We’ve been in touch with Phottix for many years about the delivery of a monolight to the mass market. It went through lots of changes and redesigns, but at Photokina 2014, the company announced their Indra 500 monolight. Like Profoto’s B1’s, this light is a monolight with TTL light transmission built into it. The fact that it outputs around 500 watt seconds also means that it can deliver as much light as many speedlights.
We had the chance to spend some quality time with the Indra 500 at Photo Plus 2014; and we walked away feeling that this has to be the most exciting monolight that we’ve seen in a while.
Taken from our announcement post
500W Studio Light
TTL, Manual and Stroboscopic Modes
High Speed Sync – 1/8000s shutter speeds
Second Curtain Sync
Adjust +/- 3 EV
Manual Power 1/128 to Full Power in 1/3 Stops
Wireless Radio Power Control with Phottix Odin and Mitros+ systems
Odin for Canon and Nikon Receivers Built in
Phottix Strato II Receiver Built in
LED Modeling Light
Battery and AC Adapter Powered
400 full-power shots when using 5000 mAh Indra Battery Pack, 2 second recycle times
Phottix’s Indra is more than anything, really small. How many times have you seen a monolight not dominate the entire opening of an octabank? The light’s portability is one of its strongest ergonomic features. But there is much more to it than being small and the long green logo along the side.
The monolight has a frosted dome over the flash bulb and comes with an equally small umbrella reflector for either normal lighting use or to help home the umbrella in place along with focusing the light beam. The Indra 500 is a Bowen’s mount light that will equip the according speedrings for light modifying purposes.
What Phottix did that we really like was putting an umbrella holder on top of the light. This is very much like the Einstein E640 and makes using un umbrella a breeze without needing an umbrella adapter for your light stand.
The back of the light is where you’ll control it if you’re not doing that from your Odin or other transmitter. The green button is a dial that can be pressed in for the selection of certain control parameters. But there are also many buttons around the LCD screen–which dominates the back.
This back also has a handle for easier moving and positioning of the light.
As you can also see, the battery connects to the light via a cable on the bottom.
The company designed a very subtle extra into the light too! There is a little flap that lifts up to expose the radio trigger port and the USB port for firmware upgrades.
To power the light, you’ll need one of the company’s battery packs. They look very much like other packs on the market, so we don’t expect them to be reinventing the wheel here.
Steve, the company’s founder, told us that the monolight can run for a certain amount of time with the modeling light on when plugged into the battery pack. To date, Protofo is the only manufacturer to not have a single problem with the modelling lamp and batteries. And to be fair, they’re quite a bit more pricey.
What we’re so amazed by with the Indra 500 is just how small it is. For comparison’s sake, its around half the size of a Profoto B1–but there is a good reason for this. Profoto’s offering has the battery built into the monolight while Phottix’s requires the use of an external battery pack.
The monolight is very lightweight and otherwise feels very nice in the hands. What we’re incredibly happy about is the fact that Phottix also included an umbrella holder on top. Phottix tried to keep the usability simple by including few buttons in the small package.
Again, we’re amazed that such a small light can output 500 watt seconds of power.
Ease of Use
Our learned curve with the light only involved a few questions. For the most part, what we needed to do the most was learn to cycle through the menus and remember that turning the green dial can help you select different options. Using the option provided, you’ll need to cycle through what radio trigger you’d be using with the light. Each light incorporates TTL transmission for both Canon and Nikon lights and can use a variety of the company’s triggers for transmission.
If you don’t have Phottix triggers, you can also use PocketWizards or others without control over the light or TTL transmission.
For what it’s worth, when you use the Odin trigger, you won’t really need to go over to the Indra anyway. If you have the Odin II triggers, you’ll be able to have control over the modelling light.
Otherwise, think of it as a Mitros+ but much more powerful. And with that said, yes it indeed does high speed sync and stroboscopic flash.
It was only a matter of time until Phottix released a light like this, and of many of the things that we saw at Photo Plus this year, Phottix’s Indra 500 has to be one of the most exciting. We’re calling in the Phottix Indra 500 for testing; and I can guarantee you that I’m going to be like a good kid on Christmas when it comes in.