The F.J. Westcott Co. recently expanded its Spiderlite line of lighting equipment
with the introduction of a power pack as well as two self-contained strobe heads.
Westcott has a wide selection of Spiderlite equipment, including various-sized
softboxes, several different head types, stands, and both halogen and fluorescent
The equipment is relatively lightweight. It's always been marketed as
being portable. But there was one limitation. It required AC power. That meant
having to be near a 120v outlet. Westcott's new portable power pack breaks
that tether. It makes it possible to use the company's gear virtually
anywhere in the field. The combination of the 16x23 softbox, three-light head,
and power pack is a very manageable field lighting system. The portable power
pack consists of a relatively small, 14v NiCd battery, a NiCd battery charger,
and a 400w DC/AC current inverter. Once the battery pack is charged, the inverter
is plugged into it, and the head's power cord is plugged into one of the
inverter's two 120v plugs.
The Spiderlite TD3 head is at the heart of the portable, battery-powered,
Westcott lighting system. Depending upon the types of bulbs that
are being used, it can be configured to work as a strobe light source
or as a continuous light source.
Other recent additions are strobe heads, the 4201 Master Studio Strobe and
the 4200 Studio Strobe. Even though they're small, they can certainly
generate sufficient light. At 6 ft, they produce sufficient light for an f/16
exposure. Recycle time isn't particularly fast, but, at 6 seconds, it's
more than acceptable for most shooting situations.
Various combinations of softboxes, heads, and bulbs were tested. For studio
work, a two-softbox setup works very well. With the halogen lamps, each 24x30"
softbox produces a soft, warm light. There are various head options that can
be used with the softboxes, including a single-bulb head, a three-bulb head,
and a five-bulb head. The single-bulb head only takes oversized halogen lamps.
The three- and five-bulb heads can take either halogen lamps or fluorescents.
The three- and five-bulb heads were designed to make it easy to adjust light
ratios. With the three-bulb head, either one, two, or all three of the lights
can be on at a time. With the five-bulb head, one, three, or five bulbs can
be used for shooting. Individual toggle switches on the back of the heads control
which light patterns are selected.