Got a Light? Here's the Lighting Gear to Look For

by Theano Nikitas

October 23, 2015

EDITOR’S CHOICE: Profoto B2

The successor to the popular Profoto B1, the B2 is smaller and lighter and incredibly versatile. Use a bracket to mount it on your camera, attach the 3.5-pound battery pack to your belt and you’re good to go. Or, set it up on a stand for off-camera convenience. You’ll get 215 full power flashes from a fresh charge and fast recycling times. TTL metering for Canon and Nikon cameras using Profoto’s Air Remote is possible. Available in two kits—the B2 To-Go and B2 Location Kit—you get a battery, charger, one flash head, battery carrying bag and custom shoulder bag. The Location Kit includes two flash heads and two batteries.

Prices: $1,995 (to-go kit), $2,695 (location kit)

Elinchrom ELB 400 

Compact but powerful, this portable flash system offers a number of features that make the ELB 400 perfect for shooting on location. It measures 7.3 x 6 x 3.3 inches and weighs only 4.4 pounds. At the same time, it can output up to 350 full power flashes on a single charge. Dial down the power and the little battery can crank out between 5,500 and 6,000 flashes before running out of juice. Outfitted with an integrated EL Skyport transceiver, an OLED display and several new functions (Strobo, Sequence, Delayed), the ELB 400 is available alone or in several different kits. 

PRICES: STARTING AT $1,019

Elinchrom Litemotiv Direct and Indirect  

Elinchrom is rapidly expanding its Litemotiv line of softboxes with the addition of Direct and Indirect models. The Direct series includes 48-inch and 75-inch, 16-sided softboxes that utilize color-coded anodized rods for easy setup. The Direct modifiers produce lovely soft light with dual diffusers as well as lightweight and heat-resistant fabric that produces 30 percent more light than Elinchrom’s standard Rotalux fabric. The Litemotiv Indirect softboxes include Octa, Square, Recta and Strip models, which come equipped with external and internal diffusers, and a carry bag.

PRICES: FROM $509 

Adorama Glow Portable Softboxes 

Two new additions to Adorama’s Glow line of light modifiers, the Glow QuadraPop 24 x 34-inch and Glow ParaPop 38-inch, are portable and lightweight for location shooting but work well in the studio, too. Available in your choice of interchangeable speedrings, both products are compatible with speedlights, monolights and studio strobes. Opening and closing these light modifiers is one-click simple, whether you’re working with the rectangular QuadraPop or the 12-sided parabolic ParaPop.

PRICES: $160 (QUADRAPOP), $230 (PARAPOP) 

Chimera RingMAXX

Measuring 4 feet across and 15 inches deep, the RingMAXX is not your everyday ringlight. Thanks to its size and design, it delivers more than five times the coverage of a standard ringlight. Essentially, it’s a giant, circular softbox with zippered openings on the back to place strobes or continuous lights in four distinct chambers and allows you to fine-tune output from each of the lights. The RingMAXX is available in two models—one for strobes and a more heat-resistant version for continuous lights.

PRICES: $1,950 (STROBE), $2,450 (CONTINUOUS) 

Dynalite Baja B4 

No outlet? No problem. The Baja B4 lets you cut the cord on powerful strobe lighting thanks to its removable Li-ion rechargeable battery. The 400 W/s B4 can fire off up to 550 full power flashes before the battery calls it quits. Power is adjustable in 1/10-stop increments through a 6-stop power range with flash durations clocking in between 1/12,900 and 1/500 sec. The B4 takes 3.7 seconds to recycle when operated in full power mode and offers an integrated wireless receiver for remote triggering.

PRICE: $600

Broncolor Para HR Kits

Part of the new Para system, the 88 HR and 133 HR Paras are designed for high heat resistance—able to withstand twice the heat of their standard Para siblings. That means they can handle up to 1600 HMI and 2000W tungsten-halogen light sources to deliver a large quantity of light while maintaining the Para quality of illumination that photographers love. Unique to the system is the use of interchangeable focusing tubes with both the new FT 1600 HMI as well as a 2000W tungsten head.

PRICES: KITS FROM $3,050

Quantum QFlash TRIO

Using Quantum’s TRIO flash will be easier using the latest version of firmware (v.10) dubbed EZ Pro. Thanks to this update, all features are segmented into three basic modes, streamlining the process of changing settings. In fact, most of the functions for each mode can be accessed directly from four soft keys under the LCD panel.  Also new from Quantum are the QFBP Trio for Panasonic, which was designed around the new firmware and the Panasonic QF91P CoPilot wireless transmitter. Availability and price weren’t ready at press time but we’ve heard there are other new products from Quantum on the horizon, so keep your eyes peeled.

PRICE: $875 (TRIO; EZ PRO 10 FIRMWARE IS FREE) 

FJ Westcott Flex Mat Cine Set 

Available in both daylight and bi-color models, Westcott’s Cine Mats offer a lighting alternative that flexes, packs flat and provides all the benefits of LEDs. Both the Bi-Color (2800K to 6000K) and the Daylight (5600K) sets are fully dimmable and come with everything you need for quick and versatile setup including a diffusion cloth, a mounting arm and extension cable among other components. Choose from 1 x 1-foot or 1 x 2-foot models, as well as full studio kits.

PRICES: STARTING AT $800

Rosco LitePad Vector CCT

Designed for location lighting but equally at home in the studio, the 8 x 8-inch LitePad Vector’s compact size (it’s only 2.8 inches thick) and 4-pound weight is deceiving compared to how powerful it is. The LED array is capable of generating four times the power of its 12 x 12-inch LitePad predecessors. The dimmable LitePad Vector produces soft, even light with adjustable color temperatures from 3000K to 6000K. It can be powered by AC with the bundled power supply or by standard Anton/Bauer of V-Mount battery packs. It’s energy efficient too, and consumes only 65W of power. Several multi-head kits are also available. 

PRICE: $1,027

Expoimaging Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro Lighting System

When you need to travel really light, check out the Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro. Part of the second generation FlashBender line with lighter and softer reflectors, improved flexibility and a revamped belt-and-buckle attachment, the 2 XL Pro kit is bundled with the largest reflector, a Pro Strip Grid Attachment and the Pro Soft Box Diffuser Attachment. The kit weighs a mere 13.8 ounces and packs neatly into the included travel bag. FlashBender reflectors are also available in small and large sizes.

PRICES: $100 (2 XL PRO), FROM $35 (OTHER SIZES)

Interfit ACE 

The ACE is designed to ease newcomers into studio flash photography, side-stepping features like high output, TTL and ultra-fast flash durations that are found on pricier strobes in favor of a streamlined package to get you up and running. What does that entail? The ACE offers basic manual controls and a stepless power adjustment dial with a four-stop range from full power down to 1/8th output. You’ll also find a 75W modeling lamp, an optical slave cell, sync port and IR trigger. The ACE takes 3 seconds to recycle when shooting at full power and has a color temperature of 5600K. 

PRICE: $90

Related: A Comprehensive List of Any Photo Accessory You'd Ever Need

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