Photography News Issue 31

Photography News | Issue 31 | absolutephoto.com

52 Accessories test

Buyers’ guide

PROFOTO ProTungsten Air Tungsten Light

Lights fantastic Stop struggling with weak, inefficient lamps – here are some of today’s best continuous lighting options for photographers and videographers…

£85

2

£950

INTERFIT NG-65C Fluorescent Ring Light

5

POLAROID BrightSaber

ROTOLIGHT NEO Variable LED

1 Westcott’s vaunted Icelight, this is an attractive choice of lightbar for those on a budget and it offers an excellent range of features and applications. The BrightSaber weighs only 454g, making it easy to cast over a subject and hold in place. It’s this versatility that makes lightbars so attractive, as they allow you to place the illumination where it’s required, whether you’re working fast or shooting long exposures. The BrightSaber can be run from batteries or the mains if you’re in the studio, and its 298-piece LED bulb array has plenty of power, but can give a pleasingly soft look thanks to the frosted diffuser. There’s also a tripod thread for exact positioning. The light is balanced toa daylight-style 5800K, but also comes with a sleeve-like tungsten colour temperature filter that drops it to3200Kand is activated with a twist of the handle. This allows it to be used in mixed lighting or to add colour contrast. The BrightSaber can be set to Repeat mode for creative stroboscopic effects, too. A case is included for storage and transportation and there’s an IR remote which can control the BrightSaber or be used as a shutter release for Canon, Nikon and Pentax cameras. polaroid.com continuous lighting is just as useful and can be used to augment the available light, or add illumination to parts of your subject where it’s required. All you need to do for a natural look is use a light with a colour temperature similar to that of the light in the scene or filter it to match. And of course another advantage in using continuous light for stills is that ‘what you see is what Like every aspect of photo kit, continuous lighting is getting cheaper and better with each passing year, and there are some great products out there on the market. The thing is though, until you get your hands on some continuous lighting gear you won’t grasp just how useful it can be. For starters, withhigh-quality, full HD or 4K video now offered on most DSLRsandCSCs,andmoreandmore of us making use of it, some form of continuous lighting is essential. And it’s not just about giving a professional look to your movies, it’s absolutely vital in balancing ambient light when required to fill in shadows and reduce contrast. For stills photographers PolaroidBrightSaber £130 At around a third of the price of

2 As well as its line of flash lighting, Profoto makes a range of professional- quality continuous lights that are built to be powerful, adaptable and stand up to the rigours of daily use. With its choice of interchangeable 500W or 1000W tungsten lamps, the ProTungsten Air offers all the power that you are likely to need and this can be lowered to just 10% of the output. It also uses a silent two-speed fan to return over 300 hours of life from its lamps. As on Profoto’s range of flash heads, there’s a frosted dome over the lamp that gives a distinctive look to the light, but here it is also used to provide additional protection from the heat of the lamp. What’s more, it allows nearly all of Profoto’s extensive range of light- shaping tools to be used alongside the ProTungsten Air. The Air part of the name relates to remote control of the unit which can be operated wirelessly using a Profoto Air Remote or Air Sync Transceiver. It manages to provide all this in a lightweight 2.7kg housing, and the unit also has a large handle on the rear for easy carrying and operation. profoto.com you get’, so there’s less pressure to meter the scene in order to find the correct power and exposure settings. What type of continuous light you use depends on the subject and how you want to position it; lighting can come from tiny, lightweight LED devices mounted on your camera, or larger off-camera LED light panels and movie-set style heads using tungsten or fluorescent bulbs. There are even lights small enough to hide within the scene for highly creative styles as well as versions shaped to fit perfectly around your lens for shadowless effects. And if you’re not sure exactly what type of light you’re going to need, some continuous lights even offer flash style output giving you the best of both worlds, so there’s a feast of options on offer from just one piece of kit. Just like flash, you can of course modify the light, using shapers and diffusers, and control its power to a fine degree. Here we’ve listed PN ’s pick of continuous lighting gear and you’ll find there’s plenty of innovative products to discover as well as prices to satisfy all budgets. ProfotoProTungstenAir Tungsten Light £950

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From £330

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3

PIXAPRO Daylite4 4200W Kit

£250

£130

PixaproDaylite4 4200WKit from£330

Rotolight NEOvariable LED£250

InterfitNG-65C FluorescentRingLight £85

3

4

5

The Daylite4 kit has pretty much everything you need to get started with continuous lighting, whether it’s for stills or video. It comes with two Daylite4 heads, each of which holds four lamps and to accompany that are two 60x80cm softboxes, two 2.6m stands and a roller case to put it all in. And all for £330. A two- light solution gives you lots of options for a professional looking set-up, and the interchangeable modifiers allow a mix of styles to be employed, for instance using a (separately available) spill-kill reflector as a kicker with a softbox at the front. Power can be adjusted at 1/2 and full levels and the lights give a daylight-style colour temperature of 5500K so can be used with natural light without filtration. The fluorescent bulbs are included and produce much less heat than tungsten, so it’s more comfortable for your subject. And because the Daylite4 heads use a common E27 Edison Screw fitting you can fit your own choice of fluorescent bulbs at a different power level; and the heads will take versions up to 105W in strength. This is the basic kit in the range, but others are available with up to five heads, boom stands, backgrounds andmore. essentialphoto.co.uk

The Rotolight NEO is a highly adaptable and mobile continuous light source – so good, in fact, that it scooped the Best LED Light category in the 2015 PN Awards. One of the Rotolight NEO’s main attractions is its bicolour LED system, which allows you to control the colour temperature of the light between a range of 3150K-6300K. This is easily adjusted via one of two dials on the rear, with the other controlling the power output. The light from the NEO is beautifully flicker free and consistent, and it can be further adapted by inserting ring-shaped filters into the light’s front cover. The NEO also has a Designer Fade mode that helps produce custom fade up/down effects in videography and a True Aperture Dimming function which calculates the amount of light for your subject at its given distance. The model runs on either six AA batteries or an AC adapter and can be easily mounted on a lighting stand using its 1/4in thread. It also has a hotshoe mount, and at 14.5x5cm in size and 354g in weight it feels fine when carried on top of aDSLRor video camera. The NEO comes with a neat pouch that holds the whole kit and adapter. rotolight.com

There’s no doubting the usefulness of a high-quality ring light. With the illumination wrapped in a circle and used close to the subject it can produce a very soft, almost shadowless style and this is at its most effective when mounted on the same axis as the camera. The shadowless style makes it highly useful for a wide variety of subjects, including macro, still life, product photography and portrait shots where the blemishes and wrinkles are heavily reduced. In the latter case, a strong and distinctive circular catchlight is also produced. The Interfit NG-65C is made primarily of metal for added durability, uses a fluorescent tube giving a 5400K light temperature and is powered via a 2.4m mains cord. Rather than fixing to lens, like a ring flash, which would be unwieldy given the NG-65C’s 1.3kg weight, the ring is mounted on a lighting stand via its 5/8in thread. Assisting placement of the light is a flexible ‘gooseneck’ arm, allowing the light to be bent into whatever position is required. The NG-65C has an outer diameter of 43.3cm, while the hole in the middlemeasures 36.8cm, so there’s plenty of scope for shooting through the middle even with large bodies and lenses. interfitphotographic.com

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