Review, Adorama Flashpoint 180 – Portable Flash Unit

I have a new portable flash unit in-house for testing. It is the Flashpoint 180 – a highly portable, lightweight unit that produces up to 180 watt/seconds of output. It comes complete with portable battery pack and charger, a diffuser dome, a reflector, a shoot-through white umbrella, a brief instruction manual, and a carrying case.

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According to the manufacturer’s specs, it is capable of up to 700 flashes at full power. Flash duration ranges from 1/400 to 1/1100 of a second, depending on power output selected. Specifications state that color temperature is 5500k +/- 200k, which is reasonable.

The battery pack consists of two Sony rechargeable units housed in a plastic case; these are removed and charged via external charger. The manufacturer provides two charging units. Good news is that 700 shots should get you through a full day’s shooting. If you are shooting consistently outdoors in bright light or direct sun, depending on your needs you may want to get two of these, one of the 180 model, and another of the 400 model, using one for key lighting and the other for fill or add-on.

Overall, this is a lightweight unit, favoring portability over bullet-proof construction. The controls are sturdy and well made, and should hold up over time. Most of the flash body is aluminum, and a diffuser dome does double duty protecting the flash tube and LED-based modeling light. This is definitely not water-proof, so I would take care outdoors in mist or rain.

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Power output is controlled via a stepless rotating knob, providing about 5-stops range. A slave sensor is also provided, along with an on/off switch for a triggering audio signal.

An LED modeling light is provided, but it’s anemic at best. Not too surprising, as many people will leave it turned on throughout a shoot, and that will drain batteries quickly.

Adorama also provides a short padded handle which can be inserted into the mounting socket – it’s easy to carry the unit around in the field – you would just clip the battery pack to your belt or carry it in your off hand.

Like any other studio flash unit, time to recycle depends on power output selected. This ranges from 1-5 seconds; not surprising at all on a battery-powered unit supplied by a lower-voltage power pack.

I also like that the unit is Bowens-compatible. As I own some Bowens gear, that’s a big plus in my book. I can use their light modifiers on this flash unit, for example.

Overall, a good, lightweight unit, highly portable and suited for use in the studio or just about anywhere you want to go.

Link to the Adorama page: http://www.adorama.com/FPBPLB.html

via C. David Tobie’s Blog: FocusTwist: Focus-Controllable Images with the iPhone

FocusTwist: Focus-Controllable Images with the iPhone.

When you think of controlling the focus of images after the fact, you probably think of the Lytro camera; a clever little device (one is tempted to say prototype) that shows us one way of gaining different info from a shot, instead of spending all our pixels on increased resolution. But now there is an iPhone/iPad app (I’m tempted to think of this as a prototype as well) which allows you to perform a similar trick with your phone photos.

With Arqball’s FocusTwist app, its time, not resolution reduction, that is used to produce the multiple images. Hold your iPhone still, tap on the foreground element on screen to start the focus process, and in a couple of seconds the FocusTwist app will have captured multiple images with different focal planes; starting with the foreground element you selected. Take a look at this example, which I shot with FocusTwist to include in this article……

First Impressions, Fuji X-E1

I’ve had the X-E1 for a little while, courtesy of Fuji and Photo Techniques Magazine. I’m working on an article for the magazine, and I thought I’d share a few thoughts along the way:

First Impressions, Fuji X-E1:

  • A very lightweight camera body, due in part to its largely magnesium-based construction.
  • Controls are well-placed on the camera body.
  • LCD-based menus require some studying of the instruction manual.
  • LCD is bright and easy to read, even outdoors.
  • Camera automatically switches from LCD view to electronic viewfinder.
  • Image quality is very good (more on this later).
  • RAW processing software is subject of debate (more on this later).
  • The 18-55 kit lens provided with this camera exceeded expectations.

Here’s an image taken to test resolution and color:

Test shot, Fuji X-E1, Studio Lighting

Test shot, Fuji X-E1, Studio Lighting

A Review of Gura Gear’s new Bataflae Camera Packs by C. David Tobie

Gura Gear has rapidly developed a name and a following amongst serious photographers. So when a new flagship Gura Gear camera pack design was released at PhotoPlus Expo I took this opportunity to test the new Bataflae pack against my own needs. I will be focusing on the smaller of the two models: the Bataflae 26L pack, for use with DSLR equipment…

read more…..  A Review of Gura Gear’s new Bataflae Camera Packs.