Photography News 95 - Newsletter

First test


A DETAILED LOOK The Neo 3 can be mains or battery powered. It accepts rechargeable NP-F cells and a dedicated battery is available from Rotolight

filter options, while the left control adjusts intensity. The modes discussed so far suit stills and video shooters. The next mode is for videographers: SFX setting. This has options that include lightning, police and gunshot. For police, you get strobing blue and red light, as you’d expect. In other settings, pick the colour you want – whether you use CCT, HSI or Gels. So, if red or yellow lighting is required, that’s fine – and each effect can be fine-tuned. Having the option within the SFX screen to quickly return to the default settings would be handy, though. The final mode is Flash, the one that gives the Neo 3 its unique appeal to hybrid shooters. For this function, you’ll need the optional wireless Rotolight HSS Transmitter, available for Canon, Fujifilm, Olympus/Panasonic, Nikon and Sony, which sells for £228. I opted for the Canon version. With the trigger, you have the usual options of groups ( four) and frequencies (20), plus normal and high-speed flash sync. Although, on my early sample, HSS was not ready to test. In normal flash mode, the Neo 3 gives a decent amount of power. At max-power setting, 4600K output and the light set to 1/50sec sync speed at one metre, I was getting an aperture of f/11 at ISO 400. Doubling the distance and working aperture was f/5.6. When the Neo 2 was tested, output was f/4, so the new light gives double the amount of flash power.

MENU MATTERS The Neo 3’s touch menu makes accessing and fine-tuning the light’s features easy – it’s very intuitive

To test continuous shooting on the Neo 3, I used a Canon EOS R5, with the light one metre from the subject. At 12fps, every other shot was fully lit, while at 8fps, every frame was properly exposed, which is good. I did a flash duration test with a domestic fan, too, to see if the Neo 3 had any potential for stopping action. With the flash produced by a burst of energy delivered to the LEDs, the Neo 3 is not like a speedlight, meaning the fan blades were blurred – so there’s no potential for fast-moving subjects. Where it gets interesting with the Neo 3’s flash, though, is with all the RGB and filter gel options to produce coloured flash output. For example, shooting a portrait with three Neo 3 lights, you can get creative and have a main white light, purple hairlight and green background light – or any colour combination you fancy. Of course, wireless control allows you to adjust the various lights without having to move. WC LIGHT IT UP The Neo 3’s array of 56 LEDs is protected by a robust fixed plastic cover, with each LED under a dome lens




JAZZ IT UP The Neo 3’s amazing colour palette is possible, with its bi-colour LEDs and advanced control circuitry

Verdict The Neo 3 is a significant step forward on Rotolight’s Neo 2, with more power – in both continuous and flash modes. Plus, there’s myriad colour options and greater capacity from rechargeable li-ion batteries. For the creative content creator who wants a portable light that suits video and stills, the Neo 3 must be considered. PROS Good continuous light output, accepts NP-F batteries, touch panel functionality, huge colour range, special effects, great for location use CONS Cooling fan on my sample was quite loud

HALF AND HALF Here you can see each LED emitting red and blue light to give a magenta output

46 Photography News | Issue 95

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