Lighting Reviews

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Jon Sienkiewicz  |  Nov 10, 2016  |  0 comments

As the name implies, the Fotodiox LED Studio-in-a-Box is a self-contained tabletop studio that features interior LED lighting that has a daylight color balance of 5600 Kelvin. The CRI, or Color Rendering Index, is 85 (on a scale 0 to 100).

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  |  Oct 19, 2014  |  0 comments

This report and product roundup is based on my visit to this year’s WPPI Expo, a show popular with portrait, event, and wedding photographers. As I visited the many lighting companies at the show, it became clear that studio and location lighting is going through its biggest changes since the invention of the flash bulb.

Joe Farace  |  Jan 23, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2012  |  0 comments

There are lots of companies making speedlight accessories but what makes Graslon’s different from the others are the mirrors. Most speedlight diffusers work in a similar way: translucent material is placed in front of the flash head to scatter light and soften shadows, but many times that light doesn’t scatter and some gets lost. Graslon’s Flash Diffusers use a series of patent-pending mirrors that enlarge the light source before sending it through the diffuser. This allows the light to travel to the corners of the diffuser so that light coming through the diffuser is balanced and, well, diffuse. Two types of diffusers, or lenses, as Graslon prefers to call them, are available: the dome spreads the light everywhere (think bare-bulb effect) to take advantage of bouncing light off walls and ceilings; the flat lens is more directional and useful when you’re using the flash as fill in no-bounce situations. Much like a Zeiss Softar filter it’s covered in hundreds of mini-lenses or bumps that spread the light evenly across its surface.

Joe Farace  |  Apr 03, 2015  |  0 comments

The studio lighting genie is not going back into the bottle anytime soon and LED light sources are finding their place in more and more camera rooms. Clever and versatile lighting systems such as Rotolight’s new Anova V2 and their compact RL48-B battery-powered portable lights are part of the reason why.

Steve Bedell  |  Oct 25, 2011  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2011  |  19 comments

Several of my fellow portrait photographers have been using cool lights for years. Interestingly, they have not abandoned their flash units but continue to use both, depending on the situation. Having been a strobe/available light photographer for the most part, I was eager to both find out how well they worked and for what subjects they’d be most suited. Interfit was kind enough to send me their very economical ($340 street price) set of two lights, each with an eight-sided softbox, so I could find out for myself. Could they do everything my studio flash units could? Were they a better choice for some subjects than others? After a few weeks of testing, I had my answers.

Jack Neubart  |  Dec 01, 2008  |  0 comments

A monolight makes entering the world of studio flash photography as painless as possible. Before long you’ll find that this studio strobe will be as easy to use as your shoe-mount flash (perhaps easier) and provide undreamt of creative possibilities. Some monolights make the transition much easier. Enter the digital Interfit Stellar XD.

 

The Stellar XD is a...

Jack Neubart  |  Aug 24, 2012  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2012  |  0 comments

You have lots of stuff ready for sale or that needs to be catalogued, such as jewelry, watches, pottery, tableware, glassware, figurines, coins, or maybe even an old camera. So how do you photograph these items quickly and affordably, while making them look their best?

 

For starters, we often need soft, largely even, and, for the most part, shadowless illumination to bring out all the salient features in the item. While a light tent or other diffusion enclosure can be used, getting lighting ratios just right can prove time-consuming. Using household lighting is often unsatisfactory if you want to make the item sparkle so that it beats out any competitive offerings online, and especially if you want the pictures to reflect an air of professionalism. Besides, color balance is often an issue, made even more difficult when available fluorescent lighting is used. And if you use flash, you’ll need more than one strobe, which becomes a costly and often time-consuming proposition.

Jack Neubart  |  Jan 01, 2010  |  1 comments

New fluorescent and LED “cool” lights are on the scene, making serious headway into the realm of digital photography. Cool lights not only save energy, but they may be better suited in a variety of situations.

Steve Bedell  |  Jan 14, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2012  |  0 comments

We all know what softboxes look like. They’re big, small, square, rectangular, sometimes round or shaped like octagons—we’ve seen them all. But there is nothing quite like the 16x60 Light Bender from Larson. It is long (48”), narrow (12”), and looks like a strip light that someone grabbed by the ends and yanked toward the middle. In this test I’ll take a look at just what this oddly-shaped light can do and why a photographer may consider adding it to his or her arsenal of light modifiers.

 

The Light Bender was designed by well-known photographer Larry Peters from Ohio and is produced and sold by Larson Enterprises.

After unpacking, I mounted the box to the backplate, a really snug fit, and then added the speed ring that allows me to mount and swivel the box on my light. After assembly, I mounted it on my Paul C. Buff Einstein unit. The light mounts dead center and the “wings” fly out to the side. There is no interior baffle in the design so the light is much stronger in the center and drops off rather dramatically as you move toward the edges.

Joe Farace  |  Oct 06, 2015  |  1 comments

Studio lighting hardware is going through the biggest change—a paradigm shift, really—since the flashbulb was invented in 1929. There are many trends and fads with LED’s popularity seemingly having equal parts of both. LED lighting also appeals to DSLR and mirrorless camera shooters who want to capture stills and video.

Steve Bedell  |  Oct 24, 2014  |  0 comments

Profoto B1 lights are the first studio lights to feature built-in TTL. They also have their own battery and controller so you can go on location and just pop up a light and start shooting. As of this writing they are available only for Canon, but by the time you read this the Nikon version should be available as well. To me, this is tailor-made for location shooting, so that’s where I did my tests.

Joe Farace  |  Jan 27, 2015  |  1 comments

Traditional flat reflectors do a good job of bouncing fill light when placed under a subject’s chin for portrait lighting but catchlights in their eyes can sometimes appear less than natural. Westcott’s Eyelighter Reflective Panel addresses the problem by providing an arc-shaped surface that matches the natural curvature of the human eye. Specifically designed for beauty and portrait photography, the Eyelighter reflects an arched light up toward your subject, producing not only flattering light but also a catchlight that follows the natural curve of the iris. Unlike three-piece, multi-reflector kits, this catchlight is seamless, without gaps.

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.

Steve Bedell  |  Jul 10, 2012  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2012  |  0 comments

The Litepanels MicroPro Hybrid does double duty as both a constant light source and a flash. The light itself is made of black plastic and is fairly small, at 5.5x3.75x1.5”, and weighs only about a pound when you include the mounting bracket and six AA batteries (standard or rechargeable, and there is an optional AC adapter available). The top has a knurled knob to turn things on and acts as a dimmer so you can control output in stepless fashion. Vents are located around all sides. The battery door, flash ready light, flash sync, and input for the optional power adapter are all located on the back. The bottom is threaded so you can attach it to a light stand or to the (included) nicely made aluminum ball joint with a bottom end that slides into your camera’s shoe mount. Also included is a very short PC cord to be used when using the flash mode, plus there are warming, diffusion, and tungsten conversion filters that snap in easily over the front panel. All this fits into a nicely padded zippered bag.

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