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Spotlights/Torches - use of and advise

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anne-marie
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by anne-marie » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:02 am

I have a "Fenix LD20" premium Q5, nice one, not to heavy for the plane, and long distance (+/-200 m), two modes long and near, I use it with rechargeable batteries :D
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pepperjuice
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by pepperjuice » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:23 am

I am sorry, but all these powerful WWII candles that can light a aircraft from a mile or so is real bad, not just for the animal, but same keeping photography in mind.

A friend of mine also had one of the 1Mil+ candle power flashlight. Once at LS he shined to the opposite side of the river, no use, just came out a white wash. The beam was fixed.

We prefer a soft light, not to strong, but what they have on the game vehicles is more than enough.

I havent tried red filter, but try to do this with that second nuclear light in your hand.

Imagehttp://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/forum/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=199741&ppuser=5960

Back to the OP. I use a simple small light with 3 AAA for braai, etc. And then the spot {cigarette lighter} if we lucky enough for owls, lion, leopard etc. Must say, never used the spot in KNP, but CHOBE, MOREMI, SABIE SANDS etc.

I guess if you want a more powerful handheld light, try to get something that you can attach a filter, or make your own as suggested. I wonder how one of those dereelight's would work with a filter.

And please remember the eyes !!!

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madach
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by madach » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:26 am

For photography at night you need a wide beam spotlight or torch. The dereelight DBS is a narrow beam torch and it is not suited for photography. I guess you could use a red filter on it, but is would still be a narrow beam and therefore not suited for photography.

The OP's question was about a torch that had long reach, and for that purpose it is excellent.

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fazekma
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by fazekma » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:19 pm

Hi Jeff

There was a thread on best spotlights last year, check it out here...
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=30159

We use the Lightforce Blitz - it is effective up to about 100 meters - we use it in the Kgalagadi at at camps like Kielie Krankie and get great results. It has a red filter and the beam van be widened.
Mario

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jeffgordon
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by jeffgordon » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:51 pm

Thank you for all your excellent advice and suggestions, everyone. As a result of your suggestions I have learned a huge deal about torches (who knew there was more to torches than the ones I used to get in my christmas stocking back in the day!)

I have decided on the LED Lenser P14 which is very reasonably priced (R500) and appears to excel at both 'throwing' light as well as producing a nice wide flood of light which would be more appropriate and less intrusive for use in somewhere like Tamboti where you don't want to obnoxiously spoil everyone else's wilderness experience. The other thing I like is that it uses 4 x AA batteries which are readily available everywhere.

PS. I have also bought some red cellophane produce a more wildlife-friendly beam.
Last edited by jeffgordon on Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fazekma
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by fazekma » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:46 pm

Just a word of warning on the red filters/red collophane Jeff - this can cut down your beam intensity by more than 50%.

I know you are concerned about 'not being intrusive' with your beam and that is commendable - I wish there were more considerate people like you - but a spotlight is like a gun or car - it can be used responsibly or irrisponsibly.

We have had neighbors that would shine their 5-million-candle power spotlight in every direction blinding us and other people and then you have the responsible users that shine only towards the bush and, if there is an animal, the beam is pointed next to the animal, providing enough light to see/photograph it but not blinding the animal.

The following photograph demonstrates the responsible use of a bright spotlight. The Civet was photographed in Punda Maria camp about 20 meters from us and you'll see that the spotlight beam is pointed behind the civet and there isn't even a reflection in his eyes.

Image

When we photograph animals at night we tend to not use a flash as this can be even more intense than the spotlight beam!

We have had neighbours thanking us for having our spotlight and allowing them to also get nocturnal photographs of leopard, caracal, owls and porcupine.

Enjoy your stay and I hope you get to see many of the rare nocturnal animals - it's the highlight of our stay in both the Kruger and Kgalagadi parks - we sleep by day and photograph by night!
Mario

Paul Marshall
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by Paul Marshall » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:25 am

Hi Mario and all,

I'm intrigued by your Civet picture. The orangey tungsten beam of the torch is clearly visible but what is providing the overall frontal lighting? I assumed it was a flash but I would have thought a flash would drown out torch light - unless it was a monster torch. By the colour comparison I guess it could be an LED torch? Maybe just low power flash?

The answer to the above might answer my next question but if not, why do you think there is no reflection in it's eyes? I can see tiny catchlights but I would have thought they'd have that nasty reflection that normally happens at night.

I'm in Kruger soon and would love to be able to get some night critters without their eyes glowing madly!

Back to the original topic, I've read that Elephant are particularly annoyed by bright torch light. I've never been in the situation of needing to illuminate an Elephant at night but sounds like something to avoid. May not be true of course but better safe than sorry.

The torch I have found to be immensely useful is a Petzl Tikka XP headtorch. It has a pretty powerful LED but also has a removable diffuser built in for better light spread. Another great feature is the "turbo" boost that it offers for short periods. There is even a version that comes with a red filter. It's not going to light vast areas but it's great for general lighting. Not very expensive and worth every penny, sorry Rand!

Hope this helps,


Paul

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fazekma
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by fazekma » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:58 am

Hi Paul

The orange light behind the Civet is from our 1-million Blitz Lightforce. It is so bright hence the grass is burnt-orange. The Civet was very close - between 10 and 20 meters away and we didn't have time to get our Liberty Light - these are similar to the Petzl but seem more rugged and a bit brighter. (I beleive the new Petzl's are stronger and are also about 150-lumens with turbo and red options).

At Punda we don't need the Lightforce and tend to use just the small 150-lumen Liberty headlight and we get these types of pics...

Image

The eyes glow if you shine the light directly at the animal - the same with the flash - try and shine from an angle and flash off the camera shoe or use a diffuser.

At Lower Sabie or Shimuwini, Sirheni and Tamboti camps we need the larger light as the animals tend to be 50-100 meters away.

I did use a flash on the Civet - the Nikon SB-800 with diffuser and tilted up 45-degrees to spread the light. I was using the Nikon D300 here but have since bought the Nikon D3S and can use ISO 12000 and therefore don't need a flash.

We have seen some elephants get annoyed with spotlights but generally they just turn around.
Mario

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Goggo EJ
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:08 am

If the elephant is inclined to be difficult anyway the spot will only make things worse (even headlights), but otherwise they will probably move off quickly. I have seen both reactions from elephants on the road - one moved off when a guest (stupidly and against instructions) shone the spot straight at it, and on another occasion the elephant chased us for a while before feeling it had made its feelings clear and moved off.
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Kicker Cat
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by Kicker Cat » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:41 am

Some thoughts on Flashlights / Torches.

LED Lenser is a great unit -I have used one for a year now - has 2 seetings Dim and "Bright" the beam can be focused so you can use it almost anywhere (Battery life is good (uses 4 AAA units) +- 200 m

Fenix - Also a great light - smaller than the LED Lenser but also bright - has SOS, Dim and Bright settings. Also abut 200 m

Maglite - the new generation of LED torches from them are also great - they are bright, can be focused and some companies have filters for them (the only issue is their size - three normal torch batteries)

You may also be lucky to get the New Rechargeable LED Maglite being released in S.A. around June.

These are IMHO the best torches around at the moment - Ease of use and economical to run - there are the SUREFIRE products and they are bright but most of those use batteries that you will not find everywhere (I think they are CR123 A - something like that) and cost much more that AAA, AA and normal D cells (In SA from around R30.00 each if bought in bulk otherwise about R45.00)

Hope that helps.

Paul Marshall
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by Paul Marshall » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:14 pm

Hi Mario,

Thanks for the info. I didn't realise that those eye reflections disappear with the light source slightly off angle. Great advice. That must be one heck of a spotlight though.

I've got no excuse now because we're using exactly the same kit! Always worries me cranking the ISO up too high because of noise. I think I've become overly paranoid about it. I guess in difficult circumstances you just have to accept a compromise...or buy a D3!

Many thanks once again and congratulations on a very informative website with great pics.


Paul

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fazekma
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by fazekma » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:26 pm

With the D300 Paul, I wouldn't suggest going over ISO1600. I have used ISO 3200 as a last resort but Noise Ninja can do only so much.

If you're going to the park with your partner just prep them that they will need to hold your light while you shoot! My wife is a great help and I wouldn't be able to get these photos without her holding the lights off to the side to ensure no eye reflections.

Hope you have a great time in the park!
Mario

Paul Marshall
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Re: Best torch for camps

Unread post by Paul Marshall » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:54 pm

Hi Mario,

Sounds like we are living parallel lives!

My fiancee is also a keen photographer and she helps me out all the time so I'm sure she won't mind holding a light or 2, once I've fixed her a Gin and Tonic, of course.

We spent three and half weeks in the park late last year and loved every second of it. This time we're bringing a friend who has never been to Africa so that should be fun too. We did a trip to Namibia not so long ago and Botswana is probably next. I just wish my money tree would grow quicker!!

We both treated ourselves to new D300s's recently and looking forward to using them for real. Was torn between D300 and D700 but in the end I decided the extra reach was more useful than ISO 50 billion. But now I'm not so sure. Aaarghhh!!

Take care and thanks again,



Paul

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RIAAN H
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what torch do you guys use?

Unread post by RIAAN H » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:56 pm

just wanted to know what torch you guys use?

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schooms
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Re: what torch do you guys use?

Unread post by schooms » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:21 pm

MAG light 6 cell with a hunting globe in. havent had much luck with spot lights but am interested to hear peoples comments as well Riaan.
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