Flash & Lighting
Make better exposures with lighting solutions that work best for you
For spreading light more evenly across your subject, there’s the LumiQuest Quik Bounce. The unit refracts and softens light output to reduce red-eye. The design consists of mini-barn doors that open to combine bounced light from the ceiling with bounced light from the rest of the room for a more ambient mix. Estimated Street Price: $46.
The Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce is a single piece of molded, translucent and somewhat flexible plastic that fits over a flash head to create a bare-light effect. Tilted to 45º, the Omni-Bounce produces nice wraparound light with a soft shadow behind the subject. It gives even coverage across the entire frame with lenses from 15mm to 200mm. The unit slips on and off quickly and can be custom-fitted. Estimated Street Price: $19 to $24.
SIMPLE STUDIO LIGHTING
One of the drawbacks to just sticking with shoe-mount flash units and modifiers is that they must be positioned fairly close to your subject, and the output may be inadequate or require exposure settings that aren’t ideal. So if you’re looking for more power, control and range, a portable kit containing one or two lights, a reflector and an umbrella or softbox is a good starting point.
The kind of equipment you need depends entirely on what you’re shooting, and if your lighting expertise is a work in progress, it’s best to start small and expand as you go. Keep in mind that a powerful strobe and a solid modifier can produce consistently good images using all sorts of configurations, and many photographers rarely use more than one light. The kits included here represent a range in terms of features and cost.
The AlienBees DigiBee kit is a two-light setup that consists of two B400 flash units, each offering a stepless six-stop power variability, two 10-foot light stands, carrying bags for the lights and two 48-inch umbrellas. Flash power is independently adjusted on the back control panel of the B400 with a slide fader that shows marked ƒ-stop increments. The unit has a built-in cooling fan. The two umbrellas—one is silver and white, and the other is translucent—offer the flexibility of a high-contrast silver bounce, a softer white bounce or a soft diffused throw. Estimated Street Price: $599.
Mobility is key with the Bowens Gemini 400/400 Umbrella Travelpak two-head kit. The Gemini can be powered from mains or run from a portable Travelpak battery unit, allowing you to go anywhere. Included are two Gemini 400 Monolights, one Travelpak battery, two Travelpak cables, two 90cm Silver/White umbrellas, two 120º wide-angle reflectors, two light stands, flash tubes, modeling lamps, power cords, and a Bowens Rolling Kit Case for transporting all of this gear. The GM400 has a five-stop power range, and the controls are intuitive for easy use. Estimated Street Price: $859.
The power pack included in the Dynalite MK10-1222 Roadmax 1000ws is capable of firing up to four lamp heads, two more than what comes in the kit. It fires with an included sync cord or wirelessly with a built-in PocketWizard radio slave receiver. Each MH2050 Roadmax flash head features fan cooling for better protection, a bright 250-watt quartz halogen and built-in reflectors that can be outfitted with additional light-modifying accessories for greater coverage and control. Also included are two 40-inch white umbrellas, two compact light stands and a soft padded case with movable dividers. Estimated Street Price: $2,499.
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