Sometimes you need just a drop of light to complete a photograph. While some DSLRs have small pop-up flashes built into their prisms, we used to call them wink lights, their position directly over the lens limits their usefulness. One alternative is to use a speed light with either an off-camera cord or a wireless connection. I've done this many times with my Canon 600 EX-RT, lowering the power output to 1/64 or 1/32 for that drop of light. It works, but it is a cumbersome solution if you are not working on a tripod.
While I am a still shooter I have found some LED offerings for video to be good solutions. The inherent advantage of a continuous light source in ambient light shooting is that you can see where your light falls and adjust its position as necessary. Recently I purchased a fascinating little item made by ikan, the iLED-MS microspot light. When I saw it I thought it would be useful in filling it small under-lighted areas I run into while shooting interiors. When I got it in hand I realized it had many other uses.
The light is very well designed. The size of a pocket flashlight, in fact, in a pinch it can be used as one, it is a high-intensity LED light with a 40-degree spread. It has two light-shaping barn doors with two more panels, one for diffusion, the other to convert the native 5600K light to 3300K. The light is continously variable from 10% to full output. It has a flash shoe mount threaded on the bottom to put on a light stand. It has a built in lithium battery recharged by a USB cable. This are two weaknesses in my opinion, it would be nice if an AC converter could be used with it as well. When the light is mounted on a camera it has a little wiggle going on, I didn't want to torque down the retaining nut too tightly, but I would guess there is little danger of it falling out of the shoe.
3300K panel in place
All panels open
Shaping light with barn doors
Diffused light, most noticeable in the foreground
Unlike small video panels, this light is easier to hand hold, it weighs just a few ounces and fits in a shirt pocket. This little light defines portability. This is great of course if you post images on Foodspotting.com or Yelp. As the light is not camera specific, you can raise the quality of your food shots whether you are use a DSLR or smartphone. The Microspot is useful in pretty much any close-in shooting situation.
Shot on AWB available light
With Microspot 5600K light as fill.
Ambient light AWB under mixed light sources
Microspot with 3300K panel in place
Recommended 90 points
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