Doctors and Dentists rejoice.
Nikon has listened to the demands for a ring light for the 28mm front lens
thread of the swivel body CoolPix line, and any other digital camera that
takes 28mm accessories. The Cool-Light SL-1 is a self-contained,
battery operated, constant light source for shooting small objects close
up with no shadows. The battery power is provided by two CR2 batteries
(about $7.50 each at my local camera store), and there is also a plug for
an optional AC adapter.
The light source is a series of eight LED's arranged in
evenly spaced circular pattern around the threaded center which screws
onto the filter threads of the lens. The top mounted screw allows
positioning so the battery contained base doesn't get in the way. This is
especially useful when using a tabletop tripod to support the camera
during a macro shoot.
Because it's a constant light source the internal flash
needs to be shut off and the camera set to Auto Exposure. We found that
the light output intensity was such that we were using shutter speeds in
the 1/30 of second range. This makes using a tripod or other form of
support, or the use of a higher ISO setting on the camera, important to
insure sharpness. An additional issue is the color balance of the LEDís.
The camera was able to correctly white balance with them, but mixed
lighting, such as daylight or indoor light could cause some unexpected
color distortions. Make sure to turn the room lights down as not to affect
exposure and lighting.
Reflections can be troublesome. The LED's were visible
in reflective subjects, like a stamp. But werenít visible on less
reflective items like a map and less noticeable on the coin or teeth.
We used the CoolPix 4500 for all the pictures and the
lens had to be zoomed to telephoto to achieve macro focus which led to the
lengthy exposure time. Using BSS (Best Shot Selector) could prove to be
useful when handholding the Cool-Light.
Nikon has provided a useful new tool for use with its
swivel body Coolpix line. It will be very helpful for those who depend on
even lighting for critical close up work. All ring lights are specialized
tools, and require some experimentation to achieve excellent results. If
you need a flat even light with no shadows for working in macro mode, this
may be a tool for you.