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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Review: Lomography Diana Flash+

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Lomography Diana Flash

As much as the Diana F+ is Lomography’s idea of an artsy and hip yet unmistakably serious and powerful medium-format film camera, the Diana Flash+ is Lomography’s idea of the ideal lighting equipment to go with it. And in just the same way that the Diana F+ is simplisticly retro styled and features only the most basic shooting options, these qualifications also hold true for the Diana Flash+. Its purpose is one, and only one: to hit you with a “dazzling burst of light”.

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Review: FlashPipe Standard Convertible N Speedlite Modifier

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer FlashPipe First Impressions product photos (1 of 8)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 5.0

Every now and then a unit comes in for review that makes us scratch our heads. We don’t believe that anyone ever sits there and says, “Let’s make a crappy product that won’t sell and that I’ll lose a lot of money on.” No–despite the hardships that the American economy is facing, I believe that no one does that. We were hooked with the Flashpipe by way of advertising on our website and being the primary strobist on the staff, I decided to give it a try.

This speedite modifier takes the existing light from your flash and traps it into the equivalent of a small light strip. But how is it so far?

Editor’s Note: Despite this company being an advertiser, please note that we take our editorial values very seriously and we would never try to mislead anyone.

 

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Review: RoundFlash Ring Flash Attachment for Speedlites

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RoundFlash product images (6 of 8)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 5.6

RingFlashes are used by many photographers and are primarily responsible for getting two different types of looks. One can either try to achieve a look typical of what Terry Richardson is famous for (with harsh shadows) or when matched with the appropriate shutter speed and ISO setting, it can render a totally shadowless look. One thing that these modifiers are also praised for are the ring shape they leave in a subject’s eyes.

We reviewed the first version of the RoundFlash before; and though it gave us some excellent results, it had its caveats. Toward the end of last year, the company refreshed the product with some minor upgrades.

To say the least, this is the ring flash modifier that could replace all the rest.

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Review: Westcott 7 Foot Parabolic Umbrella (Silver Interior)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott 7 foot umbrella product photos (3 of 3)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 8.0

For years, Westcott has made some of the best modifiers out there. They’re well known for their Apollo softboxes designed for speedlites. However, they also make many umbrellas. I purchased a three umbrella package where I was able to obtain three 7-foot parabolic umbrellas for a very affordable price. And to date, my most used umbrella is the silver interior version due to the extra punch that silver gives to the specular highlights on an image.

But man, do you need some powerful lights to take advantage of the size.

 

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Review: Paul C Buff Einstein E640 and Vagabond Mini Battery Pack

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Paul C Buff Einstein E640 monolight (1 of 10)ISO 2001-50 sec at f - 2.8

I’ve been an owner of the Einstein E640 for a while; which made me in turn purchase the Vagabond Mini battery pack for it followed by the Umbrella Reflector. The Einstein is used by many very famous photographers and is noted for its super fast flash duration, color consistency, rapid firing abilities, and just how powerful it is for the price. When used with the Vagabond Mini and Paul C Buff’s own Cybersync radio controllers, it can be really quite the killer light combo.

 

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Review: Profoto RFi Softboxes (4×3′ & 3′ Octa)

ProfotoRFi

Profoto recently released their new line of softboxes called RFi (which stands for: Recessed Front – Improved) and they are compatible with almost every major manufacturer by using the appropriate speed ring for your chosen brand of lights. They also come in 12 different sizes and four separate models: rectangular, square, octagonal and strip. Profoto has designed these new boxes with a recessed front which allow the photographer to better control their light output and use additional accessories such as grids, diffusers, and strip masks. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with two of the new RFi softboxes and the D1 Studio Kit, the following is a summary of my thoughts on these light modifiers.

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First Impressions: Profoto RFi Softboxes

Profoto RFi Softboxes

Profoto recently launched their new line of softboxes called RFi (which stands for: Recessed Front – Improved) and they are compatible with almost every major manufacturer. They also come in 12 different sizes and four separate models: rectangular, square, octagonal and strip. Profoto has designed these new boxes with a recessed front which allow the photographer to better control their light output and use additional accessories such as grids, diffusers, and strip masks. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with two of the new RFi softboxes and the D1 monoblocs, the following is a summary of my first experiences.

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Review: Sony HVL-F60M Flash

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When we first got our hands on the Sony HVL-F60M, we had some mixed feelings but overall felt that it was fairly solid. Then in California we tested many of them out at once and through light modifiers (strobist style). That’s when we started to become a bit more convinced.

During our recent A99 review, Sony sent us one of the flashes to test. Granted, that greatly limits what we were able to do to rest the potential. With that said, despite a couple of easily fixable flaws, the Sony HVL-F60M represents what companies should be thinking about in terms of design and usability for their flash system.

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