As a photographer, selecting a light shaper can be an incredibly daunting process. Softbox or beauty dish? Grid or without? If gridded, how big? Over the next few weeks, we will demonstrate how light behaves with each group of light shapers; reflectors, softboxes, parabolic, beauty dish, etc. The objective here is not to compare which is better, but rather to present what each reflector can do for you and how they can be effectively utilized in your photographic project.
We kick off the series with the following reflectors (click for more specifications from our website); Standard – this comes bundled with Siros L lamps, P-Travel , P70 , P65 , P50 , and P45. The setup is simple;
The constant factors are as follows;
Camera: Phase One XF IQ3 100MP
Lens: Schneider Kreuznach 150mm LS f/2.8
Exposure: F/11, 1/125s, ISO 50
Lamp: Broncolor Unilite 3200 powered by Scoro 3200 S
The lamp is positioned 1.2m away from the subject (yours truly) who is 1.2m from the background.
The only variables are the reflectors and the power level on the Scoro to adjust for the varying intensity of the light. The Scoro S power level ranges from 1.0 to 10.0 with every round number being halve of the next; eg. 10.0 = 3200 J, 9.0 = 1600 J, 8.0 = 800 J, etc.
For reflectors with grids (P70, P65 and P45), we kept the power levels constant through the three grade (fine, medium and coarse) so you are able to see the differences objectively.
We strongly recommend you view the images below on a proper, calibrated monitor instead of a mobile device. The differences for most of the images are subtle so the small screens may not display them accurately. Although the shots were taken tethered through Capture One, none of the images has been edited in any way.
Look at how the light transitions from highlight to shadow, light spills (look at the background), and note the power levels required to achieve the optimal exposure. Eg. P-Travel and P70 looks almost identical, but the former required 0.2 less power. However, the P-Travel does not allow for honeycomb grid attachments, so that’s something to consider for your needs. The power levels are an indication of how you can use the reflector under varying conditions; eg. the P45 has a longer throw so it may be ideal for lighting subjects from a longer distance.
First, let’s look at all the reflectors without grids.
Here are the P45, P65 and P70 with honeycomb grids attached.
As mentioned above, this is not a review of each reflector and we invite you to form your own conclusions and opinions on the above comparisons.
Next week, we shall do the same demonstration with softboxes.