I am always looking for interesting ways to add light to my images.  So when I was walking thru Ikea and saw a multi colour LED kit, (called Dioder, cause Ikea is awesome with product names) that is designed for lighting shelves and display cabinets, I figured I’d see how it works with toy photography.

This is my experience so far with the Ikea Dioder.

What Is The Dioder?

Well, it’s this:

Ikea Dioder

(image from Ikea product catalog)

The kid contains 4 LED bars, about 10 inches long, and containing 9 LEDs each.  The LED bars connect to a central control unit where one can set the LEDs to every colour of the rainbow, and all the shades in between.

dioder colours

Each of the LED bars can connect to the colour controller individually, or they can be daisy chained with a 2″ wire in between them.

How does it look in camera?

I had an idea for a shot using Eric Draven from the movie The Crow, that was going to use smoke effects.  This seemed like a good chance to try out the Dioder as a way to add colour to the smoke.  I used Lume Cubes for the main lights, and the Dioders for accent lights on the sides.  For scale the figure is a 12″ Hot Toys figure.Shot setup

I then added some smoke, and ended up with this shot.

Eric Draven

As you can see the lights added some colour to the smoke.  Not a lot, but a nice even light that is quite pleasing.


There are many things to like about the Dioder.  The wires that connect the LED bars to the controller are over 36″ long, which makes them long enough to wrap around a scene to get the lights in the proper positions without having wires running through the shot.

The fact that the colour can be set to pretty much any shade is a huge bonus.  However the downside is that all 4 LED bars show the same colour at one time.  The lights themselves are not very bright either, nor can the brightness be controlled.  Other light systems with gels will definitely provide more coloured light, though the range of shades is not normally as high as the Dioder provides.

The LED bars are nice and narrow – almost 2/3rds of the height of a LEGO brick, which means it should be easy to conceal behind bricks for accent lights in shots.  However the length of the bars limits how they can be used.

Since these lights are not designed for photography in mind, it is not a surprise they have some short comings.    I can see them getting some use in future shots as accent lights, especially to illuminate smoke and fog effects.  However I don’t expect they will see a lot of use.

If you are looking for accent lights that can do any colour you wish, the Dioder is worthy of consideration, however they are definitely not a must have for the toy photographer.

As accent lights for toy collectors, on the other hand… I’d definitely consider picking up a set or two for my display cases.


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