Portable lights and modifiers are a great asset for the traveling photographer, or for those tight on space in the studio. And while we’ve written roundups on the top lighting tools, like these seven key light modifiers for your studio and these 12 lights for stills and motion in the past, we thought we’d share a recent roundup from our sister publication, Rangefinder Magazine, that features the top portable light shapers. They may be compact, but they deliver enough oomph to illuminate all of your video and still needs.
Dynalite Baja B6
This battery-powered monolight delivers 600 w/s of power and features an LED display and power control in 1/10th- stop increments over a seven-stop range. You’ll enjoy up to 400 full manual flashes on a charged battery and ready access to remaining battery life on the B6’s display. The B6 uses a 5W LED modeling light and features flash durations ranging from 1/500 to 1/12,800 sec. and recycle times from .05-4.3 seconds, depending on power level. It offers High Speed Sync (HSS) capabilities when using a Nikon or Canon transmitter. A stroboscopic mode lets you choose between 5, 10 or 15 flashes per second.
Profoto’s B2 is a portable flash system offering TTL metering for Nikon and Canon cameras via Profoto’s optional Air Remote. This 250 w/s flash can be used on camera, with an optional bracket, or off camera. It offers a recycle time of 1.35 seconds when shooting at full power or as quick as .03 seconds at the lowest power setting, with a quick burst option that delivers up to 20 flashes in a second. Flash output is adjustable over a range of nine f-stops in 1/10 f-stop increments with flash durations as short as 1/15,000 sec. High Speed Sync is also available up to 1/8,000 sec. The B2 pairs perfectly with the recently introduced OCF Beauty Dish ($179), which is available in either white or silver. (For more details, check out PDN‘s full Profoto B2 review.)
Elinchrom ELB 400
The workhorse ELB 400 battery pack delivers 424 w/s of flash power for up to 350 full- powered flashes on a single battery charge. There are two asymmetric power outlets and flash output is adjustable across a 6.9-stop range in 1/10-5/10-stop increments. Recycle times clock in between 0.3-1.6 seconds at full power in the unit’s fast mode. Recycle speeds ramp up to 0.17 seconds at lower power. There are three different heads available for the system. A Pro head offers flash durations (measured at 0.5) of 1/1,200 sec. at full power and 1/3,000 sec. at lower power settings. The Action head prioritizes speed with full-power flash durations clocking in at 1/2,800 sec. and low-power speeds up to 1/5,700 sec. Finally, the new HS head has the slowest full power flash duration at 1/550 sec. but supports Elinchrom’s new Hi-Sync technology, which lets you overpower the sun and shoot at wide open apertures with faster shutter speeds. You’ll need Elinchrom’s Skyport HS transmitter if you opt for the Quadra HS head. (PDN also went hands-on to test the ELB 400—here are the results.)
Interfit Photographic’s S1 is a 500 w/s strobe with a built-in battery that supports HSS and TTL for Canon and Nikon cameras. The S1’s interchangeable lithium-ion battery is good for up to 350 full power flashes in either manual or TTL modes and up to 400 full power flashes when shooting in HSS mode (we tested this out in a hands-on review in Rangefinder). The S1 weighs 6.3 pounds with battery included. You can also run the flash off of AC power thanks to the included multi-voltage AC adapter. The flash works with an optional remote for Canon and Nikon cameras ($100) to enable TTL metering. The S1 has a seven-stop power range, which is adjustable in 1/10th-stop increments when shooting in TTL mode with +/- three stops of exposure compensation and the ability to manually adjust the flash within 1/3 stops.
Check out the full list of top lights and modifiers for on-the-go shoots on Rangefinderonline.com for more lighting gear and specs.
National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig is a master of TTL-flash photography, which he uses in striking ways to illuminate subjects and emphasize his message. At the same time, he avoids the obvious “strobe look,” making images that appear (almost) to be lit entirely by ambient light—even when he’s shooting in near-darkness. In his PhotoPlus Expo... More ›
Photographer Gerd Ludwig is a lighting master with TTL strobe lights. He uses them in unusual and unpredictable ways to direct the the viewer’s eye through his photographs, convey a sense of place, and define his visual style. Yet his strobe lights are all but invisible, blending with available light sources. In this video, Ludwig... More ›
Fast on the heels of the D2 announcement and Sony partnership, Profoto has another fast flash to show off at Photokina 2016: the Pro-10 studio generator. The Pro-10 will offer flash durations as fast as 1/80,000 (t.05) of a second and 2400 W/s of power output. Power is adjustable over an 11 stop range in 1/10th... More ›