At a constant power level, repeated flash exposures were within 1/10 of a stop
of one another, indicating that a stable amount of voltage was being delivered
to the flash tube. Color temperature with the wide angle reflector attached
varied from an average of 4910 Kelvin at 1/32 power to 5270 Kelvin at full power.
While the range of only 350Þ Kelvin is very good, it's slightly
outside of the unit's specs. The specified color temperature of the GM500
is 5600 ±300Þ Kelvin.
Travel-Pak battery unit.
While the GM500 makes an excellent studio monobloc, it's also good for
on-location work. When no AC power is available, it's possible to shoot
with the Bowens' Travel-Pak battery. Recycle time, though, takes a hit
when working with portable power. Rather than the 1.5 seconds that it takes
to recycle on AC, it takes 4.2 seconds to recycle with the power pack. All in
all, that's a small price to pay for having 200 full-power shots available
on one charge. It is possible to connect two lights to one
Travel-Pak, but that decreases the number of flashes. It isn't possible
to use the modeling light in the GM500 when using the Travel-Pak.
Outdoors, the red LED digital display is a little difficult to read from a distance,
but fairly readable when in-close, in the shade. And outside, the Photocell
triggering with the on-camera SB-800 was more miss than hit, even when it was
aimed in the direction of the GM500. But that would be expected in direct sunlight.
Sync cords or radio triggers are more appropriate triggering devices in bright
output of the Bowens' Esprit Gemini Digital GM500 is adjustable
over five stops. These two photos, taken in my garden with the Travel-Pak
powering the flash, show the range of effects that the unit allows.
Aperture varied from f/4 (at power setting #5) (top photo) to f/22
(at power setting #10) (bottom photo) with the beauty dish, including
diffuser, attached to the unit.
Build And Fit
Both the GM500 and the Travel-Pak are built extremely well. The body of the
GM500 is all metal and finished in the same gunmetal gray as the analog Gemini
monoblocs. The handgrip is solid and rubber coated. The membrane switches are
sealed so the unit is practically weatherproof. The only construction shortcoming
is the protective cover that is supplied for the battery pack connector on the
unit's back--it fit loosely and was knocked off a couple of times
just through handling.
The Travel-Pak is equally well made and supplied with a protective cover that
can sit in 3" of water without shorting out. Its charging unit includes
adapter plugs for electrical systems in different parts of the world, but there
is no car adapter. The Travel-Pak also includes a flash head connector cable,
but at 9.5 ft, it's shorter than it should be for connecting two heads
to one battery pack.
The Bowens' Esprit Gemini Digital 500 is smaller than the comparably-powered
analog Gemini units. It weighs 7.5 lbs and is 8.6" long, 3.7" wide,
and 3.3" tall. It has a street price of $650. Several kits that include
stands, umbrellas, and a case are also available. The Travel-Pak battery costs
$645. Additional cables are $99 each.
the studio on main power, the Bowens' Esprit Gemini Digital
GM500 produces enough output to achieve f/16 with its normal reflector
and softened with two layers of diffusion material. Jewelry courtesy
of Frederick Schuster, www.frederickschusterjewelry.com.
Bowens' Esprit Gemini Digital 500
Stored Energy: 500 ws
Sync Voltage: 5v
Color Temperature: 5600K ±300K
Circuit Protection: 230v - 5A fuse
Supply Voltage: 190-250v AC 50Hz
Voltage Stabilization: ±1 percent
Guide Number: 79.8
Typical Recycle Time: 1.54 seconds
Modeling Control: Full/Intermittent/Off
Flash Duration: 1/925
Flash Control: Full to 1/32--(five stops)
Weight: 7.5 lbs
Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.6x3.7x3.3"
The Esprit Gemini Monoblocs are distributed through Bowens USA, P.O. Box 310
West Hyannisport, MA 02672 and available at many photo imaging retailers. Please
visit their website www.bowensusa.com
for a list of retailers.