GUIDES & SUPPLEMENTSSP&D's Guide to Studio & Location Lighting Equipment TEXT BY DIANE BERKENFELD
No light, no photographs. Whether you're creating images with
ambient light, a single candle's glow, on-camera flash, or a bank
of studio strobes, it all begins with illumination.
As more photographers opt for digital capture, in studio and on location, manufacturers are redesigning their lighting systems for compatibility with the delicate circuitry driving digital cameras. We're also seeing fluorescent and HMI lights become as commonplace in the studio as daylight-balanced strobe and tungsten.
To help you navigate the changing lighting landscape, SP&D has compiled this guide to the hottest—and coolest—lighting systems & modifiers in the marketplace. Read on . . .
STUDIO STROBE LIGHTING
The Balcar Nexus Flash System is a universal lighting system that accommodates strobe heads from most manufacturers. Four flash-head outlets are available from two capacitor banks. Each bank has its own power control knob and a master control knob adjusts the power level of the four heads simultaneously. Models available: 3200 and 6400.
New from Bowens are the Espirit digital 750 monolights. Created for digital photographers, the lights provide consistent color temperature over a 6-stop range and when using multiple units. The monolights can be lowered to a minimum of 7 watt seconds if needed. Excess energy is automatically dumped when changing power settings. Other features include a modeling light, internal cooling fan, and optional remote control.
Broncolor's new battery-powered Mobil pack has a maximum capacity of 1200 ws and can accept two heads delivering 100-140 flashes before recharge. With the optional AC adapter, the unit becomes a 1500 ws studio pack with modeling lights and a faster recycle. Matching portable Mobilite heads offer a 50w modeling lamp, cooling fan, and reflector, which delivers 130-degrees of coverage.
Calumet Travelites are available in 750 and 375 ws models. These monolights will only trigger when fully recycled, so your exposures are right on. One control regulates the variable power and modeling light level when convenient or the two can be controlled individually. The Travelites feature a built-in slave and are compatible with the entire line of Calumet flash accessories.
The latest power packs from Dyna-Lite were created for the digital photographer. The DR series of power packs features two-stop variators for reducing the light output lower than ever before possible. The M500DR can be set as low as 8 ws; the M1000DR, as low as 16 ws; and the M2000DR, as low as 32 ws.
The Elinchrom Style S monolights are designed to work in digital and film studios. They are available in three models: 300S, 600S, and 1200S, all with 250w modeling lights. Features include fan-cooled heads, simplified remote control, user-changeable flash tubes, and an auto-dump feature when changing power output.
Global Photographic Supply
The Genesis series of monolights, by Aurora, offer variable flash output with a 150w modeling light and built-in slave. The G-400 offers 400 ws of light, the G-800 offers 800 ws. Accessories include softboxes and umbrellas for use with Genesis flash units. Aurora "Soft Light Source" softboxes come in various shapes and sizes.
JTL Studio Systems
The Versalight J-700 is specifically designed for pro photographers in terms of a variety of technical requirements in studios. The J-700 offers 700 ws, with a 150w modeling lamp and built-in slave.
SP Studio Systems' new SPC1600 AC/DC strobes give photographers their choice of power: AC or a DC battery pack. The strobe and modeling light are controlled separately but, to conserve power while using the DC battery, the modeling light will not be available for use. Softboxes and other accessories are available, as is a full line of AC/DC strobes.