Trinity NANO - Another 5 Star Review! Amateur Photographer
"The overall feeling you get from this kit is that it's 'just-so' neat and you can't help liking the friendly, 'alien-pod' styling of the Nano. Although clearly not designed for intense professional use, it is an accomplished product and capable of really excellent results, proving itself eminently suitable for general portraiture and product photography. The specification and build are equally impressive and, at £429 RRP, it is well worth consideration by amateurs with a penchant for studio photography." - Andrew Sydenham, Amateur Photographer Magazine, May 2012.
GODOX ProPac PB820 Review by Amateur Photographer Magazine
GODOX ProPac PB820 Review by AFP Press Photographer, Leon Neal
I was recently sent a parcel of goodies to review/torture and while some items won't be of use to me as a press photographer, one item stood out as being of interest; the Godox PB820 Propac battery pack.
To those of you who work in press, wedding and entertainment photography, you'll already probably own either a Lumedyne or a Quantum battery pack. While these are the market leaders for portable flash power, the combination of very high price and user reports of less-than 100% reliability always left me wondering what else was out there.
I originally bought two Lumedyne "Tiny Cyclers" (VHTF) before realising that I'd rarely need both so sold one. The remaining power pack only ever comes out at major events such as the Brits or the BAFTAs so the £300 that it cost me seems a little extravagant. If I was starting out again, I'd certainly think twice about spending so much on such a rarely used item. With a price tag of just half the price of the Lumedyne, the Propac seems to be a much more pocket-friendly option. Available in Black or Lime Green (only cowards go for black), the unit itself is light but well built. With a protection cap to cover the standard Quantum cable input when not in use and a clear display showing how much charge is remaining in the unit, the design is well thought out. While some other brand's models opt to have a single light that changes from green to red when the juice is gone, there is no way of actually telling how much is left. With the Propac, the top display features a charging light, a status light to indicate that the unit has recycled and is kicking out power and four charge lights that show the remaining power in the cell. When handing it around to working press photographers in London, one of the first things that people comment on (after "what the hell is that bright green box?") is it's low weight. It's a gnats arse over 500gm, making it 2/3 the weight of its closest competition. Aside from that, it's a battery in a plastic case. There really isn't that much more to say. Here's a neat comparison of the Propac with the Quantum Battery 1+ though.
Quantum Battery 1+
Sealed Lead Acid
Full Power Flashes
Up to 320
2 – 3 hours
As I said above, I rarely use portable battery packs but, as it happened, shortly after receiving the kit, I shot two weddings as a second shooter for Kirsten Mavric. Where better to give it a go? The first one was the marriage of wedding photographer Nick Ray and his fiancée Camilla. I can honestly say that the day provided a whole range of new experiences, from an open-top car-shot of a classic vintage car, through to bouncing on a trampoline with the happy couple. It all used flash and the unit kept up with whatever I threw at it.
The tech spec of the battery cells state that the PB820 can deliver 250 - 320 flashes at full power on a single 2 hour charge, with just a 1 second recycle time at full power. From the weddings that I shot, I used flash quite a lot in the evening and the power indicator is still showing full, so it really does store a serious quantity of juice.
In fact, I used it for a wedding, Kirsten shot a Barmitzvah with it and then I gave it a hard test with three days of car shots at half or full power during the recent News International hacking scandal, with consistently solid results. Even after all of this, I still didn't need to recharge. A colleague gave it a look over as we waited for a job to begin and carried out a few tests with his Quantum unit and found that the much higher priced Quantum was only fractionally faster to recharge from a full power shot. Pretty good for such a cheap option.
As you've guessed from what I've written so far, this is a genuinely good option for those looking at buying an external flash battery pack, but who don't want the considerable outlay of the high-end products. Sure, there are advantages to owning the higher-end products from Quantum or a Lumedyne, such as marginally faster recycle times and bomb-proof construction, but for those who just need the occasional extra punch, I'd suggest you give it some thought.
I should point out here that despite my praise, I'm not in fact the new owner of "Godox Industries" and desperately launching my new venture on the world but was simply lucky enough to be approached to test the battery.
AFP staff photographer (London)
TRINITY Twin REVIEW 5/5 STARS! - Amateur Photographer
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EPOD Diversity REVIEW - 5/5 STARS!
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GENESIS MKII Kit REVIEW - EDITIORS CHOICE 9/10
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TRINITY Twin 600 kit REVIEW - 10 STARS
TRINITY recieved 10 out of 11 Stars (very Spinal Tap) from Digital Photography School !
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Elemental Reflectors COMPARISON REVIEW - BEST BUY
The bods at Digital SLR Photography decided to review the available reflectors on the market in the UK - Elemental recieved the coveted top BEST BUY AWARD for our 107cm 5 in 1 reflector
EPOD DIVERSITY REVIEW - HIGHLY RECOMMEND
|Click on the thumbnail to view a higher quality image|
|The Elemental Epod Diversity tripod sells for £150, which is an attractive price given the product's versatility and build quality.|
The boffins who sit in front of their computers in darkened rooms coming up with new ideas and products to help us enjoy our photography even more never cease to amaze me. Take tripod designers, for example. Photography is over 150 years old and three-legged supports have been around for even longer, yet the designers still manage to innovate on what is basically a very simple concept. Giottos have done it recently with their Vitruvian and now Elemental have followed suit with the Epod Diversity tripod and supporting system.
Elemental Epod Diversity tripod: Features
The Diversity tripod has three-legs (so nothing innovative here!) but the clever thing is that one of the leg simply unscrews thus giving a sturdy monopod. You will notice from the image above that the centre column has a ballhead at each end and the one at the base can be used on the monopod if you wish. The whole process of leg removal and putting on a new head doesn't not take long so having the monopod option is worthwhile and its working range of 54cm to 1.35m is enough for most people.
The three-section tripod itself is made from aluminium so it is no lightweight - the Epod with the supplied ballheads weight in at 2.8kg. With its supporitng accessories, the Diveristy is more of a studio tripod anyway so this is not a problem.
The main ballhead offers smooth, precise panning and there is an adjustable clutch control so you can control the amount of tension to suit how you prefer to work. There is a solid quick release plate which is Elemental's own design and does not confirm to the Arca Swiss standard - unfortunately. The supplied smaller ball head also has a quick release plate - this is obviously different from the main ballhead. The legs and head are said to keep a camera/lens combination weighing up to 8kg stable.
The Diversity has an adjustable centre column and it can be quickly adjusted to a horizontal position and the feet are rubber or spikes - the spikes are accessed by retracting the rubber feet.
Given that shooting in a studio tethered to a laptop is an accessible options nowadays, part of the Epod system is an optional beam and laptop platform, the pair costing a reasonable £50 - or £30 for each individually.
The beam replaces the ballhead and the ballhead and camera then occupies one of the four 3/8in screw fit mounting positions on the beam. One can be used to hold the laptop platform - this is the right size for something like a 13in Mac Pro. This does mean if you have a larger laptop it just rests on it rather than snugly fitting the platform. You obviously need to be careful that you do not knock off the larger laptop while you are shooting tethered.
Elemental Epod Diversity tripod: Handling
Everything works as well as it should and certainly no major issues surfaced. The small laptop platform concern has already been mentioned. I have a 13in Mac Pro so this system suits me perfectly but those photographers with larger laptops need to exercise some care not to catch it and send it crashing to the studio floor.
I rarely use a tripod in the studio but I can fit the laptop platform direct to the tripod without the beam if I want to. However, I tried the tripod with the beam and the ballhead in place - the ballhead is handy as somewhere to secure the camera while fiddling with the lights and taking meter readings. Or for speed I could just hang the camera by its strap on the beam.
It is worth pointing out that the beam and laptop platform can be used on any stand/tripod with a standard 3/8in screw fitting - this is a handy option, given that many photographers probably already own a tripod.
Key functions like leg locks worked fine and the legs stayed locked in position when I rested my full weight (a little under 13stone) on the camera platform. There is a quiet swish of brushed aluminium as the leg height is adjusted.
|Click on the thumbnails to view higher quality images|
|The main ball head is good quality and solid.||The second head is good for monopod use.||One the legs come off to give a monopod|
Elemental Epod Diversity tripod: Performance
The important thing is that the Diversity gives good support and it does when used properly. With the legs fully extended, I twisted the shoulder and I did think there was more flex that I would like to see in the leg joints. With the centre column fully up (which is not necessary unless you are significantly well over six foot tall) there is some flexibility there too. Despite these minor criticisms I thought the Divserity rated well in the stability stakes and in practice there is no reason why it would not hold a camera steady even for very long exposures, indoors or out.
It is worth saying that saying the second ballhead and its location at the bottom of the centre column is useful but I would not use it as such for photography - unless you are using fast shuitter speeds. The pinch release connection is secure enough to hold the ballhead in place but it is not good enough for long exposure work. If you have the need, just reverse the centre column so that the main ball head is hanging down - it only takes a few seconds to do this.
Another point about the small ballhead is that you have to take it off when realigning the centre column to shoot horizontally or at another angle.
|Click on the thumbnails to view higher quality images|
|A locking screw holds the 'monopod' leg in place.||The small ball head is handy on the monopod.||The rubber feet are useful on sensitive floors.|
Elemental Epod Diversity tripod: Verdict
It is not the lightest or the most stable tripod I have ever tried nor is its handling without flaws. But it sells for £150 and that includes two ballheads, a very usable monopod and a mechanism for quick realignment to shoot subjects at different angles, so it is sound value.
The beam and laptop platform give the Diversity an extra dimension and are worth a serious look if you shoot tethered in the studio. Of course, if you do shoot tethered and already own a tripod you can just buy the beam and platform for £50 (or £30 for each individually) and that would make perfect sense.
Elemental Epod Diversity tripod: Pros
Supporting accessories, the beam and laptop platform
Design - two heads as standard, and optional adjustable beam for a laptop
Elemental Epod Diversity tripod: Cons
Too heavy to lug around the town/landscape, so best in the studio
Some whip in the legs
Platform size - it will hold a bigger laptop, but take care
|Price||£150 for Epod Diversity, £50 for beam and laptop platform|
|Minimum height (tripod)||Ground level - with lower ball head|
|Minimum folded length (tripod with ball head)||79cm|
|Maximum height (tripod)||1.63m (without ball head)|
|Minimum height (monopod)||55cm|
|Maximum height (monopod)||1.35m|
|Number of leg sections||3|
|Feet||Rubber or spiked|
|Weight (tripod with ball head)||2.79kg|
The Elemental Epod Diversity costs around £150 and is available from Elemental here.
TRINITY & TRINITY PRO REVIEW - EDITORS CHOICE!
Elemental recieve our THIRD ever EDITORS CHOICE AWARD from Ephotozine
Elemental Trinity 400 two head kit Studio Lighting and Flash Review
|A two head Elemental Trinity 400 kit costs from £469. That sounds a top deal but is it, asks Will Cheung.|
Elemental are rapidly making a big name for themselves in the studio flash lighting market. Its well-designed, feature-packed flash units sell at attractive prices. Take, for example, the new Trinity and Trinity Pro system where four power output options are available, from 400Watt/seconds to 1000W/s. You can buy a two 400W/s kit for £469 – the one I tried is actually worth £479 because I had a 36in octagonal softbox with a grid. The kit contains the two heads, spill kills, radio trigger, cables, carrying case, modelling lamps and two light modifiers, a 36in softbox and a 43in brolly. You also get two really solid air-cushioned stands that extend to almost three metres – they are much better and more useful than the flimsy things that come as standard with some kits.
The great thing, though, is that you can go onto Elemental's website and order a kit that suits your budget and the type of photography you want to do. So you can have two softboxes instead of one softbox and one brolly, or you may want a beauty dish or a larger softbox. The kit price updates instantly as you shop so you know how much you have spent, or have left to spend. It makes shopping a pleasure as you explore the various permutations of how to spend your money – well, I enjoyed it.
Elemental Trinity 400 two head kit: Features
In terms of features, there is everything on-board the 400 monobloc head that you would expect from a modern mains flash unit. Let's go through some of the headline features.
Power output is 400Watt/seconds (or joules, whichever you prefer) and that output is adjustable digitally in 1/10ths of an f/stop over a six-stop range so precisie changes are easily made. Relating the power output to an actual f/stop value is not easy because there are so many variables – reflector type, for example – but shooting full length portraits at small apertures is no problem with the supplied modifiers.
There is a sensor cell that triggers the flash when light is detected from the main unit which is in turn fired by the supplied 16-channel radio trigger that sits on the camera's hot-shoe. The receiver plugs directly into the unit and is powered by the mains supply so no batteries are needed here.
To help you see what you are doing and to assess the lighting effect, there is a 150Watt modelling lamp with three modes plus off and the unit is kept cool by an integral cooling fan so it should not overheat with hard or prolonged use. There is an audio signal to confirm recycling (which takes up to one second at full power) and auto-dumping when you change to a lower power setting from a higher setting.
There is also good news for existing studio users who have Bowen or Interfit kit because the Trinity system uses the S-bayonet for accessories. The S-bayonet is the nearest there is in the studio flash world of being an universal fitting.
|Click on the thumbnails to view a high resolution image|
|The Trinity is solidly put together and feels much more solid than you might expect for a budget monobloc flash unit.|
Elemental has a full range of competitively priced accessories available for their flash units – or for any mains flash with the S-bayonet fitting. For example, if you like soft lighting there is the choice of octagonal or square/rectangular softboxes, some with grids to help control light direction even more. To give you an idea of prices, the 140cm octagonal softbox sells for £55 and the 32x48inch softbox with grid goes for the same price. It is worth mentioning that there is currently an offer on 43inch brolly boxes (there are two types, shoot through and reflected) selling for £15 instead of the usual £35. These fit on the light like a brolly but give a softer light compared with a brolly and a more directional light than a typical softbox.
Elemental Trinity 400 two head kit: Handling
The supplied kit is almost plug-in and play. A little bit of unpacking and you are ready to rock. One thing I didn't like especially was putting together the 36in octagonal softbox. It was a bit like wrestling with an octopus and I did break sweat over it. This criticism is not confined to just the Elemental octagonal softbox and most softboxes need a bit of effort to assemble – and not great when you are in a rush. If you have never put one together before you will worry about snapping the supporting strutts but they are quite flexible so just bend away. If you shoot on location a lot I would suggest allowing an extra ten minutes setting up time for it.
That minor moan aside, it is rather pleasing to say that there are no problems or concerns to report in terms of handling. Everything worked the way it should and I liked the touch sensitive yet very positive controls. Putting on and taking off the supplied accessories was straightforward enough too. In the past, I have used S-bayonet lights and accessories that were on the tight side which made them uncomfortable to change, especially when the unit had been running for a while.
There are plenty of thoughtful touches and this includes the head's curved locking handle designed so that it does not interfere with the flash unit's casing when the head is tightened in position.
Personally, I thought the standard carrying case could be redesigned. It gives excellent protection but it is very deep so not exactly the sort of case that is convenient, for example on public transport. I am often in London with my studio flash and a tall, slimmer bag would be more practical than a shorter, fat bag. I would end up smacking into passers-by and there is only a shoulder strap and no hand-strap.
Elemental Trinity 400 two head kit: Performance
It works. My kit delivered a consistent, predictable and reliable performance without any tantrums at all. To be fair, I was not shooting hundreds of pictures in rapid succession as you might be at an event, so I was not working the units very hard in that sense. But I enjoyed a couple of lengthy portrait sessions and the units worked fine. I left the modelling lamps on (in proportional mode) and did shots with the supplied brolly, softbox as well as Elemental's 70cm beauty dish. The last-named costs £143 so is actually a significant percentage of the complete kit, but it gives a lovely light.
|Rachel lit with the 36in softbox fitted with a grid to enhance directionality. Another 400 unit was placed to her right for the sidelighting effect and to bring out her hair colour.|
Elemental Trinity 400 two head kit: Verdict
A two head with a collection of accessories for £469 is a really attractive proposition. It is an excellent starter kit with enough power to easily fulfill the needs of most enthusiasts. You can shoot small groups of people and head-and-shoulder portraits at f/11 and f/16 at ISO 100 or 200 with no problem at all. Should you want more power, spending an extra £50 gets you a 600W/s head so you can have that as the main light and a 400W/s as the fill-in or to light the background.
Elemental Trinity 400 two head kit: Pros
Great value including excellent, sturdy, tall stands
Output controllable in 1/10th stops over a six f/stop range
Lots of accessories in the kit
Elemental Trinity 400 two head kit: Cons
Carrying case not very good for carrying the kit around
Elemental Trinity 400 two head kit: Specification
|Output||400Watt/seconds (each head). GN 65 (ISO 100/metres)|
|Colour temp of flash tube||5500K +/-100K|
|Modelling lamp||150Watt, quartz halogen|
|Flash duration||1/1200 - 1/800sec|
|Flash recycling time||0.2-1sec|
|Accessory fitting||S-bayonet mount|
|Weight||2.6Kg (each head)|
Flashgun Softbox Review - Photo Answers
GENESIS 2 REVIEW - GOLD AWARD!
Once again Elemental products prove their worth on the international stage against the competition. Our products are consistently better, our services unequelled, and our dedication to the advancement of studio technology proven, time and again.
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In a comparison test against Bowens, Elinchrom, Interfit and Lencarta.
GENESIS 8 REVIEW - EDITORS CHOICE!
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Our first review of the brand new GENESIS system.
PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE :
Yet another fantastic review of our coveted Visico Digital System! This time, from Practical Photography Magazine...
PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE :
Our most recent review of our coveted Visico Digital Systems from ePHOTOzine Editor's Choice!
Our latest product review from Digital SLR Photography
DIGITAL SLR PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE
Our latest product review from Practical Photography
PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE
5 Stars - BEST BUY!
DIGITAL SLR PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE
4/5 stars, HIGHLY RATED