and after purchasing these two I bought also a Nitecore to have an even more performing flashlight and to compare it with the less expensive models.
Before I list the features that I prefer for each one, I would first like to explain what I am looking for in a torch to use for light tubes.
What are the characteristics of light-painting flashlight?
- the light beam must be uniform and not too wide, in order to "fill" the tube in an optimal way and not to create the "void" inside, the most frequent mistake for beginners.
- the brightness, expressed in lumens (lm), must be equal to or greater than 1000. Often this value is not real, but it is not a problem, you can test it to note the difference in brightness.
- durability: flashlights with 18650 batteries are the best choice. Some have the battery included, others do not. However it is advisable to have a set of quality batteries so that you can use them for hours without problems. These batteries allow you to use the flashlight at full power for at least an hour, usually.
- the diameter of the "head" must be 26mm (1 inch) so it can be inserted perfectly into a standard T9 light tube. It is a convention, it is not a fixed rule, it depends on the diameter of the tubes you have.
Wuben L50 flashlight
Wuben L50 flashlight: features
The best flashlight for light-painting: affordable and solid The Wuben L50 is in my opinion the model with the best price-quality ratio, and it is not a polite way to say that it is excellent only because it costs little. It is made of metal, waterproof, very bright, durable, robust.
It features 4 light modes plus an unnecessary SOS mode.
Mode 1, the brightest, is declared as 1200 lumens but I think it is slightly lower. However, it is possible to do light-painting perfectly a few minutes after sunset. Mode 4, the least bright, is very dim and allows you to balance the brightness of the tube in almost non-existent light conditions such as on new moon nights.
The beam of light is evenly distributed, you can see it pointing it against a wall or a uniform surface. It consists of two cones, the inner one is more "narrow" and very intense while the outer one is very large but with a brightness reduced by 25%.
This feature allows to have a good light inside the tube and to have very appreciable results in light-painting avoiding the classic beginner's mistake: the ends are very bright, "empty" central part.
Supfire A2 features
Cheap and very versatile flashlight for all types of light-painting I bought the Supfire A2 in 2018 and now I see that a very interesting updated model is currently on sale which, I think, fixes the small defects of the previous one.
The Supfire A2 torch has two features that differentiate it from the others in my possession:
- the diameter of the head is 28mm (1.1 inches), therefore the internal diameter of the light tubes to be used for light-painting must be carefully studied. However the plastic material of the pipes (acrylic - pvc) can be adapted.
- it is a zoom-type flashlight, so the head is adjustable so that the light beam can be narrower. This allows for a much more uniform illumination inside the tube used in light-painting.
- Waterproof, robust when the head is not zoomed, very bright despite the "only" 900 lumens declared. It is very versatile, I often use it in adapters or tools for light painting without tubes.
A small flaw, in my opinion, is the green on / off button visible when the flashlight is on. This aspect can create unwanted light trails during the long exposure of light-painting.
Two very cheap torches, when compared with medium-high end models and brands, but very good.
Let me know if you use them, your impressions or if you prefer other models!