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.
The surface of a reflector can also be of different fabric – from white to silver to gold. White surface reflectors are the most common – they are used for soft fill. Silver surface reflectors do not diffuse the light and therefore produce much harsher light, while gold surface reflectors produce much warmer fill light. The large 42×72″ Impact 5-in-1 oval reflector has all these features with two bonus reflective surfaces – Black, for eliminating reflections, and Translucent to produce even softer, diffused lighting effects.
1) Product Specifications
- Shape: Oval
- Size Open: 42″ x 72″ (107 x 183cm)
- Size Collapsed: 1/3 of working size
- Surfaces: Black, silver mylar, white, gold and translucent
- Lightweight silfoil style, circular, steel framed reflector system
- Folds conveniently into a disk one-third its in-use size
- Includes handy, tear resistant nylon carrying pouch
2) Packaging and Field Use
The nice thing about the Impact 5-in-1 reflector is that despite its massive size, it is very compact to store and transport. It can even be stored in the carrying case with the reflector covers attached. Here is how the reflector looks when fully collapsed inside the carrying pouch:
The reflector is packaged very nicely. Inside the pouch you will find the reflector, along with the above-mentioned detachable reflective surfaces and a small instruction book. Here is a picture of the instruction book and the silver/gold reflective surfaces (silver from the inside, gold from the outside):
When I opened the reflector for the first time, I was surprised by how big it really is. Here it is, mounted on the Impact Multiboom Light Stand:
At 72″, the reflector is taller than me!
Once you have the reflector open, you’re going to have to figure out how to close it up and fit it inside the carrying case again. Because this reflector isn’t round, it doesn’t fold up the same way most reflectors do. I’d suggest reading the instructions that come with it. Even with instructions, it takes a little practice. Make sure you’ve practiced folding it a few times and are comfortable with it before using it. I honestly couldn’t figure out how to fold it up again and had to get my studio mate to do it the first few times. I could imagine being at a photo shoot and not being able to fold up this reflector. Not only would it be embarrassing, it wouldn’t fit back into your car!
3) Sample portraits with the Reflector in use
I have been using the Impact 5-in-1 collapsible oval reflector in both studio and outdoor environments, although I must admit that I have used it a lot more indoors in a studio. I still prefer to use smaller 42″ circular reflectors when shooting outdoors – those are just easier to handle in my opinion. On the other hand, the vertical shape of the reflector can be very useful for full-body and group shots, so I still end up taking this reflector with me when Lola and I photograph outside.
Because the left side of the model’s face was getting very little light and her back was completely dark, I positioned the reflector on the right side and moved it a little further away from the model to get a very slight amount of bounced light.
At the end of the day, a reflector is a reflector – a simple tool to help photographers get better results when photographing people or objects. While there are many different companies that manufacture such reflectors, the Impact 5-in-1 Collapsible Oval Reflector will yield the same result without breaking the bank. At less than a hundred dollars, the collapsible reflector has 5 different reflective surfaces, while reflectors from other brands cost about the same without any of these features. It is a high-quality product at a great price that I love and personally recommend.