Photography News issue 24

First tests 50

Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com

Bouncelite Venue £119.99

Specs

Reviewby Kingsley Singleton

Price £119.99 Mountingmethod Rubber strap In the box Bouncelite device, 2x filter

Shooting with an accessory flash, or speedlight, is a big upgrade on a pop- up flash; power is greater and more controllable, and you can (usually) swivel thehead tobounce the flash, so it’snottoodirect.Yes,speedlightsgive better results, but you can improve things further with a modifier, like this Bouncelite Venue kit. Thanks to its unique design, the Bouncelite offers a range of lighting effects; you can soften the direct light via its large central diffuser, and bounce it at any angle using the bounce door section, which works like a much larger version of a bounce card. Because you can also get a mixture of both these styles its design makes flash lighting a lot more versatile, and it can be used in vertical and horizontal shooting positions. The basic Bouncelite attachment is a sturdy plastic box measuring around 100mm high, with the diffuser dominating the front and a hingeddooronthetop,whiletheinner is covered with reflective panels. It can be bought in three different kits – Solo (BL1, £99.99), Venue (BL2, £119.99), and Adventure (BL3, £139.99), each coming with the basic unit, but with the Solo you get a case, filter cassettes, and rubber spacers to enable a tight fit to your speedlight. The Venue and Adventure versions come with those bits, plus additional colour correction gels to fit in the two provided cassettes (there are six gels on the Venue, and the same again on the Adventurer plus eight more colour filters and two ND filters). We tested the Venue fitted to a Nikon SB-800 flash, itself mounted on a Nikon D700. Using the flash head vertically, and turning it through 90º, the unit is slipped on top and the strapped on with a heavy

cassettes, 6x colour temperature gels, storage wallet, flash spacers, neoprene case.

Bouncelite’s listed compatiblemodels

Canon 430EX I & II, 580EX I & II, 600EX-RT; Nikon SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SB-910 AF; Nissin Di600; Di622, Di700, Di866, MG8000; Metz 44 AF-I, 52 AF-I, 58 AF-I, 64 AF-I; Leica SF 58; Fujifilm EF 42; Olympus FL-50R, FL-600R; Phottix Mitros TTL; Sunpak PZ40X, PZ42X, PZ-5000AF; Polaroid PL-126, PL- 144, PL-150, PL-160, PL-190; Sigma EF610 DG; Yongnuo YN-500, YN-565, YN-568, YN-600, YN-608; Godox TT520, TT560, V860; Aputure MG-68; Panasonic DMW- FL500, DMW-FL580L; LumoPro LP-160, LP-180. Dimensions (wxhxd) 88x137x109mm Weight 250g Contact bouncelite.com

duty rubber belt. With a good stretch of the latter holding it firmly to the flash, there was no movement of the unit detected, even when shaking the camera, or holding it upside down. None of the included spacers seemed to be required for the SB- 800’s head, which measures around 60mm across, but if your flash head is smaller it’s well worth using them to compensate; they have a strong adhesive patch on the rear, so while they can be removed after mounting them, a dry-fitting test is a good idea first. Continuing the high build quality, the filter cassette slots inwith a very reassuring click and the top door has a strongmetal hingewith an

action that’s just stiff enough to give precise settings. The SB-800we tested it onweighs around 350g, and the Bouncelite 250g, so while nearly doubling the weight, the setup didn’t feel particularly unbalanced, just a little top-heavy, as expected. However, one issue of adding weight to the flash head, is that, even though the SB-800 has a locking mechanism, occasionally sudden movement would cause the head to flop over, so some care is required. In use the Bouncelite worked well. The front diffuser, while not large enough to provide very soft shadows, added a much smoother transition to

results than the unmodified direct flash, and opening the door to let light spill and bounce filled these in further. However, we found the real benefit was in angling the diffuser away from the subject, while also opening the door, which gave the most indirect flash and shadow- free results that would have been impossible with a single flashgun. Of course by rotating the head and opening the door you can still get a direct lighting effect from the flash without removing it if required. The Bouncelite’s design makes flash lighting a lot more versatile Above With its reflector door, large diffusing panel at the front, and filter cartridge, the Bouncelite offers a mix of light shaping effects. Attaching securely via a rubber belt you can swivel it with the flash head. Left Thanks to the Bouncelite’s design you can soften or bounce the light fromyour flash in a huge number of ways, varying the modelling and the look of the shadows. Here, four different approaches see the shadows soften from the original direct flash, finally disappearing as the Bouncelite’s diffuser panel and door are both directed away from the subject.

Direct, no diffuser

Indirect, with diffuser and bounce

Verdict

The Bouncelite is a unique lighting accessory, and in just one unit it offers a range of styles, and effects that would normally require several. Because it does so much, in theory you can also leave it attached throughout shooting, whether you want the most direct results, diffused light, or colour effects to balance natural and man-made light. For £119 you get a respectable amount of kit and the unit is very well made indeed, fitting and functioning smoothly, with a solid feel. In fact, the ability to improve flash lit results is priceless as you can’t correct badly lit subjects, so events photographers in particular should take a look at the Bouncelite.

Direct diffuser, no bounce

Direct diffuser, with bounce

Pros Great build and light shaping. Cons Some weight issues.

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