Let me start with a few quick points.
- I have been trying to start a blog for several years but have always found excuses (Not enough time, No decent subject matter).
- I have the title of Brand Ambassador for Pixapro but I only take payment for actual jobs for them the main one is working at the NEC at The Photography Show. All of MY equipment is bought and paid for with my own money.
- This is not a paid test or review! They asked me through pure luck (that being I’m on lockdown with my daughter who often does modelling for me) if I would like to try this light test it out and see what I thought.
So where to begin?
Like everyone else, I have been seeing all the leaked pictures of this unit. I will admit that initially I was not interested in this too much. I already own Pika200s (AD200), Citi 400pro (ad400pro) and Citi600s (ad600) 1 TTL and 1 manual and a couple of the manual speedlights, so with such a huge range of power and portability at my disposal, this was not getting me excited like the release of the Citi600 or the Pika200. I mean what could this possibly do for me that I couldn’t do already?
Moving forward a bit, I am at home on lockdown looking after my elderly mother and my daughter whilst also trying to keep busy and have fun. You may have seen a few time-lapse videos of me wrecking the front room to use as a studio on my youtube channel (another thing I have been putting off) or perhaps sharing stuff in a few groups on Facebook and my Instagram account.
Then one night, or it may have been morning honestly this virus lockdown has me lost – do we still measure time in hours and days? I get a message from one of the owners of Pixapro “ would I like to try out the new Citi300 and give them some feedback” well I know it hadn’t interested me that much to start with but given the situation, I jumped at the chance of a new toy to play with.
Now as I said I had not been overly excited by this light but I wanted to give it as unbiased opinion as possible so I made a point of avoiding any posts about it. Friends sent me links, I ignored them, pictures, videos anything linked to this I tried to cut myself off from. It was bad enough I had already made my mind up it wouldn’t fit in with my kit I already had. I didn’t even read the specs or instructions – well I am male why would I read instructions Pfft!
So a few days later and the courier arrives, weird times, I know the courier from DPD as I have had a few deliveries in the past. But to have him drop it at the end of the path while I’m stood on my doorstep and sign for it for me was oddly surreal.
My first impression on the unit was the fact that it’s smaller than I expected but with a good solid feel, all the buttons and dials have a good feel to them with nothing that is wobbling or feeling like it may not respond well to my input, and that’s saying something as I have fat fingers and all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
It has all the usual function you expect from PixaPro lights and the extra bit the other pro models have such as 1/10th adjustment from 1/256th to 1/1 and the colour stable mode.
A good recycle rate of 0.01sec to 1.5sec from lowest to highest power not blisteringly fast but I found it impressive for a small unit like this and certainly didn’t leave me waiting..but that’s getting into the specs and seriously you can find all that on any of the sites that sell these or re planning to sell them. On paper, this is another great light from a manufacturer who, in my humble opinion, is turning out great quality lighting that compares in performance and specs very well to much higher priced units.Anyway enough of the paperwork specs if you really want to know them all just follow this link. https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/product/citi300-300ws-portable-battery-powered-flash/
With any new light, I’m more interested in how it performs with the way I work and the modifiers I use than what the manufactures state so for me I am always more interested in trying it out and using it the way I would work. I’m interested in how evenly it fills a modifier and how the light appears on my subject so that what I got to next. For me, it is very much a case of the proof is in the pudding and who doesn’t love pudding?
First I tried some basic headshots using it as the key light in one of my favourite modifiers from pixapro http://bit.ly/65cmricebowelsoftbox
Straight away I was impressed with the light this gave out when used with the modifier. As you will see from the image below which was just that light and nothing else, it gives a nice even light spread with no harsh specular highlights even though part of the image was a shiny silver metallic necklace.
Now the images I will show here are going to be straight out of the camera and in my own opinion for very good reason. If I take images with this light in whatever situation, then run it through Lightroom and spend however long in PS doing dodge and burn, spot healing and so on then a lot of what the light is producing is going to be or could be altered.
So, for you to see what the light is putting out I will be posting shots which are exported from LR with nothing but a crop where possible. Honesty is the best policy and I figure if you are reading this you are not so interested in how the light performs rather than my editing skills.
First shot just testing that I took and straight away I was impressed.
Further shots were taken during this initial shoot to see how it went using gelled background lights using alt mask functions and fill light added.
SOOC Fun With My Daughter
I then did several tests using a Sekonic L-858D to compare the power output making sure each light was the same distance from the dome on the light meter. I measured this from the bulb where only a standard reflector was used or the face of the modifier in the case of the Pika round head or when testing it through my modifier. The distance was 1 meter for all.