Photography News issue 23

50 Accessories test

Photography News Issue 23 absolutephoto.com

Buyers’ guide

LASTOLITE Brolly Grip and Umbrella Kit £27

On-location lighting gear These days you can use flash in almost any environment and well-engineered products make it simple and easy to do – but you also need to modify and tailor the light to suit your subject. To help, this month we’re shedding some light on some must-have accessories…

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HÄHNEL Capture Remote Trigger £60

The first time you use an accessory flashgun (or ‘speedlight’) it feels like a big step forward. You get more power, less time between flashes andmore control than the pop-up flash on your camera can provide. That extra control comes via a speedlight’s tilting and swivelling head, meaning you can reflect the light onto the subject for softer shadows and to avoid red- eye in portraits. To further this, your accessory flash will also most likely come with an integrated bounce card and/or diffuser to soften the light even more. It’s a huge improvement over a weak, harsh and uncontrolled pop-up flash, but with the right gear the fun doesn’t end there. The next stage is to further modify your flash and start using it off camera, and that’s where the freedom really begins, opening up all sorts of more creative lighting effects. Because speedlights are small and light, they’re the perfect travelling companion and can be easily positioned in a range of places, so you can apply sophisticated and dramatic lighting in almost any spot – oftenplaceswhere studio heads andmodifierswould be too bulky to use. With the right kit, you can also filter, channel or diffuse the light in ways that better suit the subject and your creative intentions. Many photographers use DIYmodifiers, andwhile these can cut down your spend and help you learn what works and what doesn’t, there’s a definite benefit to buying off-the-shelf productswhichwill last longer and function better, having been designedwith input fromphotographers like you. Kit needs to be light and portable, too, because you don’t want a bad back putting you off shooting. You should also consider non-flash gear that can work with your set-up to solve problems and add special effects. With that in mind, here are some recommendations to get you started…

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PIXAPRO Padded 80cm Bag £50

LENCARTA Safari 2 £700

Lastolite Brolly Grip and Umbrella Kit £27

strapping to secure it on the move. Like a regular camera bag, there are modular internal dividers to isolate kit, and an upholstered sheet runs the full length, wrapping over kit for further protection. Grab handles and a shoulder strapmake it easy to carry, and the main compartment has a wide, double-zippered opening to improve access. The outer is heavy, water- repellent canvas and the bag measures 80x31x30cm (75x21x26cm internally), so it can swallow a lot of kit. There’s also a long zippered pocket at the side, suitable for boom arms, or lighting stands such as Pixapro’s own 190cm model (£15 and folding to 66cm). essentialphoto.co.uk for flash on location, but they’re limited in power and performance. For more output (andmore options in your lighting) consider a set-up like Lencarta’s Safari 2 which offers studio flash specs and portabilityinone.TheSafari2hascompact head, and a 600Ws flash generator (much higher than a speedlight) but it’s small and light enough to carry in a backpack (a metal case is supplied). The power is adjustable over five stops down to 1/32 in 1/3EV increments and you can get up to 400 full-power flashes per charge. It 4 Lencarta Safari 2 £700 Speedlights are an easy choice

Hähnel’s new Captur range of remotes offers a great blend of quality and value. The basic Captur unit is a remote shutter release (also allowing AF, continuous and Bulb shooting) and wireless flash trigger remote in one. You can use the system at up to 100m. The system is available for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony models, and additional receivers are available for around £40, allowing you to trigger more than one flash (or camera) at a time. The tuning is via a digital system, so you can also trigger different flashes at different times, useful for more creative open-flash techniques. The system runs on AA batteries, and you can build on it with accessories like the Captur Module ProandModuleIRwhichallowhigh-speed, time lapse, and motion-triggered effects. hahnel.ie When you get into lighting you’ll end up with lots of bits and bobs that improve results and make the job easier. You need to get all that from A to B in a safe and orderly manner, so a good, affordable and adaptable bag is a must. This one from Pixapro certainly fits the bill, with extra- thick padding at the sides and bottom to protect your gear, and internal Velcro 3 Pixapro Padded 80cm Bag £50

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Proving you don’t need to spend big to improve your lighting, here’s Lastolite’s Brolly Grip and Umbrella kit – while lighting stands are vital for more complex set-ups and larger diffusers, the essential benefit of getting the flash off the camera is just as effective if you’re holding it at arm’s length, as this grip allows. The Brolly Grip mounts your flash in a horizontal position, aiming it like a pistol, letting you use it as the main light or to fill in shadows while you shoot with the other hand. For diffusion, into the grip slides an included 50cm translucent umbrella (you can buy the grip alone for £20), and shafts of 8mm or 10mm will fit if you have another brolly to use. Using the grip at arm’s length you don’t even need a trigger – a sync cable does the job perfectly. For versatility it can also be mounted on a regular light stand spigot, and the whole assembly weighs only 340g packed up in its 48cm long carry case. lastolite.co.uk

Firing the flash

Many people have an unfounded fear of off- camera flash – it seems

complicated and difficult to control – but it’s very easy to trigger, either using an old- fashioned sync cable, or with radio or infrared signals. Most photographers use radio triggers, but many cameras can now control compatible guns from the

body alone, usually via a pre- flash from the built-in flash. The advantage of radio triggers is extended range and that line- of-sight isn’t necessary for them to work, so you have more freedom. On the other hand, controlling a flash from the camera lets you use through-the-lens (TTL) metering for easier exposures.

Hähnel Captur Remote Trigger System £60

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Wireless triggers let you to place flashes at a greater distance and in more creative positions than using sync cables. There are lots of triggers on the market, but

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