Recently, I attended a photography event, This Is Studio Light, organized by my friend Scott Wyden and hosted by Dynalite. I am a big supporter of helping others learn the craft of photography, as well as learning as much as I possibly can and that’s what we did that day. We started the day with a presentation by Scott called “Photography Studio Lighting On A Budget”(free on Udemy). We then discussed light modifiers with Dynalite’s Jim Morton. Since a lot of Dynalite’s equipment has built-in 32 channel Pocket Wizard transceivers to enable wireless shooting, we had Pocket Wizard Plus III’s and X’s to use. While shooting I got a quick hands on with a few Dynalite products for the first time.
Here is what I thought.
We brought in models and a makeup artist to help us test out all the products. After the presentations, there was shooting time in the Dynalite studio. The goal was to have one male and one female model for everyone to light and shoot. We also included a makeup artist who ended up becoming one of our models as well. Since I was shooting portraits I brought my Nikon D700 + grip, extra battery, my Tamaron 28-105mm f2.8, Nikon 85mm f1.8 D and two Pocket Wizard Plus III transceivers. I had a Black Rapid RS7 Strap and a 3 Legged Thing Brian Tripod as well. I carried everything in my Think Tank Urban Disguise 60.
Dynalite SH 2000 Blower Cooled Studio Flash Head
This was a great light source. The light it put out was fantastic and constant. The SH 2000 was the star of the day and part of that had to do with the recycle time–which was phenomenal. It just kept working without fail. While that doesn’t sound like a small feat, keep in mind that there were about 11 Pocket Wizards in the room triggering the lights for shots, for test and by mistake. The SH 2000 kept working throughout all this. The light and color was always consistent. Not bad at all.
At the end of the shoot, everyone realized how good build quality was. The bulb’s holes allowed the air being pulled by the fan of the flash head to cool it off quickly. The light pole connectors were sturdy and secure. Everything about the lights felt durable. These heads have friction brackets to adjust the head angle as well as a ratchet handle, which was easy to control. There are holes to accept umbrellas up to a half inch. It can also be used in all soft boxes. It’s a nice lighting solution. Weighing in at only 3.25 lb/1.4 kg these light seemed like they would be easy to travel with.
Key features and specs from Adorama
- Interchangeable accessories
- 250 watt modeling light
- User-replaceable flash tube assembly
- UV color-corrected flash tube
- Compatible with Lowel light controls
- Abuse resistant design
Dynalite SR 80 beauty dish
This was a great Mola style dish. The Dynalite SR 80 18″ Soft Light Reflector was paired with the SH 2000. This was powered by an MP 400 which was an interesting tool to use. Admittedly, I have never used a beauty dish before, but I really enjoyed this one. The light that was produced was very nice and even. Using it as a one light set up with a reflector seemed utterly brilliant.
After using the Dynalite 18″ Soft Light Reflector I gained a respect for beauty dishes. The build quality of the SR 80 was very nice. It was not heavy and easy to maneuver. It had an 18″ (45.7cm) diameter reflector and intensified the light nicely.
I love the simple specs (more of an overview) of the SR 80 on Adorama
- An 18″ flat, even 80° soft light, white reflector used for beauty and glamor applications.
Roadmax Power packs
To power our studio fun, we used Roadmax series power packs. The MP 400 and MP 800 were relatively light and easy to carry. These power packs were interesting because you could trigger them from any Pocket Wizard or Sekonic light meter. This eliminated lots of cable on the floor, enabling a safer studio shoot. The power packs had the Dynalite SH2000 connected to them and the recycle times were fantastic.
There are some good things that come out of New Jersey. These power packs are great examples. In terms of build quality these packs are built nicely. As Dynalite’s Jim Morton passed around the Roadmax series packs, I was impressed how light they felt yet solid at the same time. Nothing seemed to move internally. All the knobs and switches are sturdy and durable. I really enjoyed shooting with them.
Standard Features of the Roadmax Series Packs from Dynalite
- Built In Pocket Wizard™ Receiver: Digital radio circuitry allows you to eliminate sync cords and wirelessly synchronize any number of power packs with high consistency, sensitivity and broad range – even on bright outdoor sets. You can trigger from any Pocket Wizard™ transmitter or Sekonic™ meter with transmitter.
- Power Control Switch: Two full/half/quarter power switches to provide seven basic power settings. Arc proof.
- Combined/Ratio Output Switch: One switch lets you toggle between Symmetrical and Asymmetrical routing of the “A” and “B” flash head outlet banks. LED indicates combined mode. Arc proof.
- All Channel Dimmer: Two f/stop variator fine-tunes power settings on all heads simultaneously, in 2/10 stop increments. Used in conjunction with the Power Control Switches the pack has a full 6 f/stop range. From 2000 ws. to 62.5 ws.
- Modeling Light Control: Dual proportional dimmer slide switch control includes FULL OFF so that the cooling fan may continue to run.
- Flash Head Outlets: Four Arc protected so you can plug and unplug flash head cables without shutting down the power pack.
- Ready Light Test Switch: This low profile button serves as a flash test switch and signals 100% flash readiness.
- Audible Ready Indicator: 100% recycle indicator with its own ON/OFF switch for applications that demand it.
- Sync Input Socket: Choose standard mono plug sync cord, Wein Slave Eye (responds consistently to other flashes or infrared triggering) or Pocket WizardTM Receiver. ISO approved low voltage sync circuit.
Rime Lite Grand Studio
This light modifier was HUGE and stunning to look at. It was largest light modifier I have ever used. The Rime Lite Grand with the Dynalite SH 2000 Head and Road Max MP800 were a great lighting kit. When shooting, I had this set up with another SH 2000 low to the ground behind the model. The light was beautifully controlled. The funny thing is I was standing in front of the Rime lite grand and I did not get in the way of the light. If I had a decent sized studio this would be one of my tools.
Dynalite does not, however, make the Rime lite, but they are a distributor for them. It was a very impressive light modifier.
Specs from Adorama
- Size 91″ (230 cm)
- Shape 16-sided round
- Compatibility Dynalite flash heads
- Removable Front Face No
- Removable Interior Baffle Yes
- Required Speed Ring Yes
- Accepts Grids No
- Depth 39.4″ (100 cm)
- Weight 5.07 lb / 2.3 kg
Pocket Wizard X
This came out not too long after I purchased a pair of Pocket Wizard IIIs. While we did a review of them here I actually never got my hand on one till this event. Pocket Wizard loaned us a few Plus X’s for the event. The Pocket Wizard X is more solidly build that I thought, especially when compared side by side with the III’s. The X is also incredibly easy to use. I put one in the hands of a photographer, who’s never used a trigger, and he had no issue using them.
I liked the Pocket Wizard Xs so much and they were so affordable that I bought one. In the studio they were ultra-easy to use, and honestly, that is all most photographers really want.
Features from Adorama
- Auto-Sensing Transceiver: Easy to use. No settings to make.
- 10 Channels: 1-4 Classic plus 5-10 low-traffic channels
- Backlit Channel Dial: Easy to set channels in the dark
- Internal Antenna: Compact, more rugged design
- Auto-Relay Mode: Trigger remote camera and flashes simultaneously
- Transmit Only Mode: Positive operation in large groups
- Side View Design: Better subject view on camera
- Pocket Wizard reliability: Pocket Wizard compatibility
Here a video we made for Pocket Wizard (I appear)
In the End
The studio experience was fantastic. I learned a lot and even taught a little. Dynalite has a great product line which I hope I can get to know better in the near future.
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