Quick review of the Creepy Hollow Gear IR illuminator
Posted 31 July 2010 - 08:09 AM
IR illumination (and full spectrum illumination) these days is critical to video if you wish to film at night. I have heard of the Creepy Hollow Gear infrared illuminator for awhile now, but never got the chance to put one through it's paces until recently. Designed and built by Paul Bradford of GHI, this little jewel provides strong infrared light on just one 9v battery (and lasts for hours). Such a simple, yet proven design that receives praise from all investigators who have the chance to use them. At the heart of the system are the triple-chip 10MM IR led's (850nm range). These Led's are workhorses that, in this configuration, only sip power from the 9v.
I bought a clone of this design on ebay awhile back (although at the time I didn't know it was a clone, I thought it was used CHG so buyer beware). Although it did its job, the spacing of the led's combined with shoddy construction left me wanting more. I did emulate the design and build a few of my own, but they were not of CHG quality.
About quality. My first impression upon receiving the CHG illuminator was that it was built like a tank. The enclosure is heartier than those from radio shack, and the whole case has little flexure. The Led's are arranged in more of a spot pattern than the clone I bought or the ones that I later built. The unit is attached to a universal hot-shoe mount and it is very sturdy. Paul included an external battery housing, so the unit does not need to be opened to swap out batteries.
What about performance? When placed side by side with the Sony HVL-IRM several things become apparent. The harsh, "tunnel vision" effect of the IRM's is a lot less pronounced on the CHG unit. The light covers a wider FOV and is a bit softer (not less intense, just softer). More of the image is illuminated with the CHG unit, and it seems to be the perfect amount of light as not to oversaturate indoors (hence no need for the dimmer as in the HVL-IRM's that can heavily oversaturate smaller areas). As with any single-point illuminator, it is a given that the center of the screen or image will receive more illumination than the edges. This is much more tolerable with the CHG unit than the HVL-IRM. You can always get two units, but I have found one to be sufficient for most shooting situations. The broader FOV of the CHG unit means one can be used in place of 2 (narrow fov) HVL-IRM's.
I am very pleased with this unit. It is a robust and simple design that does what it is meant to, and does it well. It is available at a substantial savings over the Sony HVL-IRM, which it outperforms with little effort (batt. life and FOV). If you plan to shoot IR photography or video at night, imho several of these should be in your toolbox. It is an exciting time right now as several companies are throwing their designs into the mix, and all have something to offer. I am also excited to get to test out other designs, but make no mistake, the CHG illuminator has earned it's place in my equipment arsenal. I am very impressed.
I have been informed that Paul will be offering a limited number of UV illuminators using a similar design in the near future. I look forward to their release!
Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:34 PM
I ordered the UV illuminater a few days ago, so I cant wait to see how it works with my full spectrum camera's.
I'm looking forward to seeing this in action. Please share your impressions if you would, if it is anything like the IR illuminator, it will be a handy tool.
Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:50 AM
I liked the wider Field Of View of the CHG illuminator and the scene appeared brighter than with the HVL-IRM. The illumination from the CHG illuminator is also absent of that annoying dark spot in the center of the light that the HVL-IRM generates.
The only thing that I was slightly disappointed about with the CHG illuminator was the battery life. Somewhere I read that a 9v battery was suppose to last 10 hours and after 2 hours the CHG illuminator battery needed replacing. With a high capacity NP-FM90 battery on my HVL-IRM, I ca get a couple investigations on a single charge.
Other than that, I will probably use the CHG illuminator as my primary light source, then switch over to the HVL-IRM when the battery runs low on the CHG unit, or I may just carry a couple of extra 9v batteries with me.
Posted 16 September 2010 - 01:32 PM
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Posted 18 September 2010 - 09:24 AM
Posted 18 September 2010 - 03:45 PM
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Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:12 AM
Has anyone here ordered one of these in Canada? I ordered one from CHG's eBay store back in early August and it still hasn't arrived. I contacted Paul, who said that they sometimes get stuck at customs...but I'm not sure how long to wait before worrying that it's been lost in the mail.
Exporting IR lighting out of the county is difficult. Some manufactuers won't even ship outside US.
Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:25 AM
Will do Andy. In the initial bench tests, the UV was ok (I have a 30 LED UV flashlight that is much brighter), but the IR flood rocks. VERY bright!
The IR Flood worked great. Very bright, out lasted my Sony Batteries. The UV flood is bright, but was outwashed by the IR. I'll let you know how the evidence review turns out.
Posted 11 October 2010 - 01:35 PM
i have a few IR lights.
I have a CCTV Torch Light for day and night. with 5m IR.
4 cctv camera of like 25m+
1 sony CCTV Piv Camera. slightly more then the others with ir
1 sony inteligent shoe What fits into a camcorder, 3 setting of IR and a Light.
1 sony shoe IR light, with a dial to adjust the brightness whish isnt as good as the other sony IR.
1 IR Torch spot light, good for capturing a small area.. a very long long way away.. and i mean a small area!! lol.
1 IR Flood light i orded from ebay which tottaly lights up the room with ir.
and 1 UV tourch what can be found on ebay we mostly use in private houses or small area's
we have a video comming out soon comparing the IR's
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