What are the primary considerations when selecting a power pack for fashion and commercial applications? Power, accuracy, speed, consistency, and dependability are probably the foremost considerations. Combine these features with a power pack that is truly multi-brand compatible and you've got a package that is versatile and targeted to almost any commercial studio.
Balcar also manufactures and sells cable adapters for competitors' light heads, and the Nexus power packs automatically adjust to its modeling lamps, triggers, and fan voltage.
The Nexus line comes in several configurations and sizes (the number designation signifying nominal power output), including the Nexus S 1600, designed for two heads and symmetric output, the Nexus S 3200 for 2 heads with symmetric output, the Nexus A 3200 for four heads with asymmetric output, and the Nexus A 6400 with four heads and asymmetric output.
Both the Nexus S 3200 and Fuji's new NPC negative film (see sidebar) are designed for fashion/glamour photography and provided the perfect duo to shoot up-and-coming model Nicole Rizzo. To test light output consistency, we used Fujichrome RVP positive film — and output proved to be consistent within a fraction, at any power setting. The power pack recycles at three speeds, depending on the amount of amps it is pulling from the electric outlet. Using a standard 120V outlet, the pack recycles at 2.2 seconds at a full 16 amps, 4.4 seconds at 8 amps, and 8.8 seconds at 4 amps.
Like most power packs the Nexus S 3200 can be triggered with a test button, camera synch, and a slave option. The slave option offers the extra convenience of two settings — low sensitivity and high sensitivity — for control in a variety of different working environments. (An optional remote control by USB is available for asymmetric versions.)
This created a 4 f/stop ratio between the two lights, and provided the option of adding or removing the two baffles to adjust the fill light — or turning it off completely and working with just the key light for a more dramatic effect. The individual On/Off switch for each output made it a matter of flicking a button rather than having to disconnect the head. With the modeling lights set on Auto, the halogen was synchronized with the flash power to preview lighting effects — although the modeling lights can also be set to full power.
Calumet Illuma Soft Box
The Calumet Illuma Series Soft Box is only about half the radial depth of most soft boxes, providing versatility and portability in many shooting environments. The front diffuser is removable and there are also two graduated inner baffles designed to change contrast in the image. Options range from a very bright effect using no baffle to soft, even coverage with both baffles installed. The Illuma Series soft boxes are available in a variety of sizes from Small, 22x30x9 inches, to X-large, 54x78x25 inches. Optional accessories include 6-inch wide reversible black-and-white barn doors, and a honeycomb grid for directional light and increased color saturation.
Fujicolor NPC 160 Professional Film
Just released Fujicolor NPC 160 Professional film is a new
daylight-type color negative film designed to enhance contrast and
highly saturated color and offer fresh, natural skin tones. The
film did both. The image of Nicole (above) popped, without
compromising her healthy skin tone.
Fujicolor NPC 160 incorporates Fujifilm's fourth Color Sensitive Layer Technology, designed to accurately reproduce color under a wide range of light sources, including fluorescent and mixed lighting. Fujifilm's new Optimum Interlayer Effect Technology, is designed to accurately depict fine shadow detail, and its new Sigma Crystal Technology makes it possible to combine high sensitivity and exceptional sharpness with smooth rendering of textures. NPC is available in 120 and 220 5-Packs and in 135-36 single rolls.