Quantum’s Turbo Slim Compact Battery & More; The Studio In A Shoebox Revisited Page 2

In My Temporary Studio
You can always use the Turbo SC-powered Qflash by bouncing it off the wall or ceiling but it produces more predictable, consistent, and soft light with a softbox attached. Not any softbox will fit in a shoebox but to minimize the size and maximize the Qflash's performance Quantum offers the QF69 Mini Folding Softbox ($71.25). It delivers far better performance than its diminutive size would otherwise indicate. The softbox has a hot spot reducer and is ideal for headshots or close-up work when you need a smooth, soft, diffused look. The QF69 does not obstruct Qflash sensors and can be used in all modes with all Qflash-series units. It folds flat and comes with a handy pouch for easy storage and transport. But sometimes you need more than one light. That's when a Qnexus comes in handy.

The Qnexus ($154) is a tiny model that attaches to your Qflash and links it to the wireless TTL systems that are built into Canon and Nikon D-SLRs and their dedicated flash units. When mounted (you just plug it in) to a Qflash 5d-R professional flash unit the Qnexus mimics the features of camera manufacturers' flashes and reads the Canon or Nikon wireless infrared code in Manual, Automatic, TTL, and TTL-Ratio modes. And Qnexus supports all Canon and Nikon wireless flash functions from as far away as 100-200 ft!

Qnexus features a multifunctional LED that indicates if it's programmed for Canon or Nikon wireless flash commands and also indicates when the unit receives a command from the on-camera master flash or controller. A channel dial corresponds to the channel settings that are part of the Canon or Nikon flash systems. In addition, Group settings can be utilized to control multiple Qflashes with TTL ratios or combine them in one group for maximum wireless flash power. For more lighting power for group photos, for example, you can use multiple Qflashes controlled by a Canon or Nikon on-camera master flash.

Replacing the ST-E2 with a 550EX flash set in Master mode and on the same channel as the Qnexus, the exposure was changed to 1/60 sec at f/9 and ISO 100 but the dimensionality of the portrait was immeasurably improved. More importantly, there was no guesswork or tricky calculations when switching from one light to two; I made a test shot and adjusted the exposure based on the test's histogram. After that the automation built into the camera and both flashes, with a little help from Qnexus, produced consistent exposures.
A compact "studio in a shoebox" composed of a Quantum Qflash 5d-R, Qnexus, Turbo SC, and your Canon or Nikon flash makes it possible to create nice-looking portraits on location in very little space (this was made in my basement) and with fast set up and knockdown. Exposure was 1¼60 sec at f/10 and ISO 125 in Manual mode with a Canon EOS 5D.

When compared to the manufacturer's standard flash unit, a Qflash 5d-R flash equipped with the Qnexus gives you an additional 150-400 ws of studio-quality lighting. You can even mix and match remote Canon or Nikon brand flashes with remote Qflashes. If you're happy with a one-light system, you can trigger the Qflash with Canon's ST-E2 transmitter mounted on the camera's hot shoe or set a flash, such as the 550EX I used, to "Master" mode. As long as both the Qnexus and flash are set to operate on the same channel you can have a two-light E-TTL system that adds dimension and shape to your shoebox portraits.

Every one of these components, the Turbo SC, QBC light stand clamp, Qflash 5d-R, Qnexus, and QF69 Mini Folding Softbox easily fit into one of my shoeboxes. All you have to do is add a light stand (think small and use one of Manfrotto's 3373 Nano stands) and your own camera's system flash and you have a two-light system that produces portraits of surprising quality that uses your camera and flash system's automation. If you're a wedding photographer and need to set up and make portraits in little time and space, this system is ideal for you. It will also work for anybody who needs a portable, easy-to-use system that sets up fast and produces high-quality results.

Technical Specifications
Quantum's Turbo Slim Compact
Full-Power Flashes: For shoe flash--400; handle flash--325; Qflash--225
Recycling Speed: Shoe flash--1.4 seconds; handle flash--1.8 seconds; Qflash--3.0 seconds
Recharge Time: 1.5 hrs
Extension Cord: 10 ft QT49
Mounting Clamp: QBC
Dual Connector: QT48
Size: 5.14x3.6x1.3"
Weight: 15 oz
Price: $423

For more information, contact Quantum Instruments, Inc., 10 Commerce Dr., Hauppauge, NY 11788; (631) 656-7400; www.qtm.com.

Acknowledgements: Lighting stories are always a challenge for me and I suspect other Shutterbug writers as well, if only because of the logistics and budget (there is none) for hiring models. For the past 25 years I've conscripted my wife Mary to be a model in many of these lighting equipment tests and she has always been willing to pose, partially because she's a photographer and partially because she likes to do it. That's why I'd like to thank Mary for her help with this review.