Lighting News

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Steve Bedell  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2014  |  0 comments

The digital camera revolution has brought about many changes, not the least being the ability to photograph in low-light levels that were only wishful thinking a few years ago. That ability has also spawned significant changes in lighting equipment. In many cases, high-powered flash equipment is no longer needed when you can simply turn the ISO dial on your camera to achieve the desired f/stop. And with small product photography, it makes more sense for many of us to use inexpensive constant light sources rather than high-powered strobe setups. There’s no doubt that the trend to more constant light options in both daylight and tungsten color balance will continue.

Steve Bedell  |  Mar 28, 2014  |  First Published: May 01, 2014  |  0 comments

One of the reasons you might consider a “third-party” shoe mount for your camera is simple—it’s usually less expensive, sometimes considerably so. Saving a few bucks is good, but perhaps some features are missing, or the construction isn’t as robust, or the resale value will be lower. But sometimes it just may be a smart choice, as I found when testing the Phottix Mitros flash for my Nikon.

C.A. Boylan  |  Mar 13, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments

Nikon SB-300 Speedlight
Small enough to fit into a shirt pocket, the SB-300 Speedlight provides more power and coverage than a built-in flash. Compatible with both Nikon D-SLR and Advanced Performance Coolpix cameras, it covers a wide-angle 18mm in DX format and operates via simple on-camera controls. The SB-300 tilts up to 120 degrees, allowing for more flattering portraits and even exposures. Powered by two AAA batteries, the SB-300 features thermal cut-out protection to prevent overheating when capturing rapid flash images in succession. The suggested price is $149.95.

Joe Farace  |  Mar 11, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2014  |  0 comments

These days it seems that using LED lighting systems for studio portraiture is like puppies and kittens—everybody loves them, and why not? All you need to do is turn on an LED light panel and shoot, right? While there’s obviously more to it than that, the WYSIWYG nature of LED lighting is especially helpful for new or aspiring pros who want to get up and running quickly or in applications where the lighting needs to be consistent so lots of portraits can be made in a short amount of time, something event photographers will take to heart. With that in mind I recently tested Bowens’ Mosaic LED light panels (#1). Originally developed for film and video use, they are available in models designed for mounting on traditional light stands for portraiture, so I put them to work in my home studio.

Steve Bedell  |  Feb 04, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments

GamiLight has been in the business of making light-shaping accessories for small, dedicated flash units like the ones from Nikon, Canon, Metz, etc., and has recently broadened their lineup. I had heard about their products and thought I’d give them a try, so they responded by sending me just about every modifier they make. I received their Square 43 with the Soft Plus 43 adapter, the Box 60, the Spot 2, the Event Pro, and a few mounts. As we go through this review I’ll let you know what these are all about, but my tests were aimed at determining how effectively the units work, how well they are made, how convenient they prove out in the field, and, most importantly, whether I should consider buying them to solve some of my lighting issues.

Joe Farace  |  Feb 04, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Lester A. Dine invented the ringlight for making dental photos in 1952 but today people use them for all kinds of photography. A ringlight is a circular light source that surrounds the optical axis of a lens causing light to hit the subject from different angles, producing soft shadows in much the same manner as a light bank. When photographing people, the unique way that a ring flash renders light also produces a shadowy halo around the subject that’s much beloved by fashion photographers. I use a small ring flash to photograph butterflies, but if you want to photograph people, to paraphrase Jaws Chief Brody, “You’re gonna need a bigger light.”

C.A. Boylan  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Rogue Safari Pop-Up Flash Booster
Designed for use with most modern Canon APS-C or Nikon DX sensor cameras with telephoto zoom lenses (100mm and longer), the Rogue Safari Pop-Up Flash Booster is lightweight and easy to use. This attachment concentrates the light from the camera’s pop-up flash to provide more illumination on subjects as far as 60 to 70 feet away. The light adds up to 8x more than what the unassisted flash provides. Crafted from durable impact-resistant polycarbonate materials, the Rogue Safari Pop-Up Flash Booster does not require batteries and has a retail price of $34.95.

Joe Farace  |  Dec 03, 2013  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2013  |  0 comments

When I first saw the battery-powered Photoflex TritonFlash at a pro show I was impressed as much by its power output and flexibility as its tiny size. Available in a kit that includes one of the company’s light banks along with everything—except a light stand—the setup can get you started making portraits in the studio or on location with nary an electrical outlet in sight.

Steve Bedell  |  Nov 26, 2013  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2013  |  1 comments

Portrait photographers are constantly looking for new lighting gear that will make their lives easier and produce great results. And while flash photography has been the studio standard for many years, it’s always been more difficult to previsualize the final effect since the image you see using the modeling lights is not always the same you see once the flash fires. The instant feedback of digital cameras has lessened that worry some, but you can still be in for some surprises. The new breed of LED lights eliminates most of these concerns with true WYSIWYG lighting, and with that in mind I was eager to check out F&V’s new K4000 LED Studio Panel to see how it could be used in my work.

Joe Farace  |  Oct 29, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  1 comments

Pro shows are a great time to catch up on the latest in lighting gear and trends, so we asked Joe Farace, who does lighting equipment tests for us here at Shutterbug (type Joe’s name in the Search box at to see the wide range of gear he’s tested) to roam the floor at the WPPI show to see what’s hot. His report covers new equipment that caught his eye there but, while there’s plenty to read about, this is not intended to be a full report on what’s new in the category. Some of these products will be covered in future issues, with promised updates from Joe. Also, the show was a few months back, so most, if not all the gear, you read about here is available now. Check our web page news for new products and developments, and follow our in-depth lighting test reports that appear regularly in Shutterbug.—Editor

C.A. Boylan  |  Oct 29, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments

The Photogenic ION Lithium-ion Pure Sine Wave Inverter is a compact, lightweight, and affordable AC power supply unit for use in the studio or on location. Weighing only 3.5 lbs and measuring 7.5x4.4x3.3”, it features two AC outlets for two monolights and gives you over 3500 flashes at 320 watt seconds. The built-in USB port allows you to power-up your phone or other electronic devices. The ION comes complete with the inverter, lithium-ion battery, charger, carry strap, and adjustable multi-clamp.

Robert Harrington  |  Oct 22, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Whether you are new to Off-Camera Flash (OCF) or not, you might want to check out one of the most versatile systems on the market for OCF, Rogue FlashBenders, manufactured by ExpoImaging. The Rogue system is based on a pliable flat panel reflector that you bend as needed to modify your light when used in conjunction with speedlights. It is versatile, stores flat in your camera bag, and has a diffusion panel that installs over the modifier to turn it into a portable softbox.

Joe Farace  |  Oct 18, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments

In this test, Joe Farace tackles a higher-end LED light source that he adapted to still photography work. In it you will find technical sidebars outlining how we will test LEDs for the still photographer in the future. We offer this somewhat tech-heavy review as both a close look at this unit and a primer on LED output and LED lighting, which, as Joe states, will become increasing important, and prevalent, in studio and location work for the still shooter.—Editor

Jack Neubart  |  Oct 18, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments

This year has seen many new introductions in lighting gear for all photographers. Auxiliary and accessory lighting can make a big difference in your work. Here, reporter Jack Neubart gives us a sampling of products he found at trade shows that caught his eye. For more information on the companies whose products he mentions we encourage you to explore their websites to discover their full offerings in this category plus check for lighting gear tests. We’ve provided a full list of contact information at the end of the article.—Editor

Joe Farace  |  Oct 15, 2013  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Mary and I have fond memories of using early generation Bowens monolights; they were our first really “good” lighting system when we set up our studio in 1982. We loved shooting with those big, black, paint-can-shaped 800B monolights because they were inexpensive, dependable, and powerful. From what I can tell from my tests of their two-light Gemini 400Rx Kit that continues to be the case.