With Black Friday just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get great savings on new lighting equipment. However, it's also a fantastic opportunity to look beyond traditional flash and see whether LED lighting is actually a better fit for you and your photography.
Flash has been the dominant form of illumination in photography for decades, but camera technology has absolutely transformed in that time frame. Once upon a time, analog film required flash's bazooka-like firepower to light a subject.
Now, however, slow film speeds have been replaced by modern sensors with fast, fierce ISO capabilities – and companies like Rotolight have replaced bazookas with the laser-like efficiency of LED panels.
Modern LED lighting is powerful, portable and versatile, able to adapt to virtually any genre of photography. Professionals use it to shape and sculpt their subjects in ways simply not possible with studio flash or strobes, while those new to lighting will find LEDs a much easier way to learn how to conceive, capture and create their images.
Rotolight NEO 2: the Swiss Army knife of lighting
Rotolight is among the most respected manufacturers of professional LED lighting, offering a full range of systems that offer powerful continuous lighting output in addition to high speed sync flash capabilities – something that isn't offered by any other manufacturer.
The Rotolight NEO 2, available for an extended Black Friday price of £179, is a genuine game-changer for photographers. In fact, we rate it number one in our list of best LED lighting panels – just one of three awards that this product has won from Digital Camera and Digital Camera World.
Rated at a massive 2,000 lux maximum brightness, with 500% more power when used in flash mode, this portable unit is as powerful as a hand grenade – perfect for working in-studio, on mains power, or on location using six high-performance batteries.
In addition to adjustable brightness, the NEO 2 is color-tunable from 3150-6300K in both continuous and flash modes for perfect temperature balance. It possesses an integrated Elinchrom Skyport receiver and can also be controlled locally. Best of all, it can be modified with additional accessories, such as barn doors, softboxes and foam grips.
Ideal illumination for anything, anywhere
The Rotolight NEO 2 is so adaptable that it can be used almost anywhere you would need to take a photograph, from detailed macro work in the studio to location lighting on the go.
Esther Ling, for example, uses it for her food photography. Its faithful colour reproduction (CRI=96) makes it perfect for accurately reproducing the colours and tones of her food, to ensure that it looks appetising. And, being bi-colour, it can both emulate and complement daylight.
The NEO 2 can fit in the palm of your hand and is portable enough to take with you everywhere – which also makes it the perfect tool for Greg Gorman, a Rotolight Master of Light who uses it for his high-profile portraiture.
Greg has shot such celebrities as Leonardo Di Caprio, Heath Ledger, Sir Elton John and Penelope Cruz, and is the man behind movie posters like Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers and Scarface. His work earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award from Professional Photographers of America in 2013.
The size of the NEO 2 makes it the perfect hair light for his subjects – and despite its size, it has a powerful and adjustable output that can create subtle subject separation. The NEO 2 packs plenty of power for this, as Greg only needs the light set at 1% brightness!
Likewise, fellow Rotolight Master of Light Jean Noir uses the NEO 2 for portraits – even on location. In addition to complementing the available light, the NEO 2's round shape creates flattering catchlights in the subject’s eyes.
Location work really sees the NEO 2 come into its own. Toronto-based wedding photographer Anita Cheung uses it when shooting venues. “My clients spend so much money on their venue and all the little beautiful details," she says. "The flowers, the table decorations, the bride’s shoes and the stationery, so I spend plenty of time capturing it.”
Its compact size makes it easy to take to any venue, even if space is at a premium. “I take my NEO 2 to almost every wedding I shoot to capture the reception. I use it to illuminate a dark venue to give details a more three-dimensional look and bring them to life!”
The ability to further diffuse the soft continuous output, using the included diffusion filters, enables her to mimic daylight. “I use the diffusion filters to soften the light, whilst the power and temperature were easily adjusted to balance with the room's ambient lighting to add a soft sunset glow.”
Another area where LED lighting really excels is nature photography. The NEO 2 provides a compact light that you can take anywhere – you can use it either mounted on-camera or, using a foam grip, to backlight a subject and add definition to creatures such as dragonflies or butterflies.
Rotolight NEO 2 Black Friday deal
The Rotolight NEO 2 is on special offer over the Black Friday week, from Friday 29 November to Friday 06 December. During this time you can pick up the NEO 2 for just £179 (including VAT, as with all below prices), which is a serious saving of £120 on the RRP.
In addition, you can purchase the Rotolight NEO 2 – 3 Light Kit for £779.99 (a saving of £550) and the NEO 2 Explorer Kit for just £699.99 (saving you £500). There is also a flat saving of 20% off everything else, resulting in fantastic deals on products like the Rotolight AEOS – available for £719.99 (a saving of £180) or in a 2 Light Kit for £1,519.99 (a £380 saving) – as well as the Rotolight Anova PRO 2 bi-colour 50 degree, for £1,239.99 (which saves you £310).
So if you're after a brilliant bargain on lighting equipment, you're looking to expand your existing Rotolight system, or you're interested in seeing whether LED lighting is a better match for your photography, this is the ideal opportunity to pick up one of the best and most adaptable lighting units on the market.
Pros can add powerful and versatile new tools to their arsenal, and newcomers can learn how to use light in an easy to understand, what-you-see-is-what-you-get way that can unlock the door to creative imaging. Visit Rotolight now to take advantage of these Black Friday offers.