17 Lights and Modifiers for On-Location Shooting

January 18, 2018

By Greg Scoblete

Angler ParaSail

Parabolic umbrellas aren’t really known for fitting into tight spaces, but Angler’s ParaSail is an exception. Thanks to its unique, wing-shaped design, you can squeeze the ParaSail into lower-ceiling rooms than ordinary umbrellas. It can be used horizontally or vertically and has a removable black/silver backing.

Price: $80

Interfit S1 On-Location 2-Light Backpack Kit

The battery-powered S1 monolight is ideal for travel work. The kit includes a pair of 500 W/s S1 monolights and a durable backpack built with 1000D ballistic nylon and neoprene, with YKK zippers and industrial-grade buckles. There’s also a built-in rain cover, padded back and shoulder straps, padded hip belt and an adjustable sternum strap to help distribute the weight. There’s room in the pack for modifiers, a tripod, a laptop, spare batteries and accessories in zippered pouches. The kit also comes with two standard 7-inch Bowens S-type reflectors, AC power packs with cables, two batteries and a pair of micro USB cables for firmware updates.

Price: $2,000

Broncolor Litepipe P

Broncolor’s newest light modifier, the Litepipe P, is designed for portability and for shooting in tight quarters. According to Broncolor, the five components of the Litepipe can “be assembled in less than a minute without the use of any tools.” It can be used with flashes that output up to 3,200 W/s in power. It has Velcro fasteners so you can add one of the two supplied reflectors—either a 27cm or a 19cm counter-reflector. If no reflector is used, Broncolor says the Litepipe can serve as natural ambient lighting. Thanks to its asymmetric design, you won’t need a boom stand or ceiling mount to work with the Litepipe.

Price: $1,120

Manfrotto Lumimuse

If you want a continuous light with plenty of easy creative effects, Manfrotto’s petite Lumimuse is a good option. It has several snap-on filters to modify color temperature and diffusion of the eight LEDs. The Lumimuse can be dimmed in four steps and has a CRI of 92+. It is daylight-balanced and delivers 550 lux at 1 meter. You’ll get about an hour of life on a fully charged battery.

Price: $120

Flashpoint R2 eVOLV 200

The eVOLV 200 is a 200 W/s flash with TTL and a battery capable of delivering 500-plus full-power flashes. It has interchangeable flash heads, allowing you to adjust light modifiers as needed. You can also pair the eVOLV with a second unit to create a 400 W/s flash. It uses a 2.4Ghz wireless radio and has a recycling time of under 2 seconds at full power. It’s compatible with other R2-enabled lights in the Adorama Flashpoint family.

Price: $330

3D Flex Flash WYNG

Some light modifiers are churned out from factories in Asia. The 3D Flash Flex is made in a garage in San Diego using 3D printers. The brainchild of wedding photographers, the WYNG is a speed light modifier that’s super light yet durable. The WYNG slips onto your flash head but won’t obscure any of its output. Its gentle, curved shape helps reflect light onto your subject. If you use gels, the WYNG will hold them securely in place over your flash.

Price: $30

Phottix Juno

This manual hot-shoe flash is compatible with the major camera brands. Power can be adjusted over eight stops in 1/3-stop increments. It delivers a zoom range of 20-200mm, is powered by four AA batteries and has a Canon-compatible HV battery port for adding additional battery packs. It’s loaded with Phottix’s Ares II wireless flash triggering technology so you can control other Phottix lights right from the Juno.

Price: $130

Lowel Go Lite

This compact LED can be hot-shoe mounted and has an AF assist function that kicks on with a half-press of the shutter to help you lock focus. Used as a continuous light, the Go Lite is dimmable in ten steps and is daylight-balanced with a CRI of 90+. It ships with a tungsten filter and a daylight diffusion dome, and runs off of four AA batteries.

Price: $70

Chimera Octa Collapsible Beauty Dish

Getting more mileage from your modifiers on location is critical. Chimera’s Octa Beauty Dish can pull double duty as a beauty dish (obviously) and as an Octa Bank with the included diffusion screen attached. It’s built using flexible plastic so it’s lightweight.

Prices: $262 (24 inches), $350 (30 inches)

PRL Lustra 50

This compact LED is small yet powerful—an ideal solution for fill light during a portrait shoot or video light for your motion work. The Lustra is dimmable from 0 to 100 percent and uses a microprocessor to keep it flicker-free and color-consistent as you dim. It’s daylight-balanced and outputs 1200 lux at 5 feet with a 40-degree angle of dispersion with a CRI of 94. It has a 12V power supply and can also accept Sony NPF L-series batteries when you’re out in the field away from power. The three-light kit includes three Lustra 50s, three softboxes, three sets of filters for changing color temperature and a bag to carry it all.

Price: $1.099

Rotolight NEO 2

The NEO 2 can pull double duty as a strobe or continuous light. Thanks to a partnership with Elinchrom, Rotolight has integrated Elinchrom’s Skyport 2.4GHz radio into the NEO 2, enabling high-speed sync functionality (up to 1/8000 sec.) and the ability to control up to ten lights in four groups. When used as a strobe, the NEO 2 has no recycling time and no loss of flash power even when shooting long, uninterrupted bursts of flashes, the company claims. It can be used as a continuous light and you can create lighting effects like lightning or police sirens.

Price: $399

Westcott Solix

The Solix is the first compact LED with an integrated, rotatable speed ring so you can mount soft boxes with ease. You'll enjoy a high-quality light with a CRI of 96 and output of up to 2,125 lux at 1 meter. It's dimmable and includes all metal barn doors and a diffusion cap.

Price: $450

Elinchrom Quadra HS

This flash head supports Elinchrom’s proprietary Hi-Sync technology, which lets photographers sync their cameras at high shutter speeds, up to 1/8000 sec. to overpower the sun or shoot action with wide open apertures. Unlike High Speed Sync, Hi-Sync doesn’t fire a rapid burst of flashes. Instead, it fires one powerful blast and chooses the optimal “slice” of light in sync with the camera for your exposure. As a result, the HS head will deliver relatively slow flash durations (1/550 sec.) relative to Elinchrom’s other Quadra heads. The flash head can be paired with Elinchrom’s ELB 400 battery pack.

Price: $3,499

Photoflex RapiDome Kit

This collapsible softbox is a great solution for speed lights. It’s shallow, so it will fit where bulkier softboxes can’t. It features a cold shoe mount and opens and closes like an umbrella for fast assembly. The kit includes a soft egg crate grid, stand and diffusion fabric.

Price: $220

Hensel Grand Mini 85

When you’re working on location, time is often of the essence. Hensel’s new Grand Mini parabolic softbox can be popped open single-handedly, like an umbrella. It’s prefitted with a connector ring for Hensel’s compact flashes, so all you need to do is place the diffuser on and you’re ready to shoot.

Price: $398

Profoto A1

Profoto’s new 76 W/s flash features HSS and recycling times between 0.05 and 1.2 seconds. Power is adjustable over a nine-stop range, and the lithium-ion battery is good for 350 full-powered flashes. The battery is interchangeable so you can pack a spare and shoot for hours on end. It has a magnetic mount to add modifiers—even stack them—and shape its output. The A1 has Profoto’s AirTTL built in so you can control other Profoto lights too.

Price: $995

Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 Plus

This speed light modifier was developed by lighting wizard Joe McNally to give your portrait subjects catchlights. Its white interior creates a soft light, and it ships with a removable inner and outer diffuser. The Ezybox is collapsible and should slip right into most gear bags.

Price: $79

Related: Flash Forward: New Strobes, LEDs and Modifiers