EOSM + MANFROTTO Lumimuse8 LEDs + PIXI EVO (PICS)

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Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 6,354
EOSM + MANFROTTO Lumimuse8 LEDs + PIXI EVO (PICS)
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Manfrotto Lumimuse8 - with so-called "Blue Jeans" filter added.  
I had to buy a small set of accessory Lumimuse Gel Filters to got this color.

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I was passing some time in at a shopping mall recently and was looking at Tripods when I saw two items almost side-by-side that caught my eye.  The Manfrotto Lumimuse8 and the Manfrotto PIXI EVO mini-tripod.  I ate lunch while looking at Google reviews for both and returned to buy them.  They're completely unnecessary but if you like to use creative lighting or need handy tools for your style of photography, I think they're handy and they're not excessively expensive.  Being from Manfrotto, they're not dirt cheap but they won't likely break your wallet.
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Manfrotto have made several Lumimuse models.  These include the Lumimuse3 (which has 3x LEDs), the Lumimuse4 (which surprisingly has 3x LEDs) and the Lumimuse6 (which has 6x LEDs).  This set now adds the Lumimuse8 (with 8x LEDs) and the Lumimuse8 with Bluetooth. Without any Gel Filters, the LEDs alone are exceptionally bright.  The 8-LED version is the brightest of the Lumimuse devices and it's actually hard to look directly at the lights without flinching or temporarily blinding yourself.  The Coldshoe connection is included and the base of this stem has a metal tripod mount embedded on the lower surface with a stiff but poseable mini-ball-head built into the mid-section.  You can handhold the device or mount it on either your camera or a tripod.  I've tried both and it's surprisingly useful.  These LED devices fit into a pocket in any travel kit.  The lack of flicker means they can be effectively used for video.
Manfrotto Lumimuse8
As I mentioned above, Manfrotto have produced a new version of the Lumimuse series of LED illiminators, this one with an 8x LED set.  These are designed for video and still photography. They come with some diffusers and colored gels but you can purchase other sets with brighter colors.  I opted to seek out the "Multicolored Filter Kit" as an accessory.  This includes Blue, Red, Magenta, Orange, Violet, Green, Yellow, Turquoise etc.  But the original Lumimuse comes with a warming filter that changes the stark white color of the LEDs to a very realistic daylight tone.
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The Lumimuse8 has two versions.  One version features Bluetooth and the Bluetooth model can be fully dimmed on your Smartphone via an included App.  I couldn't find that version locally so I obtained the non-Bluetooth edition which has a 4x Brightness dimmer, available by touching the power button.  I think it might have been slightly cheaper too.  Turning the unit on and off simply requires holding down the power button for a longer than one second.  Touching the button and pressing it gently will cycle the LEDs though 4 different power settings for Brightness. The gel filters fit into a ring that snaps onto the front of the Lumimuse8. These gel filters have a protective plastic wrap on both sides which needs to be peeled off.  These protective layers will otherwise bubble as they heat up in front of the LEDs.  The gel plates are flexible but are impervious to heat from the device.  The entire body is designed as a heatsink and will dissipate any excess heat effectively.
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The Lumimuse8 unit is powered by an internal lithium-polymer (LiPo) battery that can power it for something like 60 minutes but I'm sure I've used mine for longer than this at less than full-power.  A short USB-C cable for charging is included.  The old version of the PIXI used a sprung pressure-switch to alter the position of the ball head.  This new EVO version now employs a pressure dial that needs to be turned to loosen or tighten the ball head.  It requires a tiny bit more effort and isn't as easy to deploy with one hand.  But it does handle much greater weight.  A DSLR can be mounted with a moderately heavy lens because this new version is larger and more robust. It can still fit into a deep jacket pocket or into a belt pouch designed for a flashlight.
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The kit (in the picture below) includes:
* Lumimuse8 LED Illuminator.
* Short USB-C charging cable
* Pivoting Hotshoe (Coldshoe) Mount /Tripod Mount
* Filter Ring for adding gel filters/diffusers

* Several gel filters and a diffuser are included.
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I took a picture before returning and buying these on a whim.

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Manfrotto PIXI EVO mini-Tripod.
If you own the earlier model of the Manfrotto PIXI tripod you may remember that it was not possibly to tilt the camera up  directly to the stars above or straight down toward a subject close to the surface that the tripod is resting on. This has all changed with the EVO update.  This new model of Mini Tripod is now able to extend its legs much wider via a lever on the side of the aluminium ball-head.  In addition, the legs themselves can now extend even further away from the central unit via a switch on each leg.  A slot has been added to the central module to allow the camera to face up or even straight down.  It's a great modification to the original PIXI tripod. The price is around the same if memory serves.  When the legs are collapsed, it forms a comfortable handle for filming with.
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Lumimuse8 mounted via the included Coldshoe mount .
Note the downward pivot available on the Manfrotto Lumimuse8.

A new design on the PIXI EVO allows cameras to point straight up or down.

28mm Macro - Testing the warm gel filter.
The "Warm" light is from the Lumimuse8.  The 'blue' is from a UV light I was using for another project with minerals at the time..

The warming filter adds a daylight tint to the LED lights on the Lumimuse.

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Initial tests with the LEDs on the Lumimuse were simple enough.  It throws quite a bit of light and the daylight filter was surprisingly realistic at night.  Shining it on my hand in the dark, it looks like I'm in sunlight rather than under a white LED.  The unit heats up slightly with prolonged use although I read one review that claimed it was too hot to touch after 5 minutes at maximum power.  This was not my experience and I suspect that Manfrotto have since made some changes to the way the unit dissipates heat.  In my use of the device it has not become uncomfortably warm. 
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My wife's childhood nickname was "Tinkerbell" so I've ended up with a figurine of one on my desktop that I used with an early test (above) for strobing and color warmth from one of the LED Gel filters.
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Taking a walk from my house to the park with the Limimuse8 + PIXI EVO.

32mm lens + Lumimuse8 - Without it my cat was just a black silhouette.

A "Common Bluetail" Dragonfly - one of the smalles local species.  About 2 inches long.

EOS M6 + 28mm Macro + Lumimuse8 - Uncropped/Handheld/JPEG

Massively cropped for the people who hate clicking on images.  The warmer hexagonal reflection on the left is from the Lumimuse8 and the slightly lavender reflection is from the Ring-Light.  A reddish reflection on the cusp of the left eye is presumably from sunlight on nearby orange leaves..

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For a second test I spent two hours the other morning walking along a riverbank.  There were some spectacular lizards out but I needed a much longer lens.  I took the time to capture one by hand but it got away and I ended up with a handful of grass.  It's only the third time since 1981 that I've failed to catch a lizard that I've set my mind to nabbing.  I must be getting old.  But I saw a very small Hover Fly feeding on pollen from an equally small flower.  I didn't have the PIXI EVO tripod with me but it was easy enough to reach out with the M6 + 28mm Macro lens having already mounted the Lumimuse8 to the hotshoe for convenience.
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(Massively cropped and not one of the images I intended to keep)
A bee for scale.  This  will give you an idea of just how tiny the Hover Fly is.

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For scale, I photographed a bee at the same set of flowers so you can gauge just how small the Hover Fly was.  It was also a bit nervous each time I tried to get close although the bright LEDs on the Lumimuse8 seemed to settle it down.  Probably causing disorientation.  The Hover Fly returned to the same flower several times and was easy to photograph in flight (not shown) and landed (see pics below).    The ability to TILT the Lumimuse8 helps spread the light better and reduces shadow casting on the subject... though the leaf spider (below) was a challenge.
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Several times I turned off the camera and continued to walk before I realized I'd left the LEDs on the Lumimuse8 switched on.  Indoors the light from the LEDs gives this away but outdoors it's easy to miss unless you glance down at the device.
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28mm Macro + Lumimuse8 - The fly's eyes are reflecting the Lumimuse8

28mm Macro + Lumimuse8 - This hover fly is one QUARTER the size of a honeybee.

28mm - Some weird type of leaf spider that got into a fight with a wasp in a gumtree as I watched.  The spider was very small... under an inch in total length.  The wasp landed in front of the spider, the spider grabbed it.  This wasn't a parasitic wasp that deals with spiders.... from what I could see it was a variety that preys on aphids... but the spider let it go and they ignored each other after a short fierce battle.  The sunlight was behind the leaves and the only way to shoot this without a flash was with the Lumimuse8.  This was shot at arm's reach since the spider on the leaf was about 24 inches over my head.

The setup I used for the frog was my kitchen counter.  Frog was where the flashlight is sitting.
The legs on the PIXI EVO tripod can extend much further than this.

28mm Macro + Lumimuse8 - This is the same frog I rescued a year ago. He returned!

28mm Macro + tiny Cherry Tomato in my salad.  Note the LEDs reflected.

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I rescued a Perons Tree Frog from a busy road during a rainstorm at night last year and he mysteriously appeared again at my front door a couple of weeks ago.  I suspect that installing a new doorbell with a light in it attracts insects and this is what attracted the frog.  He's definitely the same one but he's grown to almost 2.5 inches long since I saw him last.  I used the "Deep Ocean" filter that came with the Lumimuse Multicolor Filter Kit (optional Gel accessory set).  The light was flattering for this test shot but I'd need to experiment more with the Lumimuse8 - plus I could only handle the frog very briefly before releasing it again.  I photographed it on my kitchen counter and have shown the setup in one of the pictures above.
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28mm Macro + Lumimuse8 - beetle is 16mm long. (not the best picture here)

28mm - Using the Lumimuse8 to light up my gold pan at night

28mm - a poppy flower in the Parramatta Park Gardens

A view of the eardrum membrane on the Peron's Tree Frog.

A Poppy bulb that was shadowed on the right side until I applied the Lumimuse8

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A few months ago I purchased a NEBO "Rebel" to replace a similar light that I dropped and broke last year.  Unfortunately, this NEBO LED light produces a very annoying flicker which can only rarely be cancelled out via an adjustment to shutter speed.  Unlike other LED lights, this one is really useless for lighting small subjects.  I don't recommend it and would suggest other alternatives.  For use as a general flashlight it's fine... though I also experienced some power fluctuations from it on several occasions... as though the LED was dying.  The light returned and the flashlight has continued to function.  The Battery inside these NEBO Rebels is not replaceable and NEBO have chosen to make their own battery rather than use a stock model for power.  It uses a magnetic ring to recharge but my emails to NEBO asking about the charger have gone unanswered.  Sorry, but I'm not recommending this product.  Their other products also produce strong strobing on the EOS M cameras.
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NITECORE MH20GT under the Lumimuse8.  This powerful flashlight has 1000 lumens.  I carry this on my belt at night when doing astrophotography.  But it makes a great secondary form of illumination (see frog images above).

I bought a tiny NEBO "Rebel" for use as a lighting tool recently but the LEDs flicker and strobe and the output is not constant. This results in banding in most images.  It's useless for this purpose.

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I started shooting with colored LEDs as soon as they were being produced and sold a couple of decades ago.  These don't flicker and produce a stable output that was/is reliable.  Then I experimented with colored lasers and would bounce the light off walls and other surfaces to illuminate the subject.  They're great because you can change the location of the "lightsource" in an instant with no effort required. But in 2011 they banned the use of portable lasers in Australia for anything but professional applications and the low powered versions that are still available are too dim to be worth my time.  Additionally, the speckled coherent light from a laser, even when reflected from a specular or non specular surface would sometimes produce a "speckled" effect on the subject.  A softer lightsource is therefore preferable where possible.
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Some of the colored LEDs I've used in the past for lighting scenes and subjects.

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If you're wondering why I'd try using colored Gel filters instead of one of my existing pure-frequency colored LEDs for lighting, there's an interesting video below that explains the limitations of colored LEDs (especially tunable white LEDs) over Gel filters.    The video delves more into color science.  It's not essential to follow any rules when it comes to lighting your subjects - so always feel free to use what's on hand or works for you.  I'm not swayed in any particular direction but the Lumimuse is small, flat, lightweight and effective for me at the moment.  Especially with the EOS M cameras and the 28mm lens for Macro shots.
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Regards,
Marco Nero.

 Marco Nero's gear list:Marco Nero's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS M +17 more
Canon EF-M 28mm F3.5 Macro IS STM Canon EOS M6
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