Three Flashes For the Strobist on a Budget

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials for th Strobist Street Photographer (2 of 9)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.5

Strobists typically love to work with their lights manually vs using TTL; and one of the excellent things about that is that it enables manufacturers to make the flashes at a more affordable price. Those savings could mean that you can purchase more than one flash if you want: heck, you could even go for modifiers and all after that! In our endless search for the light, we’ve rounded up and curated three key flashes that make our eyes sparkle.

And here’s our recommended list.

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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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Essentials: The Street Photographer With a Strobe

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials for th Strobist Street Photographer (9 of 9)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 3.5

Essentials is a brand new series where we round up specially curated kits for different photographers in different situations. Other items could surely be substituted, but these are what we personally recommend.

Every Street Photographer has their own style, and many prefer to work with natural light. But once you start to work with strobes, you begin to realize just how much different your work can start to look. Taking photos of people candidly in the street already requires some bravery, and we’d be lying to you if we said that adding a strobe into the picture (pun not intended) also didn’t require some major stugots.

In the end though, you’ll be rewarded with not only different photos from everyone else but also with the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve learned a new skill.

Here’s what we recommend.

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Creating the Photograph: Stéphane Pironon’s “Weightlessness”

En apesanteur - Sept 2012 - 8843 HD

Editor’s Note: Creating the Photograph is a new series that we’re starting where we interview photographers all about the photo that they shot and talk to them about how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed onto you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com

We’re doing this series twice this week because we missed last week. Sorry folks! Anyway, there are some photos that are a heck of a lot more clever than we ever thought. Then when we find out how they were done, we say to ourselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Upon searching for the word, “Strobist” on 500px, I came across Stéphane Pironon’s “Weightlessness.” The image looked so simple but I couldn’t totally figure out how it was done. He did this photo when he was a member of the Strobi team, Stéphane is quite a photographer himself and has some excellent fashion work along with other photographs.

Here’s his story. And if you’re interested check out more in our Creating the Photograph series.

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The Yongnuo YN-622N Transceivers Give You TTL At Half the Price of PocketWizards


Yongnuo has released the YN-622N transceivers for Nikon–which are designed to be the most affordable triggers with full TTL integration that you can get. They’re available at nearly half the price of PocketWizard Plus X triggers, have full TTL integration, and can do other tricks like high speed sync. Other features include 7 different channels of communication and a range of 100 meter.

These triggers have been available for Canon for a while, and many users still say that for the price point, they’re not too shabby. The Yongnuo brand triggers are often pretty well made for the price, reliable, and intuitive in their interface. And when you consider the feature-set, they’re really tough to turn down.

Via SLR Lounge

Creating the Photograph: László Nagy’s “Nati”


Editor’s Note: Creating the Photograph is a new series that we’re starting where we interview photographers all about the photo that they shot and talk to them about how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed onto you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com

Some photos have such a beautiful and simple look to them, but most people have absolutely no idea how they were lit. Upon searching for, “Strobist” on 500PX, I came across the work of László Nagy. He curates loads of awesome photos on his Tumblr, and is also a hobbyist photographer–these two combine to give him quite the eye for details. The way he created the photo above is quite simple in one way but that also utilizes a trick that many of us sometimes forget.

Here’s his story. And if you’re interested check out more in our Creating the Photograph series.

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Review: PocketWizard Plus X Transceiver

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pocketwizard opening product photo (1 of 1)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 5.6

At the beginning of the month, PocketWizard announced their new Plus X radio triggers. The transceivers, which I wrongfully believed to be a replacement to the Plus III transceivers, are actually a budget level version of the radios targeted towards a totally different crowd. Upon their release, commentors on Strobist called the company out–citing that they were late to the game and that Yongnuo and Phottix both have totally gobbled up the budget level radio users. Additionally, they claimed that the reliability of these Chinese-made transmitters is equal to that of PocketWizard at a much more affordable price.

Since we’ve received the units, we’ve been testing them multiple times a day. So how do they stand up to the criticisms?

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The Triopo TR-981 Flashes Feature TTL and High Speed Sync Firing


According to Lighting Rumours, a new flash has come out to challenge that of the Yongnuo line. Triopo recently announced the TR-981N and TR-981C for Nikon and Canon. The units have i-TTL or E-TTL control, manual adjustment and built-in optical slave cells. Beyond that though, they also sport HSS: which is awesome when you want to get a monolight look or overpower the sun. But that still means that Yongnuo has the advantage with their built in radio system.

The TR-981 features an LCD control panel on the back which is used to adjust settings: much like many other modern day flashes. It also has a PC sync port and a high voltage external power socket. According the manufacturer, the recycle time at full power is 2.9 seconds on new AAs, or 4–5 seconds with older batteries.

Right now, the Triopo TR-981C and TR-981N currently are available for purchase at $153 on eBay. The Triopo flashes are $20 cheaper than the YN-568EX–their main competition.

Egad Brain! Yongnuo Puts Radio Triggering Into Their Flashes


Gad zooks Batman! Canon is no longer the only manufacturer with radio transmission in their flashes. Now, Yongnuo can do it too! Today the company has announced their Yn 560-III, which is the upgrade to their YN-560 II. To trigger the flash, you’ll need to use either the RF-603 or RF-602 transmitters; which is weird because neither of the two work with their according receivers. The company is touting that the flashes can be triggered from as far away as 100 meters.

Head past the break for more details.

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LED Lamp That Detects Ambient Brightness? There’s a Light for That

Yongnuo YN-300

So it has come to this, another item in the world of photography and video has become automated. This new 300 LED light from Yongnuo has a “built-in photometric system” which can match ambient light levels automatically. As of right now everyone who has seen this or posted news is unsure about how good of a job or the overall usefulness of this feature. I only know one thing for sure about this LED and that it that it does not come with the ability to read your mind, so you most likely need to manually set the light for most situations. Although this product is shown on top of cameras the LED doesn’t actually use TTL, it has a built in light meter. The LED comes with ship with a remote which can either control the brightness of the light or control your IR on your camera. In case you find yourself lost the camera also has a build in SOS distress signal (no joke) that can help if you are left in the woods with only this LED. It’s funny to see theses manufacturers try to one up the other by adding the silliest features.

The Yongnuo YN-300 is being sold for just under $75 on ebay here and comes with 4 different color filters. Read more over at Lighting Rumors or this eBay ad.

Review: Yongnuo 560 EX II Flash (For Canon, Nikon, Micro Four Thirds and Any System)

The Yongnuo 560 EX II speedlite wasn’t announced too long ago, as so is a relatively new speedlite flash. The company is known for making excellent flashes at a super affordable price that makes them attractive to various photographers: including Todd Owyoung.

As a proud owner of Canon’s current flashes, this little light intrigued me; so I actually went out and purchased it. And after various shoots with it, it is perhaps the one flash that I can recommend to the both the amateur and experienced group of users: but not the middle ground of strobists.

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Yongnuo Introduces Improved Flash Models YN560-II And YN468-II

The new Yongnuo flashes YN560-II and YN468-II

Yongnuo, Hong Kong based manufacturer of accessory flashes, has introduced two new feature-packed models to their lineup of affordable speedlights. The YN560-II, an update to the very popular YN560 model, gains an LCD panel and stroboscopic mode, while the YN468-II comes with improved buttons and is now also available for Nikon cameras. Read more after the jump.

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