Review: Westcott Flex Bi-Color Mat

There has been a growing trend in photography leaning more towards working with constant lighting vs strobe; and the Westcott Flex Bi-Color mat seems to really cater to that thought process. I mean, just look at lots of the photography out there and how much it’s involving the use of neon lighting with a portrait subject these days. There’s sure a look there that isn’t very easy to do with strobe. Though for what it’s worth, the Flex Bi-Color isn’t really designed to deliver “that” look. Instead, think of it as a giant Rogue Flashbender with LED Lights built in, a very solid frame, and a very simple control interface.

Then consider that the light temperature works in the same way that color temperature works with none of the tinting abilities and absolutely no reasonable way to gel the light.

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Review: Pictools Folding Beauty Dish (47.25 inches)

There’s been a trend in beauty dish creation over the past few years that the Pictools Folding beauty dish really adheres to: good quality while being easy to put together and use. To boot, the beauty dish is also fairly compact when fully collapsed. It goes into its own bag and can be assembled fairly quickly if you’re just a bit patient with some of its oddities.

What you’ll be rewarded with is a pretty awesome beauty dish that I personally feel works better as an octabank; and quite a sturdy one too!

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Review: Sony FA-WRC1M Wireless Radio Commander and Receiver

When I was being briefed on the Sony FA-WRC1M Wireless Radio Commander for flashes before announcement, I couldn’t at all contain my glee. It meant a whole lot to me. It meant that Sony was going to take wireless flash control, strobists, and higher end photographers more seriously. They’re also only the second company to do so–following in the footsteps of Canon in a way. The flash commander also works as a camera remote. That part I didn’t totally understand but know that a whole lot of other units out there do the same thing. When I was working at B&H Photo, their Vello house brand did the same thing.

Overall, it seemed pretty positive. Seemed…

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Review: Impact Venture VE-TTL (Sony Version)

In the past few years, Sony has been receiving more and more third party support in terms of flash support–Godox, Flashpoint, Phottix, Profoto and others have started supporting the system and the new Impact Venture VE-TTL monolight is one of the latest offerings to offer TTL support with Sony’s flash system. Designed for professional photographers and semi-professionals, this flash system offers lots of power in one of the smallest packages I’ve ever seen. With 600 watt seconds of output, it’s incredibly capable and designed amazingly well.

Impact is a B&H Photo house brand and they’ve had products of varying degrees over the past few years. The LiteTrek and the original Powersyncs are some of the best. I saw this light at their offices a while back, and quite honestly became very excited and intrigued.

And as a Sony shooter that emphasizes the use of a minimal kit but the right lights to deliver my creative vision, I’m thoroughly impressed by the light.

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Review: Interfit 65″ White Parabolic Umbrella

Umbrellas are by far my favorite lighting modifiers due to the variety of looks they can deliver–and the latest from Interfit is surely no exception to the rule. Their 65″ Parabolic White Umbrella is great for working with portrait subjects but it’s also quite solid when it comes to build quality and overall versatility. Of course, this isn’t a true adjustable parabolic but it can deliver that look. This just makes sense though as Interfit has been trying to take higher end concepts and make them more affordable to the semi-professional photographer for a while. So in truth, I wasn’t sure what to expect but what I got was quite a surprise.

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Review: ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro Super Soft Silver Reflector

These days, I’m generally not the type of photographer that shoots with a flash in the hot shoe of a camera–and in some ways it seems like the ExpoImaging Rogue Flash Bender XL Pro in Soft Silver wasn’t really designed for this. Photographers have loved the Flash Benders for a very long time due to how they bend light. They’re a staple for wedding and event photographers, but when the Extra Large came, out, they started to break more into the off-camera flash realm.

After teaming up with Frank Doorhof for their creation, the soft silver is designed to work for portraiture. It’s got the best of both worlds: the softening of white reflectors, but the sharpness that only silver reflectors can provide.

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Review: Flashpoint Xplor600 Monolight (Canon TTL)

At this point in the game, if you’ve been trying to figure out which TTL monolight to purchase, then the Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight isn’t exactly going to make life any easier. In a photography world with options from Profoto, Interfit, and Phottix you’re already quite confused about what to go with. But now you’ve got a very affordable option. The Flashpoint Xplor600 is based off of the Godox system and even uses their transmitters. It’s capable of deliver TTL flash output for Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras. Additionally, it can do things like high speed sync, stroboscopic modes, and offer almost full control over the monolight from the user’s remote.

One thing’s for sure though: f you’re a photographer looking to step up from the standard speedlites, the Xplor600 is an absolute incredible choice.

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Review: Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL (Sony)

The Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL is a flash that I’ve honestly been waiting for for a very long time. While Sony has announced their own radio transmitter and receiver to work with their own flashes, sometimes all you need is a really good an affordable flash and transmitter. Seriously, how do you beat $165 for a flash and a transmitter that both have solid build quality?

But that’s not all that this flash has. It’s got a radio receiver built in, TTL, groups, channels, manual control, multi-stroboscopic flash abilities, and full incorporation with what Sony’s platform offers.

If you’re a strobist, looking for a budget friendly option and the most bang for your buck for your Sony camera with a multi-interface shoe, then you’d honestly be stupid not purchase this–and I say that with complete and total honesty.

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