Monday, November 15, 2010

Bescor LED-50DA Dimmable Light Panel

The Bescor LED-50DA Dimmable Light Panel is a pretty bulky yet powerful external flash. When using it, it was effective, which can’t really be argued with, but perhaps not in the prescribed way.

The first thing one notices when taking the Bescor out of the box is how large it is. It’s just not a sleek or sexy piece of hardware. It’s not an easy shape to pack into a bag with other things, and it’ll take up room, so if you’re going to use it, you may as well commit all the way and not bring any other lights with you. Unless you plan to bring a very large bag.

Mounting the Bescor is also an issue. It’s got a hot shoe on the bottom which can be hooked into any hot shoe mount, but this requires you to have one of those to use with your phone. Right away you’ll see that this requires you to have something capable of playing host to your phone AND holding your light. I vote you use the Owle Bubo, but there are of course other options. Or you could just hold the light, which is what I did. You might be thinking that this choice would be incredibly inconvenient. And to an extent, you’d be right. It means both of my hands were full, and if I had smaller hands I might not have been able to hold my phone, press the capture button, and hold and angle the light correctly. However, give it a few minutes and you’ll get used to it.

A nice feature the Bescor boasts is the ability to dim its light. This thing gets pretty bright, so you’ll dim fairly often. You can do this by spinning a wheel on the side of the light (which is reachable via fingertip using only one hand, should you not have a hot shoe).

The Bescor also comes with a sepia shaded panel you can replace the normal translucent one with. It doesn’t tint your light, but it does make it softer, so for interviews this is something you can play around with and decide whether you like. The important thing is that it’s there.

As far as battery life goes, you can leave the Bescor going for hours. I used it in a corn maze, and had it on and off for nearly three and a half hours, without worrying about losing my batteries. I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep some spares on you, I’m just saying it’s less likely than some other choices.

In all, I’d recommend this light, but I would say you need to either already have the gear to use it properly (a mount of some kind) or have large enough hands and be comfortable enough with your mobile reporting that you can go out into the field and use it roughshod.

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