With the lights placed about 3" from the igloo, the exposure reading inside
was f/5.6 at 1/60 sec. At 6", there was a one-stop difference, f/4. The
color temperature averaged 2710K. That's more than adequate light for
still life and stationary objects that you might shoot for online selling, for
The Portrait Kit provides a soft, warm light. (Model: Brittany Renee
© 2006, Ron Eggers, All Rights Reserved
The First Studio Portrait Kit includes the two FirstStar light heads with
250w halogen lamps and tilt brackets. But, instead of the igloo, there are two
45" white-lining ADW45 umbrellas.
The only major difference in the setup is the umbrellas. Holes in the reflectors
allow you to pass through and mount the umbrellas via their stems. The stands
are lightweight, but they're still stable enough to handle the large umbrellas,
even when extended out to the maximum 76". Shooting at f/4 at 1/60 sec,
the dual light setup worked best when positioned in close.
The color temperature for the reflective light is the same as for the diffused
light of the igloo. Since they are continuous light sources, besides using them
as a primary light for studio portraiture they can also be used to add a little
warmth to people shots on overcast days or when shooting in shadows. While it's
possible to shoot portraits with a single light, for optimum results stay with
the two-light setup. Since there's no way of adjusting power to the individual
heads, light ratios are determined by varying the light-to-subject distance.
The LiteIgloo, ready for shooting.
For many photographers, once the product or portraiture kits have been set
up they'll stay set up. But a lot of photographers don't have the
space to set up and keep set up a makeshift studio. That means tearing the equipment
down and storing it. Along the same lines, since the Photoflex equipment is
so compact and lightweight, photographers will most likely want to take it with
them when shooting on location. That raises the one thing I believe this kit
lacks--a case. But cases are available as an option. The company's
Transpac cases make toting the kits around a little easier.
Documentation could also be better. Each kit included a poor quality, double-sided
single-page photocopy with assembly and usage information. There should be a
nicely produced quick-start guide with information on how to get the most out
of the equipment. For example, it would be nice if there were instructions on
how to easily refold the igloo without having to search for it online.
But going online solves many of these questions, and more. The company provides
lots of information on lighting principles, equipment lessons, lighting lessons,
specifics on how things work, and product comparisons at: www.photoflexlightingschool.com.
The most recent addition to the site is the lighting principles content, which
provides short, easy-to-understand lessons designed to explain the dynamics
of light as related to photography.
The First Studio Product Kit has an MSRP of $349.95, while the Portrait Kit
lists for $324.95. Photographers who need both product and portrait capabilities
can go with one of the kits and either add umbrellas to the Product Kit or a
LiteIgloo to the Portrait Kit. The 45" white-lining ADW45 umbrellas are
priced at $39.95 each, while the medium LiteIgloo costs $109.95.
For more information, contact Photoflex Products Inc., 97 Hangar Way, Watsonville,
CA 95076; (800) 486-2674, (831) 786-1370; www.photoflex.com.