Upgrade Your Nighttime Photos and Light Paintings with a DIY 500 LED Flashlight

Want to light your nighttime photographs with something that can be mistaken for a portable sun? Check out this monstrous homemade flashlight composed of 513 separate LED lights. Created back in 2008 by Ledcreations, the device offers a whopping 3500-4000 lumens of light — way more than the hundreds of lumens offered by other powerful flashlights on the market.

The device is so powerful and power-hungry that the 12v lead battery inside the device is drained in just 10 minutes of usage. Luckily, power adjustment controls on the back allow you to trade light for battery life.

This video introduces the flashlight, shows how it’s used, and offers a glimpse of its power:

Here are four sample photos (screens taken from the video) showing how the flashlight stacks up against no light, a weak Maglite, and a strong Maglite:

The same experiment done on a roadway:

If you want to build your own, you’ll need about $200, with $100 allocated just for the LED lights. Be warned though, the build process is reportedly very intensive. There also isn’t much documentation out there, so you’ll have to just reverse engineer the device using photos of it.

  • icie

    Not too sure about the lumen claims, but for the non-DIY-minded, you can get reportedly 9000lm LED flashlights on ebay. These units use just seven T6 CREE XML LEDs and they last a lot longer using 26650 type batteries.

    I’ve got a 5000lm one myself, and it’s pretty darn bright: I have used it as a continuous light source for a night shoot, gelled for colour correction and bounced off a silver umbrella.

    On a DIY note, it’s possible to get more efficiency by proper use of a reflector (or, if you are a German genius like the guys at LED LENSER, a reflector-lens assembly), and by using surface mount type HPLEDs. Of course, once you start getting into the SMT side of things, it becomes almost impossible to DIY without specialist equipment.Another thing to keep in mind is the need to properly cool LEDs — they actually do generate heat when they run, and the problem is compounded if a lot of them are bundled together. If they are not kept cool, their lifetime rapidly diminishes: thus the heatsinks which are very visible on most LED lighting luminaires.

  • MikeAlgar42

    How much did they cost off eBay and where from?

  • DainBramage

    So basically it is almost as bright as the flash lights in Battlefield 3

  • rtfe

    *don’t take through airport security

  • Lee

    Light painting doesn’t REQUIRE a bright light. However, I have two very bright lights which together were under $100. One is just under 300 lumens and the other is just over 300 lumens at maximum output. If you want to dabble in light painting, use the light you already have.

  • Dave White

    I do a lot of mine exploration, I have a xm-l t6 torch running on 18650s and a LED Lenser P7. Both are bright enough without going to crazy lengths with DIY

  • Quang-Tuan Luong

    I agree. I bought one of those 7x XML myself (the Chinese made cost only about $75), and I estimate the output at about 2000 LM, about the same as bright car headlights. It’s much more compact and well-built than a DIY project.