Product Reviews

Ott-Lite Product Review

by Al Campbell

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.

OTT-LITE TrueColor FlexArm Plus with Magnifier attachment 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:

    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 sunlight.

    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.

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.

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
Fax: 813-626-8790

Or visit their web site at: ~Al Campbell

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice