GlacialTech Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan last week sent us two product samples of their GlacialLight, the LED-BR30, above left, and LED-BR40, right. The idea was to test the quality of light of these LED bulbs when applied to photographic lighting.
Although both the BR30 and BR40 are actually intended as household lights to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting, GlacialTech graciously consented to have their products tested and sent us the above LED light bulbs.
There are inherent qualities of light emitting diodes that make them desirable as lighting alternatives. The following are generally accepted as facts:
- LEDs emit cool light
- LEDs consume less electricity
- LEDs are long-lasting
Until recently, LEDs were small, low-intensity pin lights that were available only in red, green and amber colors – the type of light used as Power On indicators in most electrical appliances. Then they found their way into traffic signal lights when their intensity increased.
Then some clever guys found a way to make these LEDs emit clear white light, a feat considered problematic before because of the very nature of LEDs. A short time after, LEDs with bright white lights became commonplace in flashlights, decorative lights and household lighting.
To test the quality of LED light as applied to photography, we used controlled studio conditions to photograph a real live model with a simple one-light setup.
The GlacialLight BR40 emitted so much light that we had to position it a lot farther from the model to achieve desirable lighting. (Remember, these samples are for ordinary household lighting and are not fitted with dimmers.) In the photo above, we used the smaller BR30 with a shoot-through umbrella diffuser to get soft light appropriate for portraits.
Our test showed that the quality of LED light can indeed qualify for photographic lighting. GlacialLight, as a source of continuous light, emitted a type of cool white illumination very much like fluorescent lighting. There is no perceptible color cast (the camera was set to Auto White Balance).
With just a touch of reflected light on the model’s right side and the BR30 with an umbrella diffuser on her left, we came up with this un-retouched cropped photo:
The GlacialLight LED-BR30 and LED-BR40 are designed to replace the equivalent BR30 globes and lamps available in markets today, for ordinary lighting applications – homes, offices, factories, etc. According to GlacialTech, the LED-BR30 emits 720 Lumen illumination while the LED-BR40 generates 1200 Lumen illumination with just a touch of warmth if you touch the front of the bulb, no perceptible heat.
The bulbs however are fitted with aluminum fins around them to dissipate the heat generated by its internal circuit consisting of a step-down transformer and voltage regulator. The LED-BR30 is rated to consume just 11 Watts with the equivalent brightness of a 60-Watt bulb, while the LED-BR40 slurps down only 18 Watts while generating brightness equivalent to what you get from an 80-Watt conventional bulb. Both LED lights can directly accept an input voltage of 90-240V(AC), and both are rated to last 50,000 hours. They plug into conventional bulb sockets.
The use of LED lights is considered green, environmentally friendly. LED lighting solutions do not contain hazardous elements such as mercury or sodium and do not emit potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation or infrared radiation like halogen lamps. With their long life and low power consumption, LED lights offer advantages and benefits compared to traditional tungsten filament globes and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) products.
GlacialLight demonstrates these advantages in a government-funded pilot project at Lan-Yu Primary School in Orchid Island off the coast of Taiwan. GlacialTech installed over 600 LED-BR40 globes throughout the school premises to bring down the cost of electricity consumption. A similar project on the main island of Taiwan showed an 80% reduction of consumption.
In photography, LED lighting has already made some inroads. Most notable are the efforts of companies like Lite Panels in bringing lighting solutions to the photography industry. They offer light panels of various sizes and ringlights using the versatile and very durable light emitting diode.
We wish to thank Peter du Preez of GlobalPR Taiwan for facilitating our liaison with GlobalLight and Mr. Lito Beltran of PhotoWorldManila.com for providing valuable assistance during the actual testing. We also extend our thanks to Miss Jen Diaz Corales for taking time out from her regular work as secretary to graciously pose for us for this product test.