28mm Macro + Nitecore SCL10 illiminator (PICS)

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Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 7,127
28mm Macro + Nitecore SCL10 illiminator (PICS)

I only use the illumination at 5% (which is actually much brighter than this image depicts)

I'm really just sharing something I came across that is currently proving to be useful to me.  I don't sell these things but I'm pretty impressed with it as a photographer's accessory and thought others here might have a use for it. I've been shooting with LEDs and colored LEDs for illumination with digital cameras since 2001.  This one is a little different.  It clears the top of a DSLR hotshoe easily but on the EOS M6 it's a close fit on the slim design of the body of this particular EOS M camera. Those models with EVFs will offer a little more clearance although I could still access all the features/dials on my flat topped EOS M6 camera without any issue.  I'm not likely to keep it here though.  I prefer to use it handheld or on a monopod or a mini-tripod instead.
Designed as a dual-use 2-in-1 Powerbank plus a Photographer's fill light, the Nitecore SCL10 caught my eye when I came across a YouTube video (below) that impressed me a few months ago. I was about to buy some unusual flashlights from a local importer and noticed last month that he'd imported one (I'm located in Australia) so I arranged to pick it up. It's one of the most useful and somewhat affordable tools in my cupboard today. I've used Nitecore flashlights for many years now and this is quite innovative. Whilst around the size of a modern iPhone, with similar dimensions, it's a little thick for some of my shirt pockets but not all. It usually travels in my camera bag. Last weekend I had to inspect some gemstones in the city, which included sapphires, garnets, diamonds, emeralds and spinels. This light is easily tuned to 6000K which is close to the effect and color of a midday sun so I was able to get a really good ideal of how these gems looked without removing them from the store to view in direct sunlight. The 96 LEDs without microlenses results in a somewhat soft spread of illumination with no means to focus the light and this is great because it does mimic the effects of sunlight in a way. There's no hard shadows like you'd get with a regular flashlight. There's very little in directional lighting at all.
Mounting a light this close to a lens will cast a shadow but only at close distances - unless you leave the lens hood on.  Shorter lenses like the EF-M 22mm pancake lens probably won't ever have a shadow related issue.

I'm traveling to a remote location later this year. It's going to take me across the Opal mining districts where I intend to photograph opals and gemstones. I needed a reliable PowerBank for my phone and flashlights etc... but having an illumination option built into the same unit - that can mount onto a tripod or a camera hotshoe (plus power my phone) seemed like a great idea. But then I looked into the features of the 96x High CRI LEDs and how they function... and to my surprise, I can alter the color temperature from 2500K to 6300K. This means I can simulate normal "European" daylight at midday or generate a warm color to enhance the results of a sunset related image. I've spent a week testing it with the included USB-C cable (plus my own cables) to charge my phone, various batteries, flashlights etc.
Quick Specs:
Name: NITECORE SCL10 2-in1 Camera Light & Power Bank
* Multifunction portable Smart Camera Light
* 96x High CRI LEDs.
* Max Intensity: 380cd.
* Max Brightness: 800 Lumens.
* Designed specifically for photography and video.
* No flicker, constant & stable output.
* Body constructed from aero-grade aluminium alloy.
* Standard 1/4" threaded tripod mount in body.
* Separate camera hotshoe mount included.
* Additional 1/4" threaded tripod mount in hotshoe mount.
* 70 hours maximum run time at 5% power.
* 1.5 Hours at 100% output.
* LED Rated power: 12W
* USB input/output power of 18W
* 10,000mAh Li-Po battery - 3.85V (38.5Wh)
* Can charge smartphones, tablets & other USB devices.
* USB-C rechargeable (reversible charging cable included).
* Real-Time OLED Display. Displays power output when turned off.
* Different OLED displays for Camera Light, Power Bank & Recharge.
* Color Rendering Ra>97, TLCI>99
* USB-C Charging Cable Included.
* Dimensions: 134mm x 65mm x 14.7mm (5.28" x 2.56" x 0.58")
* Weight: 222.5 grams (7.85 oz)

EOS M6 + EF-M 11-22mm lens + Nitecore SCL10 (Turned OFF)

EOS M6 + EF-M 11-22mm lens + Nitecore SCL10 (Turned ON)

The rear of the SCL10 has three levels of info visible on the OLED when on.
The level of remaining Power % is always available when the unit is turned off.

The included Hotshoe Mount also has a tripod threaded socket... which is handy.
This shows the LEDs as they appear to the eye at 5% output.  Brighter than my PC monitor.

At no point did I turn the power up beyond 5% for these pictures. It's more than bright enough... although at 100% you're blinded by the output. Seriously, it's like looking into the sun. Oddly enough, I haven't felt any heat from the unit. Despite the amount of illuminance used. When shooting with Macro, a bright light source is often required.
This evening I was talking to my wife about sapphires as I may need to photograph some uniquely colored specimens in the near future... and she brought out a small 1.5 carat Australian green-teal sapphire that she was given by a friend who sourced and cut the stone himself in the Australian sapphire fields. I had photographed raw uncut sapphires years ago with the EOS M + EF 100mmL lens but with this week's interest with the EF-M 28mm f/3.5 IS Macro STM lens on the forum, I thought I might try swapping out lenses and testing this Nitecore SCL10 for a couple of closeups to see what i might get. When you're photographing a tiny gemstone, you need to clean it with a microfiber cloth but dust specks still tend to show up in Macro shots and I had to clone those out. Using my iPhone as a reflective surface, I chose to keep the reflections of the LEDs in the shots because they looked interesting and added some depth due to defocus.
I kept the Nitecore SCL10 at just 5% output using a 6000K color balance for these shots and it's so bright at 5% that I don't see a need to turn it up yet. 5% is also the minimum setting. At these distances, it's tricky to capture the full depth of the gemstone in focus without stacking images and I'm just not into the effort tonight. These are the JPEGs that I cleaned up earlier this evening... The softer background adds to the subject separation. For anyone else thinking of using their Smartphone as a background, it does have a slight texture when viewed super-close and it can easily be scratched with harder subjects. Sapphires and diamonds and other sharp-edged things are a risk if you slide them about on the surface of your phone - so be ware of this.  I did the first macro test tonight with the EF-M 28mm Macro lens and I'm glad to see how well the SCL10 worked for me here.

Using the glossy black screen of my old iPhone 6S for a reflective background

EF-M 28mm Macro lens - Result #1 - (with any dust cloned out)

EF-M 28mm Macro lens - Result #2 - (with any dust cloned out)

EF-M 28mm Macro lens + SCL10 - Fingers for scale

I haven't taken any pictures of this yet - but placing the SCL10 onto the end of my monopod gave me a great boom-light for illuminating subjects at greater distances. This is fantastic for shooting portraits during blue-hour outdoors in remote locations. And while normally you'd use an assistant to light your subject for the shot, if you're a little ambidextrous it can be done with the camera in one hand and your monopod in the other ...assuming you don't have a suitable tripod handy.
The exposed LEDs run between a super-warm orange hue and a fairly-cool white that drifts towards a blue hue. I generally keep it set to 6000K on my own unit. Altering the color balance settings alternates output between the two different LED types. The red power-button on the side turns the unit on and off and switches between modes or can be used to check power. The + and - buttons on top of the unit alter LED output or change the color temperature. It's simple to use and I paid about AUD $150 for mine with the same unit selling in the US for less in US dollars. The website for Nitecore is here - https://photo.nitecore.com/Product/scl10 - and you can pick up a lot more in visual references on the site (though they don't seem to list prices so I don't know what they sell for in the US). It's quite a handy tool for those of us using the M-series system.  I'll try to take some SCL10 illuminated pictures in the near future with other types of subjects and cameras/lenses.
For specialized lighting with portraits, minerals, products - and presumably pets (and definitely macro photography), I think it's a great multipurpose tool.  I may use it in the gold mines and opal mines if the opportunity arises.

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Marco Nero.

 Marco Nero's gear list:Marco Nero's gear list
Canon EOS M6 Canon EOS Ra Canon EOS R6 Canon EF-M 32mm F1.4 Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM +20 more
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