Review: ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL Monolight with On Board Power (Sony)

The ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL Monolight gives you a whole lot in an affordable package.

Adorama’s ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL Monolight is quite a powerful package. With 600 watt seconds of power, it’s going to give you more than enough light output to light a wedding hall and for most portraiture gigs. Attach a very big umbrella to it and it will obviously deliver enough power. But then consider how simple it is to use. Adorama has been refining this over the years with their Flashpoint brand and while it is more or less a variation of a GODOX light, the difference is that you can get quicker service often from Adorama right here in the US. While you’re not getting the Profoto name or build quality, I can almost guarantee you that photographers who use this light won’t be able to tell the difference between the light output from the ORLIT and a Profoto’s.

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Flash Review: Profoto A1 (Canon Version Using Sony Air TTL Trigger)

The Profoto A1 is what many photographers have wanted for a while. But is it the perfect tool?

When the Profoto A1 was announced, I was very curious. Granted, I love lights that are as small as speedlites, but also thoroughly enjoy the power a full blown monolight provides. I was reminded of that even more so on a recent Sony Press trip. In many ways, and for the wedding photography crowd, the Profoto A1 could be the absolute most perfect light ever made. It offers a lot of color consistency, has a fast recycle time, works best with fast lenses, is small, and can integrate with whatever supported camera system you have when used wirelessly. It isn’t bad for location shoots either. Then, you consider just how fantastic the battery life is and how critical that is to wedding photographers, and you realize you have a perfect product for a working pro.

But at the same time, you’ll need to justify the price. And if you’re a location portrait shooter, you’ll really need to remember to bring your fast lenses with you. In many cases I saw, F2.8 zooms just won’t cut it.

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Review: Godox Xpro-N TTL Wireless Flash Trigger (Nikon DSLRs)

The Godox Xpro-N TTL Wireless Flash Trigger is a fantastic option with one big, glaring problem.

It’s no secret at this point that Godox makes some fantastic products, so when the Godox Xpro-N TTL Wireless Flash Trigger came in for review I was really optimistic. The small China based company has been producing flashes and triggers that have been putting the Japanese to shame at a much more affordable price point. With the new Godox Xpro-N TTL Wireless Flash Trigger, they’re upping their game even more. this trigger is designed for use with Nikon DSLRs and lets you use a flash like the Godox TT685s designed for Sony and get TTL with it. Again, you’re using a Nikon camera and transmitter with a Sony specific flash and getting TTL. Crazy, right? It may seem that way, but it works out very well!

Unfortunately, there’s also one really big problem that isn’t specific to it, but more to the system.

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Review: ANGLER Parasail Parabolic Umbrella

Very few photographic umbrellas have had me confused like the ANGLER Parasail Parabolic umbrella–but after working with this umbrella, its nuances started to become a bit more clear. I mean, look at the thing. It doesn’t look like any sort of umbrella. It’s shaped more like a Roman Centurion’s shield and has the relative rectangular design of a softbox. In a world where light modifiers seem to be changing, innovating and overlapping, the target audience for the ANGLER Parasail Parabolic umbrella seems to be those that sometimes need an umbrella and sometimes need a softbox. With its convertible design to be a very soft silver reflection type or a thick opaque white shoot through configuration, the ANGLER Parasail Parabolic umbrella’s best feature is its versatility due to being suspended on a rod and its easy ability to turn one way or another.

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Review: Profoto B1X (Sony TTL Version)

If you’re a working photographer that uses studio lighting, then chances are that you’ve been considering a light like the Profoto B1X since first hearing about it. Profoto lights are already at the top of the game and all the studios use them, and what makes the Profoto B1X so special is the added versatility over the original Profoto B1 monolights. For example, the modelling light has 50% more power for video users. Then there’s the ability to do high speed sync at up to 1/8,000 and with a flash duration of 1/19,000. That’s pretty insane! And then you have to remember Profoto’s color consistency assurance, their Air Remote TTL system, and the solid build quality. I can go on and on about Profoto and how great their lights are and how little extra post-production work you’ll need to do because of how good they are, but the truth is that some folks still have no problems with extra long post-production that I sometimes find to be unnecessary.

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Review: Fujifilm EF-X500 Flash (Fujifilm X Series)

The Fujifilm EF-X500 flash may be an option for photographers who want and need to use a flash when documenting and doing photojournalistic work; but it absolutely baffles me that a camera company with a fantastic medium format camera system hasn’t started to work with some sort of third party lighting manufacturer like Profoto to get some sort of integration into their system. To be fair, this isn’t Fujifilm alone. Canon’s radio system is crippled. Nikon’s isn’t what it used to be. Sony’s flash system is laughable. Olympus and Panasonic have never had such a great option. Pentax? Don’t even get me started.

But Fujifilm–a company with such a decorated history and an entry in the medium format camera system, doesn’t have a solid flash system. The Fujifilm EF-X500 is the company’s answer and attempt at this market but in many ways the company failed out of the gate. But in other ways, they’re not doing such a terrible job and I’m just being extra critical and venting via my own blog.

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Review: Interfit Honey Badger Monolight (NSFW)

Today, Interfit is announcing their new Interfit Honey Badger Monolight that is designed to function as an affordable option for someone that needs both a monolight and a constant light. In fact, we’re talking about a $299 price point with a softbox included. Now, the Interfit Honey Badger doesn’t have a built in battery–which would put it over the top. But if you’re right by a power source it shouldn’t be that difficult to work with. Instead, the Interfit Honey Badger will appeal most to the photographers who work in a given studio location that doesn’t really change vs those who do location work. To add extra value to the Interfit Honey Badger the light can be controlled with their transmitter wirelessly and also act as a constant light. It doesn’t offer TTL output and only has a flash duration of 1/900th; but if you’re shooting in a studio then you’re doing everything you can to control the light output as it is.

So let’s dive into this review.

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Review: FlashQ Q20 Miniature Flash/LED Light

The FlashQ Q20 is a response to the need for small, simple to use flashes that also do double duty as LED lights. For today’s creative content creator, it’s a dream–but the implementation of the FlashQ Q20 is something far more likely to be in the hands of an amateur or photographer getting started than an actual working photog. To be fair, it doesn’t seem like it was designed to take on the likes of Adorama’s Flashpoint, B&H Photo’s Impact, Godox, Yongnuo, etc. Instead, the FlashQ Q20 sort of fills a totally different niche. Though it’s marketed as being versatile and easy to use, my independent analysis believes the opposite to actually be true–to a point.

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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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Review: Shanny SN600EX-RF Flash (Canon TTL)

When you think about great third party flash options, what you immediately think about are both Phottix and Yongnuo–but if you haven’t checked out Shanny then you should. They’re not anywhere as popular as the others and providing that everyone and their mother suddenly think that they can grab a factory in China and throw their name on a product, it’s tough to get through all the rest. However, Shanny does a couple of things that in many ways are very true to Canon’s own interface and also much more simplistic for the user.

At the same time though, they’re not perfect–and some things may straight drive you insane when you’re on a shoot.

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Review: Phottix Laso Wireless Flash Triggers (Canon)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Laso review images (10 of 18)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 2.8

Phottix for years now have been known as a company that offers much of what Nikon and Canon do at a more affordable price point and with pretty good build quality. The company built its name starting with the Odin triggers, and from there they expanded to flashes, light modifiers and most recently monolights. But this year, they announced the Phottix Laso triggers: specifically designed to work with Canon brand flashes with Nikon support coming.

These triggers are much different from what the public is used to seeing from Phottix. They look much more high end but share the very simple ease of use that the previous triggers from Phottix did.

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Review: Interfit S1 Monolight (Canon TTL)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Interfit S1 product images (6 of 10)ISO 2001-30 sec at f - 2.8

When you look at the TTL Monolight market, you’ve got Profoto, Phottix and the latest option is the Interfit S1. Interfit hasn’t been a household name like Profoto, Phottix, Bowens, Elinchrom or Paul C Buff, but with the S1 we get the impression that the company wants to do more with what they have. Interfit is trying to give strobists almost every feature that you can get with Phottix and Profoto, but at a more affordable price in the S1.

Typically, that comes with tradeoffs. As of the publication of this review, those tradeoffs involve reliability issues that Interfit says they’re working on. But the rest seems solid.

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Review: Aperlite YH-700C Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Aperlite YH-700C flash review images (4 of 10)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.2

Aperlite isn’t as well known as Phottix or Yongnuo when it comes to affordable third party flashes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality isn’t there. In a world where everyone and their mother is creating a Me Too flash of some sort, getting to the best of the best is tough to do. The Aperlite YH-700C is a flash. Yes, that’s it. It’s an ordinary flash with TTL capabilities with both Canon and Nikon cameras. No radio wireless control, no crazy features at all–just a flash that’s very akin to Canon’s older 580 EX II. That means you’ve got TTL, manual and stroboscopic modes in addition to a tilting and swiveling head.

It isn’t exactly doing anything to push the technology barriers, but for what you’re paying for there isn’t a whole lot to complain about.

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Review: Samsung ED-SEF580 Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung GN58 Flash review product images (1 of 10)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 3.2

Samsung has been on a roll for a while with new technology in their lenses and cameras, but we should never forget about the other integral part of a camera system: flash. Not long ago, Samsung introduced the ED-SEF580, a Guide Number 58 flash that is meant to be used in the hot shoe of your camera or used off-camera and triggered via infrared transmission.

With enough of them around, a very excellent flash setup can be arranged–though that can become quite costly. For the most part, they’re very on par with what many other manufacturers offer. In general though, we have to be honest and state that at this point in the technology game, we expect much more from Samsung.

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