Magazine Article


Inspired Illumination
The latest monolights, heads and packs, reflectors, softboxes, and other lighting modifiers

Whether you're looking for a primary light source or just a little fill, our lighting roundup showcases the latest monolights, heads and packs, reflectors, softboxes, and other lighting modifiers to provide perfect illumination for all your images.

True Blue is the newest generation of Arri lampheads. The lampheads are now more adaptable to accessories: The tilt lock has been improved to eliminate the danger of forward tilting when heavy, front-mounted accessories are in use. Arri's patented cross-cooling system, which encourages a stream of air to pass around the Fresnel lens and into the lamphead from the front, has reduced the lamp housing temperature of True Blue units by 25%, and the lens temperature by 17%.

The 3000ws Ringflash Pro is compatible with the Quad range of generators and powerpacks, meaning up to 3000ws of power is available in the studio, or 1500ws on location with the Explorer 1500 battery generator. The Ringflash Pro comes with two fans to keep everything cool. A large comfort-grip handle allows you to hand-hold the Ringflash Pro.

"[For one of my shoots in a Georgian townhouse in Central London], we were going to be moving from shot to shot and room to room quite quickly. I used the Ringflash Pro with the Explorer 1500 Battery Generator, which allowed me total freedom of movement. I was amazed at the amount of light the Ringflash Pro was capable of producing; I was able to light up an entire room from the one light source. The quality of the light produced by the Ringflash Pro and its usability is second to none. The new foam handle is a great addition, too, as it allows for move free-flowing, fluid movements when you're shooting. The thing I was most impressed with from the Ringflash Pro, however, was its continual high-quality light output, which produced some amazing shadows and gave all the models perfect, pure skin tones."
--James Brown,

California Sunbounce
The Sunbounce 24" extendable Flash-Bracket attaches to the Sunbounce's frame and holds a shoe-mount flash so that it's aimed back at the reflector's silver, gold, or white surface, which bounces the light back onto your subject for a much softer light. Users of TTL-controlled shoe-mount-flash units will get the most from the Sunbounce Flash-Bracket: fully dedicated operation in which the flash will automatically compensate for the light loss caused by bouncing.

"This image was taken in Colorado for Justin Hats, a division of The Milano Hat Company. I had everyone on site at 5:30 a.m. to be ready to shoot predawn light for 30 minutes, because at 6:00 a.m. the sun was high enough to be over the mountain and behind the models. I had exactly 12 minutes to shoot before packing up and driving four minutes to the next location to shoot there at 6:19 a.m., when the sun got high enough to hit that location. I had every detail planned except the lack of sun due to very heavy clouds. So my crew dragged out the Lumedyne battery-powered location strobes and assembled a California Sunbounce Mini reflector. The California Sunbounce boys pulled out the just-released Sunbounce Flash-Bracket, which allowed me to attach the strobe head to the reflector, thus allowing my assistant to have the pack on her shoulder and walk with the now
‘primary light source.' Very handy indeed!"
--Steve Thornton,

© Steve Thornton

Calumet Photo
The Genesis 200ws and 400ws monolights provide all the power and lighting needed to create professional-looking portraits and still-life tabletop photos. They provide recycling times as low as one second.

"I used a single Genesis 400 for this fashion shot at the Scottish Rite Temple in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I loved getting the light down low as my model relaxed against the wall on a 95° afternoon. I put a simple grid over the softbox to give myself some more control and cut from the softbox. The ability to control the light in 1/10 stops really gave me the ability to capture what I saw."
--Kevin Vu,

© Kevin Vu

The Combi Lightbank Kits consist of three Lightbanks with different sizes and shapes, so you can control the contrast, shape, and fall-off of your lighting. The three Lightbank Combi Kits are comprised of a small (24x32") and medium (36x48") Lightbank, plus a small (9x36") Strip Bank.

The 3080 Ring Flash, with its 3200ws capacity, weighs a mere 2.5 pounds and is dual-fan-cooled. Its 100mm diameter allows for a wide variety of compatible lenses.

The Elinchrom Skyport provides wireless triggering of any PC-corded flash and complete wireless control of Elinchrom RX units. Select from four basic modules: Transmitter, Universal Receiver, RX Receiver, and Transceiver RX USB. The included lithium battery recharges in about three hours for 30 hours of usage and provides 50,000 flashes per charge. One of the smallest transmitter/receivers on the market, the Skyport can sync up to 1/1000 of a sec. The units have a studio operating range of 165', 395' outdoors, that offers interference-free operation with 40-bit security. For multiple flash unit control, there are eight frequency channels and four workgroups.

"This image was taken with the Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed pack, two 'S' heads, and Skyport remote triggering. Besides knowing the pack would perform flawlessly, the true benefit was being able to remotely control the pack from the Skyport's transmitter. I recently started using the Skyport, and with its performance and price, it will be a permanent part of my lighting system.
--David Verdini,

© David Verdini

F.J. Westcott
The Strobelite Plus provides 400 effective watt-seconds of power in a compact and lightweight design. Fast recycle times average two seconds at full power. The Strobelite Plus 3-Light Kit includes three Strobelite Plus light heads, two 24x32" silver softboxes with adapter rings, two 9.5' light stands, a backlight stand, barn door set with gels, and a wheeled carrying case.

GAM Products
GAM Products intros 24 new patterns, and two new color-corrective filters: the CineFilter 1592 converts xenon to incandescent with a little pink added to work with facial tones, while the 1594 converts multivapor lamps to incandescent.

Interfit Photographic
The Flexilite 5 in 1 panels are available either as a single panel with five surfaces, or as a full kit with a new "C" type stand for indoor or outdoor uses. These new 5-in-1 reflector panels are designed with a twist-lock central crossbar to enable quick portability. The frame is made from lightweight aluminum, and each reflector panel is held in place by strong Velcro edge strips for a secure grip.

The Litepanels Micro is a compact, lightweight LED camera light with continuous output. Suited for high-end DSLRs, this powerful new fixture provides ultra-efficient, luminous, soft directional output. A conveniently placed dimmer control allows instant dial-up of just the right amount of light to fill in unflattering shadows and bring a subject's face and eyes to life. The Micro weighs less than 5 ounces and runs off of standard or rechargeable AA batteries. The unit also features a convenient flip-down filter holder and three included color/diffusion gel filters: 3200°K tungsten conversion (warm white), 1/4 warming, and diffusion.

The Rifa eXtra/Flo Kits add accessory lampheads and daylight fluorescent lamps to Rifa eX models and stands. The rest of the Rifa eX Kit line has been expanded to add larger case options to each kit, with room to drop in one or more of the new Rifa eX Accessory Paks. The Accessory Paks combine quick-change lampheads with lamps and lamp cases. There are also two new eXchange Accessory Kits, in hard- and soft-case options.

"Sal Palosi is one of the last nautical wood-carvers in the U.S., and to honor his stature, we photographed him in his studio at the South Street Seaport Museum. The challenges were many: a tiny studio, what nautical pieces to use, and how to use the light to create a compelling portrait. This is where the Lowel Rifa eX came in. I used it to supplement the light that was coming in from his left side, with a 65-watt fluorescent daylight fluo screw-corrected bulb in an accessory eX lamphead. It gave an output equal to a 250-watt incandescent lamp. The light acted as an additional window by rendering character details and giving a fill light to Sal."
--Randy Duchaine, 

© Randy Duchaine

The LumiQuest SoftBox III has roughly twice the diffusion surface of the company's original SoftBox. The 8x9" surface produces much softer shadows than a regular flash. Like the original SoftBox, the SoftBox III is designed to fit a variety of flash units and is center-weighted for more even illumination. While no compensation is required when shooting with TTL exposure control, the SoftBox III will interfere with the on-flash auto-exposure sensor and auto-focus assist.

"I've been a big fan of the LumiQuest line of products for years. This stuff isn't gimmicky: It's actually designed by a guy who shoots and who knows what photographers need under real field conditions (and in my case, it might actually be in a field!). Normally, I'm using the Big Bounce to supplement ambient light, as a source to add contrast, or as a fill light. However, in this situation it was used as a primary source, and it saved the day. This image was shot very early in the morning at Marsh Lake in Rock Creek Canyon [in the Eastern Sierra]. The sunlight hadn't yet reached down into the valley where our workshop group was shooting. Spot-meter readings showed the Indian Paintbrush wildflowers to be five stops under the ambient readings of the peaks in the distance. And the resulting exposure, based on the highlight readings, rendered them as a complete silhouette. A few quick tests with the LumiQuest modifier attached to a Metz flash, and we had the perfect foreground-to-background balance. But, most importantly, the quality of light was exactly what I was looking for."
--Don Gale,

© Don Gale

Matthews Studio Equipment
MiniMAX is the new, smaller version of the MAX System. It allows the placement of a fixture where the POV does not allow stands or other lighting support fixtures. With no protruding counterbalance arms to the rear, MiniMAX can back itself right up to a wall with little or no interference on the set. MiniMAX will support a 20-lb. fixture on a parallel up to nine feet high and will extend up to nine feet on a horizontal extension. MiniMAX works well on uneven surfaces (even on flights of stairs). It features two rocky mountain legs and a rear-column leveling post. The MiniMAX weights 25 lbs.

The Nikon SB-900 Speedlight is a flash capable of a wide zoom range, increased versatility, faster recycling time, and intelligent features. The SB-900 offers coverage from 17mm to 200mm. The unit automatically adapts itself to FX- or DX-format cameras. Photographers can now also select from three light patterns: Center-weighted, Standard, and Even.

"This shot of my friend Mark was created with two Nikon SB-900 units, positioned on the floor stands that are included with the Speedlight. We created this image on the street, with the camera positioned to the right, aimed upward. No gels were used, and the camera was set to a tungsten white balance, in combination with the white light from the SB-900. We found two busted-up wood pallets that we used to create the shadows and just stood them in front of the lights and let fly."
--Joe McNally,

The A400BR portable flash system is ideal for wedding and event photographers and features full-, half-, and quarter-power; recycle times from 0.35 seconds to 3 seconds; flash durations from 1/900 sec to 1/7200 sec; and a weight of only 6 lbs. The Norman power supply delivers 400ws and 200 full-power flashes per charge.

"The Norman A400BR is my location workhorse. It gives me the ability to produce great images under any location conditions. The power control lets me overpower sunlight, balance flash to daylight, or set a 2:1 fill ratio that looks completely natural. I take two battery packs to an event and only use full power for larger groups. Most wedding shots are at quarter power, so I average about 600 shots per charged battery."
--Wynn Roberts

© Wynn Roberts

The Novatron M150 Monolight has a four-stop power range with the typical minimum aperture rating of f/11 (10' at ISO 100) when set to full power. The M150's on-board CPU will give consistent exposures every time. Power output is controlled by push button and shown on an LCD-panel readout adjustable to 1/10 stop increments. The modeling light switch on the M150 permits either constant full power or variability that will mimic the output of the flash power selection.

The Auto-Flash-Art features a parallel light-reflection technique that replicates light rays with the characteristics and the shadow rendering of sunlight. A control light--but without daylight intensity--can be used to check the flash illumination in a darker environment before the actual take. The Auto-Duo-Flash small flash studio with two separate flash heads enables any type of light control with individual light variations, just as in a classical studio. You can adapt each reflector with diffuser plates to suit the required light situation.

The FL-50R and FL-36R are wireless electronic flashes designed for Olympus DSLRs. Both have a rotary head that can be rotated in four directions. When these flashes are used in combination with the E-3, which features a commander function incorporated in its built-in flash, wireless multi-flash photography is possible without using an outside commander.

The 9430 Remote Area Lighting System is a compact, portable area lighting system. The system features a swiveling telescope mast (extends to nearly 3'), a 360° articulated light array, and a wide area handle for easy gloved grip. The 9430's 24 next-generation LEDs and dual power mode radiates 2,000 lumens in high (1,000 in low). Powered by a 15-hour rechargeable battery, the system offers up to eight hours of peak brightness.

The StarFlash 150 offers variable power up to 150ws. The modeling light can be set at full brightness or proportional to the flash tube light output. The Tilt Swivel Mount allows for a tilt range of 170° and can be repositioned on the StarFlash to compensate for weight imbalance when using larger softboxes.

Photogenic redesigned the Quick Change 16" reflector for more even illumination and improved specular highlights. The reflector fits all Photogenic Power Lights and FlashMaster light units with Quick Change adapters.

"We've used Photogenic lights for nearly 30 years and can say that Photogenic makes the most photographer-friendly lights. Photogenic provides the highest-quality light and consistency from flash to flash, which is crucial for the creation of a fine image. The Photogenic PowerLight system allows us to remotely program our lights. Once the lights are set, the results are perfection."
--Joseph and Louise Simone

© Joseph and Louise Simone

The Plume Wafer light diffusion banks feature a graduated inner deflection system, resulting in a very thin profile, yet superior light evenness, making Wafer the choice of photographers working in the studio or in unpredictable locations.

An improved version of the company's classic Zoom Reflector is a reflector with smoother and more precise light direction; the fall-off is more even, the dynamic range bigger, and the stray light almost completely eliminated. The Zoom Reflector now accepts standard Profoto grids directly without the use of an adapter. There's also an optional protective Zoom Cap, which fits on top of the reflector--even if it's holding a grid or if the reflector is mounted on a lamp head.

The new Qflash UV/IR Wave Reflector (QF80) can be used with all models of Qflash and provides UV/IR flash filtration capability. The QF80 Reflector permits mounting 67mm threaded filters to produce narrow or broad-band wavelengths of flash illumination from non-visible UV to visible, to non-visible infrared.

Offering the same features as the 12" Starter-Kit, the Pro-Kit SOFTBOX gives off virtually no heat. Hang it on the wall, from the ceiling, or on a tripod; divide it up, hide it, or put it behind books to re-create daylight.

"The Rololight Softbox is extremely compact, lightweight, and separates into individual light strips. With Rololight, we can better control the light and instantly see the results. In shooting, where there's little light, skin tones have never looked so good!"
--Shoot Studio


© Shoot Studio

The Overhead Boom Light attaches to a tabletop to save space and features a uniquely shaped fluorescent 30-watt bulb with a daylight color temperature of 5000° Kelvin, emitting 2000 lumens for maximum output. The light has a 9" reflector with an adjustable ball bracket. The two-section boom extends to 22" with a vertical column that extends to 18".

Smith Victor
The Smith-Victor KT900 kit includes two white umbrellas, a new reflector design, and an umbrella mount. The KT900 kit includes two 12" reflectors, a 5" reflector, three socket and cord sets, two 500-watt photoflood lamps, one 250-watt photoflood lamp, three 8' stands, two 32" umbrellas, two UM-6 umbrella mounts, one mini boom arm, and a wheeled cart.
The Softlight Reflector/Lens Visor softens the light from your flash and converts into a Lens Visor that protects your lens from flare. The visor attaches to the lens hood with a 16" two-sided Velcro strap that gives a 360° attachable surface to block flare.

Sunpak's new Platinum and Platinum Plus Monolights feature a quiet, fanless slim-line design with stepless power ratio control from full to 1/32 power with the modeling lamp matching the power ratio setting. All models include an umbrella reflector, flashtube, modeling lamp, synch, and AC power cords.