18 Great Lights for Location Photography & Filmmaking
June 7, 2018
K5600 has revamped its popular Joker models to give them wireless DMX control, a three-way axis yoke and a redesigned lens holder. The Joker 400W Kit includes a 400-watt Joker head with a 25-foot cable, wireless DMX control, Beamer optical accessory, multiple lenses, a 5600K lamp, single and double scrims, four-leaf barn door, and a carrying case among other accessories.
This super bright LED light has interchangeable Anthem Light Cards that let you change the characteristics of the light field (color temperature, luminosity, CRI) by simply popping off a magnetic faceplate and unscrewing four screws. Anthem One consumes 200 Watts but is brighter than a 400 Watt HMI. It’s flicker free at any frame rate, even into the thousands of frames per second (for you Phantom Flex fans). Because the Light Cards are replaceable, it’s the first system that can be upgraded annually with brighter, better Light Cards.
PRICE: starts at $1,500
Rotolight Neo 2
The NEO 2 can pull double duty as a strobe or continuous light. Thanks to a partnership with Elinchrom, Rotolight has integrated Elinchrom’s Skyport 2.4GHz radio into the NEO 2, enabling high-speed sync functionality (up to 1/8000 sec.) and the ability to control up to 10 lights in four groups. When used as a strobe, the NEO 2 has no recycling time and no loss of flash power even when shooting long, uninterrupted bursts of flashes, the company claims. When using it as a continuous light, you can create lighting effects like lightning or police lights. Full review comes later this month.
Manfrotto Lumimuse 8
If you want a continuous light with plenty of easy creative effects, Manfrotto’s petite Lumimuse is a good option. It has several snap-on filters to modify color temperature and diffusion of the eight LEDs. The Lumimuse can be dimmed in four steps and has a CRI of 92+. It is daylight balanced and delivers 550 lux at 1 meter. You’ll get about an hour of life on a fully charged battery.
Fiilex Q8 Travel LED
Sporting an 8-inch Fresnel lens, you’ll enjoy a zoom range of 12-60 degrees to fill large spaces with light. According to Fiilex, the beam is uniform with no hot spots. The Q8 is built to withstand the rigors of road work and has an adjustable color temperature from 2800-6500K. It’s fully dimmable and flicker-free at any frame rate. It delivers an average CRI of 97 and 2315 Lux at 5 meters. (at 3200K) or 3595 lux at 5600K.
Tiffen Lowel Go Light
This compact LED can be hotshoe-mounted and has an AF assist function that kicks on with a half-press of the shutter to help you lock focus. Used as a continuous light, the Go Light is dimmable in 10 steps and is daylight-balanced with a CRI of 90+. It ships with a tungsten filter and a daylight diffusion dome. It runs off of four AA batteries.
F.J. Westcott Solix
The Solix is the first compact LED with an integrated, rotatable speed ring so you can mount softboxes and modifiers to it with ease. You’ll enjoy a high-quality light with a CRI of 96 and output of up to 2,125 lux at 1 meter. It’s dimmable and includes all-metal barn doors and a diffusion cap.
The 470EX-AI does something other flashes can’t: It can automatically determine the distance from the camera to the subject and to walls and ceilings to optimize the flash for bouncing. A quick double tap of the shutter will fire the flash, then the flash head will automatically swivel into position for an optimal bounce-flash exposure. Incidentally, the “AI” in the flash’s name doesn’t refer to artificial intelligence, but to its automated functions. Of course, you can also disable this function and use the 470EX-AI as a typical flash. It has a Max Guide No. of approximately 154 ft./47m at ISO 100 and 105mm flash coverage. You can hit up to 966 flashes on four AA Ni-MH batteries. Recycle times clock in at 0.1–3.5 sec. in normal mode or 0.1–2.8 sec. in quick mode. There are ten custom buttons, and nine personal functions.
The radio-controlled F60RM offers a guide number of 60 (200mm at ISO 100) with an illumination angle of 20-200mm. Recycle times clock in at 1.7 seconds but you can achieve even faster times using the optional $250 external battery adapter (FA-EBA1). The F60RM uses Sony’s Quick Shift Bounce which lets you move from a horizontal to a vertical orientation, 90 degrees right or left, for positioning upward by up to 150 degrees and downward by 8 degrees. The four-way controller, center button and control wheel can all be customized. The flash is dust- and moisture-resistant and supports TTL.
Profoto’s new 76 W/s flash features TTL metering, HSS and recycling times between 0.05 and 1.2 seconds. Power is adjustable over a nine-stop range and the lithium ion battery is good for 350 full-powered flashes. The battery is interchangeable so you can pack a spare and shoot for hours on end. It has a magnetic mount so you can add modifiers—and even stack them—to shape its output. The A1 has Profoto’s AirTTL built in so you can control other Profoto lights. Read the full review of the Profoto A here.
Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight
Nikon’s first flash to operate using radio frequency, the SB-5000 can work without a direct line-of-sight when used with select Nikon cameras to a range of 98 feet. Owners of older Nikon models can still use the SB-5000, but you’ll rely on an optical trigger. If you use the speedlight with the WR-R10 wireless transceiver and the D500, you can control up to six groups (A-F) or 18 flashes in all. The SB-5000 can fire up to 120 continuous flashes at 5-second intervals.
This manual flash is compatible with the major camera brands. It can be adjusted over eight stops in 1/3 stop increments and delivers a zoom range of 20-200mm. It’s powered by four AA batteries and has a Canon-compatible HV battery port for adding additional battery packs. It’s loaded with Phottix’s Ares II wireless flash triggering technology so you can control other Phottix lights right from the Juno.
Cactus Lighting RQ250
Cactus showed off the forthcoming RQ250 at WPPI 2018, and it promises to be an incredibly compact 250 W/s battery-powered monolight. The specialized flash head works with a reflector to keep hotspots to a minimum. It can deliver 400 full-power flashes on a single charge. It boasts an LED modeling light/AF assist lamp and a Bowens S-mount adapter for adding modifiers. The flash will support TTL and HSS for a wide number of cameras.
Broncolor Siros L
Broncolor’s Siros L sports built-in Wi-Fi for wireless remote control from a mobile device, and it has a built-in battery so you won’t be tripping over power cords and battery packs when you’re on location. The Siros L is sold in 400 and 800 W/s versions—the former delivers 440 full-power flashes on a single charge, the latter up to 220. The batteries take about 70 minutes to recharge and are interchangeable, with extras costing $295 a pop. Both models support power control over a nine-stop range with adjustments in 1/10-stop increments. The 800 L (pictured) offers t0.1 flash durations from 1/4,400 sec. at its lowest energy to 1/250 sec. at full power. Recycling times range from .05–4.3 seconds in eco mode and .03-2.7 seconds in normal mode. Like the original Siros, the L series has Wi-Fi for remote control via an Android or iOS device but you can also trigger the flash using the optional RFS 2.1 transmitter, a sync port or optically. See the review of the Broncolor Siros L here.
PRICE: $2,095 (400 L);$2,395 (800 L)
Flashpoint R2 eVOLV 200
The eVOLV 200 is a 200 W/s flash with TTL and a battery capable of delivering 500-plus full-power flashes. It has interchangeable flash heads, allowing you to adjust light modifiers as needed. You can also pair the eVOLV with a second unit for a 400 W/s flash. It uses a 2.4Ghz wireless radio and has a recycling time of under 2 seconds at full power. It’s compatible with other R2-enabled lights in the Adorama Flashpoint family.
Impact Cruiser TTL-500
The battery-powered Cruiser TTL-500 delivers up to 350 full-power charges on its removable battery. It features 500 W/s flash output with TTL metering and HSS for Canon and Nikon cameras. Power is controllable over a nine-stop range and is adjustable in 1/10th stop increments. Recycling times punch in at 3 seconds when at full power. It also comes with a 10W LED modelling light and a 2.4GHz transmitter for Canon, Sony and Nikon cameras.
Interfit S1 On-Location 2-Light Backpack Kit
The battery-powered S1 monolight is ideal for travel work and this backpack kit offers you a nice studio-to-go. The kit includes a pair of 500 w/s S1 monolights and a durable backpack built with 1000D ballistic nylon and neoprene with YKK zippers and industrial-grade buckles. The pack also boasts a built-in rain cover, padded back and shoulder straps, padded hip belt and an adjustable sternum strap to help distribute the weight. There’s room in the pack for modifiers, a tripod, a laptop, spare batteries and accessories in zippered pouches. The kit includes two S1 flash heads, the backpack, two standard 7-inch Bowens S-type reflectors, AC power packs with cables, two batteries and a pair of micro USB cables for firmware updates.
Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL
The ELB 500 TTL offers 500 W/s of power output via a pair of asymmetric outlets. It uses Elinchrom’s Skyport wireless radio and is also compatible with the Phottix ODIN II wireless system. You’ll enjoy 400 full-power flashes on a fully charged battery and hit recycle times from 2 seconds at max power down to .05 at the lowest power setting. Power is controllable over a seven-stop range and flash durations clock in as fast as 1/20,000 sec. in action mode or 1/3400 sec. in normal mode. The ELB features a Manual Lock function that lets you set exposure in TTL and then switch to manual to make additional tweaks. An Active Charging feature lets you use the flash and charge the battery simultaneously. The new flash supports HSS but not Elinchrom’s proprietary Hi-Sync technology. Read more by clicking here.
PRICE: $1,900 (To Go Kit)