This is a review of the Lastolite EzyBox Speed-Lite, a small 8.6 x 8.6″ softbox designed to be used with a speedlight. One of the most dreaded situations for most photographers is walking into a venue that has dark walls, very high ceilings and no ambient light. No matter what camera system you shoot with, working in such environments without flash is simply not an option. Lack of light can create a myriad of problems, from focusing issues to image blur due to slow shutter speed. Shooting at super high ISO is often not an option – not when you will be delivering your photographs to a business client. So what do you do? You use a speedlight, often on top of the camera, because you need to move around when photographing the event.
This is a quick review of the Nikon Wireless Close-up Speedlight Commander Kit R1C1, which has been kindly provided by B&H – the largest photo reseller in the world that we use more than any other to buy our photography gear.
If close-up or macro photography is your passion then this lighting system is an accessory you may wish to consider. The set-up (camera body and lens not included) offers flexibility to explore and maximize your creative talents so let’s take a closer look at the Nikon Close-up Speedlight Commander Kit R1C1.
This is a review of the Impact Background Support System, along with the Impact Muslin Background, used in a studio environment or in remote locations for portrait and product photography. When taking pictures of people or products, it is often desirable to have a smooth background with a certain color. While you can accomplish this with a “Do It Yourself” (DYI) setup using a white sheet secured on a large wall, sometimes it is either impossible (in a tight space) or inconvenient to do that. Other times, some people are not either uncomfortable with potentially damaging their walls with nails in order to secure a white sheet, or want a setup they can travel with. For those situations, a collapsible and lightweight background support system can be invaluable. The good news is that you can get a good background system without breaking the bank, and the Impact Background Support System is no exception.
This is a review of the Impact Digital Light Shed, used for small and medium product photography. Whether you are photographing jewelry, toys, shoes or even lenses, a good light box is essential for creating beautiful photographs of the product. While you can take the DYI route and build a light box yourself from scratch (which is what I did for years before), purchasing a solid light box setup can save you plenty of time, space and frustration.
While I am not into product photography, I occasionally take pictures of items that I want to get rid of through Craigslist and eBay (speaking of which, Bob gave some great tips on how to sell your photo gear on eBay). My first light box was made from a square cardboard box that I cut from three sides. I glued some white paper inside the box and over the holes, which worked great for diffusing and softening the light evenly inside the light box. To light up my setup, I used the cheapest lights I could find from a local hardware store, because I only had one speedlight at the time. While my setup worked great initially, the cardboard box just would not last long (mostly thanks to my little kiddos) and I found myself making one every time when I needed to photograph something.
This is a review of the Impact 5-in-1 Collapsible Oval Reflector, commonly used for bouncing natural light or flash onto subjects when taking their portraits. When working outdoors or in a studio environment, a reflector can be a very effective tool for adding more light to your subject. Often used as a secondary “fill light” to compliment the primary light, reflectors come in different sizes, shapes and surfaces. While the shape of the reflector does not matter as much, the size and the type of surface of the reflector can have a significant impact on the image. In photography, the bigger the light source is, the softer the light it will produce. Hence, bigger reflectors will generally yield softer light than their smaller counterparts.
This is a review of the Impact Master Century C Stand Kit, used for holding studio lights, softboxes, flags, bounce cards and other accessories. Unlike the multiboom light stand that can only hold light reflectors and cardboard flags, C-stands are almost entirely made of metal and are designed to be very tough and sturdy, capable of holding fairly heavy equipment. The shortened term “C-Stand”, which means “Century Stand”, comes from the early days of motion picture production. Back then, filmmakers heavily relied on reflectors to light actors. The most popular one was the 100 inch or “century” sized reflector, so the stand that held this reflector was often referred to as “century stand”.
One big news that nobody seems to be paying attention to at the moment due to the much-anticipated Canon 5D Mark III release, is the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite announcement. Why big news? Because it is the first flash unit (speedlite in Canon language, speedlight in Nikon language) that actually has a built-in wireless radio capability. Historically, both Canon and Nikon used flash units that would communicate wirelessly only via infrared signal. While infrared works fine in some environments, it has problems with daylight (sun rays), range and it often requires direct visibility. Because of this problems, many photographers, including myself, have been relying on external radio transmitters and receivers such as PocketWizard for a more enhanced and reliable communication between flash units.
With the introduction of the Canon 600EX-RT flash unit and the Canon ST-E3-RT transmitter, Canonites no longer have to rely on third party radio triggers for reliable communication between flashes. Now you can use all flash features, including TTL flash and trigger up to 15 wireless flash units at a range of 30 meters, without worrying about potential communication issues. Considering that Nikon has had a lead on the flash technology for many years, it is surprising to see Canon release a radio flash first. The bad news for Nikonians is that Nikon has recently updated its high-end flash line with the Nikon SB-910, so we might not see a Nikon flash with radio capability any time soon…
PocketWizard has just announced an update to their PocketWizard Plus line of radio transceivers. The new PocketWizard Plus III is the latest generation radio transmitter/receiver that adds a boatload of new features, but best of all, comes at a much more affordable price of $139 (the old PocketWizard Plus II units are priced at $159).
This is a quick review of the Impact Posing Stool, used in studio environments for seating clients and models to photograph headshots or half-body portraits. When photographing subjects in a studio, especially when doing corporate photography, a simple posing stool is often required. Regular chairs have backs and arms that are problematic for half-body shots, while bar stools can be too high and inconvenient to use, so an adjustable posing stool is ideal in such situations. While there are plenty of adjustable stools available from various manufacturers, most of them are quite expensive. The Impact Posing Stool accomplishes the same task, but at a much more affordable price.
This is a review of the Impact Multiboom Light Stand and Reflector Holder, used in studio environments for holding lights, reflectors, flags and other light accessories. If you do any studio work, whether it is for photographing models or your clients, it is often necessary to use light reflectors to bounce the main light for softer shadows. Other times you might find yourself in a situation when you have too much light spill and you need to block some of that light with a black card, also known as a “flag”. It is great if you have one or more assistants for these kinds of situations, because they can assist in holding reflectors and flags. But what if you work alone or need to hold multiple reflectors and flags? That’s when a boom comes in handy. I have been shopping around for a good, lightweight, portable and inexpensive boom arm + stand combo, and I think I found a perfect one for my needs.