Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flash & Lighting

By Kim Castleberry Published in Flash & Lighting
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Flash & Lighting

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Creative Light Spring-Loaded Reflectors

Flashpoint 5-in-1 Collapsible Disc Reflector
Creative Light's spring-loaded reflectors pop open and come in gold/silver, silver/white, sunfire/white and translucent. With the Flashpoint 5-in-1 Collapsible Disc Reflector, you can add warm or soft fill light, and there's a black cover for shielding light from part of the scene. The kit contains translucent, white, black, silver and soft gold, and it's easy to break down for travel. Estimated Street Price: $15 to $143 (Creative Light); $39 (Flashpoint).

LumiQuest Quik Bounce
The LumiQuest Quik Bounce and Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce diffuse the direct light created by a flash and spread illumination more evenly on your subjects. The Quik Bounce features a unique design that includes mini-barndoors that open to combine bounced light from the ceiling with bounced light from the rest of the room

Sto-Fen Omni-
for a more ambient mix. The Omni-Bounce is a plastic diffusion cap that creates a bare-bulb effect. Tilted to 45 degrees, the unit produces nice wraparound light with a soft shadow behind the subject. Estimated Street Price: $44 (Quik Bounce); $19 to $24 (Omni-Bounce).

Imaging Ray Flash
For portraits, a ring light is a great tool because it creates a soft, shadow-wrapped look around your subject, but they can get expensive. ExpoImaging's Ray Flash and the Orbis Ring Flash are a couple of more affordable options that are designed to achieve this look. The Ray Flash is a light, portable adapter that relies on the hot-shoe flash to generate light so it contains no electronics or flash tubes and requires no cables.

Orbis Ring Flash
The Orbis Ring Flash works with a range of flash units and strobes, and weighs just over a pound. Estimated Street Price: $199 (Ray Flash); $199 (Ring Flash).

Containing a mix of grids, snoots, reflectors, gobos and gels, the Honl Photo Speed System represents a versatile collection of sturdy and compact light modifiers. The

Honl Photo Speed System
tools are designed to fit all shoe-mount flashes and attach easily with the Speed Strap, a non-slip Velcro® strap that wraps around the flash head. Estimated Street Price: $9 to $29.

Photoflex LiteDisc
Photoflex LiteDisc reflectors are durable, lay flat for creating even reflections and are double-laminated to prevent light from going through the surface, giving you more reflection on your subject. They're available in gold/silver, silver/black, soft gold/white, translucent, white/gold and white/silver, and range from 12 inches to 52 inches. They fold down to one-third of their actual size for easy transport. Estimated Street Price: $16 to $79.

About Guide Numbers
The power rating of a flash comes in the form of a guide number (GN). The traditional equation for calculating a guide number is: GN = ƒ-stop x flash-to-subject distance (assuming an ISO of 100). So, the guide number, divided by the selected aperture, will give you the approximate range of illumination. The problem with this spec is that it's not consistently reported. Some manufacturers base their calculation using ISO 200, for example, which increases the GN by a factor of about 1.4. To further complicate the equation, some flashes will adjust their output based on the focal length of your lens. You can use the guide number to get a general idea of how powerful the flash output is (higher numbers mean more power), but with the caveat that this is more useful for comparing flashes within the same family than from manufacturer to manufacturer.

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