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03-03-2019, 09:27 PM - 2 Likes   #16
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My better half and I had the morning off so we had a little bushwalk. Whilst I did landscape photography (which I take a billion years to complete the shot) she reads a book
As we headed into the gorge I saw an opportunity to further test the MagBounce against the harsh bright sunny Aussie skies. I have to say I was really chuffed with the results and am left wondering if a different portable rig is really going to yield dramatically better results (considering the magbounce is an extremely useful and low footprint gadget).



Settings:
Av mode, ISO 100, f2.5 and ambient light tamed to -1EV. I used the FA43 in Live View Face Detection mode and handheld the Cactus RF60x set at Manual power 1/4 at arms length camera left.


Last edited by BruceBanner; 03-03-2019 at 09:33 PM.
03-05-2019, 04:32 PM - 4 Likes   #17
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Hello, another interesting thread.

You asked advice about portable diffuser so you can hand hold your speedligh with one hand, camera with the other hand. But really using a speedlight outdoors, with or without sun, is a complex issue with its own problems and solutions.

I used a similar configuration some years ago, with good results. My 'portable diffuser' consisted of an umbrella bracket, a normal speedlight with a diffuser cap or maybe the normal wide diffuser, and a small traslucent umbrella (80cm). Similar to the Lastolite LLLU2126, but with a bigger umbrella.

I used it during an afternoon, in a shadowed covered area, so this way avoided problems with the sun, and had a manageable ambient light. I used AV mode -1EV for ambient light. Then I mettered the flash to get a good exposure 1m away from my subject or so. The idea was to have the ambient underexposed with respect to my subject, so that he could stand out against the background.

A couple of pics to illustrate my point. Umbrella held with my left arm, shhh! daugther posing...






I was happy with the results, I think the pics were soft enought.


But what about if we want to be under full sun or against a bright backgound? It's a hard work on a sunny day to match the sunlight, but even more difficult is to overpower it with a speedlight. If we are under the sun we can need to match the sun light, not only to fill the shadows a bit. Also, if we have a bright background, we need to underexpose it a bit or it will get all the attention instead of our subject.

I think that a good starting point for our speedlight is to know the minimum distance needed to match the sun light, using it bare, without HSS. To expose correctly on a sunny day we can use the sun at f/16 rule, that is roughly equivalent to f/13 1/160 ISO 100, at least here in Spain. As a reference, my V850, at full power reaches f13 at about 2 meters. If you want a softer light, then you need some diffuser, so you start lo lose power and need to put the speedlight closer. Then put it in HSS mode and you will lose more power, so you need to put it closer again.
So yes, it is possible to use a speedlight with hard sun, but if you want really soft light you need to put it really close, what can be annoying for the subject. If you want to put distante between your subject and the speedlight then you have to put a smaller and more efficient diffuser or go bare and accept harder light.
But if you want everything, that is, put your light at a good distance and at the same time get softer light you need a bigger diffuser and a more powerful flash, also a lightstand start to be necessary.

I don't do a lot of pics outside with hard sun, HSS etc, but when I want to do, I use the AD200, a light lightstand and an umbrella. My AD360 is still more powerful, but not so portable. A lightstand with a flash like the AD200 plus an umbrella is really portable: you just get the lightstand, put it pointing to your subject at a fixed distance, shoot, and you are done. If you want to shoot during long periods of time, It can be a more rested solution than holding the flash continuously with your left arm.
The best umbrella I have to get such kind of pics, is a (cheap) semi parabolic. It is a bit heavy, and you have to know how to handle it, but you can get a beam of concentrated light and you can put it quite a distance, since it is very efficient. It gives you about 2EV more than any other umbrella.

The following picture illustrates my point. You can see my setup:



The above pic was taken late in the afternoon, not too 'hss' (1/400) but notice how the light is concentrated, and that it can illuminate a whole person.

About the softness you can get with this umbrella or any other 80-100cm umbrella, on a sunny day, with HSS, etc.




She is in shadow, sun is still hard outside, and the background was strongly lit by the sun. I used the semi parabolic umbrella, but you can get similar results with another umbrella, the problem is that you need to put it closer. I used the AD200. I exposed for the background, underexposed it a bit and then illuminated my daughter to my taste. The shadows are a bit dark because the 'ambient light' under the shadow is very inferior to the 'outside' ambient light. This is a problem you can get when you are under the shadow against a bright background, you can need another fill light.

Finally, a picture on the same day, with the same setup (different daughter ), but 'really outside under the sun'.



I just wanted to match the sun. Umbrella at left, sun at right.


Regards.
03-07-2019, 01:18 PM - 1 Like   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by morenjavi Quote
Hello, another interesting thread.

You asked advice about portable diffuser so you can hand hold your speedligh with one hand, camera with the other hand. But really using a speedlight outdoors, with or without sun, is a complex issue with its own problems and solutions.

I used a similar configuration some years ago, with good results. My 'portable diffuser' consisted of an umbrella bracket, a normal speedlight with a diffuser cap or maybe the normal wide diffuser, and a small traslucent umbrella (80cm). Similar to the Lastolite LLLU2126, but with a bigger umbrella.

I used it during an afternoon, in a shadowed covered area, so this way avoided problems with the sun, and had a manageable ambient light. I used AV mode -1EV for ambient light. Then I mettered the flash to get a good exposure 1m away from my subject or so. The idea was to have the ambient underexposed with respect to my subject, so that he could stand out against the background.

A couple of pics to illustrate my point. Umbrella held with my left arm, shhh! daugther posing...






I was happy with the results, I think the pics were soft enought.


But what about if we want to be under full sun or against a bright backgound? It's a hard work on a sunny day to match the sunlight, but even more difficult is to overpower it with a speedlight. If we are under the sun we can need to match the sun light, not only to fill the shadows a bit. Also, if we have a bright background, we need to underexpose it a bit or it will get all the attention instead of our subject.

I think that a good starting point for our speedlight is to know the minimum distance needed to match the sun light, using it bare, without HSS. To expose correctly on a sunny day we can use the sun at f/16 rule, that is roughly equivalent to f/13 1/160 ISO 100, at least here in Spain. As a reference, my V850, at full power reaches f13 at about 2 meters. If you want a softer light, then you need some diffuser, so you start lo lose power and need to put the speedlight closer. Then put it in HSS mode and you will lose more power, so you need to put it closer again.
So yes, it is possible to use a speedlight with hard sun, but if you want really soft light you need to put it really close, what can be annoying for the subject. If you want to put distante between your subject and the speedlight then you have to put a smaller and more efficient diffuser or go bare and accept harder light.
But if you want everything, that is, put your light at a good distance and at the same time get softer light you need a bigger diffuser and a more powerful flash, also a lightstand start to be necessary.

I don't do a lot of pics outside with hard sun, HSS etc, but when I want to do, I use the AD200, a light lightstand and an umbrella. My AD360 is still more powerful, but not so portable. A lightstand with a flash like the AD200 plus an umbrella is really portable: you just get the lightstand, put it pointing to your subject at a fixed distance, shoot, and you are done. If you want to shoot during long periods of time, It can be a more rested solution than holding the flash continuously with your left arm.
The best umbrella I have to get such kind of pics, is a (cheap) semi parabolic. It is a bit heavy, and you have to know how to handle it, but you can get a beam of concentrated light and you can put it quite a distance, since it is very efficient. It gives you about 2EV more than any other umbrella.

The following picture illustrates my point. You can see my setup:



The above pic was taken late in the afternoon, not too 'hss' (1/400) but notice how the light is concentrated, and that it can illuminate a whole person.

About the softness you can get with this umbrella or any other 80-100cm umbrella, on a sunny day, with HSS, etc.




She is in shadow, sun is still hard outside, and the background was strongly lit by the sun. I used the semi parabolic umbrella, but you can get similar results with another umbrella, the problem is that you need to put it closer. I used the AD200. I exposed for the background, underexposed it a bit and then illuminated my daughter to my taste. The shadows are a bit dark because the 'ambient light' under the shadow is very inferior to the 'outside' ambient light. This is a problem you can get when you are under the shadow against a bright background, you can need another fill light.

Finally, a picture on the same day, with the same setup (different daughter ), but 'really outside under the sun'.



I just wanted to match the sun. Umbrella at left, sun at right.


Regards.
Excellent post, thanks for that, very informative.

Yep the AD200 is killer for this kinda situation and a reason it's so popular with wedding photographers to do some garden and location shooting with the couple on the day. Alas I will revisit my options for when that day arrives but for now it will have to be speedlight only solutions.

I had a bit of a breakthrough the past few days with some design tests. Continuing on with the Magbounce + Cactus RF60x design, I included a rig that involved adding a small diffuser umbrella into the mix. It's early days but thus far I am really pleased with the results. Hopefully over the weekend I can get some real life examples of the kind of soft light it's managing. The rig itself I am pretty chuffed with, it has a handle and everything but what's really nice about it is the ease of also docking it onto a light stand or tripod quickly.

I'll have to look into the parabolic umbrella solution too, I just figured for speedlight use it's losing too much power to bounce the flash backwards outside in HSS conditions, but hey the magbounce seems to be doing ok so maybe it'll work. I just kinda change lenses, FA43 for when I need to be closer (handheld speedlight rig), and the FA77 and rig on a lightstand and position closer to the subject and then I can stand further back for the snaps.
03-09-2019, 02:59 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by morenjavi Quote
... I used the semi parabolic umbrella, but you can get similar results with another umbrella, the problem is that you need to put it closer. I used the AD200. I exposed for the background, underexposed it a bit and then illuminated my daughter to my taste. The shadows are a bit dark because the 'ambient light' under the shadow is very inferior to the 'outside' ambient light. This is a problem you can get when you are under the shadow against a bright background, you can need another fill light.

Finally, a picture on the same day, with the same setup (different daughter ), but 'really outside under the sun'.



I just wanted to match the sun. Umbrella at left, sun at right.


Regards.
Your umbrella pics prompted me to try to see if I could do something similar with my Godox 120cm Octagon Umbrella Softbox; https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/202478858753
I of course didn't put the diffuser in or grid, just placed two Cactus RF60x's at 1/1 power in the box and got these images;



I'm quite pleased from the results, one issue I had however is I felt the direction of light spread would be quite narrow at times (likely due to the near proximity), I'm wondering if I I should adjust the zoom at all to something different? Should I go for max zoom or a wider spread? Or maybe even have one max zoom and the other wide?
And also, do you think a different umbrella would be better than the one I used? I mean I think you can get umbrellas that are meant for this kind of work and they're not 'softbox' ones but meant for only bouncing, are they angled better, more reflective?

Thanks again!


Last edited by BruceBanner; 03-09-2019 at 03:47 PM.
03-09-2019, 03:47 PM   #20
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Parabolic umbrellas are more directional, so if a narrow beam is your problem, they won't help.

Btw, extra rim flashes would give these pictures a great 3d effect, Bruce.

03-09-2019, 04:25 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Parabolic umbrellas are more directional, so if a narrow beam is your problem, they won't help.

Btw, extra rim flashes would give these pictures a great 3d effect, Bruce.
Thanks clackers.

It strikes me that there must be a difference in light spread from say using these two items.


What I used (including not using diffuser or grid);



What I could purchase and try;



Size differences aside, the one I have closes in more, the other one (that seems dedicated to just the bounce with no diffuser material) looks like it would fan the spread of light our more and not be so directional? However I do understand that doing that I run the risk of losing power if the light spreads in all directions more than a kinda concentrated beam...

I'm starting to run out of speedlights clackers! ahaha, I did think about a rim flash and might try that later today, but the issue is getting enough bare speedlight flash power onto the subject without the rim light in the shot itself. I might put my AF360FGZII in the umbrella with a RF60x and then use the other RF60x for the rim light (that's all I have, 2xRF60x's and 1x360II).
03-09-2019, 07:58 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Your umbrella pics prompted me to try to see if I could do something similar with my Godox 120cm Octagon Umbrella Softbox; GODOX 120cm Octagon Umbrella Softbox With Grid For Studio Strobe Flash Light?AU? 712962620249 | eBay
In pcs #1 & #2 I'm using a cheap chinese 80cm shoot through umbrella, with surprisingly good results. #3, #4 and #5 is the semi parabolic.


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I'm quite pleased from the results, one issue I had however is I felt the direction of light spread would be quite narrow at times (likely due to the near proximity), I'm wondering if I I should adjust the zoom at all to something different? Should I go for max zoom or a wider spread? Or maybe even have one max zoom and the other wide?And also, do you think a different umbrella would be better than the one I used? I mean I think you can get umbrellas that are meant for this kind of work and they're not 'softbox' ones but meant for only bouncing, are they angled better, more reflective?
A really lovely girl. I don't have any umbrella-type softbox. A couple or years ago I was looking for an octa and finally bought a Linkstar 110cm, this one: Portable location kit - Linkstar foldable octabox and Phottix bracket review - Lighting Rumours. I think this design is better than the umbrella type, but more suitable for flashes with bare bulb. The 90cm version could be more portable and maybe a better option outside, but it's a good softbox anyway.

What I think about this kind of diffusers (octa's) is that the main use is to create a big and 'soft' source of light. To achieve that, you need the interior light to fully illuminate the outer diffusing layer and as uniformly as possible. That's why some of these carry the interior diffuser. The inner reflective surface is there to help you too. On umbrella-type ones, I can see the same problem that you can find on normal umbrellas, to fill fully the reflective surface of the umbrella you need to do some of these:
* put your speedlight a bit far from the umbrella
* set a wider zoom
* put a cap o similar diffuser on your speedlight
The idea is to fill the umbrella as much as possible to get the softest light possible. But on umbrella-type softboxes, your speedlight is at a fixed distance from the reflective surface, so your options are to put the zoom at the widest position or maybe to use a small diffuser for your speedlight. If not, what I think is happening is that you are illuminating only the central part of the inner reflective surface, so the beam of light bounced is not very wide. This may or may not be an advantage, but it seems its not what you are looking for. Try to use your speedlights at a wider settings, you should get a wider bean, but inevitably weaker.
The second umbrella you show on the other post seems exactly the same I have, but the 150cm version, that I also have... but that I've barely used since I bought it .
I can tell you advantages and disadvantages of this umbrella.
As advantages, they are efficient, around 2 stops of light more than a normal umbrella. Also they can focus/concentrate the light and send it farther than a normal umbrella. They also give a warmer light, that can be good for portraits.
As disadvantages:
* you need to aim your light carefully at the center of the umbrella; such umbrellas are like a curved mirrors, they are difficult to aim. Look at my pic #3, the umbrella is at horizontal position, but the beam of light is maybe at 30 downwards, how is this possible? It's because the flash is pointing a bit at the upper half of the umbrella, so the light is bounced this way. The speedlight need to be really close to the umbrella shaft and point exactly to the center if you want to use the umbrella shaft as a reference of where the light is going.

* as the beam of light is narrow, if your subject moves maybe 0,5m left or right it can be out of the beam. For example, impossible to illuminate a jumping girl, forget it.
* depending on the distance from your speedlight to the umbrella, the light will be more or less focused/concentrated. Yo need to experiment to get what is the exact point where the beam is more focused.

So this umbrellas are nice if you look for specific advantages, but for your running & gunning idea, I think they are not adecuate. I also think that a modeling light is a must for this kind of umbrellas, to know where the beam of light is going.

What I mostly use when I'm doing Holy Communions, and a family ask me for a pic outside, is a standard silver umbrella, this one:Westcott Standard Umbrella - Soft Silver Bounce (45")
It's not too big, or too small, it's light, portable and gives you a nice warm light. Not need to aim carefully, I just point roughly to my subject, take a couple of measures with the photometer to mix ambient and flash light, and that's all. I avoid to complicate things, look for a place with shadow because usually the sun is strong outside. Maybe this year, that I have P-TTL for my AD200, could make some hss pics, I still need to train a bit more.

Regards.
03-10-2019, 02:11 PM - 2 Likes   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by morenjavi Quote
In pcs #1 & #2 I'm using a cheap chinese 80cm shoot through umbrella, with surprisingly good results. #3, #4 and #5 is the semi parabolic.




A really lovely girl. I don't have any umbrella-type softbox. A couple or years ago I was looking for an octa and finally bought a Linkstar 110cm, this one: Portable location kit - Linkstar foldable octabox and Phottix bracket review - Lighting Rumours. I think this design is better than the umbrella type, but more suitable for flashes with bare bulb. The 90cm version could be more portable and maybe a better option outside, but it's a good softbox anyway.

What I think about this kind of diffusers (octa's) is that the main use is to create a big and 'soft' source of light. To achieve that, you need the interior light to fully illuminate the outer diffusing layer and as uniformly as possible. That's why some of these carry the interior diffuser. The inner reflective surface is there to help you too. On umbrella-type ones, I can see the same problem that you can find on normal umbrellas, to fill fully the reflective surface of the umbrella you need to do some of these:
* put your speedlight a bit far from the umbrella
* set a wider zoom
* put a cap o similar diffuser on your speedlight
The idea is to fill the umbrella as much as possible to get the softest light possible. But on umbrella-type softboxes, your speedlight is at a fixed distance from the reflective surface, so your options are to put the zoom at the widest position or maybe to use a small diffuser for your speedlight. If not, what I think is happening is that you are illuminating only the central part of the inner reflective surface, so the beam of light bounced is not very wide. This may or may not be an advantage, but it seems its not what you are looking for. Try to use your speedlights at a wider settings, you should get a wider bean, but inevitably weaker.
The second umbrella you show on the other post seems exactly the same I have, but the 150cm version, that I also have... but that I've barely used since I bought it .
I can tell you advantages and disadvantages of this umbrella.
As advantages, they are efficient, around 2 stops of light more than a normal umbrella. Also they can focus/concentrate the light and send it farther than a normal umbrella. They also give a warmer light, that can be good for portraits.
As disadvantages:
* you need to aim your light carefully at the center of the umbrella; such umbrellas are like a curved mirrors, they are difficult to aim. Look at my pic #3, the umbrella is at horizontal position, but the beam of light is maybe at 30 downwards, how is this possible? It's because the flash is pointing a bit at the upper half of the umbrella, so the light is bounced this way. The speedlight need to be really close to the umbrella shaft and point exactly to the center if you want to use the umbrella shaft as a reference of where the light is going.

* as the beam of light is narrow, if your subject moves maybe 0,5m left or right it can be out of the beam. For example, impossible to illuminate a jumping girl, forget it.
* depending on the distance from your speedlight to the umbrella, the light will be more or less focused/concentrated. Yo need to experiment to get what is the exact point where the beam is more focused.

So this umbrellas are nice if you look for specific advantages, but for your running & gunning idea, I think they are not adecuate. I also think that a modeling light is a must for this kind of umbrellas, to know where the beam of light is going.

What I mostly use when I'm doing Holy Communions, and a family ask me for a pic outside, is a standard silver umbrella, this one:Westcott Standard Umbrella - Soft Silver Bounce (45")
It's not too big, or too small, it's light, portable and gives you a nice warm light. Not need to aim carefully, I just point roughly to my subject, take a couple of measures with the photometer to mix ambient and flash light, and that's all. I avoid to complicate things, look for a place with shadow because usually the sun is strong outside. Maybe this year, that I have P-TTL for my AD200, could make some hss pics, I still need to train a bit more.

Regards.
Thanks for the excellent feedback and points to consider, I'm really appreciating all of this.

A while back last year I found myself at a crossroads. Godox had announced the Xpro-P trigger and I dithered about whether now was the time to switch from Cactus to the Xpro and a AD200. I decided that I needed more light sources (multiple speedlights) vs one powerful one (and possibly sketchy initial support in terms of full feature firmware issues etc) so I stayed with Cactus as I didn't have the funds to fully port across properly.

There was one other reason as well, might seem silly, but I was put off from the Godox V860's as not having a screw port (to take mounting brackets) or direct on camera support (i.e. a lack of a V860IIP). There is only one direct on camera support for Pentax from Godox which is the underpowered and generally not well received TT350P. It's now March 2019 and I was hoping by now a V860IIP might have been announced or something else, something new that Godox have made that support Pentax but sadly no (and is frustrating seeing as they have supported Fuji and Olympus).

Anyway, I shall show you some of the reasons I appreciate the screw hole that exists on the Cactus RF60x and some of the running and gunning rigs I've come up with thus far;

Stage 1; Lacrosse anyone?

When not indoors ceiling bouncing I have come up with this rig that seems to work pretty well. The handle is comfy and allows for further reach/stretch for ocf use.


Stage 2; Lacrosse with added diffusion

This seems to be similar to the Lastolite discontinued thingy you mentioned previously. Hard to see from the picture but I am using the screw hole on the side of the speedlite to manage this attachment, and a clearer picture below shows the bits and pieces used. Of course I am trigger this flash with the V6ii.


Attachments;



Manfrotto plates are used to quickly bind attachments together.


Quick Lightstand Option;

Turning the speedlight on it's side and I can quickly dock it into a lightstand.


The Tripod Mount Solution;




And if no lightstand exists and instead you need to use a tripod then I can easily work around that issue. The handle is really useful for help with aiming and positioning


Double Speedlight Option;

Removing the initial handle allows for me to dock a second RF60x unit, and I used this set up inside my Godox 120cm Octagon box for the shots of my daughter bouncing on the trampoline.


I am now really curious about using the large Parabolic Reflector Umbrella using two Cactus RF60x's... or 1xRF60x and 1xAF360FGZII (which has a modelling light, and set to being optically triggered thus leaving a spare RF60x for fill). I'm mostly intrigued by the apparent additional efficiency of that umbrella, and how I need as much efficiency as possibly because I am still on speedlight use.

I may visit this store later this week and pick one of these up. I don't think it will go to waste... 60 inch 150cm Parabolic Umbrella for Studio Photography Reflective Large

I also aim to set up 'Davo' (my mannequin) outdoors again some evening and do some thorough tests with everything tripodded and fixed so that we can compare the quality of light and distance issues that arise from different diffusion applied etc. I need to do that for myself but hopefully someone else reading this will find that info helpful.

03-10-2019, 02:39 PM   #24
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Love the ingenuity of the set up. I am curious about holding the camera single handed.
I have a short straight bracket to hold a strobe on my left for macro. Sometimes I need to take the strobe off for position but that bracket rests on my arm for camera support. Only good for landscape though. Frankly, holding portrait camera rotated cw is very hard for me single handed and rotated ccw brings my left arm to low to hold the flash high enough. Do you have ways you deal with this?
03-10-2019, 03:52 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I am now really curious about using the large Parabolic Reflector Umbrella using two Cactus RF60x's... or 1xRF60x and 1xAF360FGZII (which has a modelling light, and set to being optically triggered thus leaving a spare RF60x for fill). I'm mostly intrigued by the apparent additional efficiency of that umbrella, and how I need as much efficiency as possibly because I am still on speedlight use.
Seriously, I praise your ingenuity when it comes to building these assemblies.
This is my best attempt when I want one of my flashes to point more or less to the center of an umbrella (pic at the end of the post).
The umbrella is closed, but you get the idea. The small cap is for diffuse the light to fill the umbrella. The speedlight is really close to the umbreall's shaft. You can still tilt the flash down a bit, to point exactly to the center of the umbrella. I got that metallic 'L' (a pair) very cheap, dont remember where. The umbrella bracket is not very comfortable and not designed to be held by hand, but you could do. I put it on a lightstand.

Your assembly is much more solid.

If you want to try the parabolic umbrella anyway, I can recommend this tri-flash bracket: Cheetah Tri-Speed TS-H120 flash bracket review - Lighting Rumours
I have one of these, used it during years and is a good way to fill an umbrella with THREE speedlighs. You have the umbrella perfectly centered and the speedlights 120 degrees apart. Maybe is the better way to use a parabolic umbrella or any big umbrella with speedlights. Other tri-flashes are not like this one, and the speedlights are not evenly spaced. This tri-bracket have a 3.5mm port so you can put a receiver and fire the three speedlights at once. This was how I used it.

Regards.

---------- Post added 11-03-19 at 12:01 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
It's now March 2019 and I was hoping by now a V860IIP might have been announced or something else, something new that Godox have made that support Pentax but sadly no (and is frustrating seeing as they have supported Fuji and Olympus).
Godox announced the new V1, that is a flash similar to the V860II but improved, and with a round head. It seems it will be available for Pentax, as it can be preordered on Adorama. No idea about the price, maybe more than 200$. Godox V1 round head speedlight - PentaxForums.com
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03-10-2019, 07:20 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
Love the ingenuity of the set up. I am curious about holding the camera single handed.
I have a short straight bracket to hold a strobe on my left for macro. Sometimes I need to take the strobe off for position but that bracket rests on my arm for camera support. Only good for landscape though. Frankly, holding portrait camera rotated cw is very hard for me single handed and rotated ccw brings my left arm to low to hold the flash high enough. Do you have ways you deal with this?
Shooting primes helps, the weight of the FA43 or FA77 helps when shooting portraits, I can imagine a 24-70 being a pain (not even going there with the 70-200 LOL!).

I have learned that many users seem to hold their cameras differently. I don't use a battery grip for my K-1 or KP, I love to nestle a curled up pinky underneath where the battery compartment lies, like so;


(PS I no longer use the Custom Bracket the comms even when set to short range I found too erratic and many misfires).

When I grip my K-1 like that however, and shoot in LV mode with Face Tracking (which is actually Eye Detection just presented differently) it's dead simple.

I think there is a certain 'snobbery' to shooting with the OVF, and how if you shoot with the LV screen then you're somehow an amateur and not in the league of professionals. Well... my best results all come from using LV with 90% of the shots using Face Tracking (the other 10% is usually the 'Tracking' mode which people seem to struggle a little with how it's intended to be used).

Images like these are all taken with Face Detection, some wide open, notice how the eyes tend to always be in focus, noses and ears softer etc;





f2.8

(gentlemens face used, I should have stopped down more to capture the girls face sharper, but it's passable)

Not wide open but still a great grab;


Practically wide open with the 77;


Wide open and from a distance;


Wide open and close with the 77;


Maybe you know this already and if so I apologise, it's just recently on the Facebook Pentaxian group a small poll was done for features Pentaxians would like on the upcoming K3iii, and the second highest feature request was 'Eye Focus Detection'... smh So many seem to think we don't actually have that area covered but we do, in fact if the wearer is using shades or glasses then Face Detection struggles massively so!

Anyway, yeah... that's how I rock the concept of one had shooting, a light prime, Face Detection mode, a neck strap for allowing you to rest the camera if you do indeed need to make an adjustment etc.


QuoteOriginally posted by morenjavi Quote
Seriously, I praise your ingenuity when it comes to building these assemblies.
This is my best attempt when I want one of my flashes to point more or less to the center of an umbrella (pic at the end of the post).
The umbrella is closed, but you get the idea. The small cap is for diffuse the light to fill the umbrella. The speedlight is really close to the umbreall's shaft. You can still tilt the flash down a bit, to point exactly to the center of the umbrella. I got that metallic 'L' (a pair) very cheap, dont remember where. The umbrella bracket is not very comfortable and not designed to be held by hand, but you could do. I put it on a lightstand.

Your assembly is much more solid.

If you want to try the parabolic umbrella anyway, I can recommend this tri-flash bracket: Cheetah Tri-Speed TS-H120 flash bracket review - Lighting Rumours
I have one of these, used it during years and is a good way to fill an umbrella with THREE speedlighs. You have the umbrella perfectly centered and the speedlights 120 degrees apart. Maybe is the better way to use a parabolic umbrella or any big umbrella with speedlights. Other tri-flashes are not like this one, and the speedlights are not evenly spaced. This tri-bracket have a 3.5mm port so you can put a receiver and fire the three speedlights at once. This was how I used it.

Regards.

---------- Post added 11-03-19 at 12:01 AM ----------


Godox announced the new V1, that is a flash similar to the V860II but improved, and with a round head. It seems it will be available for Pentax, as it can be preordered on Adorama. No idea about the price, maybe more than 200$. Godox V1 round head speedlight - PentaxForums.com

Thanks for the praise, really however it was born from a frustration of being driven to using the hotshoe connection, which I find one of the worst feats of electronic engineering examples to date and is astounding it's still being adopted today. I have seen far too many hotshoes peel away from the camera due to heavy flashes, because also modifiers. It seems like the flash and camera developers figure all is good if nothing sits on the flash, but even then all it takes is a nasty accidental bump on the flash when mounted and rip hotshoe. So I tend to try and use the hotshoe for triggers only, or small light flashes like the AF201FG or AF360FGZII.
So when I realised that the Cactus flashes had a screw hole (and therefore could come up with that docking method pictured above) I felt it was actually a significant win for Cactus. The Godox V860II don't have one, it's does exist but it's on the foot plate which then I feel still kinda opens up the flashes to being balanced a bit weird. I also just hate the rotation method of securing the flash to the hotshoe, I far prefer the lever method as found on the Pentax line of flashes and V6ii (curious the that RF60x's are actually twisties...).

So I like to do as little 'thinking' as possible when working, just toss the stuff in a bag and no matter if I choose to take a light stand or tripod I don't have to overly worry about adapters and heads, it all works etc, that's value I actually really appreciate and am concerned about losing when porting across to Godox.... because....
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OMG I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE V1! And now that this is in development it might mean I will make that switch properly across and open up to having a full arsenal of options from speedlights that work direct in the cameras hotshoe, ocf speedlights (with the far superior Li-On battery) and of course strobe compatibility with the AD200, 360 etc.

I was thinking I might have to settle for a AD200 and still use a V6ii trigger (and use my second V6ii in Rx mode on the AD200), but I don't think that can work can it? The AD200 doesn't have a hotshoe connection??
03-10-2019, 09:20 PM   #27
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I appreciate the pic of how you hold the camera. Looks strong. I use back button focus and my thumb can't be where yours is. I will think about this. Pro's vs cons always. New tricks are all good. Of course muscle memory means a lot. Does that 1000 times for that one shot justify the learning? Sometimes. Yet how many shots have I missed because I changed my settings and forgot. (2sec timer) 🤔
03-10-2019, 10:09 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
I appreciate the pic of how you hold the camera. Looks strong. I use back button focus and my thumb can't be where yours is. I will think about this. Pro's vs cons always. New tricks are all good. Of course muscle memory means a lot. Does that 1000 times for that one shot justify the learning? Sometimes. Yet how many shots have I missed because I changed my settings and forgot. (2sec timer) ��
About back button focus, I use it too, quite a lot actually. I do mild brenizers and use it for other shooting conditions. I do however utilise all my 5 User Modes and some are bound to back button focus and others not. I find for example that with Face Detection and shooting kids it's best to use the front shutter button as the small gap in time from getting focus with the back button and then using transitioning to using the shutter button to take the shot can account for a small amount of movement of the kid which can ruin the shot. So I have one user mode set as 'kid face detection mode' and use that which is shutter button only for focusing and tend to get more success. Of course other User Modes are back button focusing, and AF.C action stuff etc etc, but that's where exploiting your camera to it's fullest potential comes into play. You miss less shots when you set your user modes up and get used to them. A flip of the dial for a different context is way quicker than a menu setting change, so if you don't already use your User Modes I would encourage you to explore this aspect. My User Modes for example;

User Mode 1; Kid mode face detection (as described above)
User Mode 2; as above but back button focusing, so I can do brenizers (studio/adult photography) etc
User Mode 3; OVF orientated mode, AF.C High Continuous Burst, Jpg only (better buffer limits and burst speeds etc), action/sport mode.
User Mode 4; Old glass mode, Manual Focus, CiF, Tv Shift for Green button, ISO 400 etc.
User Mode 5; Landscape/Studio mode, tripod, remote shutter, pixelshift etc.

You can rename your user modes and set up as you please, but can aid in minimising mistakes and comfortability of the shooting experience.

Where I am currently at with photography is developing good flash technique, both in studio and running & gunning (hence this thread). More and more the shots that really impress me always have a strobe or flash involved (often just a single source, sometimes even simply ceiling bounced from the hotshoe of the camera). Photography is all about light, and I think we do (to a certain degree) a disservice to ourselves from relying solely on ambient light to get the shots. I'm not a fan of Tony Northup but I did like what he once said about flash photography. He said something along the lines of before passing judgement on it one should be sufficiently skilled at it to pass judgement. Too many people snub at flash photography but it's because usually they don't know how to do it. I have more respect for a photographer who chooses to use only natural light (or what is available at the time) but whom is also able to use off camera flash skillfully (vs someone who just shoots natural light only because they don't actually know how to use flash properly).
What I am finding on my flash journey is my knowledge about lighting, taking nice portraits and all that stuff is dramatically improving because of studying flash, and it's not about flash per se but rather light. I now (for example) might move someone for a shot if I find myself without a flash, just so they can be positioned better for the shot rather than just take the shot as is. It might seem a little weird, but the subjects always appreciate how good the shot is in the end and actually have no problem with a tiny amount of direction.

Last edited by BruceBanner; 03-10-2019 at 10:15 PM.
03-11-2019, 03:45 AM   #29
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Totally with you on flash. I need to get with you on user modes.

Have you seen any greg heisler stuff?
BTS: Shooting a Time Magazine Cover of Michael Phelps
03-11-2019, 04:42 AM - 1 Like   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
OMG I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE V1! And now that this is in development
As I understand, the V1 has been developed yet, and Godox will start to sell it in two months or so. Robert Hall gives all the available info on his video.

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I was thinking I might have to settle for a AD200 and still use a V6ii trigger (and use my second V6ii in Rx mode on the AD200), but I don't think that can work can it? The AD200 doesn't have a hotshoe connection??
The AD200 have two screw holes on the body, and one on the head, but no hotshoe. It has a 3.5mm sync port so you could use a V6II receiver (with a proper cable) to trigger the AD200 in a basic way, without remote power control. That is, you could have the XproP on your pocket and change the power this way. Also, with specific Cactus V6II firmware, you could HSS sync with your AD200 this way, by enabling HSS manually on the AD200.


But I think that stacking the XProP on top of the cactus V6II master is a better option, so you could also control the AD200's power.
The limitations about PTTL and HSS by stacking, with the last 'A' multibrand HSS firmware, that I have tested a minute ago, are:

1. By setting AUTO flash on the V6II, you can use the AD200 in manual mode. No HSS. You can 'extend the sync' up to 1/320 or so if you set POWER SYNC delay to 27, but that's all. PTTL was working during a moment but then stopped working again... really inconsistent. The preflash is fired but the main flash is fired at 1/128 always. The most funny is that it HSS works this way with my XProC (Canon version). I think the canon profiles on the V6II make a better match with the Canon XPro, compared with Pentax ones.

2. To get HSS with XproP you need to:
* set the AD200 in wireless mode, put a XT16 receiver on the USB port, ans set HSS manyally on the AD200
* configure MANUAL flash on the V6II

Regards.

---- EDITED ----

Of course that PTTL doesn't work, I'm using a HSS only firmware :S !!

---- UPDATE ----

With the Pentax 'A' version firmware, the behaviour is even worse: the XproP is not fired at all, also if you put TTL pass, AD200 is fired but at full power always.

Last edited by morenjavi; 03-11-2019 at 05:06 AM.
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