Lighting Reviews

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Steve Bedell  |  Sep 09, 2014  |  0 comments

The first time I saw the Ice Light was at a trade show a couple of years ago. Models were walking around the trade show carrying what looked to be lightsabers from Star Wars. It sure was a great way to get attention, but I dismissed it as a gimmick, especially when I saw the price—$500 for a stick of light! But later I got to see Jerry Ghionis, who came up with the idea, use the Ice Light at one of his workshops. Hmm, maybe there is some merit to this thing after all.

Joe Farace  |  Aug 05, 2014  |  0 comments

There are two kinds of portrait photographers: the first likes to shoot with “available light,” by which they mean “every light that’s available.” For some shooters, setting up five lights to make a portrait is just getting started. The second group prefers to use as few light sources as possible because there’s less gear to fiddle with, which translates into more time spent concentrating on the subject. Isn’t that what making a portrait is all about? Using fewer lights is less expensive, reduces setup time, and results in less weight to transport on location. But can you make a portrait with just one light?

Steve Bedell  |  Aug 01, 2014  |  0 comments

We all know that dedicated flash units are amazing tools. They allow us to use not just one but several flashes with amazing control over the output and have the math figured out for us in the bargain. But unless we modify the light in some way we are left with a very small light source that can be very harsh, and while that may be fine in some cases, there are times when we need to modify the light to soften and shape it. With the Profoto RFi Speedlight Speedring, you now have the ability to do just that using the many modifiers available to you in the Profoto arsenal.

Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Jul 11, 2014  |  0 comments

You may have used a beauty dish in the studio. Here’s a very portable model that you’ll find hard to leave at home. It’s quite affordable, too.

Russell R. Caron  |  Jul 04, 2014  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2014  |  0 comments

The Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash represents a significant new release for Canon photographers, most specifically for those using off-camera flash. A very capable and reliable flash on its own, its real forte is when used as the heart of a radio-controlled flash system. Eliminating the need for third-party radio transmitters and receivers to wirelessly connect off-camera flashes to the camera, and without the restrictions of similar infrared systems that require line of sight, the 600EX-RT system provides solid and, in my test, very dependable real-life operation in the field.

Joe Farace  |  May 02, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2014  |  0 comments

There is something quietly satisfying about working with finely crafted tools. It’s a feeling I remember having back in the film days when making photographs with my first Hasselblad 500C/M camera and one I had again while shooting with Broncolor’s Move 1200 L Outdoor Kit 2. It made creating all of the images that you see here easier and fun to shoot, and it’s in this spirit of play where creativity lives, inspiring a photographer to try new ways to make better photographs. Broncolor’s Move Kit is just that kind of lighting system.

Jack Neubart  |  Apr 29, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2014  |  0 comments

A handheld meter is not just for studio work. Tricky lighting situations, high contrast, and unusual subject tonalities can often pose problems for camera metering systems, as advanced as they are. Beyond that, the camera meter can’t help with studio flash.
The first step toward taking tighter control with a broader range of lighting situations is to use a handheld meter. Enter the new Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478DR (PocketWizard version). Out of the box, it measures incident light. This exposure meter will also prove valuable when working with studio (or any manual) flash or a mix of ambient light and flash.

Jack Neubart  |  Apr 25, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2014  |  1 comments

For the studio photographer on location or shooting environmental portraits, connecting a studio strobe to a battery pack, battery-driven power pack, or pure sine wave inverter frees one of the constraints of plugging into an AC outlet and worrying about tripping circuit breakers or blowing a fuse, and it removes wires that could prove hazardous (combined with wireless syncing of the flash, I might add). And wedding and event photographers who rely on portable strobes that run entirely on external battery power are well familiar with the benefits—power that lasts and keeps pace with the event. There are countless choices, whether you’re just starting out or looking to upgrade or expand your lighting system.

Joe Farace  |  Apr 11, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2014  |  1 comments

First impressions: the D-Lite RX ONE To Go Kit includes a pair of Elinchrom monolights so you know it’s going to contain quality products. Then you discover that the maximum output of each light is 100 watt seconds and you start to think you’ll need more power. That’s until you’re reminded that this fully loaded two-monolight Elinchrom kit sells for less than $700. Interested now?

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.

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.”

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.

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