I’ve got both: the Otto Frei fluorescent, and a “daylight” LED
ringlight. (Had this bright idea to use the LED as a ringlight for
my camera too. Or at least that was how I justified it to myself.)
The LED isn’t quite as bright, but it’s dial variable. Which is
nice. Honestly, between the two of them, I don’t have much opinion.
The fluorescent is a smidge brighter, which makes it a bit harsher.
The LED is softer, but darker. Take your pick. If it means anything,
the fluorescent is mounted to my bench scope, while the LED is on
the one that I take around to school, and use for wax/random
Just for kicks, (and because I found one cheap) I picked up a 2 head
fiber-optic illuminator. Use the ringlight. The fiber-optics are
nice for setting up raking light, which can help pick out surface
variations, but you want to talk about harsh illumination! wow.
(Ah, the joys of craigslist in the silicon valley. Amazing the weird
stuff that floats by.) (Anybody want a laser? Optical rails?
Heidenhain DRO kit? Air compressor guaranteed to melt your fusebox?
The list is long…)