Shutter Magazine | Editor’s Pick Lighting and Accessories Photography Review
As photographers, we are constantly experimenting with different light sources, all in the pursuit of creating something unique for our clients. For the past 12 months, I’ve been playing with continuous light sources. The challenge for me is that the more powerful units are also ridiculously bulky and clumsy, and offer limited light modifiers.
Enter the Westcott Skylux LED: light, well-built and with amazing light quality. I’m always talking up portability. I don’t want to be that guy on photo shoots lugging around 18 bags of equipment. I want to be in and out quickly, but the equipment also has to perform.
The Skylux is a great unit for both video and portrait work. One light, many purposes: Now that’s economical! If you have never used a continuous light source for portraits, get ready to be impressed. It’s WYSIWYG: no guessing, shooting, testing, adjusting. Get set up, and you can see exactly what is happening with the light. Best of all, it’s daylight balanced and completely dimmable—incredibly practical when you use this in conjunction with natural light in your studio or on location.
Last but not least, the Skylux mounts to nearly any light modifier: umbrellas, softboxes, grids, snoots, barn doors, etc. You can’t go wrong with Westcott, which has a proven track record of delivering high-quality products.
Rogue Photographic Design needs to raise its prices. I’m just kidding. Honestly, I hope they don’t read this. I can’t say enough good things about their product. I have been using Rogue for almost two years now. Its stuff is affordable, well made and superior to any speedlight modifier on the market.
They just get it. I see a lot of products come across my desk that make me wonder to myself: “Self, did they even test this with a true working photographer?” I’m very mobile in my work. I have to be able to get on a plane or put everything in my trunk. I don’t want to get a workout before every shoot or check four extra bags. Rogue is with me on every single shoot. From grids to flash benders, they’ve thought about almost everything. And now, with their new XL Pro Lighting Kit, they have created a large softbox, strip box and shapeable reflector in one portable unit. (Just as an FYI to Rogue: I will not be returning this. I am pretty sure if I write it in the magazine, it becomes completely binding. I read it on the Internet somewhere.) If you are looking for best of breed in speedlight modifiers, put one of these in your bag—it will change the way you work forever.
Once relegated to studio work, Chimera has done an amazing job creating a portable and lightweight solution for professional photographers. Beauty dishes are the tool of the trade for commercial photographers, but us wedding and portrait photographers shy away. Why? I know why I do. The damn things are too freaking big and heavy. I have to buy a suitcase just to take one on location. Well, not anymore.
This bad boy is light and portable, and comes in its own carry case. Best of all, I assembled it in under five minutes without even reading the directions. I was feeling rebellious during the review, and just threw complete caution to the wind.
This beauty dish mounts to almost all studio strobes with its speed ring. Let’s say studio strobes on location or in studio are not your thing. No problem! They have an adapter to connect to your speedlight. What excuse do you have now?
What I love about working with beauty dishes is the quality and shape of the light that comes out of them. Chimera’s Octobox also features a reflector dish. Instead of being made from light-blocking material like metal, it’s made from a translucent material that allows some light to spill forward to create a unique catchlight in your subject’s eyes.
Get in the game with this high-quality product, which gives you a level of portability previously unavailable in a beauty dish.
We’re always looking for power: a place to charge a phone, plug in lights, what have you. Photogenic’s ION is a nuclear-powered power supply for field use. OK, just did some fact checking. Apparently it’s not nuclear powered. Honest mistake. The first thing I noticed is that the ION is light! Today, my battery pack is like 20 pounds. I have to hire someone to walk around with it all day. The ION weighs in at 3.5 pounds—not only portable, but just downright practical. With a single battery, it can fire off 430 flashes at 530ws. Best of all, it comes with a spare battery, so it’s no problem taking your strobes out in the field. We got to play with this in the studio, and it performed like a champ. As I fired away, it kept recycling my 800ws unit without issue. It’s well built, and, as an added benefit, it mounts directly to a light stand, once again making it practical for the photographer in the field.