<![CDATA[Rss Feed]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog Sun, 18 Feb 2018 08:38:43 GMT Sun, 18 Feb 2018 08:38:43 GMT LemonStand <![CDATA[The ONE System - Control all your PIXAPRO flashes from the one trigger!]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/the-one-system-seamless-connectivity-with-all-your-flashes https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/the-one-system-seamless-connectivity-with-all-your-flashes Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

The ONE System

The ONE System is the new revolutionary system that will allow you to control all your lights, be it our CITI600, STORM400, PIKA200, or even Li-Ion580. With the one system you can seamlessly control your flashes with the one trigger, removing the need to use a different trigger system.

 

Posted in: PiXAPRO Multimedia

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<![CDATA[What is TTL and is it any good on the PIXAPRO CITI600 TTL.]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/what-is-ttl-and-is-it-any-good-on-the-pixapro-citi600-ttl https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/what-is-ttl-and-is-it-any-good-on-the-pixapro-citi600-ttl Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT In this article I aim to explain what TTL is, what is does and how it can be implemented into a photographic workflow. I also go on to share my test images from a recent shoot where I tested the TTL abilities of the PixaPro Citi600 TTL flash head. The test shots provided below show you exactly the strengths and the weaknesses of the function for a variety of situations.

TTL stands for 'Through The Lens' and it's a term used to describe exposure metering based on what your camera sees. In relation to TTL flash photography your camera will take a reading by firing a 'test' flash when you press the shutter, it will then decode that data received by that initial flash and then fire a second flash to capture your image at the correct power and exposure immediately afterwards. All this happens in a split second and you may not even notice the initial flash going off.
TTL has actually been around since the 80's and it was developed by Nikon in 1980 and later by Canon in 1987, since then is has become a fairly standard technology and the use of TTL is often seen being used on a wide variety of cameras with built in flashes. When these cameras are set to auto mode they'll often employ this technology which ensures a correctly exposed flash image nearly every single time regardless of the situation making it nearly essential for everyday compact cameras.

 

So if it's been around for so long, what's the big deal with TTL now?
Although TTL technology has been around for a long time, it's struggled with off-camera flash TTL and the exposures and looks that type of lighting produces. In recent times though TTL has seen a lot of advances and it's off-camera flash lighting has become incredibly consistent in this field which has opened up a world of uses that were previously very hard to rely on.

Imagine you're at a wedding taking pictures and the bride is walking down the aisle. As usual the venue is fairly dark so you need to light the scene with flash. Normally this would be fairy simple if the subject was stationary as you could dial in an exposure and quickly make any adjustments, nailing the exposure within one or two shots. But in this instance, your subject is walking towards you and you're flash. As she gets closer to the flash she'll get more and more over-exposed unless the flash power is turned down consistently with every frame. It's the job of TTL job to make these shot-by-shot exposure changes for you ensuring that every single shot you take is correctly exposed every time.

Now imagine the same scenario but you're in a different part of the room to your flash. The bride is still walking towards your flash but you can now move around after every frame as well. Combining this freedom of movement and consistently of exposure whether your flash is on or off your camera is what makes TTL such a creative and exciting tool.

How does TTL work?
Like I mentioned, TTL looks at the exposure of a scene based on that initial pre-flash and adjusts the power of the actual flash accordingly. All you need to do is set your camera up with the settings you want to achieve and the flash plus the camera will work together to always correctly expose the image within the parameters you've give them.

For example if you set your camera to manual mode at ISO 100, 1/125th second shutter speed and f5.6, the camera and flash will work together to adjust the power of the flash to correctly exposure the shot. Similarly though, if you have your camera set to ISO 1600, 1/4000th second shutter speed and f11 your flash and camera will work together to get a correctly exposed image. In fact if there was no ambient light affecting either of those shots, they would look exactly the same. Both would be correctly exposed.

 

Manually Overriding TTL
So if you can't adjust the normal camera settings in the camera to affect the exposure, are you left at the mercy of what the TTL metering considers correct? Well thankfully we can tweak our exposure a fair amount via the 'Exposure Compensation' function on our camera. Adjusting this up and down gives a decent amount of control either way and in some cameras as much as five stops over or five stops under, (10 stops in total) which is more than enough for most situations.

TTL Function on the Godox/PixaPro Citi 600 TTL
As a studio shooter myself I had never used TTL because I always had the time and ability to adjust my lights when needed, as a result I'd never needed the TTL function in the past. Recently though I picked the PixaPro Citi600 TTL head and I wanted to play with the remote head and a ring flash adapter. For those that don't know, the remote head is a cable that ingeniously plugs into where the flash bulb goes, you then move the flash bulb to the other end of the cable. This is essentially like having a flash on a cable that you can then connect modifiers too. This means that I can now handhold my flash and modifier whilst the bulk and weight of the power is either in a bag on my back or on a light stand.

So now that I'm handholding my flash and constantly moving around with it, I wanted to find a way to adjust the power of it quickly and easily to accommodate the movement. TTL was literally designed with this problem in mind so I wanted to see if firstly it would even work and secondly, what its limitations were.

1. Power pack not in my hands. 2. Remote head (flash tube on a cable). 3. Handheld ring flash modifier.

 

For the TTL in this flash head to work, there are a couple of things you need to ensure are setup and in place before you begin.

Firstly you'll need to make sure you have a flash trigger capable of firing the flash in TTL mode. The one I used here is the ST-III TTL-T but there are other newer versions I think now too. It's worth bearing in mind that you'll likely need a trigger specific to your camera brand too. For example there is a Canon version and a Nikon version etc. If this is not correct, then somebody please let me know and I'll make an edit to reflect that.

Secondly you'll need to set your trigger to TTL mode. On mine I simply hit 'mode' until the trigger displayed TTL. Simple as that.

Step 1. Grab your trigger. Step 2. Set it to TTL. Congrats, you're done!


Lastly, (and this is more specific to Nikon shooters only as I dont think other camera users have to worry about this from what I've heard) we have to set our camera to enable High Speed Sync. I wont go into detail on HSS here but essentially TTL will work without adjusting this, but only on shutter speeds below 1/250th. If we want to use TTL on shutter speeds above 1/250th of second then it's worth making this quick and simple adjustment in the menu. To my knowledge there is no downside to having it enabled (probably why it's already standard on other cameras) so I recommend doing it and then leaving it set.

Click to enlarge  Nikon Shooters 1. Go to the 'Custom Setting Menu'. 2. Select 'Bracketing Flash'. 3. Select 'Flash Sync Speed'. 4. Select one of the Auto FP modes. I selected '1/250 (Auto FP)' on mine.

Once you've done all that you're ready to use TTL flash and in all honesty, it was far simpler to set up and use than I thought it would be. Just set the trigger to TTL and you're off. That's my kind of feature :D

 

The Results
The resulting images below are from a series of tests that I did whilst using the Citi600 TTL with a Nikon D610 and a 24-70 f2.8 lens.

 

Test 1: Aperture control - White Background

The test below was taken against a white wall with a simple 22" beauty dish on a stand. The light and the model did not move and the shutter speed and ISO was not adjusted. Here's the resulting images.

/

As expected the TTL keeps the exposure fairly consistent throughout the range of apertures. As you'll start to see throughout this test, TTL seems to struggle at the lower exposure values. For example the f2.8 shot always seemed underexposed no matter how many subsequent shots I took.


Test 2: Aperture control - Black Background

The test below was taken against a black sheet of velvet with a simple 22" beauty dish on a stand. The light and the model did not move and the shutter speed and ISO was not adjusted. Here's the resulting images.

Again the TTL keeps pace with the aperture adjustments but it did seem to fluctuate a little more in this setup compared to a white background. Take a look at f5.6 compared to the others. Again, f2.8 was a little under exposed.

 

Test 3: Exposure Compensation

The following test simply demonstrates how much the image exposure can be adjusted through the exposure compensation function on your camera

Exposure compensation usually appears on cameras in the form of a plus and minus symbol (+/-). Pressing this and adjusting the value is how you affect the exposure of the TTL flash.

The exposure compensation tool is pretty powerful. My camera goes to 5 stops over and under (10 stops in total) which is a significant amount of extra control when you consider how much just the two stops either way does here. The adjustments are made in 1/3 stops increments too so it gives you a lot of control between each stop if required.

It's worth noting that the actual flash head gives you this exposure control too. I tested it and it performs just like it does here. I cite it as less relevant though as exposure control on the head negates the need for TTL in the first place. If you can adjust exposure on the head then you probably don't need TTL but it's a good feature to have and not use over a feature you don't have but want.

 

Test 4: TTL and HSS

In this next test I adjusted the shutter speed in varying amounts to see how the TTL coped when being used in conjunction with High Speed Sync.

Same criteria again but this time against the black velvet. All images taken at f5.6, ISO 100.

The resulting images showed remarkable consistency throughout the shutter speed range and this test showed only minor deviation, consistent with the f-number black background test.

 

 

Test 5: Breaking TTL

Lastly I wanted to work out the limitations of TTL and after playing around with all the exposure evaluating functions on my camera I saw little to no difference. So I decided to heavily weight the darks and lights in a frame to see how TTL coped.

I tried adjusting how my camera coped with evaluating exposure to see if it had any bearing on the TTL but it didnt seem too. I tried point focus exposure and the broader area exposure controls but the same correctly exposed image resulted no matter the setting. In the above images however you can see that when composing your subject off to one side, there is a confusion as to what you're trying to photograph and TTL struggles to correctly expose the shot. It would seem that TTL is heavily influenced by exactly what is in the centre of frame. In the landscape dark background shot you can see the TTL clearly trying to expose for the background in centre frame behind the model.

This scenario of a very dark background off centre like this is certainly worth bearing in mind if you're planning on using TTL in dark room but want to recompose your shot to accommodate the rule of thirds for example.

 

Test 6: Run & Gun

Lastly I wanted to test the original use that I had in mind for TTL and that was to get the flash away from the camera, in my hand and move around with it and shoot a few frames in a 'run & gun' scenario.

I had the Citi600TTL in an old camera bag over my shoulder, the remote head with modifier in one hand and the camera in the other hand. Thanks to the model Jaye for getting kitted-out for this shot :D

I had the remote flash head attached to the flash head and I had the battery pack and flash head in a camera bag over my shoulder. I was holding the flash and modifier in one hand and the camera in the other as I tested different positions and distances.

 

Handheld Beauty Dish

The first test saw me try out a hand held collapsable beauty dish which is very light and easily holdable in one hand.

No big surprises here and no matter the distance or angle the TTL worked as expected. It is noticeable to see it struggle  a little close-up though and that may be due to the flash simply not being able to lower its power any further.

 

Handheld RingFlash Adapter

The next test saw me shooting through a ring flash adapter. It's called an adapter as it doesn't have its own bulb, it simply redirects the light around itself on the inside. The benefit of this is that it's incredibly light and easy to hold in one hand whilst I shoot with the camera in the other hand.

Again, TTL delivered admirable results and as to be expected. Once more though, it struggled up close leaving me to assume that this was the lowest power the flash would fire at. If I was to employ this lighting again I would either raise my aperture or my shutter speed so that the flash had more range to lower its power output.

 

Final Verdict

Pros:

I think overall that TTL is an exciting feature that has a lot of potential uses. As a studio shooter I'm not going to be using TTL all the time but I do think that the addition of the remote head and lightweight modifiers like the ring flash opens up a lot of new creative opportunities for me. I could see this remote head feature being used on location a lot. For example, this would be an amazing way of shooting some fashion images in a busy city. You could easily follow a model and shoot with a hand held beauty dish in one hand and a camera in the other. This could create some fantastic results and it would only need yourself to achieve them, no team of assistants to hold and manage lighting. This run & gun style of shooting could easily produce some excellent projects and I'd certain be interested in playing with this feature further.

 

Limitations:

Although I was surprised at how consistent TTL was there are a few areas to be mindful of. Firstly, you need to remember that TTL is only as good as your camera. I was shooting these on an old Nikon D610 but your camera may not produce the same results. I had mentioned I was running these TTL tests online and I received a few comments from people saying that their experience with TTL produced wildly varying results. One issue being that the pre-flash was so slow that their model constantly had their eyes closed in the resulting images. There are going to mixed results based on your system but for me personally, I had none of these issues present themselves thankfully.

Maybe it was just my system but everything I shot at f2.8 was underexposed slightly and I'm not sure why. It could even be as simple as the lens at f2.8 being inconsistent so I would need to test it with other lenses to be sure.

Also I noticed that the TTL struggled when I (and the flash) was quite close to the subject. I think this was simply down to the fact that the flash couldn't turn its power down any lower with the settings I had in place. In the future I'll try to choose a higher shutter speed or aperture to counteract this problem.

The final area to be mindful of is when your background is very dark and you have your subject away from the centre of frame. In my tests it seemed that no matter what I did, TTL was heavily weighted to correctly exposing the centre area of frame. If your subject is to the left or right of that and the centre is very dark, you may experience over exposing issues.

 

Overall:

TTL has came a long way indeed and I think it offers up new creative possibilities that simply weren't viable before. Sure there are a few fluctuations in exposure but I would consider them minimal and there was very few instances where the resulting image was not usable after a little tweak in post production. I'm certainly looking forward to playing with this TTL functionality further.

 

PixaPro Citi 600TTL
If youre interested in checking out the products I spoke about in this article then the PixaPro (Godox) Citi600TTL is available here in the U.K. from Essential Photo.

There are several PixaPro heads available but the one used in my test was the Citi600 TTL.

This is one of the triggers that is compatible with the Citi600 TTL and it's the PixaPro ST-III TTL-T

I also used the Remote Head in conjunction with these too.


Money Off
Essential Photo currently have a bundle available for all three of the above products and if you buy the Citi600 TTL flash head you'll get the TTL trigger and the remote head for FREE! Citi600TTL bundle

Also, if that wasn't cool enough, they've given me a discout code to share with you guys too!

If you use HICK5-OFF (that S is actually the number five) at checkout then you'll also get an additional 5% off that sale price too :) That code works on anything on their site too :D

 

 

Credit: Jake Hicks  Website: http://jakehicksphotography.com/latest/2017/11/13/what-is-ttl-and-is-it-any-good-on-the-godoxpixapro-citi-600ttl


Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews

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<![CDATA[Advantages and Disadvantages of Continuous Lighting rather than Flash!]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-continuous-lighting-rather-than-flash https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-continuous-lighting-rather-than-flash Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT The advantages of replacing your studio flash kit, with continuous lighting is that what you see is what you get. What you see in front of you is what your final photo will look like, whereas with flash lighting, you have to take a photo to see what your final result would look like. Continuous lighting will also allow you to shoot video, as well as stills. Continuous lighting also enables you to shoot at wider apertures for that shallow depth of field look which is sometimes difficult to achieve with studio flash due to its higher light output.

The disadvantages of replacing your studio flash kit with continuous lighting, is that it is more difficult to freeze motion in your photographs. To freeze motion with continuous lighting, you will have to use a faster shutter speed, meaning that you will either have to open up our aperture, or increase you ISO to compensate for the faster shutter speed, whereas with flash lighting, you can use the duration of the flash to freeze motion.

 

One of our popular continuous lights would be our LED100D MKII, which is a bright daylight balanced LED light with a Bowens S-Type Mount, this enables you to use a wide range of modifiers. The LED100D MKII is great most for portraits and product photography. Another great option is our Glowpad450 is a slim-profiled LED panel, which produces a broad diffused light source without the need for a softbox, ideal for baby photography.

Click the images below for more information on these.

 

LED100D MKII Video Light

 

GLOWPAD450 Video Light

Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews, PiXAPRO Tips

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<![CDATA[Supporting Your Off-Camera Flash – Tripods, Monopods or Light Stands? (PIXAPRO C-Stand)]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/supporting-your-off-camera-flash-tripods-monopods-or-light-stands-pixapro-c-stand https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/supporting-your-off-camera-flash-tripods-monopods-or-light-stands-pixapro-c-stand Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT I’ve generally been a natural light photographer. I understand natural light and love its variability. Normally it’s enough to get some beautiful photographs; many photographers stop here and go no further.

Constantly critical of my own photographs, I realized that I was at the mercy of natural light, searching and modifying, but rarely creating or directing. That’s why I chose to learn how to use flash those years ago. To get full control, it’s essential to put the flashes where you want them, and for this, you need to support them. This article will talk about the options available to you for holding your speedlights and off-camera flash.

Off-camera flash

Human Light Stands

Using a human light stand is one of the easiest ways to support an off-camera flash and is often overlooked. If you can get someone to hold your flash, you get what’s effectively a voice activated light stand (VAL). It’s easier to change lighting setups this way, especially if your subject is moving. There’s also less hassle on windy days. That said, most people won’t know how to position the lighting modifier and it will tend to drift as you’re shooting. Another photographer or an experienced photography assistant will be very useful.

Handheld

Hand holding is quite simply, having either you, or an assistant hold the flash. It’s perfectly possible to do this yourself if you feel comfortable taking pictures with one hand, and it gives you a lot of control. Or hand the flash to someone else and let them know where to point it.

Monopod Boom

Again, you can do this yourself, and it helps if you have the monopod touching the ground because it means that your arm doesn’t feel as tired while holding a larger softbox or beauty dish. Or your photography assistant (or family member, friend, or passer-by) can boom, or hold the flash up, to light your subject from a higher angle. This gives you a lot of control and if you look at photographers like Annie Leibovitz and Joey L, you’ll see that their assistants are often using this approach.

It can be heavy so make sure you pause for breaks. I use a long aluminium Benro monopod that allows me to attach a flash to either end. It’s cheaper than the Gitzo alternative, but do bear in mind that there seems to be no after-sales support. Carbon-fibre is lighter, but not essential.

Off-camera flash

Tripods

I’ve been using my tripods to support my off-camera flashes for a long time. First because I already have them, and secondly because they are perfect for uneven ground. Generally they don’t get the flash high enough, but they are stable, especially if you weight them down by hanging a heavy camera bag from the center column.

Small, Lightweight Tripod

This is my go-to option when I’m travelling light and won’t have an assistant. The idea is that the tripod is so small and light, that I can wear it on my belt and largely forget about it. Of course it doubles as a tripod, which I’d normally want to have with me anyway. It’s flimsy by itself and needs to be weighted down with a camera bag. It’s also far too small for most purposes, so it needs to be up on tables and so, to get more height. But you’re more likely to actually carry it, so that’s a good thing. I use a 1kg Sirui tripod that I’m pretty happy with, especially for the price, with an equally small and light ball-head.

Big, Heavy Tripod

As I began to use larger lighting modifiers, like huge octoboxes and parabolic umbrellas, I needed a heftier support for them. I happened to have an enormous old tripod which has been excellent. It weighs a lot by itself, and is definitely bulky, but is easily carried with its broad shoulder strap. It’s perfect for uneven ground, and can be made more stable by hanging the camera bag from it. I use one of Manfrotto’s largest tripods which gets the flash over my head (I’m 6’2″). It’s old, and very durable.

Proper Light Stands

And then there are dedicated light stands, designed for the purpose of supporting off-camera flashes. I started using these when I wanted to get the flashes higher above the subjects. Some are light and flimsy, and others heavy and stable. Some stack together, and others are designed precisely for travel. They seem to break regularly in transit, or just being used on set. They do get the flashes high off the ground, but they don’t seem particularly stable because they’re tricky to weight down with the camera bag, and as soon as the ground is uneven, they’re a pain to use and won’t work on a steep slope.

Supporting Larger Flash Modifiers

Light Stands

These come in several shapes and sizes. Generally all the legs open at the same angle so they only work on fairly flat ground. Smaller light stands meant for travelling are a good solution, though they can be flimsy. Larger light stands can get the flash very high off the camera. Balanced properly, they can be used with a boom pole to get the flash over your subject.

C (entury) Stand

My most recent acquisition, and now my go-to light stand unless I’m travelling light, is the C-Stand or Century Stand. It’s an old design from Hollywood film studios, and very well engineered. It weighs a lot which is inconvenient if you’re walking to your shooting location, but helpful because it means the stand is more stable in use. The legs are also made so that it’s very easy to weight them down using sand bags. I personally use a lead diving weight belt for ballast. Importantly, one of the legs can move along the central column, which means that you can use the stand on uneven ground and on stairs. It’s not quite as versatile on uneven ground as the huge tripod, but it’s much taller; up to 3 meters (9.8 feet). It’s cumbersome to pack because it’s an L-shape, but when it’s on location, it’s perfect. The included boom is very useful, and can handle hanging backdrops too. I use the C-Stand from Pixapro which is well made enough to outlast me. It’s designed to make it a pleasure to use. Though not a pleasure to carry!

You can see the various light modifiers in the video below, as well as see them used on location.

Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews

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<![CDATA[Medusa Inspired Photo-shoot (with PIXAPRO LUMI 400 and Modifiers)]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/medusa-inspired-photo-shoot-with-pixapro-lumi-400-and-modifiers https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/medusa-inspired-photo-shoot-with-pixapro-lumi-400-and-modifiers Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT  

 

The PHOTOSHOOT team decided to do something around the Medusa theme, so Mike and Jane (our photographers) got started straight away on making the headpiece (link to our blog). Misty Couture came on board and made us a bespoke corset and along with a few of our own accessories, we had our look.

Tirry Jane was our fantastic model, who really got into the part with her scary looks. Charley Payne, our makeup artist, used her creative skills to produce Tirry’s ‘snake’ look.

We worked with three main sets; black, grey and an orange mottled backdrop. The lighting setup remained for all three sets. We used one strip box as the main light to the left of the model and a beauty dish as a fill, high up, facing down to the right at 45 degrees to her. Both lights had a grid fitted. The only additional light was used on the third set, which had a gridded snoot fitted and positioned at ground level, pointing towards the model’s face, as the snakes on her headdress were causing a shadow to fall over the left eye. We used two or threePixaPro 400 watt lightingBeauty Dish with GridStrip Light with Grid and Snoot with Grid. Jane also used orange gels and a gold reflector. Two black light boards were used to control the light bouncing around on this set.

Mike’s camera settings and equipment: Aperture f/7.1, Speed 1/125, ISO 100. Equipment:Canon 6D with a Canon 24-105mm IS f4 lens.

Jane’s camera settings and equipment: Aperture f8.0, Speed 1/125-200 (depending) ISO160. Equipment: Nikon 610 with a Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Have a look at our behind-the-scenes video

 

 

Makeup Artist: Charley Payne http://www.charleypayne.co.uk

Model: Tirry Jane www.facebook.com/TirryJane

Venue: Creativus Imago Photography Studio

Styling: Jan Davidson, Jane Kelly & Mike Hardley

Corset: Misty Couture www.mistycouture.co.uk

Photography: Mike Hardley: www.creativusimago.com & Jane Kelly:www.janekellyphotography.co.uk

Posted in: PIXAPRO Behind The Scene

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<![CDATA[Pixapro CITI600 TTL on location]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-citi600-ttl-on-location https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-citi600-ttl-on-location Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT The first time I took my Pixapro CITI600 TTL portable battery flash on location, in typical English fashion the sun disappeared behind cloud and rain so I didn’t bother testing the high-speed sync facility as planned.


This Ed Nugent; Ed is one of life’s nice guys, a nurseryman, grower & plantsman who’s worked with plants since leaving school, including exhibiting at the internationally renowned Chelsea Flower Show in London. He and his wife Josie have just established a new plant nurseryGarden Sage not too far from the studio I work from in Burgess Hill. I popped in to a) see what was in offer & b) buy some herbs plants - as you do, we got talking as Ed was on hand to welcome the customers, a great touch and testament to his desire for the nursery to succeed. He even agreed to be photographed for my Sussex Photographer blog!

As I said at the beginning, they day became very grey thick cloud & rain making for a a very cool look to the images which didn’t really give the look I wanted. To compensate for this I added ½ CTB (Colour Temperature Blue) gel - LEE Filters 202 ½ CT Blue, took a grey balance reference close to Ed’s face to correct in post-processing. This gave me the warmer background area not lit by the flash.


 

The Pixapro CITI600 TTL battery mono bloc flash head was mounted to a 20" sliding leg Kupo Grip C-stand with a 40" boom - I find this a very stable & versatile configuration for most lights from Speedlites through to bulky mains powered studio heads. It’s essential to remember that when rigging any light stand that one of the legs MUST bender the load of the light & boom for optimum stability.

The soft box is the Pixapro 60cm portable beauty dish (silver inside) with the front diffuser in place, but not the inner deflector. This modifier has a recessed diffuser panel allowing a egg crate grid (supplied) to add more direction & less spill to the light.

As this is a TTL unit I used the TTL facility in conjunction with the Pixapro ST-III T (Canon) trigger. My camera was set to Av with -⅔ stop exposure compensation dialled in. The flash was set to TTL via the trigger & an initial exposure compensation of -1 dialled in (this was established with a number of controlled Fred Tests prior to use). When using the CITI600 you’ll notice that any exposure compensation does not appear on the head display; this doesn’t mean the flash doesn’t recognise the trigger commands, it’s just the head is designed to work with both Canon & Nikon camera systems. This may or may not change with future firmware upgrades.

The first frame was a bit hot (over-exposed) so I dialled in -2 stops exposure compensation on the ST-IIIT trigger and was ready to go. The light was not that challenging so for the short duration of the shoot I didn’t need to change this.

 

Given the ambient light conditions, camera Av TTL exposure was ISO 160, ƒ/4, 1/160th sec.

The

Pixapro CITI600 TTL

 is a welcome addition to my portable lighting gear as it fits nicely when I need a wide aperture ƒ/stop for shallow depth of field (DoF) effects which with conventional portable battery flash are not possible without the use of a camera lens 0.9 solid ND filter which darkens the view finder & reduces the exposure overall requiring more flash power. I will have Speedlites in my kit, which on average are 80w/s compared to the mighty 600w/s of the CITI600 at full power:)

During a controlled location Fred Test I’ve achieved with a

45º deep long focus reflector

in place (honeycomb grid not fitted), ƒ/22 at 4m (13ft) in bright sunlight, Manual 1/1, camera ISO 100, 1/50th sec.

The Pixapro CITI600 TTL is also available in a

non-TTL version

.

Pixapro CITI600 TTL Key Features:

  • TTL auto exposure Canon & Nikon with appropriate trigger, variable over a ±3 stop range in ⅓ stop increments.
  • Manual from 1/1 to 1/256th power - a firmware upgrade is required for the ST-III T rigger at the time of writing as the trigger only goes to 1/128th power. Be aware that the firmware upgrade is only PC, not Mac for now and the download page is in Chinese.
  • Multi stroboscopic flash with variable frequency.
  • 32 channels and 5 groups.
  • 10w CoB LED modelling light with three power levels.


Of special interest to some will be the flash tube which is user replaceable and has a protective glass cover - reducing the risk of damage or electric shock from an exposed flash tube.
The design of the flash tube projects as well as radiating light improving efficiency with most Pixapro reflectors and modifiers - Speedlites and the Profoto B1 & B2 have concealed flash tubes very much like a Speedlite so only project light! The LED modelling light is positioned to project light through the flash tube and gives a surprisingly accurate preview.
Very soon a remote lead will be available for the head which means the power supply & flash head will be separate, very much like the Elinchrom Quadra system - one of the reasons which attracted me to the system originally was low mass on the top of a light stand when on location outside.
Also, not the construction of the 60cm portable beauty dish, very durable and not dissimilar to the Elinchrom Rotalite range of flash modifiers.
The instruction manual is clear & concise. These days a paper manual is a bonus as much of the time manuals and user guides are PDF download for DIY printing.

I highly recommend the Pixapro brand products available from https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk - Yang Wu and the team offer a superb level of customer service (yes, I have experienced it) both on the telephone and by the website Live Chat!

That’s it for now and don’t forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.


Posted in: PIXAPRO Behind The Scene

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<![CDATA[Pixapro ST-III TTL Wireless Flash Trigger]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-st-iii-ttl-wireless-flash-trigger https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-st-iii-ttl-wireless-flash-trigger Wed, 18 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Pixapro ST-III TTL Transmitter & Receiver for Canon DSLR cameras


I conducted my initial test of the Pixapro ST-III T (Canon) with a Canon 580EXII Speedlite. For now the triggers are only available for Canon or Nikon. I’m informed that Sony compatible units will be available later in 2016.
First impressions. The build quality and layout of controls is good, although the CH (Channel Select), GR (Group Setting) & MODE (Mode Selection) buttons would benefit from white fill to the recessed letters (see photograph). The backlit LCD display is clear and once I became familiar with the button sequences changing channels and moving between modes is straight forward.
Camera Trigger ST-III TTL-T CanonButtons:TEST - press to see if flash fires, also to trigger remote camera with supplied lead.Select Dial -  Changes flash power, moves between groups and modes.CH - Changes channel 1-32 and adjusts custom functions.GR - Selects group A-C and confirms settings.MODE - Moves groups between modes.
It should be noted that the flash group to be adjusted needs to be in the centre of the screen next to the white dot on the left of the backlit LCD panel.

 

The flash group to be adjusted needs to be in the centre of the screen next to the white dot on the left


When set to Manual Mode the flash power may be adjusted from 1/128 to 1/1 power in 1/3 stop increments. In TTL Auto mode exposure may be compensated between ±3 in 1/3 stop increments. I don’t know if this is a feature or an anomaly, but when set to Manual mode the power settings are mirrored on the flash LCD display, but not when in TTL. Apparently this is a feature of the Pixapro CITI600 (Godox AD600) as the flash is multi camera system compatible.
In TTL mode the ST-III trigger doesn’t need switching between normal & HS Flash mode it does it automatically. On my flash I have to switch to HS Sync and the trigger recognises this.
Wireless range is stated as >100m which will be line of sight with no obstacles. Indoors, depending upon conditions, less.
There is an AF beam assist for those times when light levels are low or contrast insufficient for cameras to focus.
Flash/Speedlite Receiver ST-III TTL-R CanonButtons:TEST - Fires all functioning flashes with compatible receivers in place.CH - Changes channel 1-32.GR - Selects group A-E.
Both units have a Micro USB socket for firmware upgrades - which at the time of writing only seem available in Chinese and MS Windoze OS. Nothing for Mac users. The transmitter also has a PC socket which will allow older studio flash etc to be used triggered but not controlled remotely.
I’ve tested Pixapro ST-III TTL Wireless Flash Trigger/Receiver set with the following:
Pixapro CITI600 TTL - total remote controlYong Nuo 565 EXII - TTL, Manual remote power setting, no HSCanon 580 EXII - total remote controlCanon 550 EX - Manual only, no HS or TTLElinchrom Ranger Quadra - trigger onlyElinchrom BXRi - trigger onlyElinchrom EL500 - trigger onlyMultiblitz Profilux 200 - trigger only. 

 

This means is you can mix differing makes & types of studio flash & speedlites with ease. A selection of adaptor leads are supplied, including a lead to use the trigger/receiver as a remote camera trigger.
THE trigger & receiver are both powered by AA cells, not supplied.
The instruction manual is clear & concise, although if you’re like me the type is of a size where reading glasses will be necessary! These days a paper manual is a bonus as much of the time manuals and user guides are PDF download for DIY printing.
I highly recommend the Pixapro brand products available from https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk - Yang Wu and the team offer a superb level of customer service (yes, I have experienced it) both on the telephone and by the website Live Chat!
If you’re based in UK Yang and the Essential Photo team will be at The Photography Show 19-22 March 2016, stand E91
That’s it for now and don’t forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.

Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews

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<![CDATA[When Funds Allow- PIXAPRO RIKO 400]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/when-funds-allow-pixapro-riko-400 https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/when-funds-allow-pixapro-riko-400 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT Like most people, I would like this, and I’d like that, I may even ‘need’ something, but that list is pretty much endless and unfortunately my finances are not, (fairly far from it, and I like being married, and having a house)….

So what can I do ‘on the cheap’ to acheive the results I want… OK maybe not the exact results I want but a close approximation until “when funds allow…”

Now I love all sorts of photography, and really enjoy weddings, commercial family portraits etc, but I have a definite passion for headshots and fashion/beauty photography!

Now with these type of shots, especially close up headshots, it’s all about the lighting and the catchlights, (those little bits of light in people’s eyes), nice catchlights in the eyes can just ‘make the shot’… Now I have ‘toys’ like a Lastolite Tri Flector, which sits below a beauty dished Lencarta light and makes 4 little catch lights in people’s eyes, like so:

 

But I want a ring flash, and I want one now…. oh hang on the good ones are £400+ ( example PixaproRiko400) now then, I see a small problem (roughly £380+, I have £20 in the kitty), I want the shadowless shot with nice little ring catchlights… how do I get the ring flash without the cash? Well I suppose, I’m studio based for this, so I don’t need it to be portable and really I don’t ‘need’ it to flash, so I only need a ring light…. still £100 ish… so now I see a smaller problem (roughly £80)…. I guess it stops here….

Or at least until, as we all do, I got lost in IKEA…. on one of the many wrong turns and laps of the store I ended up in the Children’s section, and stood in front of the lights… where I saw LJUSNING “Frame with LED lighting” which is a circlular frame to go around a picture with LED lighting to light up the picture, (but importantly just about big enough to go round a face)… price £14.. (problem now -£6, I like that, there’s food in IKEA, might cost me £20 after all…)

So, purchase made I put the light on the desk in the studio, (I’d eaten the food and the wrapper already in bin), and left it there….  Now a few days later, I’m in SimpLee Studio, hosting our Portfolio Night, the light had just been sat there, but now I need a 3rd shooting area to have something to keep people interested…..

A quick test shoot by me, using only the light around and that produced by the frame itself…. (settings: best check)

 

I guess that works…. So, now I let the rest of the photographers loose…

A few examples by David Richardson who attended the Portfolio night at http://www.simpleestudio.com

 

Now I own a £20 Meike ring flash, which is great for macro, but small, now I’ll admit I still want a more expensive ring flash (such as the Pixapro Riko 400 but I’ve given myself time to save up and still enjoy the basic effect, of course I may have built a bigger DIY ringlight along the way, but for now, I’ll enjoy the ‘plug & play’ of my £14 IKEA light..)

Images copyright of photographers and words (and my images) copyright me… I’ve started moving model photography fromPumpkin Pictures (Facebook) to AWThurm Images (Facebook).

Models Ashley Robinson (Triflector), Alisha Cowie (my test shot) and Jazmine Nichol (David’s shots), Hair of Alisha and Jazmine by Gemma Lousie Douglas and make up by ELB makeup Artistry.

 

Credit: Adrian Thurm   Website: https://pumpkinpictures.co.uk/

 

Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews

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<![CDATA[Colin Brister‎ experiments with the Citi600 Flash and Motocross]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/colin-brister-experiments-with-the-citi600-flash-and-motocross https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/colin-brister-experiments-with-the-citi600-flash-and-motocross Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT Hope you don’t mind Ian.. bit more playing with the Citi 600’s.. I did manage a few BTS shots… but will explain the shots as I go. Yang Wu might be interested.. So today was wet, track was in about as worse as it gets, slippy wet, muddy, damp.. you get the idea.


So first image.. After an hour on track, as you can see it’s wearing a rather fetching rain jacket…

 

Shot 2… Head on just to left of track… lighting one side of rider..

 

Shot 3.. outside of jump, balance ambient light, bit keeping the front of rider harshly lit…

 

This one… Just coz I like it….

Posted in: PIXAPRO Behind The Scene

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<![CDATA[Gavin Hoey Reviews the PiXAPRO CITI600 Flash]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/gavin-hoey-reviews-the-pixapro-citi600-flash https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/gavin-hoey-reviews-the-pixapro-citi600-flash Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT For the purposes of clarity I’m reviewing the PIXAPRO CITI600 TTL from Essential Photo here in the UK who were kind enough to send me a unit to review without prejudice. The flash itself is the AD600 from Godox and can be found around the world rebadged as various names. For example in the USA it’s the Flashpoint XPLOR600 from Adorama.


What’s in the box

Inside the box was the CITI600 flash and it’s 8700mAh battery. Being battery powered you get a mains charger which can run on anything from 100-240v and thankfully came with a UK plug. The charger also has some LED’s to indicate how charged the battery is.

The flash tube for the CITI600 is inside a glass case which out of the box needs to be fitted. It’s the usual thing of aligning some pins and pushing home and once done the supplied plastic cover keeps everything safe for transport and storage.

Although the box had room for a reflector mine was missing. As I got one of the first units to arrive in the UK I don’t think that’s normal. The CITI600 has a Bowens s-mount for which I have several reflectors (and softboxes, beauty dishes etc) so that wasn’t an issue.

 

 

Performance

The CITI600 is joining the growing ranks of battery powered flash units but  unlike my current go to Godox AD360 (Streaklight 360) flash this is a fully fledged Monobloc complete with a 10W LED modelling light and an industry standard Bowns S fit mount.

Power is adjustable in 1/3rd stops from full to 1/256 and my testing showed it was incredibly accurate losing just 1/10th of a stop from full power to minimum power and anywhere in between.

Testing barebulb gave the following results

Power                                 CITI 600                                  Godox AD360

                                  @ 1 Meter 100 ISO                      @ 1 Meter   100 ISO

1/1                                          f/25                                              f/18 

½                                          f/18                                              f/13

¼                                          f/13                                              f/10

1/8                                           f/9                                               f/7.1

1/16                                         f/6.3                                            f/5

1/32                                         f/4.5                                            f/3.5

1/64                                         f/3.2                                            f/2.2

1/128                                        f/2.2                                           f/1.6

1/256                                        f/1.6                                           – – –

Recycle times were also good. At full power recycle time was 2.4 seconds which dropped to just 0.7 sec at ½ power and more or less instant at ¼ power. That compares cery well against my other similarly powerfulGodox flash (Streaklight 360) that I reviewed a few years back and is still going strong.

Although there is a manual only version this CITI600 has TTL which can be switched between Canon and Nikon via the menu. Being an Olympus shooter I can’t test how well it worked but it has +/- 3 stops of exposure compensation and HSS tops out at 1/8000th second.

The CITI600 has a built in 2.4ghz receiver that works perfectly with the new PiXAPRO ST-3 transmitter. Personally I prefer the older but still excellent PiXAPRO AC (Non-TTL, No HSS) transmitter and I was glad to find the USB socket on top for its companion receiver which worked perfectly.

Other triggering options include a 3.5mm jack plus  an optical slave with S1 and S2 modes supported. There’s also a micro USB socket which is for firmware updates apparently.

 

The display on the CITI600 is big and bright with the buttons and dials being nicely spaced out and intuitive to use. One nice feature is the flash duration which is displayed on the LCD in t0.1 format. At full power it’s a slow but OK 1/220th sec which decreases down to 1/10,000 sec at 1/256 power.


Downsides

With a 8700mAh battery this was never going to be a feather weight flash and at 2.8KG it’s heavier than it looks. Some of that weight is the 0.62KG battery which you might want to have a spare of. Having said that in my tests it consistently ran for a full day of reasonably heavy use on a single battery with power to spare.

The dimmable 10W LED modelling light works fine in dark rooms but isn’t that bright even at full power and switches off after a few minutes or whenever you adjust the flash power, which is REALLY annoying.

 

In use the only thing that really annoyed me was the lack of a grab handle at the back. That means every time I wanted to adjust the flash angle I had to loosen the clam and use two hands to adjust the flash head rather than having one hand on the clamp and the other on the handle as I normally would. The clamp itself has ratchet clicks which also made adjusting the flash angle a rather notchy affair.

 

Conclusion

The PiXAPRO CITI600 (Godox AD600, XPLOR600) is a solid bit of kit with reliable and predictable performance. It’s got a wide 9 stop power range and is compatible with endless modifiers thanks to its Bowens mount. It’s also become my “go to” light both in the studio and on location.

I only have the one CITI600 but as it fully supports for the Godox radio triggers I’m able to mix and independently control the CITI600 plus my PiXAPRO Li-ION speedlights, my Streaklight 360 and my Streaklight 180 all from the same remote control. It’s a truly brilliant system.

It’s no lightweight but it’s small enough to carry to a location but it can also hold it’s own in the studio. A sturdy lighting stand is a good idea, especially if you have any plans to put it at the end of a boom arm.

If you need TTL then get the TTL version but if like me you only shoot manual, take a look at the manual only version of this flash. At around £150 cheaper (currently discounted to £250 cheaper) it’s a bargain!

The word is that a AC power adaptor is coming soon.

 

Price at time of review: £700.00 (manual only £450.00)

Website for product:www.essentialphoto.co.uk/product/pixapro-citi600-ttl-battery-flash

ManufacturerPIXAPRO

Product TypeLighting

Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews

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<![CDATA[Pixapro CITI600 – Product Review with Chris Ord]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-citi600-product-review https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-citi600-product-review Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT Let me start by saying that my product reviews are going to be a little different to what you’ve seen before. I won’t be looking to baffle with all of the science and mathematics about the lighting and all that jazz.

I’m very easily pleased with photography gear; if it does the job I want it to do then that makes me happy. So when I review equipment, I do it on that basis and that basis alone.

 

So does it do what I want it to….

I was lucky enough to have the CITI600 sent to me the week before the Photography Show in Birmingham as I was going to be providing demo’s on the Pixapro stand using this light. Now, I didn’t really get the chance to do a great deal with it prior to the show and ended learning the vast majority of its capabilities while demoing it live to an audience.

First and foremost, the most noticeable characteristic of the CITI600 is the fact that it is battery-powered. Yes, as studio head that is battery-powered. For me this is a god send. I run studio creative nights and have kids portraits sessions which means that a lot of the time there are lots of people in the studio moving around quickly. Being able to take away the hazard and hassle of wires, extension cables and everything that goes with that is a huge huge selling point to me.

This battery can fire 500 full power flashes on one charge. Let that sink in for a minute. That means that if you were shooting at the full 600w, you could fire continuously for 21 minutes (taking into account the recycle time of 2.5 sec). Now I wouldn’t advise this as you’d probably blind your model! So lets strip that back to even shooting at half power- around 1000 flashes at half power means you could literally go all day shooting with this.

As I mentioned above the CITI600 is as the name suggests 600w of awesomeness. Stepping down in third stops to 1/256th power, meaning the sheer range of power available extremely versatile opening lots of doors as to how it could be used. Not mentioning the three-step LED Modelling lamp which I have used to shoot at very shallow apertures to. The battery boasts an inbuilt charge indicator so that you can see at the press of a button, on or off the head, how much charge you have remaining. The official charge time from empty is around 4 hours, however, I’ve not yet had this down less than 25% of its charge, and the recharge time has generally been around the 1 hour mark for me.

There are of course two versions of this light available; the full manual and the TTL version. If, like me, you’re used to working with manual lighting, it’s a no brainer at the price its retailing right now at £450 (correct 27/04/16), and to be honest at the usual price of £599- its still a bargain! If you’re more inclined to use the TTL version for shooting in ever-changing conditions, or for quick set up- again this light offers extremely high value for money.

The High Speed Sync capabilities of both versions offer sports and dance photographers an easy line into high-powered HSS shooting, with speeds of up to 1/8000sec available. Not to mention the Strobetopic function too for multiple bursts in one exposure.

The bulb itself is very easily accessible and changed with a three prong system, and there will be an update allowing an external head to be plugged into the bulb socket for extra reach if needed.

So, let’s get back to me using this light. Weight wise its manageable for one of my assistants to hand hold even with a soft box attached at 2.6kg, and handles itself well at the top of a light stand too out on location.

Since arriving back from the photography show I have used this light on quite a few different types of shoots- just to see what it is capable of. Now this is raging from kids portraits in the studio, to a full day Fashion Editorial shoot (see the video at the bottom of the page) and each and every time it has performed brilliantly. I use the standard Pixapro trigger system, rather than the ST- III which is used for HSS and TTL shooting, as I like easy trigger systems and this is a reliable and simple remote. I tend to shoot a lot of my work with the light positioned around 8ft in the air pointing down towards my subject, so being able to adjust the power, and the modelling lamp, from the trigger on my camera is extremely important to me. The screen on the side of the unit is bright, easy to navigate and displays all of the relevant information and menu’s its ease.

Being an S-Fit/Bowens Fit, all of my existing Pixapro adaptors work seamlessly with the CITI600- I mainly use a 95cm Octabox and a 45dregree reflector.

Now I already use a range of location lighting systems such as the Elinchrom Quadra and Pixapro’s own PowerCore600. If I had the choice- at the price of the CITI600 and everything else taken into account- it would be the CITI600 every single time. The fact that I could potentially buy three of these heads for the price of one Elinchrom Quadra system is very appealing.

I can honestly say that I am in awe of this light. It’s very rare that I get excited about equipment, but the more I use this the more it makes sense to swap out all of the other lighting I use and replace it with these. I have yet to use the TTL or the HSS function (as it’s just not my way of working) but the feedback I have seen from other photographers is overwhelmingly positive.

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS


ModelCITI600                                      Manual Flash

Max Power                                          600Ws

Guide Number                                     87m @ ISO100  with Standard Reflector

Colour Temperature                            5600±200k

Flash Duration                                     1/220s – 1/10,000s

Recycle Times                                     0.01 – 2.5 Seconds Recycle Time

Manual Flash Power Range                1/1 – 1/256 (1/3 Stop Increments)

Power SourceBuilt in (removable)       11.1V / 8700mAh Lithium-ion Battery

Number of FlashesApprox.                  500 Full Powered Flashes Per Charge

Flash Modes                                        Manual / Multi

High speed Sync                                 Up to 1/8,000s

Radio Frequency                                 2.4GHz (Compatible with PIXAPRO PRO  ST-III TTL Triggers)

Work Range                                        100m with ST-III Transmitter in Open Area

Channels (Radio)                                 32

Controllable Slave Groups                  5 (A, B, C, D, E)

Slave Modes                                       S1/S2

Other Trigger Methods                        PC Sync Port, 3.5mm Sync port, USB  port for Pro AC Trigger Set

Dimensions                                         220mm x 245mm x 125mm

Net. Weight                                         2.69kg

Accessory Mount                                S-Type

 

BOX CONTENT


Item                                                           QTY

CITI600                                                Flash Head1

Flash Tube                                                   1

Standard Reflector                                      1

Lithium Battery Pack                                   1

Battery Charger                                           1

Power Cord                                                 1

Lamp Cover                                                 1

 

Credit: Chris Ord   Website: https://chrisordphotography.wordpress.com/author/xtraordphoto/

Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews

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<![CDATA[Film Noir Cinematography]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/film-noir-cinematography-on-a-budget-with-pixapro-led100d-mkii https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/film-noir-cinematography-on-a-budget-with-pixapro-led100d-mkii Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT A lot of classic films that are considered Noir, were born out of a low budget.
The characters were regular people, the scenes took place in regular locations, and they used the bare minimum of lighting equipment.

So we should be able to recreate a noir shot a lot easier than say a Sci-Fi, with large sets and complex alien costumes.

 

THIS WEEK’S DSLR GUIDE:

 

Credit: Simon Cade  Website: http://dslrguide.tv/

Posted in: PiXAPRO Tips

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<![CDATA[PIXAPRO LED100D MKII Review]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-led100d-mkii-review https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-led100d-mkii-review Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT Often you can be placed into a location where Fresnel lighting isn’t an option. This is usually as a result of limited space and an extensive heat output from tungsten lighting. Unfortunately, on a DIY and/or budget film shoot, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to extend the space available or find another location. In such a time, it’s great to have a continuous LED light option.

Recently I’ve been using the Pixapro LED100D Mk II daylight light which is priced at £299.

 

 

The light itself is very robust and encased in a metal casing. Unlike the compact shape of a Fresnel, the LED100d Mk II has an oblong shape which has made most of my carry cases redundant as the light won’t fit in them. It looks like it would work well as a laser blaster in a sci-fi movie, nonetheless, it definitely holds the power of a laser blaster as it has a massive illuminance rating of around 15,00 lux at 1-meter and up to 42,000 at 50cms.

Whenever the light has been in use, I’ve always decreased it to the lowest setting. The brightness of the light is truly outstanding. You can dim the light down to 10% of its power allowing for a more varied lighting option.

 

The light uses an integrated LED chip over the conventional housing of multiple LEDs. As I previously stated, the light has a very robust casing, this leaves very little to be broken or damaged. I would imagine it could endure quite a lot of stress before it would become unusable.

The light itself has a frontal S-Type fitting which is how the reflector, amongst other accessories, is fitted. I’ve been using the light in conjunction with the Easy-Open Octagonal softbox, also from Pixapro. The soft incandescent light is perfect for when I do product reviews or close up shots, in which other lights in my kit would be too harsh for. I do have the option of setting up a diffusion sheet in front of the Fresnel, but with limited space, it’s not always an option.

The light has a CRI rating of ≥94 which is going to dramatically help reproduce accurate colour in your video photographs. A problem I’ve always had with tungsten and other LEDs is the flicker you encounter as you start to increase your frame rate and shutter speed for slow motion. With the Pixapro LED100D Mk II you can work up to 900fps before you start to see any flickering. Along with the Illuminance, this light provides its great tool for slow mo.

As for of the overall consistency and brightness of the light, it’s been a great tool for green screen work. Although the beam angle at 45° doesn’t make this the one-stop-shop for light coverage. For those who are looking to use this light for video and are worried about possible fan noise, rest assured that there’s virtually little to no fan noise produced from the cooling system. The updated version of the light which is being released this week also allows for a v-mount battery to be attached.

 

Direct from Pixapro, here are the specifications.

SPECIFICATIONS

Model                                                      PIXAPRO LED100D MKII

Power Output                                         100W

Luminous Flux                                        10,000 lm

Brightness/Illuminance                           42,000 lux @ 50cm (15,000 lux @ 1m)

LED Type                                                Integrated LED Chip

Colour Temperature                                5600k

Beam Angle                                            45°

CRI                                                          ≥94

Power Range                                          10-100%

LED Life                                                  Approx. 50,000 Hours

Remote Control                                      Yes (Sold Separately)

Dimensions                                             275mm x 130mm x 220mm

 

90cm Umbrella Softbox

Diameter                                                 90cm

Shape                                                     Octagonal

Layers of Diffusion                                  2

Gris size                                                  4cm

Fitting                                                      S-Type (Interchangeable)

 

260cm Stand

Min. Height                                             111cm

Max. Height                                            260cm

Max. Load Capacity                               5kg

Tube Diameter                                        30cm/25cm/22cm/19cm

Spigot Size                                             5/8”

Air-Cushioned                                        Yes

Material                                                  Aluminium

 

I think the light definitely works best when equipped with the softbox, and while the design is robust, I do find that the size of the light is also quite bulky, but I would suspect the internal fan is responsible for that. The light has quickly jumped rank in my kit, and will be used for all future product reviews.

Credit: Lewis McGregor  Website: http://www.indietips.com/author/lewismcgregor/

Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews

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<![CDATA[One Speedlite Adapter - Many Options]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/one-speedlite-adapter-many-options https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/one-speedlite-adapter-many-options Tue, 25 Jul 2017 00:00:00 GMT Portable battery flash has revolutionised the way many photographers work, especially since the introduction of the compact lithium-ion (Li-on) battery.

If you own a Speedlite or the any of the new generation of small portable battery flash such as the Pixapro LI-ON580 MkIIPIKA 200 or Hybrid 360, sooner or later you’ll want to mount your flash to a light stand and use light modifiers or shapers.


Bowens S-Type SMART Speedlite Adaptor Bracket


One option is to use the Pixapro SMART Speedlite Adaptor (Godox Speedlite Bracket) which features and standard ⅝” female light stand receptor and a clamp to secure the flash in place. The SMART Speedlite adaptor is available to fit both Bowens S-Type & Elinchrom EL soft box & modifier fittings; the outer ring fits the majority of pop-up soft boxes and umbrellas with shafts unto 8mm are accommodated with a secure locking screw.


Elinchrom EL SMART Speedlite Adaptor Bracket - this one has been sprayed white as part of my testing to improve output efficiency.


When mounting your bare bulb flash in the bracket you’ll notice a gap between the flash tube and mount - with a Speedlite this isn’t too much of an issue as the fresnel lens of a Speedlite projects the light forward, rather than spreading it as bare build flash does. This gap between the mount & flash tube with bare bulb flash i.e. PIKA200 & Hybrid 360 results in light loss or inefficiency.


PIKA200 pocket flash in 60cm Portable beauty dish.

PIKA200 pocket flash in 60cm Portable beauty dish with 115mm Quickbox adaptor as reflective backing plate creating a continuous reflective surface.

PIKA200 with SMART Speedlite Adaptor & 60cm portable beauty dish


This inefficiency can be eliminated by using a Hybrid360 Quickbox Adapter Ring which is attached to the flash unit once mounted in the bracket. This eliminates any loss of light to the rear of the bracket/modifier & concentrates the light emitted in the modifier which can result in a ⅔ stop* gain in output.

. 


Elinchrom Portalite 56cm Octa Soft Box with PIKA200

Also works with Elinchrom Rotalux soft boxes (low-res phone image!)

 

With the EL Bracket you can use Elinchrom Portalite & Rotalux soft boxes, plus other more specialised accessories such as the MiniSpot Lite gobo projector with the new generation of portable battery flash!


Elinchrom Mini Spot Lite gobo projection accessory with PIKA200 (low quality mobile phone snaps combined with a phone app!).

The addition of a subtle gobo effect adds depth and separation to portraits


When using umbrellas with the SMART Speedlite Bracket it’s recommended to use the 120º reflector as a spill-kill to keep the flash beam inside the circumference of the umbrella.

PIKA200 pocket flash with 14cm Hybrid 360 umbrella reflector & reflective umbrella


When using a pop-up soft box I prefer a bare bulb flash as the light is distributed in the soft box evenly, rather than projected from the fresnel lens in front of the linear flash tube and then partially reflected back from the diffusion material - see my blog for further information https://ianpack.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/soft-boxes-and-shadows.html


60 x 60cm Easy Open pop-up soft box- notice the area around the flash tube lacking reflective material

 
Add a Quickbox Adaptor to create a continuous reflective area and improve efficiency
 

When used with the SMART Speedlite Adaptor pop-up soft boxes fit over the outer circumference of the clamp bracket.

 

In conclusion - by using the Hybrid360 Quickbox Adapter Ring you create a continuous reflective area inside the flash modifer/shaper when using mounting your flash with the SMART Speedlite Adaptor bracket and increase output by approximately ⅔ stop.

The SMART Speedlite Adaptor bracket is a versatile accessory which no user of Pixapro or Godox portable battery flash should be without. I have three as one is never enough. I now use portable battery flash in the studio as well as on location assignments - battery flash in the studio is easier to handle and there are no trailing cables - plus they are lighter and smaller than most equivalent mains flash or strobes.

My thanks to Yang Wu, Ling Tan & team at Pixapro for providing such great service. If you're in the UK do support them as they do offer a 2 year warranty on their products and it really does save a pile of hassle by not dealing with a overseas supplier of potentially unknown provenance who may not be there when you need them . . .

Soon there will be workshops for both off camera flash & studio flash soon - keep an eye on my social media channels for more information.

Credit: Ian Pack - Website: http://ianpack.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/one-speedlite-adaptor-many-options.html

 

 

 

Posted in: PiXAPRO Tips

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<![CDATA[Portrait of an Opera Singer - Fabian Chaundy]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/portrait-of-an-opera-singer-fabian-chaundy https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/portrait-of-an-opera-singer-fabian-chaundy Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Leon is a very talented opera singer who has travelled the world looking for perfection in his technique. He currently resides in Asolo, in the north of Italy, a magical little town that time seems to have forgotten.


Shot with the Pixapro LED100D MKII+  and Pixapro LED200D MKII.

Credit: Fabian Chaundy Wesbsite: http://fabianchaundy.com/category/blog/documentary/ 
Instagram: @fab_chaundy

Posted in: PiXAPRO Multimedia

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<![CDATA[High Speed Sync with the CITI600]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/high-speed-sync-with-the-citi600 https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/high-speed-sync-with-the-citi600 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 GMT I've been very lucky recently to have had the opportunity to test some lights for PIXAPRO. I was dying to test the CITI600 and in a timely fashion this light arrived the day before going on a trip to France with Zara Watson.  I have been testing the wonderful world of high speed sync lately with the Pixapro Hybrid 360 and knew that the CITI 600 would be a step up.  The Hybrid is brilliant, lightweight and perfect for travelling and will shoot high speed sync. It does everything on a budget. But the CITI600 will give you a lot more power and a modelling light if required. The CITI600 TTL is compatible with the Pixapro Pro ST-111 TTL flash triggers which gives you access to TTL metering.

Just for the uninitiated, high speed sync means that you can shoot with flash at whatever shutter speed you like without being limited to the flash sync speed of the camera. Lets say the flash sync speed of your camera is 200/th of a second and if you shoot at a shutter speed faster than this you will see the dreaded black band appearing across your frame. So on a bright day, if you are limited to 200/th of a second your aperture may well have to be very small, say f16 or f22. This makes your depth of field very deep (everything sharp from point of focus to way back into the distance). BUT with high speed sync – you can cut down the sunlight with shutter speed and shoot at 8000/th of a second with an aperture of say f2.8. This makes your depth of field very shallow.

So – here are 2 shots – with exactly the same lighting/lens etc – with 2 very different results.

This first shot was without high speed sync and shot with a Canon 5Ds with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens. Shutter speed was 1/160 th sec at f16 (ISO 100). Zara was backlit by a very low, very bright sun and therefore to light her face takes a powerful flash. If the flash isn’t powerful enough, you would have to open the aperture to compensate and the sun would be too bright and result in her blonde hair being over exposed and in extreme cases make her look bald. Not a good look if a model has lots of lovely hair.

 

 

The next shot is a test shot to get the correct exposure on the water and backlit hair……so you can see what the image looks light with no flash at all….

 

This second shot was with all the same kit but shutter speed was 1/4000 th sec at f2.8  (ISO 100). The depth of field is shallow.

 

Now in my opinion I like the water sharp in the first shot. I like the highlights on the water and this is a shot of Zara – not necessarily a fashion shot of the swimwear. If this were a catalogue shot where the swimwear is the most important part of this shot, a blurred background would prevent any distraction from it. Also if a background is much busier (trees/buildings etc) this technique becomes even more useful.

More posts from our French Trip coming soon..

Credit: Stephen Perry - Website: http://stephenperry.com/2016/10/16/france-with-zara-watson-high-speed-sync/

Posted in: PiXAPRO Reviews

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<![CDATA[Fruit Splash Photography]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/fruit-splash-photography-freezing-motion-using-short-flash-durations-hybrid360-and-li-ion580-ii https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/fruit-splash-photography-freezing-motion-using-short-flash-durations-hybrid360-and-li-ion580-ii Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:00:00 GMT

 

Learn how to use short flash durations to perfectly freeze water splashes using the Pixapro Li-ion580 II speedlite, and the Hybrid360 Bare Bulb Flash

Posted in: PIXAPRO Behind The Scene

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<![CDATA[(Behind The Scenes) Red Dress Shoot with Mark Ratcliffe ft. PIKA200 and CITI600]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/behind-the-scenes-red-dress-shoot-with-mark-ratcliffe-ft-pika200-and-citi600 https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/behind-the-scenes-red-dress-shoot-with-mark-ratcliffe-ft-pika200-and-citi600 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

 

A Behind the Scenes with photographer Mark Ratcliffe as he photographs model Veronika Pantina in a long flowing Red Dress using the PiXAPRO CITI600 and 

Posted in: PIXAPRO Behind The Scene

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<![CDATA[PIXAPRO at The Photography Show 2017]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-at-the-photography-show-2017 https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/pixapro-at-the-photography-show-2017 Thu, 05 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

 

Behind the scenes at the Photography Show at the NEC Birmingham 2017 at the Pixapro stand.

We would like to thank all of our colleagues and customers for their generous support and valuable feedback, and wish you a bright and fruitful 2016. And we shall look forward to seeing you all again at the Photography Show 2018 at Stand E91

Posted in: PIXAPRO Behind The Scene

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<![CDATA[Creative Lighting Adventure with Glenn Norwood ( PIXAPRO CITI600 and Hybrid360)]]> https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/creative-lighting-adventure-with-glenn-norwood-pixapro-citi600-and-hybrid360 https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/blog/post/creative-lighting-adventure-with-glenn-norwood-pixapro-citi600-and-hybrid360 Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Creative Lighting Adventure with Glenn Norwood 

T13 shoot - showcasing the PIXAPRO CITI600 Battery Powered Flash and Hybrid360 Portable Bare Bulb Flash

Photo by Glenn Norwood

Lighting with PIXAPRO CITI600 and PIXAPRO Hybrid360

Featuring the amazing model IAM Models Agency with Claire, 

Reem and Kamile Buivydaite

MUA by Stevey Lennox 

Hairdressing by Pure Hair

Wearing design by Chloe Dougan Designer

Styling by Jamie Russell

Creative Lighting Adventure - Lighting Setup

Posted in: PIXAPRO Behind The Scene

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