Mary and I have fond memories of using early generation Bowens monolights; they were our first really “good” lighting system when we set up our studio in 1982. We loved shooting with those big, black, paint-can-shaped 800B monolights because they were inexpensive, dependable, and powerful. From what I can tell from my tests of their two-light Gemini 400Rx Kit that continues to be the case.
These days it seems that using LED lighting systems for studio portraiture is like puppies and kittens—everybody loves them, and why not? All you need to do is turn on an LED light panel and shoot, right? While there’s obviously more to it than that, the WYSIWYG nature of LED lighting is especially helpful for new or aspiring pros who want to get up and running quickly or in applications where the lighting needs to be consistent so lots of portraits can be made in a short amount of time, something event photographers will take to heart. With that in mind I recently tested Bowens’ Mosaic LED light panels (#1). Originally developed for film and video use, they are available in models designed for mounting on traditional light stands for portraiture, so I put them to work in my home studio.
OK, I'll be the first one to admit that I'm a klutz. I like to work with long lenses (an 85mm lens is short to me) and am constantly backing up into whatever boyfriend, husband, or hanger-on that models feel...
Bowens, a leading provider of lighting equipment and related accessories, is adding two new lights to its Esprit Gemini monobloc line: the Esprit Gemini Digital 250 (GM250) and the Esprit Gemini Digital 500 (GM500), which was the one tested here. While they are called digital units, they aren't targeted specifically at photographers who shoot digitally and are just as...
The monolights that I’ve recently tested for Shutterbug combine power supply and flash head into a single unit. Handy, but an alternative approach is using power pack and flash head systems, such as those made by Broncolor (www.bronimaging.com), who offer these components as individual units that can be mixed and matched to produce different lighting setups.
I’m not an equipment snob. That applies to both cameras and lighting gear. I’ve always believed that it’s that gray matter in back of your eyeball that determines whether or not you get a decent image, not the price tag on your gear. I like fast lenses and dislike variable apertures, so I pay for them. With lighting equipment, higher prices usually mean more power, more features and flexibility, and better construction. With that in mind, let’s see what the very reasonably priced Genesis 300 B monolight ($399 with battery) from Calumet offers.
It’s called “continuous lighting” because it’s on continuously, much like a light bulb or the sun for that matter, enabling you to use your in-camera meter to measure the light falling on your subject. Continuous lighting lets you see how all of the light—shadows and highlights—is falling on your subject, but continuous sources sometimes use quartz or photoflood bulbs that can be hot, even dangerously so, leading to the use of the term “hot lights” to describe them. An increasing number of continuous lighting tools are now being made using other kinds of light sources, even LED, producing cool “hot” lights. And that brings us to the subject of this review—the Calumet (www.calumetphoto.com) Pro Series LED Panel Light.
If you're a location photographer who needs a lighting kit that's lightweight, rugged, and can handle whatever kind of assignment that gets thrown at it, Calumet's Travelite 750 One-Head Umbrella Kit may be just what you need. With a price tag under $550...
Shooting with powerful studio style flash units has always meant dealing with the dreadful PC sync cord. That horrible little PC sync connection on your camera hasn't changed much in the past 60 years, and it remains the least reliable link in the world of most studio photographers.
Serious lighting equipment isn't just for high-paid commercial photographers anymore. There are a growing number of new, sophisticated, electronic lighting systems available that meet the needs and budgets of most serious photographers, including those who previously would never have considered acquiring professional-type flash systems.
When you have lots of small items to photograph in minute detail, a ringlight is the easiest method of producing consistent results with soft, gentle lighting that shows the item most advantageously. Instead of having distracting shadows such as...
Photographers all have their favorite light modifiers. Some like umbrellas, some softboxes, others parabolics, and then there’s the beauty dish, which seems to be a combination of a softbox and a parabolic. For those not familiar with the beauty dish, it’s a round but narrow modifier that you attach to your light. Think of it as a parabolic reflector painted white inside and flattened. If you stopped there, and you could, you’d have a pretty harsh light that makes a well-defined circular pattern with distinct shadows. But there is another little modification that makes a very big difference and also softens the light considerably while still maintaining that circular pattern. There is a bulb cover or center bounce dish that blocks the direct light from the flash and bounces it back into the dish. When used this way, the light output sits midway between a softbox and a parabolic.
Graslon Prodigy And Insight Flash Diffusers
Made in the U.S.A., Graslon’s Prodigy and Insight flash diffusers were designed to provide softer shadows than traditional portable diffusers. Graslon diffusers feature an optical reflector system that redistributes the light before sending it through the lens. They also have a universal nonslip mounting system and a variety of interchangeable diffusion lenses, including flat, dome, and amber. The Prodigy line offers a large 8x5” diffusion surface, while the Insight line offers a smaller 6x4” diffusion surface.