Photography News 10

Kit reviews


Nissin i40 LoveMini Flash £170


PRICE £170 CONTACT GUIDE NUMBER 40 (ISO 100, 105mm zoom) MODES Manual, auto, TTL, Slave (digital or film), wireless, video EXPOSURECONTROL 1st and 2nd curtain sync, high-speed sync, red-eye reduction, slow sync, FE/FV lock RECYCLE TIME 0.1-4sec ZOOMCOVERAGE 24-105mm IN THE BOX External diffuser, soft case, cold shoe stand with screw POWER

Gitzo Mountaineer GT2532 £660 Back in 1994 there was only one brand selling carbon fibre tripods, and that was Gitzo. The original Mountaineer range set new standards and became first choice for many leading professionals. It’s seen various incarnations since, and earlier this year the latest collection was unveiled. The range includes ten tripod leg sets and three tripod and head kits, grouped into series according to size and weight: Series 0 tripods are the lightest and shortest, and Series 3 the most heavy duty. All are available in three- or four-section versions, and here we test the three-section Series 2 GT2532. You can’t help but be in awe of the Gitzo’s handsome looks. The tripod shoulder, or spider as Gitzo calls it, is beautifully machined and the centre column lock and leg angle locks work smoothly and securely. The same can be said of the Gitzo G-lock twist-grip leg locks, which are comfortable and take little effort to secure, as well as being designed to minimise dust and debris entering the legs. And check out those gorgeous legs crafted from Gitzo’s eXact carbon fibre leg tubes, stiffer than previous versions, helping to achieve larger-diameter lower section legs to promote stability. I used this Gitzo with an Arca Swiss ball head and it made for a great combination. It is comfortable to carry, quick to set up and, most importantly, it’s very While the main benefit of CSCs is their size, if you want to add a high-powered external flashgun, you’re mainly limited to a full-size version that results in an unbalanced combination. Nissin’s solution is the i40, a flashgun that’s sized appropriately for CSCs, but which still packs quite a punch. The guide number of 40 is slightly below that of Nissin’s entry-level full-size Di600, but the modes, level of control and features such as high-speed sync and manual zoom are what you’d expect from a more advanced speedlight. There’s a full complement of modes, including manual, auto and TTL, digital and film slave modes, and wireless modes that allow you to assign the i40 to one of three groups controlled by a master unit. A video mode turns on two dimmable front LEDs intended as a video light, but which could be used as a low-level continuous light for stills, or as an approximate modelling light. Changing the settings couldn’t be simpler – there are two dials, one for mode and the other for power level or compensation. In some modes, you can also control the zoom by holding down the power button – the pilot light changes colour to indicate the current zoom setting. Using the i40 with the Canon EOS M, TTL gave reliable exposures, and high-speed sync worked fine down to the camera’s 1/4000sec minimum

The verdict

It’s nice to see that Nissin has recognised the demand for accessories that suit CSCs, and the i40 is an excellent first example of a small but advanced flashgun. Its power output is plenty for most everyday uses, and its user interface has been designed well to complement the sturdy build. It’s worth considering the fact that Nissin’s own Di700 offers much the same control and a power output that’s almost 1EV higher, even though its current street price is £10 less. Nevertheless, if you’re a CSC user looking for more compact lighting to match your camera, then the i40 is definitely worth a look.

shutter speed. Measuring the power output using a Polaris light meter from one metre, set at ISO 100, 1/125sec shutter speed and with the flashgun zoom at 105mm, the reading was consistently f/29 – a little lower than expected, but enough for most situations. Power can be dialled down to 1/256 for subtle fill effects. Of course, just because the i40 is small, its use isn’t limited to CSCs – it functions perfectly well on a DSLR too, and I used it on the Canon EOS 6D. The only problem is that it’s short, so used on the hot-shoe, the lens is more likely to cast shadows. As a portable, on or off-camera flashgun, it’s still handy though.

4x AA batteries DIMENSIONS (WXHXD) 85x85x61mm WEIGHT 203g


Compact size ideal for CSCs or travel, easy to use, plenty of control including wireless


Not ideal if you want a lot of power


STREET PRICE GT2532 £660, four- section GT2542 £710 CONTACT LEG SECTIONS Three KEY FEATURES Reversible centre column, removable feet, ballast hook, adjustable leg angle, G-lock ultra legs, ground level set mechanism, made from carbon eXact LOAD CAPACITY 18kg FOLDED LENGTH (NO HEAD) 65cm MINIMUMHEIGHT (NOHEAD) 16cm MAXIMUMHEIGHT (NOHEAD) 166cm WEIGHT 1.67kg

The verdict

There is a very special, although intangible, quality about using first-class kit and it’s certainly felt when using this Gitzo tripod. It even looks fabulous and is worth every penny of its price tag. It’s true that you get more bells and whistles with less expensive models. No foam leg grips, for example, or the innovative powerful leg locks and ability to shoot at 90° of the Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4. But this Gitzo still has something special, an aura that makes it worth a close look. Of course, it costs a considerable amount of money, but you can’t define the cost of pin-sharp pictures, making the most of your high-megapixel camera and exotic glass lenses and in that context it’s undeniably good value.

stable. Twisting the tripod’s shoulder with the legs fully extended reveals minimal movement, and I did some extreme long exposure shots without a problem. Speaking of maximum extension, without using the centre column it’s not that tall, but then the GT2532 goes high enough and there are no fears using the centre column fully up. The column itself is not that long so you can’t overextend it and risk wobble. While the GT2532 can’t be reconfigured to shoot at 90° for shooting straight down, it does have the ability to shoot at a very low level – just unscrew the base plate and remove the centre column from below. On several occasions I left the centre column off, which lessened weight slightly.

Quality, stability, kudos, built to last PROS CONS Expensive, lacks features seen in cheaper rivals

Issue 10 | Photography News

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