Does light quantity affect the softness of your light?

sfoster

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Yes the quantity does effect the softness of the light.

If you're using a panel with a large quantity of LED lights.. like 600 tiny individual leds on the panel, it will be more diffuse and soft than if you were using a single large bulb with a comparable brightness value of the panel.
 

jax_rox

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If you're using a panel with a large quantity of LED lights.. like 600 tiny individual leds on the panel, it will be more diffuse and soft than if you were using a single large bulb with a comparable brightness value of the panel.
A bare LED (I.e. non-diffused) will be harder than a single large source of the same size due to the fact that it is an array of lots of hard lights. With matching diffusion, it will be identically soft. The quality of the light will be different as will the exposure falloff, but the actual softness will be the same. Few LED fixtures come without any diffusion because it can be difficult to get a consistent beam without it.
 

sfoster

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A bare LED (I.e. non-diffused) will be harder than a single large source of the same size due to the fact that it is an array of lots of hard lights.
You're saying the opposite of me?

If you have one bright light you'll get a very distinct shadow from the hard light.
If you have a 3x3 foot panel of 600 led bulbs you most certainly will not get the same hard shadow effect.

Light can be measured in so many different ways though.
What technically is softness ? Can a light meter measure softness ?
 

jax_rox

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If you have one bright light you'll get a very distinct shadow from the hard light.
Depends on the size/relative size of the light - relative size includes how far away the subject is from it. Ultimately, every light has different falloff and output so an identical setup is only theoretical. That is to mean that in practice an LED will generally have much less output and a much quicker falloff meaning your subject will have to be closer to the light and the light will then be bigger relative to said subject, which in turn means that light is softer.

An 8-light molefay, for example, will actually be really soft close-up, but because of its high output we tend to place it much farther away, which ultimately hardens the light and gives it a reputation for being a 'hard' light.

Imagine a balloon light. These are generally very large when close the ground and so are extremely soft. If you allowed it to float off into the sky, and somehow had the ability to increase its output as it floated away (to ensure same exposure as it did so) the light would get harder as it got smaller and smaller relative to the subject.

The hardness/softness of a light is determined by the size of it, which includes relative size (which is what I mean when I say distance). I'm not sure exactly what the OP means by quantity, but more lights arrayed and diffused will ultimately create a softer light, as they will ultimately create a larger light.

If you have one bright light you'll get a very distinct shadow from the hard light.
If you have a 3x3 foot panel of 600 led bulbs you most certainly will not get the same hard shadow effect.
A 3x3 panel of 600 bare led bulbs will be a harder light source than a 3x3 panel single light source, all other things being equal. Now, the difference may or may not be marginal and it's difficult to compare directly because in the real world you'll be unlikely to find a situation where you need to, nor where you will have a situation where all things are otherwise equal.
 
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sfoster

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A 3x3 panel of 600 bare led bulbs will be a harder light source than a 3x3 panel single light source, all other things being equal.
ahh yes absolutely. I wasn't imagining a 3x3 panel single light source because i dont encounter anything like that except through diffusion.

I was speaking strictly in terms of bulb lighting since our OP asked about quantity of light.
More bulbs = more diffuse was my point
 
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600 bare LEDs create 600 shadows.
Not pretty at edges as it creates cascading lines of shadows that get darker and darker.

'Amount of light' is relative to the other lights in the scene.
And to the distance to the subject.

If quantity didn't matter, we could lit everything with a single candle.

Hardness of the light is relative to size of the source, size of the object and distance.
(The sun is larger than any light bulb, but so far away is a source of hard light. Unless the sky is light grey, which makes shadows almost completely disappear.
Using a 5ft softbox 1 ft away from a face creates really soft light. But because it is so close the fall off of the light is large enough to be visible in the shot.)

Using diffusion is often making the source larger. That is how a 4x4 meter butterfly can turn 4 2kW HMIs into 1 larger, softer light source.

Mysterious the light is.
 
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