I've reached that age when arm extensions are starting to look good.
My wife says I need reading glasses, but I'm sure it's just my arms getting
shorter. A couple months ago she caught me looking at those lighted
magnifying gizmos at the hardware store and urged me to buy one so she
wouldn't have to listen to me grumble about not being able to see small flies
at the tying vise. Even four swing-arm lamps don't seem to be enough light
to see the details in small flies anymore.
I was about to buy a fifth lamp when a company called Ott-Lite asked if I
had seen or used their lamp. Their claim is that the Ott-Lite is bright and
emits a type of light that is closer to natural sunlight than any light I can find
anywhere. Considering my aforementioned problem, I decided I couldn't
lose much by trying their light. I was also hoping it would be a great light
for photography even though it isn't advertised that way.
I have been testing their lighting system (the OTT-LITE TrueColor FlexArm
Plus with Magnifier attachment), for a few weeks now and have reached
the following conclusions:
If you've reached that age when arm extensions are starting to look good,
you need to consider the Ott-Lite and magnifier. If you want exacting colors
in the flies you tie, you need to consider the Ott-Lite. If you want a better look
at the small details in your flies, you need to consider the Ott-Lite. If you're a
rod builder, this lamp will make your job easier. But, if you want better lighting
for close-up photography, invest in their other lighting system designed for
photography; this one isn't a photo lamp.
1. The Ott-Lite is definitely unlike any other lamp I have used. No, the lamp
isn't a cure for short arms, but the handy magnifying glass on the flex arm that
they sent with the lamp is. I'm now back to tying size 28 midges without the
aid of reading glasses. Ok, so what if I'm using their magnifier, I still don't have
to remove a pair of reading glasses to look for a misplaced pair of scissors or
another tidbit of material I want to tie on a fly.
2. The Ott-Lite emits a beam of light that actually is close to the color of natural
sunlight. My scientific review (hold a material under an incandescent light, run to
the window; hold the material under a halogen light, run to the window; hold the
material under fluorescent light, run to the window; hold the material under the
Ott-Lite, run to the window) revealed that the Ott-Lite produces colors that are
identical or very close to what natural sunlight produces. All the other lights
produced an undesirable tint that altered the true color of the material. If you
want to match a specific color in that new triple winged PMD you're trying to
tie, you won't find a better light to use.
3. The Ott-Lite doesn't appear to be a lot brighter than any other lamp I have
at my disposal, but it does make tying a lot easier. For some reason, the light this
lamp produces makes it easier to see fine details in my small projects. I can't put
my finger on why this is so, but I suspect it's the high contrast this light provides.
It's also a great reading light for the same reason. And, as I mentioned before,
the colors you see will be the same colors you see out on the stream in natural
4. I was hoping the Ott-Lite would be the answer to my fly photography needs.
That isn't the case. The light emitted by the Ott-Lite casts a blue/green tint on
film like a fluorescent light does. Even with a digital camera that has a white
balance feature, the Ott-Lite didn't perform well for photography. The light
from this lamp produces serious contrast on film and on digital images. While
this is bad for photography, it's great for reading and tying flies. Although high
contrast doesn't help a photographer, it makes seeing small details like tails,
ribbing and hackles easier on the eyes. However, I have learned that this
company makes a lamp designed specifically for photography. I can't wait
to try it out.
5. Rod builders will love this light. The natural grain of the graphite fiber in
the blank is clearly visible under the light this lamp produces. Minor mistakes
in thread wrapping show up very well. And, any dust on the rod is easy to
see in the light of this lamp.
6. I really like the flexible arm on both the light and the magnifier. The lamp
arm can be twisted or bent to any position you need, and the magnifier arm is
separate from the lamp arm so you can use one without the other. It doesn't
need adjustment or sag like swing-arm lamps do, and because the lamp head
is long, it casts light across about twice the space a swing-arm lamp can cover.
I guess I can live with the lighting I use for photography until I can get my hands
on their photo lamp, but since I tried the Ott-Lite, I won't go another day with
the old swing-arm lamp I was using for fly tying. Remarkable is the best single
word I can find to describe this lighting system.
For more information or to get one of these lighting systems for yourself, contact
the folks at:
Environmental Lighting Concepts, Inc.
1214 West Cass Street
Tampa, FL 33606
Ph: 800-842-8848 or 813-621-0058
Or visit their web site at: www.ott-lite.com