Many photographers are always looking for the best flash lighting options when it comes to location photography, so they need to be sure that the battery powered flash unit of their choice is capable of handling a wide range of different requirements whilst also being compact and easy to transport. In this Blog, we take a look at our compact battery powered flash units, the PIKA200/PIKA200 PRO, the Li-ION580II Speedlite and GIO1 Speedlite, to see exactly what each unit has to offer and the benefits they each have over the others.
The PIKA200 and PIKA200 PRO are two of our battery powered flash units, but these differ to normal units as these have been designed to be incredibly compact and pocket-sized, meaning it is much easier to transport these lights and use in more difficult scenarios compared to standard flash units. Both of these units are very similar, with the PIKA200 PRO being the updated version with newer features and better specifications. Both the PIKA200 and PIKA200 PRO offer a 200Ws Maximum Power Output, allowing them to create a guide number of 52m when the Speedlite head is attached and 60m when the Bare-Bulb Head is attached (both @ISO100), producing a bright and clean flash for all photography.
Both of these units also feature a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery pack (14.4V/2900mAh), giving the user approximately 500 Full-Powered Flashes from a single charge, ideal for long shoots on location. Both are very easy to control, with each offering 32 Channels and 5 Groups to choose from, and a built-in 2.4GHz Receiver that is compatible with the PiXAPRO ONE System products. Each version can also be used in a range of different functions such as TTL and High-Speed Sync (Up to 1/8000s), to open up a wider range of lighting options.
As the PIKA200 PRO is the more updated version compared to the Standard PIKA200, it offers a few more features and improved specifications. Whilst the PIKA200 features flash durations of 1/220 – 1/13,000s (Speedlite Head) and 1/220 – 1/11,300s (Bare-Bulb Head) which are extremely quick, the PIKA200 PRO improves on these by offering 1/220 to 1/15380s (Speedlite Head) and 1/220 to 1/13510s (Bare-Bulb Head), meaning they have super-fast flash duration speeds.
They also have improved Recycle Times of 0.01-1.8s compared to 0.01 - 2.1s, meaning you are able to shoot quicker. The PIKA200 PRO also offers more detailed and precise power control, with a 9-Stop Power Range compared to the 8-Stop Power Range offered by the PIKA200. Whilst both the PIKA200 and PIKA200 PRO offer a Colour Temperature of 5600 ± 200K as standard, the PIKA200 PRO features a new “Stable Colour Mode”, outputting a Colour Temperature of 5600° ±100°K across the entire power range, creating a more accurate colour representation.
The PIKA200 PRO also features improved designs to the unit itself, with a recessed screen to prevent scratches and damage and an improved stand bracket for better adjustment and protection. Due to these design updates, the PIKA200 PRO is slightly larger, measuring at 172mm x 75mm x 54mm compared to 168mm x 75mm x 50mm for the standard PIKA200 (Both without Flash Head attached), and also weigh slightly more at 590g compared to 560g (Both excluding Battery and Flash Head).
The Li-ION580II is one of PiXAPRO’s Battery Powered Speedlite units, giving the user the option to use both off and on camera, reducing the requirements for stands which may be difficult to transport on location. This Speedlite features a dedicated hot-shoe, with options compatible with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Fuji cameras, allowing them to use a wide range of features include TTL and High-Speed Sync (Up to 1/8000s). The Li-ION580II offers a Guide number of 60m (@ISO100 when zoomed to 200mm), meaning that it easily creates a bright and powerful flash light to perfectly capture your shot in detail. It offers super-fast Flash Durations and Recycle Times, with 1/300 - 1/20,000s and <1.5s at Full Power respectively, creating a quick overall shooting speed to prevent any wasted loss of time. The Li-ION580II features a rechargeable 11.1V/2000mAh Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery capable of approximately 650 Full Power Flashes per charge, ideal for long shoots on location. This Speedlite offers a wide range on Control also, with 4 Optical Channels, 32 Radio Channels and 3 Controllable Groups, and also features a Built-in 2.4GHz Receiver to make it compatible with the PiXAPRO ONE System. The Li-ION580II features a compact and portable design, with dimensions measuring 64mm x 76mm x 190mm and weighing only 430g (Without Battery), so will be lightweight to transport between different locations.
The GIO1 is PiXAPRO’s newest available Battery Powered Speedlite, that can also be used both on and off camera to reduce the necessity of bringing equipment on different location shoots. The GIO1 also features a Round-Head, which would help to create a gentler light fall-off compared to standard Rectangular Head speedlite, and it features a Magnetic mount to be used with a range of modifiers. Just like the other PiXAPRO Speedlites, this features a dedicated hot-shoe and is compatible with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji and also Pentax cameras, giving the option to use more detailed features such as TTL and High-Speed Sync (Up to 1/8000s).
The GIO1 Speedlite offers a Guide number of 42m @ISO100 (105mm), creating a powerful and clean lighting to capture the necessary details of the photography. The GIO1 offers extremely quick Flash Durations and Recycle Times of 1/300 to 1/20,000s and <1.5s respectively to prevent any unwanted loss of time and to allow you to use the Speedlite as quickly as possible.
The GIO1 comes with a rechargeable 7.2V/2600mAh Lithium-ion polymer battery capable of approximately 480 Full Powered flashes per charge, suitable for extended shoots on location and away from charging. The GIO1 offers a large range of Control, with 32 Channels and 4 Groups available to choose from, and also a 2.4GHz Built-in Receiver so it can be compatible with the PiXAPRO ONE System. This speedlite is quite compact and portable, with dimensions of 76mm x 93mm x 197mm and a weight of 534g (With Battery), making it an ideal portable flash lighting unit.
There are a few differences between these lighting units. The PIKA200 and PIKA200 PRO are standard flash lighting units whereas the Li-ION580II and GIO1 are Speedlites. With Speedlites, these are capable of being used both on camera and off camera, meaning they wouldn’t always require a Stand to be held in place. With the PIKA units, these are designed to be used on a stand, which would require more equipment that could be awkward to transport on difficult location shoots. As the Li-ION580II and GIO1 Speedlites feature dedicated hot-shoes, you would need to make sure you are using the compatible version with your camera brand to access all available features, whereas the PIKA200 units are a default flash unit so could be used with multiple different camera brands. The GIO1 does feature a benefit over the other options, as it is the only light with the Round Head rather than the Rectangular head that comes with the PIKA units and Li-ION580II, meaning it would offer a gentler light fall-off. It also has the magnetic mount whereas the others do not, meaning it can be used with a range of modifiers directly and the other would require a Smart Speedlite Bracket to be used with modifiers and accessories.
The PIKA units are the more powerful of the options, with a maximum power output of 200Ws, and whilst the Guide number of 60m appears to be the same as the Li-ION580II, the speedlite would have to be Zoomed to achieve this whereas the PIKA units would achieve this naturally. Both the GIO1 and Li-ION580II would offer faster Recycle Times compared to the PIKA200 units at 1/300 to 1/20,000s, but this would be down to them having a lower overall power output to run the entire unit. The PIKA200 Units have the largest capacity battery, followed by the Li-ION580II and then the GIO1, but the Li-ION580II would offer more Full Power flashes per charge at approximately 650 compared to the 500 offered by the PIKA units and 480 of the GIO1 Speedlite. Whilst all units have a colour Temperature of 5600° ±200K, the updated “Stable Colour Mode” which offers a more accurate colour temperature means that this would offer a slightly more accurate colour representation in your shoots. Controlling the lights is also very similar, with all the lights offering 32 Channels to control different units on, but the PIKA units offers 5 Groups allowing them to adjust the settings of more units from the Trigger compared to either of the Speedlites. Overall, the GIO1 Speedlite measures the largest of the options, followed by the Li-ION580II, the PIKA200 PRO and finally the PIKA200, but the differences are quite small so wouldn’t usually offer a great deal of inconvenience.
Each of these lighting options offer their own benefits over the others, with the PIKA200 units being more powerful, the Li-ION580II offering the most overall full power flashes and the GIO1 Speedlite featuring a Round Head for more gentle light fall-off. But what can be promised, is that no matter which lighting option you choose, you will be using a high quality and professional battery powered flash unit that is ideally suited for location photography and is great value.