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Andrew561

Lighting Question

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Andrew561

Hi, 

 

I have a Ai prime hd in my 24 gallon lifegard tank. I am using the saxby setting but slightly decreased whites and blues. I still feel like it is a lot of light. i am starting to notice a layer of brown algae growing on live rock where light is most intense. Also, my new Bubbletip anemone is hiding under a rock avoiding the light.
 

Does anyone have experience with this setting on their prime?

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mcarroll

All of your issues sound more like new tank issues (possibly related to nutrient-availability) than lighting issues.

 

Unless you have a lux meter or light meter, you're just guessing about your light levels – and all we can really do is guess back at you.  ∞

 

Lux meters are cheap ($7-$25+) or even free if you can get by with a lux meter app on your smartphone.  One piece of info is alll you really need – how much light is hitting the water surface?

 

In general, I'd say what you have is an expert-level light.  The adjustments you're making, FYI, aren't generally recommended.  Ideally, only make color adjustments when first setting up the light.

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jservedio

What is your peak intensity set at? I am familiar with the Saxby profile, but the total intensity and wattage is what's going to make it or break it.

 

For a tank like yours, I would not be using more than 25 watts of total power since any more than that to start out, you can easily light bleach corals that aren't acclimated. Ideally, use around 15-20 watts and over the course of a few months to a year, slowly bump up peak intensity by 3-5 watts at a time until you get things where you want. Corals don't starve from lack of light for a very, very long time (like several months) and will show signs that they aren't getting enough light - there is no damage done here. However, you can light bleach a coral in just days and it can take a year or more to fully recover - and many corals don't show any outward sign until it's too late. Always start out with far less light than you think you need and very slowly raise it.

 

For reference, I've light bleached several SPS under only 40 watts of LED power in a tank with an extra inch of depth with much wider angle lenses than yours and significantly higher nutrient levels. LPS can bleach with surprisingly little light.

 

If your wattage is already low enough and you aren't risking frying your corals, it's probably new tank/nutrient related like mcarroll said.

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fishkeepersaltnfresh
1 hour ago, mcarroll said:

All of your issues sound more like new tank issues (possibly related to nutrient-availability) than lighting issues.

 

Unless you have a lux meter or light meter, you're just guessing about your light levels – and all we can really do is guess back at you.  ∞

 

Lux meters are cheap ($7-$25+) or even free if you can get by with a lux meter app on your smartphone.  One piece of info is alll you really need – how much light is hitting the water surface?

 

In general, I'd say what you have is an expert-level light.  The adjustments you're making, FYI, aren't generally recommended.  Ideally, only make color adjustments when first setting up the light.

This is interesting. I did not know about lux meter app. I downloaded one and measured it at the surface of the water. The reading came to ~15500

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Coolbreeze

It is true that you will be guessing without a par meter to look at your placement of corals. If you are not sure what they are then you can review this video from BrsTV Investigates on your model to see what the proper mounting height is plus other setting. Once you are close and you do not see the results you are looking for then rent the par meter and follow their recommendations on using it. Well worth it. By the way  when the light starts to go dimmer for night time does the Bubbletip anemone open up?

 

 

 

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jservedio
1 hour ago, fishkeepersaltnfresh said:

This is interesting. I did not know about lux meter app. I downloaded one and measured it at the surface of the water. The reading came to ~5500

I wouldn't put much stock into this if you are using a phone, especially on an LED fixture. I know people like to use them to estimate, and it can give you a ballpark when you are using T5s or moderate spectrums using a real LUX meter, but when you get into sub-460nm heavy spectrums, it gets much more more difficult to estimate and you can be wildly off.

 

For example, right now during sunset on my tank (UV/Blue heavy), I am only using roughly 12% of my light's total power and I just measured 9,648 LUX using my phone at 24". When dividing by 70, that would mean my PAR is 138. This is off by more than a factor of 2. My actual PAR during this part of the day at 24" is in the high 50 PAR range as measured by an Apogee MQ-500.

 

When it comes to LED, your best bet is to use the actual PAR graphs that the light manufacturers put out and to do a little bit of math. It'll be far more accurate than a LUX meter and conversion. For example, using the PAR graph Ecotech provides and some basic math, my estimate for PAR at 24" using 12% is 60-72 PAR directly under the fixture.

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fishkeepersaltnfresh

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mcarroll
1 hour ago, fishkeepersaltnfresh said:

This is interesting. I did not know about lux meter app. I downloaded one and measured it at the surface of the water. The reading came to ~15500

50 is a rough conversion factor from lux to PAR...

 

In sunlight, 100,000 lux = 2,000 PAR

...so...

100000/2000=50

 

So 15,500 lux translates to something like 200-300 PAR.

 

That's a spot measure, of course, but indicates you're in the correct range.  

 

If you want to, you could take similar measurements across the surface of the tank to get an idea of how even (or uneven) the light is across the whole surface.

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Andrew561
6 hours ago, jservedio said:

What is your peak intensity set at? I am familiar with the Saxby profile, but the total intensity and wattage is what's going to make it or break it.

 

For a tank like yours, I would not be using more than 25 watts of total power since any more than that to start out, you can easily light bleach corals that aren't acclimated. Ideally, use around 15-20 watts and over the course of a few months to a year, slowly bump up peak intensity by 3-5 watts at a time until you get things where you want. Corals don't starve from lack of light for a very, very long time (like several months) and will show signs that they aren't getting enough light - there is no damage done here. However, you can light bleach a coral in just days and it can take a year or more to fully recover - and many corals don't show any outward sign until it's too late. Always start out with far less light than you think you need and very slowly raise it.

 

For reference, I've light bleached several SPS under only 40 watts of LED power in a tank with an extra inch of depth with much wider angle lenses than yours and significantly higher nutrient levels. LPS can bleach with surprisingly little light.

 

If your wattage is already low enough and you aren't risking frying your corals, it's probably new tank/nutrient related like mcarroll said.

Yeah my light setting is now at 26 watts max. I do think some of my SPS were bleaching but even before it was at around 33 watts.

 

Since lowering my setting the algae seems to be getting better.

 

the story with this tank is I bought it second hand from someone. Then transferred the water from my old tank into it so I could transfer my livestock that day. I am in agreement that the algae is probably from doing that.

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mitten_reef
6 hours ago, fishkeepersaltnfresh said:

Those are three very different lights, different design, different size, different brands, different features, different quantity of leds, different controllability, the differences can go on. 
what are you trying to compare them for exactly?  That might be a good place to start to help us help you. 

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farkwar
12 hours ago, fishkeepersaltnfresh said:

That's garbage

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ReefGoat
7 hours ago, mitten_reef said:

Those are three very different lights, different design, different size, different brands, different features, different quantity of leds, different controllability, the differences can go on. 
what are you trying to compare them for exactly?  That might be a good place to start to help us help you. 

Looks like op was comparing them solely on price alone. They're all in the sub 100 range. I know of a lfs that using nothing but Chinese black boxes and their tanks look pretty good. Amazing growth. But I just don't prefer them. 

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fishkeepersaltnfresh

I was just wondering if it is indeed 20W& 300W for the same price range. I was planning to get the Fluval Sea Marine Nano Bluetooth LED . But was not sure if it will suffice my 29G tank. I read somewhere that we need approx 4Wof light per gallon. Hence I was trying to make sense if the 20W light is sufficient for m y tank.

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mitten_reef

Generally speaking:

  • led prices are all over the map, due to branding, app-connectivity, etc
  • watt is indicative of how powerful the light is
  • Spread and coverage are as important as power. I won’t put just one of the fluval nano over a standard 29 gallon, 2 should be used
  • Color spectrum is important, make sure it’s reef compatible
  • The “black box” is not bad - there are proven ones out there, other than they’re pretty much an eyesore to look at

Good luck searching. 

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ReefGoat
1 hour ago, fishkeepersaltnfresh said:

I was just wondering if it is indeed 20W& 300W for the same price range. I was planning to get the Fluval Sea Marine Nano Bluetooth LED . But was not sure if it will suffice my 29G tank. I read somewhere that we need approx 4Wof light per gallon. Hence I was trying to make sense if the 20W light is sufficient for m y tank.

If you're looking in the 100 dollar range the black boxes will be way more power than you need in a 29. You'll be able to grow anything you want. However I can't comment on the life expectancy of a black box. The warranty will be non existent also. I'd recommend just saving up 100 more bucks and getting the ai prime sol and mount. Or 120 more bucks and get the prime HD and mount. If thats even an option. I wouldn't think one of those fluvals would be enough for a 29 gallon. It looks like people are having success with it on Nanos (5-10 gallons). But 29 is starting to get into larger Nanos in my opinion. 

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fishkeepersaltnfresh

Thanks to everyone. When you say "black box", do you mean the LED light bar?

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ReefGoat

No a Chinese black box is like the viparspectra light you showed a link to. I think it was the second Amazon link you showed in the list if three. 

 

Sorry that one appears to be "philzun" but they're all pretty similar when it comes to black boxes. 

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mcarroll
On 11/5/2020 at 7:58 AM, fishkeepersaltnfresh said:

I was just wondering if it is indeed 20W& 300W for the same price range. I was planning to get the Fluval Sea Marine Nano Bluetooth LED . But was not sure if it will suffice my 29G tank. I read somewhere that we need approx 4Wof light per gallon. Hence I was trying to make sense if the 20W light is sufficient for m y tank.

LED marketing is inscrutable sometimes, especially when you're starting out.  

 

First, no you aren't going to get a 10X more powerful fixture for the same price as a smaller (but otherwise similar) one. 

 

Second, consider that the "300W" fixture is not a performance measurement, it is simply the summation of the maximum wattage of all the LED emitters.  So "300W" means there are one hundred 3-watt LED's on the fixture.  But this is marketing, not performance data.  To make use of that "300W" you have to know that 3-watt LED's are usually run at something like 50% of their maximum wattage.  

 

So...  "300W" really means one hundred 3-watt LEDS each running at (on average) 1.5-watts each.  100*1.5=150 watts

 

Third, you'd have to read into the "20W" fixture the same way to see if it means the same thing, or something slightly different.

 

Your watts per gallon figure is good for more or less traditionally shaped tanks, but you risk heresy for bringing it up 😉....it's considered archaic in some cirecles in spite of the fact that it's a good rule of thumb.  Especially if you aren't using a light meter of some kind (PAR or lux) and you're just guessing on how much light you're putting into your tank based on the info that comes with the fixture.

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jservedio
8 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Your watts per gallon figure is good for more or less traditionally shaped tanks, but you risk heresy for bringing it up 😉....it's considered archaic in some cirecles in spite of the fact that it's a good rule of thumb.  Especially if you aren't using a light meter of some kind (PAR or lux) and you're just guessing on how much light you're putting into your tank based on the info that comes with the fixture.

I think 4w per gallon for traditionally shaped/sized nano tanks is a recipe for disaster when it comes to LEDs with standard optics. If I cranked up my Radions to using 80 watts (4w/gal), even with the wide angle lenses, every single one of my acros would fry in a matter of weeks. If I were using the stock 90 degree lenses, they would bleach in just days.

 

As an example, my very outdated XR30 Pro with 90 degree optics using 80 watts will produce more than 550 PAR at 24" of depth. That's the equivalent of just 10-12 meters of seawater and only a handful of even the acros we keep live in water much shallower than that - and that's all the way at the sandbed for a nano! IMO, in a mixed reef we should be targeting being somewhere in the 20-30 meter range where the vast majority of our corals live - that's 250-420 PAR for the middle 50% of the tank. For SPS or LPS dominated reefs, you can shift shallower or deeper. And that's not taking into account the quality of the light, the color temperature, and most importantly the daily lighting integral. Most of our tanks' DLI graphs look nothing like a natural reef and are set with a very long peak intensity. Our schedules plus far lower quality light mean we should be targeting less PAR than they get in nature.

 

Someone setting up a nano and starting out with 4w/gal of LED is going to bleach most everything they put into the tank. Obviously the discussion changes when moving into bigger/deeper tanks, but this is nano-reef after all. That means on a tank up to 24x24" to about 16-18" deep, which covers the vast majority of people on this site, you aren't going to need more than a 40-60w high quality fixture even if they want a primarily SPS tank. They may need to add another fixture later for coverage as things grow in, but in terms of power, a single 40-60w fixture is more than enough.

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fishkeepersaltnfresh

Thank you both for such a detailed response. I have a LED bar that I bought off chewy which works great in my 29G (standard). I want a light which I can fix onto the aquarium. Came across The Fluval 20W for decent price and hence was pondering....

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mcarroll
On 11/11/2020 at 10:10 AM, jservedio said:

Someone setting up a nano and starting out with 4w/gal of LED is going to bleach most everything they put into the tank.

...which has been known to happen in spite of (effectively) nobody using the watts per gallon rule in something like centuries.

 

To see just how unrelated bleaching is to the watts per gallon rule, check out how actually related it is to the Radions:

https://www.google.com/search?q=radion+bleached

 

It's a problem with LED systems like the Radion (along with people being people) if you ask me.  That's a stready stream of threads from 2012 through 2020.

 

But...

 

Anyone who'd buy a giant light for a tiny tank and expect no finesse to be required isn't going to be helped by any rule of thumb....whether it's watts per gallon ranges or PAR ranges.  "More is just better!" sometimes.   👍 🙄 (no)

 

As for the watts per gallon rule and how it works....  If you recall from the halide days, the correct answer to a high-powered fixture is to shorten your day.  This is actually what initially taught the hobby about DLI's....though I'm not sure we called it that.  (The solar power industry has always paid attention to light-per-day and whatever the term was may have been a term they used.  Can't actually recall.  It was probably Dana Riddle who mentioned it though.)

 

For example, I ran my Radium 20,000K halide system for only 6 hour days for a lot of the years at 8- or 6-watts-per-gallon, depending on which tank it was on (37 gallons or 50 gallons).  Neither tank was particularly deep at 18".  

 

It worked like gangbusters...beautiful, fast growing corals...no bleaching ever.  (No question those corals were still being pushed by that level of intensity though, even at only 6 hours...there were other effects...in particular on the plating Monti's.)

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jservedio
7 hours ago, mcarroll said:

To see just how unrelated bleaching is to the watts per gallon rule, check out how actually related it is to the Radions:

https://www.google.com/search?q=radion+bleached

 

It's a problem with LED systems like the Radion (along with people being people) if you ask me.  That's a stready stream of threads from 2012 through 2020.

It's absolutely related to "watts per gallon" and there is a reason people haven't used that rule since Halide and T5 days: LEDs put out 200%+ more PAR per watt when combined with proper optics (some are pushing 400%) and it isn't unique to the Radion either, they were just the first to put out such powerful lights so it's the light most people learned this on. A 250w 20k Radium Halide at 24" is putting out like 175 PAR while the new Maxspect MJ-L165 with only 60w is putting out 240 PAR at the same depth. Granted the Radium will cover a much larger area with that light, but this is on a nano tank so it simply doesn't matter how big of an area the Radium will light. I could easily run a 250w Radium over my tank right now for 6-8 hours a day and nothing would bleach or stress - in fact, it would be putting out significantly less PAR on my nano than my Radion is right now at less than 50% that is only at peak for only 4 hours a day.

 

If you are running T5 or Halides, I think 4w per gallon was a great starting point when you aren't going to get scientific and pull out a PAR meter, you aren't going to be killing anything with that power. I was using T5s for a long time at 5w/gal and never light stressed even the most sensitive chalices with 8 hours a day + another 4 hours at 50%. With LEDs, it's entirely out dated and attempting to run such powerful lights over a nano without a PAR meter you are guaranteed to kill everything. I am using just over 2w/gal for 4 hours per day and down below 1w/g for another 4 hours and I have to hide my chalices in the shade.

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mcarroll
On 11/11/2020 at 10:10 AM, jservedio said:

I think 4w per gallon for traditionally shaped/sized nano tanks is a recipe for disaster when it comes to LEDs[....]

Someone setting up a nano and starting out with 4w/gal of LED is going to bleach most everything they put into the tank.[....]

The problem is that you're confusing the whole purpose and usage of the "rule".  (Your concerns about lighting setup are all legitimate, of course, just not related.)

 

Watts per gallon isn't going to tell you anything about using the light – nothing about settings, mounting, bulb selections, et al.  Nada.  (English, Latin and Spanish in one line.  LOL)

 

The only thing watts per gallon was ever for (as far as I ever knew) was to help with selecting a light with the right potential power.

 

The "rule" still works for its intended purpose, which (again) is helping to select a light setup.  

 

Just to be sure, I checked a couple dozen lighting setups from 3 gallons up to 50 gallons, with lights from Ecotech, Kessil and Current USA as well as a "hybrid" setup, a DIY setup, and a full range of typical T5 and halide setups, from 4-8 tubes, and from 150-400 watt bulbs.  Basically, if we wanted to be a little more precise, the rule seems to be 3-5 ±1.  If you make it ±2 you even capture most statistical outliers.  (I'm not sure that's any different than it ever was.)  😉

 

Another interesting thing I found is that in spite of LED's improved efficiency vs older lighting types (you mentioned 200%), it doesn't seem like anyone of the sample of setups I looked at) other than me is really taking advantage of the improvement...at least not when it comes to fixture selection.  

 

For example, I have had one DIY lighting system that (looking back making the calculations) actually ran at 0.95 watts per gallon and was spec'd at 1.05 watts per gallon, and another (my current Kessil setup) is spec'd at 2.1 watts per gallon.  6 watts per gallon is the most I've ever run, and that was a two-bulb halide setup at 300 total watts.

 

Almost every other setup in my sample, which included typical halide, T5 and LED setups, was spec'd at 3 watts per gallon OR WAY HIGHER.  In fact, LED systems in my sample averaged (a little) higher watts per gallon than typical halide or T5 setups.  A lot of this is thanks to the Nano Reef Featured Tanks in my sample – they (including yours) were consistently in the "WAY HIGHER" group...mostly ranging from 10-20 watts per gallon!!  For LED's!

 

So "trendiness" seems to indicate that "bigger fixtures are better" (ie >5 watts per gallon) to at least some people – even with highly efficient LED technology at their disposal.  But the rule of thumb does not say to go that way at all.  3-5 watts per gallon is still a fine rule of thumb...and still not a recommendation on how to use those 3-5 watts.  🙂 

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mitten_reef
38 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

The problem is that you're confusing the whole purpose and usage of the "rule".  (Your concerns about lighting setup are all legitimate, of course, just not related.)

 

Watts per gallon isn't going to tell you anything about using the light – nothing about settings, mounting, bulb selections, et al.  Nada.  (English, Latin and Spanish in one line.  LOL)

 

The only thing watts per gallon was ever for (as far as I ever knew) was to help with selecting a light with the right potential power.

 

The "rule" still works for its intended purpose, which (again) is helping to select a light setup.  

 

Just to be sure, I checked a couple dozen lighting setups from 3 gallons up to 50 gallons, with lights from Ecotech, Kessil and Current USA as well as a "hybrid" setup, a DIY setup, and a full range of typical T5 and halide setups, from 4-8 tubes, and from 150-400 watt bulbs.  Basically, if we wanted to be a little more precise, the rule seems to be 3-5 ±1.  If you make it ±2 you even capture most statistical outliers.  (I'm not sure that's any different than it ever was.)  😉

 

Another interesting thing I found is that in spite of LED's improved efficiency vs older lighting types (you mentioned 200%), it doesn't seem like anyone of the sample of setups I looked at) other than me is really taking advantage of the improvement...at least not when it comes to fixture selection.  

 

For example, I have had one DIY lighting system that (looking back making the calculations) actually ran at 0.95 watts per gallon and was spec'd at 1.05 watts per gallon, and another (my current Kessil setup) is spec'd at 2.1 watts per gallon.  6 watts per gallon is the most I've ever run, and that was a two-bulb halide setup at 300 total watts.

 

Almost every other setup in my sample, which included typical halide, T5 and LED setups, was spec'd at 3 watts per gallon OR WAY HIGHER.  In fact, LED systems in my sample averaged (a little) higher watts per gallon than typical halide or T5 setups.  A lot of this is thanks to the Nano Reef Featured Tanks in my sample – they (including yours) were consistently in the "WAY HIGHER" group...mostly ranging from 10-20 watts per gallon!!  For LED's!

 

So "trendiness" seems to indicate that "bigger fixtures are better" (ie >5 watts per gallon) to at least some people – even with highly efficient LED technology at their disposal.  But the rule of thumb does not say to go that way at all.  3-5 watts per gallon is still a fine rule of thumb...and still not a recommendation on how to use those 3-5 watts.  🙂 

In my opinion, there are two type of leds - one that initially designed to replace point-source light, like MH, a la original Radion pucks.  Another that meant to mimic T5, a la "low-powered" led bars.   As the industry slowly maturing, most manufacturers start to realize that neither solutions are the right replacement for the two old standards. 

 

The reasons why MH and T5 are both the gold standards are Spread and Coverage that are afforded by their housing reflectors allowing the light to enter water in multiple directions.  Hence, the latest in LED design is to spread the emitters across the entire fixtures see Radion G5, Orphek Atlantik, ATI Straton, Philip CoralCare.  and to address the coverage, some of the best tanks I've seen practically are blanketed with LED (the old MH tanks do this as well with multiple domes, or even the modern T5 tanks now).  BUT that doesn't mean they max out the fixture power, this is where led controllability is so key to their effectiveness and efficiency.  You run two fixture at 50% each, it consumes roughly the same amount of power of one fixture at 100%, but you have so much better spread and coverage.  Yes, the investment costs also double.  

 

to your point, can someone grow "some corals" under 3 kessil's across a 6-ft tank?  Yes, I have no doubt.  BUT can the same setup grow a tank full of acroporas to have growth and coloration you see in reputable publications or online sources (not shoddy photos from some vendors)?  Probably not, feel free to share some images to prove otherwise.  

 

My point is, get the lighting that will provide you with power AND coverage - buy two slightly less-powerful fixtures instead of one powerful one if your budget allows.  

 

 

 

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farkwar
1 hour ago, mitten_reef said:

My point is, get the lighting that will provide you with power AND coverage - buy two slightly less-powerful fixtures instead of one powerful one if your budget allows.

I just took that out of my signature(buy double the LEDs for coverage, not intensity)

 

In 2015, it was a novel idea

 

It's pretty much a given at this point.  As you point out that many manufacturers are building essentially panel lighting now.

 

Some would argue that Chinese black boxes were panel lighting.  Maybe, but they lacked the reflector or lens ingenuity to pull it off.  Disco TV Static is trash

 

You will see Chinese crap knockoffs of the ATI Straton soon.  And it will be crap.

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