View Full Version : Condenser lens in a snoot?

Mark Sawyer
20-Apr-2020, 16:15
Just curious if anyone has ever heard of using a condenser lens of any sort in a snoot to increase light output in the given area? I've been searching, but can't find much.

Gary Beasley
20-Apr-2020, 16:45
Ive seen images of theater spots with fresnel lenses and barndoors, effect is probably not much different. Have you got the pieces to try it out? Theres no wrong or right here, just get the effect you want.

20-Apr-2020, 16:48
Yes... A single condenser lens from, I believe, an Omega D2 for photomacrography. Area illuminated was less than 1 square inch. Light source was a diffused Dynalite flash head. Was shooting with a Nikon Multiphot and shooting 4x5 Chromes back then. Depth of field opted over resolution since published image was 1:1. Was photographing a heavily pitted metal part. Worked for that one job/shoot, but was a pain to set up. Was the only way that I could get the lighting to accentuate the pitting as the client wanted. In the end the 4x5 chromes were a major format overkill, but that's what the client wanted.

20-Apr-2020, 18:03
I love "thinking outside the box" solutions...
The "let's try it!" approach.

C. D. Keth
20-Apr-2020, 19:38
Look up a “source 4” fixture. It’s essentially that. You can put patterns in the lamp itself and focus them to get hard or soft edges.

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Mark Sawyer
20-Apr-2020, 19:51
Look up a “source 4” fixture. It’s essentially that. You can put patterns in the lamp itself and focus them to get hard or soft edges.

Yes, I saw those in my searches. Seems like they are more projectors of whatever patterned slide disc you put in. The lens is focused on the disk and you'd lose light. I'm looking to condense/amplify the light, so the lens would be focused on the light source.

Mark Sawyer
20-Apr-2020, 19:58
Greg and Gary: Yes, I likely have some experimenting to do. I'll make up a test body for the snoot ant try various lenses (condenser, Fresnel, plain old magnifying glass...) at various spacings, and see what they do for readings on an incident meter. Just looking for a place to start, and wondering if I'm reinventing a lesser version of something that's already out there...

C. D. Keth
20-Apr-2020, 20:01
Yes, I saw those in my searches. Seems like they are more projectors of whatever patterned slide disc you put in. The lens is focused on the disk and you'd lose light. I'm looking to condense/amplify the light, so the lens would be focused on the light source.

You don’t have to use the lamp with a pattern in place.

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Mark Sawyer
21-Apr-2020, 01:23
You don’t have to use the lamp with a pattern in place.

Even without a disk, that lens in that position will cut the light level significantly. To get the most light, you'd have to remove the lens. And then you're back to a conventional empty snoot. And I'm looking for a snoot-full... of light!

C. D. Keth
21-Apr-2020, 07:02
Focusing your available light with a source-4 or a fresnel lens is the best way to get what you want.

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Greg Davis
21-Apr-2020, 07:41
Anything you put in front of your light will reduce the output. If you want to concentrate the light more than just a snoot then a fresnel, as mentioned already, will work. You can also get an optical snoot. These have lenses that can focus the light for a hard edge, and some have adjustable blades to further shape the light.


21-Apr-2020, 11:05
I have a Fresnel fixture on my Hensel flash. Fresnels put light out in parallel fashion. If you focus light on a particular point might you will burn a hole in it?

Mark Sawyer
21-Apr-2020, 12:07
A Fresnel lens might be the way to go. A condenser lens or magnifying glass may be even better options. It's going to take some experimenting. If only I had a period of time locked in my house with nothing to do...

And Greg, yup, I've seen those. Even though they call it a "Snoot Optical Condenser", they're using the lens for projecting an image, not for condensing light. And yup, they'll cut the light intensity, where a true condenser would increase the intensity by concentrating it in a smaller area. It's like the difference between the projection lens and the condenser lens on an enlarger; they're doing completely different things.

Mark Sampson
21-Apr-2020, 19:57
Somebody here was talking about, or selling, a device that would let you attach a Dyna-Lite flash head to a fresnel spot light originally meant for a tungsten bulb. Wish I could remember more, as my Dyna-Lites are serving as carpentry work lights these days and would be available for an interesting project...
Reminds me of a time about 15 years back where someone at work needed to enlarge onto contact-speed material. So I rigged up a D-L 2040 head in place of the lamp house of an Omega D2V. Hooked it up to a 2000 w/s pack and told the tech to close his eyes when he fired it...

Daniel Unkefer
23-Apr-2020, 17:47
I have this in my studio but have not yet had time to start using it. I was told that it came from a London fashion photographer, living in New York City. It came with a Broncolor Hazylight, two 606 Power Packs (6000ws each) and a few 606 heads and and original 606 accessories.

I'm using it with my much smaller old Broncolor C171 Monolight flash. It's a good match, and a very versatile light modifier.

The second cord coiled around the light stand, is for the built-in heavy duty fan.

https://live.staticflickr.com/4695/38980735524_d71acc1460_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/22oAsAY)Colortrans Spotlight Broncolor Pulso Adapted (https://flic.kr/p/22oAsAY) by Nokton48 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/), on Flickr

24-Apr-2020, 09:58
One future DIY project for me is making a broad source hard light "soft" box from a very large fresnel from a curbside junk projection screen TV... I have also stand remains from a rolling portable blackboard to make a stand for it... Figure it would be an interesting hard light for people photography...

I would be careful with it, 'cuz I have seen vids of these used as solar ovens that MELTED a large brass padlock in 10 to 15 minutes!!! :-0

Steve K

23-Jun-2020, 11:13
hi Mark

condensers do work with lighting
i've used various lenses to focus down to a point source such as a condenser from a de vere enlarger

something that is now available off the shelf are the dedo light parallel beam attachments
these are condenser lenses that combine all the light from a spotlight into a parallel beam
this differs from spotting the light in as that wastes most of the light much like an iris dose




23-Jun-2020, 11:46
I have such an animal, it attaches to the front of a light source, has a condenser lens, and a large rotating aperture wheel (like old school WARs) with different size holes to further restrict the light. It will project a perfectly round, focused or unfocused spot on a wall depending on where I place it in front of the light source. There is no place to insert color gels or masks, so I don't think it's a theatre thing. I've never used it, I bought it off eBay some years ago because it was $10 and I was curious enough to buy it just to figure out what it is.

Bob Salomon
23-Jun-2020, 12:07
Many European manufacturers offered them here is one for a macro cold light system, another one also had a diaphragm


I sold them for Multiblitz and Broncolor strobes way back when.
Desisti was another source.

Neal Chaves
23-Jun-2020, 12:13
I just completed a Dynalite flash conversion of a 12" focal length Century Strand Lekolite. This is an optical spot projector, originally fitted with a halogen bulb in a parabolic reflector. It is equipped with shutters and has a gobo holder slot for B Size gobos. It could also project film transparencies. Two things became apparent during the conversion to a Dynalite 2040 head. The 12" lens is "long throw". When sharply focused, it produces an 18" spot 6' from the lens or a 14" dia B gobo pattern. At 10' from the lens, the spot increases to 32" and the B gobo pattern to 23". Defocusing the lens will increase the size of the spot. The lens was also projecting the pattern of the flash tube and model lamp in the Dynalite head and this required me to install a piece of opal diffusion glass to obtain a clean image of the shutters or gobo. This light is still very bright, even with the added diffusion, and the fan-cooled head keeps temperatures down.


Neal Chaves
23-Jun-2020, 12:16
Some other views of the inside showing the shutter blades adjusted to a pattern and the gobo holder in place with a B size pattern.


1-Jul-2020, 09:01
Matthews made those for their mini's I think..I have one I tried to JB Weld onto a Bowens plate for my strobe set up - did not work well

I eventually went out and bought a Bowens optical spot for my system (no cheap)… it works great, but yeah....still cuts own on the light output..

I put 2400ws thru it and wish I had a 4800 pack....