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Review: Switronix TorchLED TL-50 LED Light

by Thursten Kent on 10/24/2012

Just not too long ago I had the pleasure of trying out Switronix’s bigger brother, The TorchLED. It’s a really nice on camera light that packs a wallop. The TL-50 is it’s kid-sister. Let’s dive on in and take a look.

 

Tech Specs

Provided by: B&H Photo

Light Intensity LEDs: 50, 50W equivalent, 3W consumption
Burn Time 2.5 hrs per battery charge
Depth Rating Not Applicable
Batteries 5VDC Internal lithium polymer, replaceable
Dimensions 4.1 x 2.43 x 2.5″ (10.4 x 6.2 x 6.4cm)
Weight 0.57 lbs (260g)

 

Ergonomics

One of the great things of this light is its weight. Just a smear more than half a pound  (.57 lbs) you are going to save your back a little bit when mounting this on your camera.

You have 2– yes, 2 quarter-twenty mounts on the top and bottom of this light.  This is a very nice idea. This makes the light flexible when it comes to mounting it.

Out on the back: You have a dedicated switch that controls the light’s output. These are indicated in the even number intervals. I was kind of hoping that this light would go to 11. A battery indicator will glow Green, yellow or red telling you how much power is left. A DC cable is provided when charging is needed.

A nice touch is  the battery is replaceable even though it is internal. Simply unscrew the back housing from the front and you can slide the battery out once you detach the battery from the circuit board.

You get a few things besides the light in the box. A charger, a soft pouch and three filters. Their is a clear filter which acts as protection for the the LEDs. A kind of mid-range diffuser, and a 3200k filter when you are working in room or area that uses tungsten lights.

In Use

I decided to to do something fun with this light since it is so small. I shot a small police interrogation scene. Something that was loosely inspired by Law and Order. Quick and dirty.  I mounted the TL-50 into an Impact Floodlight Reflector with a couple of 1/4-20” screws (more on that on later including my light setup.)

 

Here’s a quick picture of what I used in this light. Simply bought the shortest 1/4-20” screws they sold at my local hardware store. And some vertical blind cable used for lifting your common house blinds and thread that through 2 of the screws opposite of where I mounted the light. The blind cable was plenty strong enough to lift the light securely  The clear filter was just used as a precaution in case something might happen to the light.

Here is a shot of what it looks like mounting the screws through the floodlight reflector. Simply threaded them into the 1/4-20” mounts found on the light. They did not fit flush. So I modified the holes to fit the 1/4-20” screws. It was as simple as pushing the screws through.

Here is a shot showing the light setup. I used the Bolt as a side fill light. Just vary slightly. The TL-50 plays the main role for this example.

 

Another shot of the Bolt used as a side light. 

Their were just a few things that nagged me about this light. First of all, it’s a little easy to scratch the light, mounting the filters take a little muscle. Which at times I found it kind of frustrating. If you are not careful when you are trying to snap-on a filter you might drop the light! I was not crazy about the cold shoe mount as much either. Although, it felt slightly better than the one that came with the Bolt. Buy a nice 3rd party option and a quality Noga arm.

Vs. The Bolt

Some might ask how does this compare to the TL-50′s big brother–the Bolt? Let me explain the differences between the two.

With the Bolt you are getting more features but at a price. You will get adjustable intensity like on the TL-50, with the ability to add either tungsten, daylight or a mix of both. At full intensity you wil have 200w at your use (at close range; full blast mixing the both light temps.) vs. 50w from the TL-50. The batteries are easier to remove and are easy to replace since they are of the standard Sony L-series variety.

Now, with the TL-50, besides being down on watts, you have the advantage of a much lower weight (.57lbs vs. 1.15 lbs) You have two 1/4-20” mounts and a much smaller size. This light can be mounted in much tighter places. Like for example, maybe you are shooting inside a car at night and need to put a small amount of light inside the interior.  Replacing the batteries for this unit will cost more than a 3rd party L-series option for the Torch.

Depending on what scenario or your needs,   you might need you have to weigh the differences.

Conclusion

Like the Torch, I myself would use this light. Have to do any event shooting and want to keep things light weight wise? Are you a wedding videographer? Bar or bat mitzvahs?  This is a nice option. Maybe you are shooting a movie and need a tiny amont of fill light on a subjects face. This might work.  Heck, I would get 3 of them and use them when you need to mount a light in small awkward places.

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