A new light…

Well, my apologies… it’s been a little while since my last blog post!

I’ve been super busy writing articles, making prints, and teaching workshops. Also, with the holidays coming up, I just seem to have no time!

I’ve been meaning to get this post out about a new flashlight that we’ve found to be great for light painting.

For several years, I’ve been using (and recommending) the Surefire E1L (more specifically, the E1L-HA-WH) as a good light for light painting. I still use it, and I still recommend it. That said, the Surefire is a little pricey and a little difficult to find, since Surefire has replaced the E1L-HA-WH with the E1L-A. Unfortunately, This new model has a larger bezel diameter (Which precludes it from use with our 1″ anodized aluminum adapter), a brighter LED (not always a good thing, as too short of an exposure doesn’t allow enough time to “see” the light), and is quite a bit more expensive than the prior model. For this reason, my co-instructor, John Corcoran, and I have been researching alternative lights. Fortunately, we have found a great little flashlight, the Olight M 10 Maverick.

Photographer Harold Ross recommends a flashlight for Light Painting

I really like this little light, for several reasons… Firstly, the dimming control is separate from the on-off switch. This means that when you turn the light off at a certain brightness, the next time you turn it on it will be at the same brightness. The Surefire, like so many lights, always comes on at a given brightness (usually the dimmer setting), requiring you to toggle through the brightness settings to get back to where you were before. With the M10, after making an exposure, you can turn the light off, then turn it on again in a few minutes and it will be at the same brightness. I find this to be quite beneficial for light painting work. Secondly, the M10 has the latest Cree LED (the XM-L2), which is quite bright, and closer to daylight in its color balance. Third, the M10 has three brightness settings, as compared to the Surefire’s two settings. This means it is a little more versatile for light painting.  Fourth, it is nice and small, slightly smaller than the surefire, which is an advantage when doing light painting in a still life situation, where a larger flashlight gets in the way, and bumps into things! Last but not least, the M10 uses the same great battery as the Surefire, the CR123A, a battery with a 10 year shelf life!  John and I like the light so much, that we’ve decided to offer an anodized aluminum adapter in .9″, designed specifically for the M10, or any light with a .9 inch bezel. This adapter allows quick and easy fitting of the Light Diffusers I designed for light painting. To see a cool little video illustration of how it works, click HERE.
The Surefire E1L-HA-WH is still a fantastic light painting tool, and if you can find one, and you don’t mind the price, it would be on equal footing with the Olight M-10. Of course, we still make the aluminum adapter in 1, which fits the E1L-HA-WH or any light with a 1″ bezel.
I couldn’t recommend a light without first testing it. Here is a “test” image that I shot with the Olight M10 and the .9″ adapter with diffuser, during a very recent workshop with student Will Doak:

Photographer Harold Ross's Light Painting Demonstration Still Life Image

Photograph by Harold Ross

~ by Harold Ross on December 18, 2013.

6 Responses to “A new light…”

  1. Hi Harold —

    I carry the three level 500 lumen version of this everywhere I go. (M20-X) You won’t regret recommending it. I had one go through the wash and come out working just fine. Bulletproof!

    But, oh man. I was just getting ready to send you this:


    My son and I think we can program this (and make you a present of the code) to make it do anything you want including 1-stop increments of light change.

    Sorry if I’m too late.

    • Hi Steve! Wow, that looks interesting. Thank you! Just like in photography, there is an entire culture of flashlight geekhood! (I mean that in a good way;-)) Yes, I think Olight makes a good product. Maybe not quite as bulletproof as the Surefire, but less expensive and quite usable!

  2. Unfortunately, the link for the Olight M10 Maverick is not working in your article, so I just did a google search for it and there seem to be a few different models. Can you please tell us exactly which one this is? Many thanks.

  3. I’m based in the UK and could never locate a Surefire but have managed to get the Olight – a neat ltlle torch. Have rigged up some pipes similar to your diffusers and just got round to painting them black :)

    My torch tends to run a bit hot – is this to be expected – or should I contact the supplier? Not too hot to touch – but well on its way.

    I would love to attend your workshops – but it’s a bit of a long way to travel – so I keep reading and practising :)

    If you get a chance – I have uploaded a few of my lightpainting adventures ;)

    Thanks for the inspiration :)

    • Thanks for your comment! I will check out your website. Yes, the small lights do build up some heat. I would recommend turning it off between exposures to keep the heat in check (this will also give you better battery life).

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