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Photography By Bike With A Good Light

With the Lustra 50, PRL has figured out LEDs so photographers don’t have to
lighting for photography

Last week in Seattle, on Tuesday, when I was writing about dreariness (I called it dreeping), it was three times darker than the solar eclipse. THREE TIMES, and that reminded me to share with you how I’m getting street shots, even on the darkest days.

lighting for photography

It’s the Lustra 50 light, and what you need to know is that PRL has figured out affordable high-quality LEDs so photographers don’t have to worry about the technology or high cost. Rudy Pohlert and Pat Ralston created the LED Ringlite and first on-camera LEDs, which they sold to Litepanels.

The Lustra L50 Kit cost $399 and ships with the light, a softbox and filters. A three-light kit for $1,044 is available to pre-order now and ships in January 2018. The Lustras are designed for the merging of video and still photography with continuous lighting. As it sounds, that’s lighting a subject or scene continuously instead of with strobes or flashes. The Lustra 50 includes a 12V power supply and can run on a Sony Handycam battery.

lighting for photography


While there’s much tech going on with this light and the founders of PRL would love to tell you about it, what I learned is that it’s a WYSIWYG experience (what you see is what you get) with no surprises in post-production. The consistent 5600K, daylight-balanced light illuminates best at 8 to 10 feet. And that range is perfect for the lens I’ve been shooting with, the Sigma 135.

The included filters bring out a warmer tone, lighten skin or soften the raw light. Because the lighting is always on, you can see the results as you apply the filters and dim or turn up the intensity of the light, which I have on full blast.

I toss the Lustra into a messenger bag and carry it with me on a bike for when the clouds roll in. What I’d like to see next from PRL is a hardened waterproof design, at least for my purposes this dreeping Seattle winter.

lighting for photography
A very large Chrome messenger bag on a Tern GSD, an electric utility bike.

Lustra 50 Features

  • The Lustra 50 combines LED surface mount technology (SMTs), engineered TIR optics, an integrated dimmer and a uniquely designed housing in a dynamic new lighting fixture to meet the high-quality standards for professional and serious amateur photographers alike
  • A full 100% dimming range is accomplished via an internal microprocessor that ensures a completely flicker-free performance at any frame rate or shutter angle for video application
  • Operates with a dedicated 12V power supply or Sony NPF L-series 7.2V DV battery
  • With the application of a dedicated softbox, a choice of two warming filters and one diffusing filter, a 1/4-20 receiver for mounting of hardware and the ability to adjust the L50’s intensity, the Lustra 50 touches on all the basics of what’s important in a lighting fixture

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