Review: TriggerTrap Flash Adapter

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer TriggerTrap Flash Adapter review images (5 of 12)ISO 4001-180 sec at f - 1.4

A while back, Triggertrap introduced the Flash Adapter, which allows Triggertrap to become its own flash trigger. When used with its sound sensor, Triggertrap can trigger a flash or strobe with just a loud sound to make it go off. The setup is very simple gear-wise, but setting this up otherwise can take some work and will need planning and experimentation. But once you have it down, you’ll be able to apply many more creative decisions to your photography.

If you’re a fan of droplet photography or capturing high speed moving subjects, then you’ll want to check this out.

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Review: Metz 64 AF-1 Flash (Sony Alpha E)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Metz flash product photos (1 of 10)ISO 6401-50 sec at f - 4.0

Editor’s Correction: In an earlier version of this article, we called the flash the 54 AF-1. It is indeed the 64 AF-1. We apologize for this mistake.

Metz believes that the future of the flash is very…touchy. To be specific, we’re talking about a touch screen. So when the 64 AF-1 was shown to us around Photokina 2014, we were quite intrigued. The flashes are available for Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Sony and the Micro Four Thirds world. It tries to be futuristic with its massive touch LCD screen. Metz has been long known in the industry for having a more affordable alternative to the camera manufacturers, but in recent years they’ve stepped back to Phottix, Lumopro and Yongnuo.

The Metz 64 AF-1 otherwise is like many flashes on the market: it can rotate around and tilt its head. Unlike Sony’s flashes, the 64 AF-1 isn’t a cobra head design. But like many of Sony’s flashes, some of the settings can be controlled via the camera thanks to its interactions from the multi-interface shoe. This means that it will work with the NEX 6, A7, A7s, A7r, A7 Mk II, A99, A77, A77 Mk II and a couple of others.

The flash is also one of the first designed for the new Sony shoe since the company introduced it a couple of years ago. While it’s a good first attempt, it fails in certain aspects.

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Review: Canon MR-14EX II Macro Ring Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon MR14 II ring flash review product photos (1 of 14)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 4.0

Earlier this year, Canon introduced their MR-14 EX II ring flash. As the successor to their aging offering, the new flash brought minor upgrades with it including new ergonomics, a new LED lamp to help with focusing, and new controls on the back. But otherwise, it’s a mostly unchanged flash. To begin with, it was very specialized and the world of macro photography has changed quite dramatically as the years have progressed. Many photographers tend to go for diffusion off of large panels instead of direct light from a harsh flash.

And while you should be excited about the ETTL capability improvement that this flash brings, you should also scratch your head a bit about how it fits into Canon’s ecosystem.

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Review: Roundflash Beauty Dish

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Roundflash dish review product images (7 of 7)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.0

Roundflash has been creating collapsible and portable light modifiers for years. They started with the original Roundflash Ring flash, then they upgraded the Ring flash to version two. But now, they’re out with their take on the beauty dish. The dish is meant to mimic the look of an actual beauty dish–except that the version from Roundflash provides a permanently attached diffusion sock. That’s totally fine if you prefer your beauty dishes to have extra diffusion besides the bounce and reflection that they already have implemented.

Beauty dishes are best known for their work on fashion shoots and portraiture. But in recent years, they’ve become more popular amongst the wedding crowd for photographers that want their clients to have a swanky, high end look to their images.

And the results? Well, surprising is a really big understatement.

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First Impressions: Phottix Indra 500 TTL

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Indra 500 TTL first impressions (1 of 10)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

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.

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Review: Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000 Monolight

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom Pro HD 1000 Watt second light product images (11 of 11)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

Elinchrom doesn’t have a name as strong Paul C Buff, Profoto, or Broncolor–but their products are in the hands of many pros who do some incredible work with their lights. When we first saw the ELC Pro HD 1000 watt second light at a meeting with the company, we saw some very rudimentary features. And for the most part, Elinchrom isn’t reinventing the wheel. But the big selling points of this light are the 1000 watt second output, 1.4 second recycle time, and the promise of being able to shoot 20fps at the lowest power setting.

But is that enough to make you want to upgrade?

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Review: BounceLite Flash Modifier

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer BounceLite Flash Modifier review (11 of 16)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 1.4

The BounceLite flash modifier has to be one of the more unique offerings that we’ve seen in the past couple of years. It isn’t a piece of Chinese soup dome, it isn’t a giant reflection pad, and it isn’t some weird all white box. Instead, what it is is some sort of partial softbox, reflection panel, and diffusion dome–making it truly one of the more unique offerings that we’ve seen.

We had the chance to test a prototype recently; and while it’s surely unique it also has its share of quirks that need to be ironed out.

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Review: Profoto B1 500 TTL (Canon)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Profoto B1 500 TTL product lead image (1 of 1)ISO 4001-10 sec at f - 2.0

When Profoto first announced the B1 500 TTL light, it rocked the industry. This light is the world’s first monolight that can shoot at full TTL exposure metering with Canon’s DSLRs. The company promises that a Nikon version is coming later on as well as further improvements to the Canon version. This light is capable of not only shooting at full TTL with Canon DSLRs and cameras, but it can also shoot in manual mode. With an interesting design incorporating the battery into the unit itself, it’s also not going to take up more room in your camera bag when you factor in dividers and the like.

Capable of shooting at 500 watt seconds of power, the monolight is pretty much around the output of six speedlights. Those tend to sell for around $500 a pop. And while Profoto’s B1 500 is around the same price (at least according to MAP) you still get the space advantage and much better color consistency. Plus, there is no need for extra batteries for each monolight because they’re integrated in.

But Profoto’s B1 500 TTL is best for wedding photographers and high end portrait/product photographers. However, it could convince others to jump on the bandwagon.

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Review: Adorama Flashpoint Streaklight (180WS)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Streaklight 180 WS product images (1 of 8)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.0

Very few lights get us really, really excited. Admittedly, we were very skeptical when we got the Adorama Flashpoint Streaklight in for review. We’re very aware of how housebrand products made in China perform due to our extensive field testing in the past. But the fact that the Streaklight combines a monolight and a speedlight into one is something that is bound to be appealing to lots of photographers–especially the strobists amongst us.

Offering a light output of up to 180 watt seconds, it’s bound to be replacing the current rigs of many photographers. But despite how good the light is, it comes with its flaws.

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Review: Phottix Luna Folding Octa Softbox (43 Inch)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Octa Phottix review (1 of 6)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.0

Phottix introduced an Octabank earlier this year that is not only collapsible, but also fairly large at 43 inches. In the right situations, you can get some beautiful and soft light, but the overall feeling that you can get is also very punchy. And for the person interested in shooting fashion, this modifier is an invaluable and affordable piece of your kit.

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Review: Lumopro LP-180 Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lumopro LP-180 product images (1 of 8)ISO 10001-60 sec at f - 3.2

Lumopro’s LP-180 is the successor to the very well acclaimed LP-160. As an all manual and well built hot shoe flash, you’d be surprised to know that this flash isn’t designed for the hot shoe. Instead, it is designed for the strobist looking for an affordable, manual solution with excellent build quality and lots of power. Indeed, the LP-180 is a flash that many are currently in love with.

For the past month, we’ve been testing in flash in various situations–and we have to do nothing else but agree.

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Review: Phottix Mitros+ Flash (Canon)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Mitros+ product photos (1 of 7)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 5.0

Earlier this year, Phottix announced their brand new Mitros+ flashes that incorporate TTL metering with their Odin transmitter. As the first affordable TTL compliant flash to work with an integrated radio system, we’re positive that many photographers were just as excited as we were. We’ve been testing the flashes for a while and were quite amazed by how well they performed for the price point.

And for what you pay, we only have one big qualm.

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First Impressions: Profoto B1 500 AirTTL and Air Remote TTL-C

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Profoto B1 500 TTL product images (1 of 9)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 5.6

What more could a photographer ask for than TTL communication between your camera and your monolight? Though many of us have been lighting the old fashioned way (with a hand held light meter and measuring tools) there are times that I’m positive that all of us have wanted TTL at some point or another. Today, Profoto has announced their brand new B1 500 AirTTL Monolight along with a new commander coined the Air Remote TTL-C. As is evident from the name, it is currently only available for Canon DSLRs.

We had the opportunity to play with a pre-production unit over the past weekend and so far, it seems like a big win-win situation for all. Wedding photographers, portrait strobists, and others may really get a kick out of what this light can do. And at $2,000 per head, it may even save them money without the need of buying battery packs and all.

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Review:Yongnuo 565EX ETTL Speedlite Flash for Nikon

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Lets admit it, China has an expanding photography industry. At its roots is a lack of originality. Chinese companies, however, have been producing increasingly better equipment. We have reviewed Yongnuo speed lights before, and they work well. So when I felt I needed a better speed light, I took a chance. I got a Yongnuo 565ex for my Nikon cameras. I have used it for some time now, and here is what I think.

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First Impressions: ExpoImaging Rogue Safari DSLR Pop-Up Flash Booster

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During Photo Plus Expo 2013 I was introduced to the ExpoImaging Rogue Safari DSLR Pop-Up Flash Booster. Rogue has released interesting light modifiers in the past, this is no exception. At about 2 ounces, the Safari is meant to increase the power and reach of your pop up flash. It was designed for lenses with focal lengths greater than 100mm. It is only compatible with Canon APS-C and Nikon DX-format DSLR cameras. This product is made in the USA. Continue reading…

Review: Nissin MG8000 Flash (Canon Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nissin MG8000 flash review (1 of 9)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 2.8

When Nissin first announced their MG8000 flash, many journalists and photographers were taken aback. The company promised 1,000 full power flash pops before it starts to become problematic. Now of course, your batteries can’t handle that on a single charge, and this flash totally eats batteries anyway. But part of that may have to do with the Quartz bulb, which seems very powerful and delivers a brighter light output than other comparable flashes do.

Nissin is a company that has been around for quite a while and have established themselves as a very viable option for a third party flash. And while the MG8000 surely isn’t a bad flash, it has lots of kinks that need to be ironed out.


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Review: Westcott Ice Light

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (2 of 8)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 5.0

Westcott’s Ice Light was affectionately called the Light Saber by many–and upon first look one can easily think so. In fact, the light is often used in shoots that are meant to pay homage to the blockbuster film series: Star Wars. But surely, Westcott didn’t create the Ice Light just for some George Lucas fanboys. Like any lighting piece, it can be used in a variety of creative ways.

In a nutshell, think of the Ice Light as a light strip–a constant LED light strip that is quite a bit of money.


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Review: Westcott Rapid Box Octa Mini

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Rapid Box product images (11 of 11)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 5.6

Edit: After talking with Westcott, I learned that you can simply turn the inside ring and it will snap into place. However, it isn’t the simplest little thing to turn.

The Westcott Rapid Box feeds the addiction for portable and quick to set up softboxes for off-camera hot shoe flash users–or at least it tries to. The Rapid Box is a fusion between a collapsible softbox and a beauty dish. Since this whole strobist thing began, photographers have wanted small softboxes that are collapsible and have a great output.

Who better to do that than that Westcott? They’re Apollo Orb softboxes are legendary. And when they sent us their new Rapid Box Octa Mini, we were quite excited to give it a try.

And while Westcott nailed it on image quality, they didn’t quite hit the mark on functionality and practicality.

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Review: Yongnuo 560 III Radio Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Yongnuo 560 III product photos (1 of 9)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 5.6

Yongnuo is a Chinese company that has mistakenly been stated as to be creating knock offs–which is a massive misinterpretation. They mostly specialize in radio transmitters and flashes. We previously reviewed the Yongnuo 560 II, and upon hearing the reports of the company putting radio transmission integrated into their flashes, I had to try one of the brand new 560 III flashes. The version that I purchased was specifically for the Micro Four Thirds system: and in this case the Olympus OMD EM5.

However, I ended up using it a whole lot more with the Panasonic GH3 due to a review period with the camera and lenses loaned to me by the company.

And if you’re invested in any mirrorless camera system (not just Micro Four Thirds) this super affordable flash and the RF-602 trigger is well worth it.

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Review: Phottix Mitros Flash (Canon)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Mitros Product images (1 of 11)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 5.6

Recently, Phottix announced their brand new Mitros flash. Targeted as a competitor to the Canon 600-EX, it cannot take on the company’s RT version of the flash. However, it comes at a more affordable price and it also is just as feature packed and perhaps even better built in some ways.

We were floored by the company’s Odin TTL triggers for speedlites, and were anxious to try this new flash. Believe  us when we say that we were sad to see it go.

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First Impressions: Dynalite’s Various Lighting Products

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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.

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