Saturday, June 30, 2012
StarFlash® Strobe Kit Features and Benefits
Studio Strobes can be one of the most intimidating pieces of photographic equipment for amateurs and professionals alike. But the truth of the matter is that strobes, once one becomes familiar with them, are one of the most useful lighting tools available.
This lesson examines some of the features of the Photoflex® StarFlash® Kits, as well as the benefits of choosing Photoflex® to supply your studio with its equipment needs.
(Click on any thumbnail image below for an enlarged view.)
- Features & Benefits
Photoflex® has put tremendous effort into designing its full line of StarFlash® kits, which are built by photographers for photographers. With so much thought being put into our products, we think it's best to let you, the customer, in on all the features to help you make a better informed buying decision.
Here we'll go over all the features and the benefits of the PhotoFlex® StarFlash®, as well as everything included in the kits.
Our Flash Housing:
One of the most obvious features consists of the housing for our StarFlash® units. This housing is built out of solid extruded aluminum. That means that the casing is built without any seams, making it stronger and more reliable.
We also coat this housing in a rubberized and color coded paint. The rubberized paint helps protect the housing from shock and abrasion and the color code lets you easily identify the power level of the light you are using. [figure 1]
White - 150watt, Red - 300watt, Blue - 650watt
The Mounting System:
Next let's check out the mounting system for our flash units. The mounting system for the StarFlash® was designed with the weight of a SoftBox in mind. We employ a monorail track that spans the length of the StarFlash® head.
This track allows you the freedom to adjust the balance of the StarFlash® and SoftBox to keep them from falling forward. Most strobe manufacturers use a fixed mounting system that doesn't allow for such flexibility. [figure 2 & 3]
Our mounting system also comes with an option for one-handed movements. We have strategically placed our locking handle to give you the ability to move or adjust your light while leaving your second hand free to do something else, such as holding your camera. [figure 4]
The Photoflex® LiteStand
Photoflex® LiteStands have been engineered to carry more weight and have better stability than the competition. Our LiteStands are built with a wider foot print that only increases as you move up in size. [fiugre 5]
Unlike many competitors, Photoflex® uses an all aluminum brake-shoe collar, designed to more effectively hold the weight of your lighting equipment. [figures 6 & 7]
Photoflex® utilizes a nut & bolt design when building our stands rather than rivets; this makes our LiteStand beefier and the parts more easily replaceable. [figures 8 & 9]
The all aluminum material for the Photoflex® LiteStand makes for a resilience that is unmatched. Check out our stress test. [figures 10 & 11]
The results of our stress test shows that Photoflex® utilizes better material in the construction of our photographic equipment. [figure 12]
Now lets put all these features to the test. When mounted with a Medium LiteDome® the Photoflex® StarFlash® and LiteStand beat the competition without question.
Photoflex® Medium Kits are designed to balance in the middle of the the StarFlash® and the wider, stronger LiteStand stays straight. [figures 13 & 14]
When mounting a larger SoftBox (in this case a 7 foot OctoDome®) the adjustable Swivel can move forward to offset the extra weight. [figure 15]
The Flash Tube:
Next let's take a look at the flash tube. Photoflex® uses a German manufactured flash tube built for long life and color accuracy. This flash tube was designed to protrude from the light head and transmit light to the sides of the LiteDome® or OctoDome®, for increased efficiency and superior output from the SoftBox. [figures 16 & 17]
Photoflex® utilizes a universal mounting system with a full line of ready-to-use accessories to help you create the perfect lighting setup for your studio or location shoot.
We offer many complimentary products, including Reflectors, Connectors for SoftBoxes, Snoots, Grids and many more. We even make Connectors that mount to most other competitors' flash units. [figures 18 & 19]
The Photoflex® SoftBox comes with a velcro lined recessed face that lets you attach more than just the standard diffusion face and inner baffle.
With 1/4 and 1/2 stop diffusion faces and even a SoftBox Grid available from Photoflex® you can add any combination of accessories to modify your lighting how you see fit. [figures 20 & 21]
Photoflex® coats our SoftBoxes with a specially formulated white polyurethane interior to produce a neutral, natural looking light which matches the surface of our LitePanel and LiteDisc®. This eliminates color shifting in your photos, something no other company does. [figure 22]
With the Photoflex® patented Quick Release Corner (QRC), setup and teardown of your studio gear has never been simpler. The QRC allows you to quickly remove the rods from your SoftBox giving you more time to spend with your clients or finishing your edits. [figure 23]
Photoflex® produces a rectangular shaped SoftBox because we want to allow you the creative freedom to have either vertical or horizontal light spread and highlights on your subject.
Square SoftBoxes do not give you this ability. [figure 24]
Cooling the StarFlash®:
When it comes to the flash tube and modeling light, heat plays a huge role. The higher the heat, the quicker the bulb will burn out.
While other strobe heads have forward facing fans that blow the hot air into the SoftBox with no way for the hot air to escape, the Photoflex® StarFlash® uses a cooling fan system that draws air away from the lights and out through the back. [figure 25]
In an effort to keep things simple, Photoflex® opted for a proportional power dial in lieu of an electronic readout for a couple of reasons.
First, this dial makes it easier to change your power settings from a position where you might not be able to see the readout. Secondly, the step-less dial allows for a greater degree of variable power adjustment. [figure 26]
The modeling lamp for the StarFlash® is a 250watt halogen bulb and has three settings to assist you as you develop your shots: Off, I, and II.
Off, simply disables the modeling lamp but does not affect the flash tube power. Many tend to use this setting when they are using other ambient lights and slower shutter speeds and do not want the modeling light to affect the results.
Setting I, is the Maximum mode, which provides the highest power output for your modeling lamp no matter where you place the flash tube power dial. In certain situations, throwing as much light as possible onto your subject will outweigh the ability to throw proportional light, especially if you're only using one light.
Setting II, is a Proportional mode, which adjusts the modeling lamp to roughly the same output as your flash tube power dial. This setting is ideal when you're using more than one light and you want to get an idea of the lighting ratios before you start shooting. [figure 27]
The visual and audible recycling signals let you know when you can begin firing your StarFlash®.
The visual signal, comes in the form of two small LEDs, one red for "charging" and one green for "ready".
The audible signal, is a singular beep that sounds off when the capacitor has been recharged. The audible recycling signal can also be shut off should it become distracting or interruptive. [figure 28]
Infrared Slave Sensor:
The Infrared Slave Sensor for the StarFlash® was positioned with a purpose, unlike many competitors who place their sensor either to the front of the flash unit or on the back for convenience.
Photoflex® has placed our Infrared Sensor on the back top corner of the StarFlash® head to catch the maximum amount of light for better slave accuracy. [figure 29]
All StarFlash® Kits now include the NEW FlashFire™: wireless kit
Rather than opt for a built-in receiver to the StarFlash®, Photoflex® decided to use an external removable Trigger and Receiver system that can also be used with ShoeMount flash in the Photoflex® Extra Small LiteDome® Kits.
This provides you the ability to configure your studio in any fashion without the cumbersome nature of wires and line of sight needed for slave sensors. Also every StarFlash® head comes with its own receiver. [figures 30 & 31]
Photoflex® has designed a line of cases called TransPacs® that were built with the photographer in mind. Each case transports your StarFlash® and other lighting equipment safely and with style.
The Photoflex® TransPac® is made with a rigid corrugated polymer lining. The material for the TransPac® was designed to bring you the most rugged case for your lighting gear. [figure 32]
The TransPac® uses a high impact polymer for its rigid corners, Skid Rails, and uni-mold wheel base. The High impact polymer protects your case and gear from damage or unexpected wear.
The Wheels for the Transpac® are made from a ball bearing no-scuff urethane, and have been designed with the traveling photographer in mind. [figure 33 & 34]
The TransPac® is built like any other Photoflex® product, with quality in mind. And just like our LiteStand the TransPac® is built using a nut and bolt design, making the parts easily replaceable.
And lastly the Transpac® comes with removable inserts that allow you to mold your case to fit your gear. In addition the interior is dyed red so that you no longer get lost in the abyss that can be your equipment bag. [figures 35 & 36]
The Photoflex® Warranty:
With the best warranties in the industry, Photoflex® stands behind its products 100% from manufacturer defects.
We encourage you to research and compare our warranties to those of other manufacturers. When you discover that Photoflex® warranties are two to five times longer than anyone else, then it becomes clear that Photoflex® is the wiser investment. [figure 37]
(To learn more abut the Warranty on all the Photoflex® products in this kit Click here.)
Photoflex® offers the largest libraries of photographic lighting lessons available. With a wide range of topics and equipment used, there is nothing you cannot find to help you along in your photographic endeavors.
Photoflex® also utilizes WebPhotoSchool® to expand on techniques and theories talked about on PhotoflexLightingSchool™. We work with pro photographers in every field to bring you the most up-to-date tips and tricks. [figures 38 & 39]
The PhotoFlex® StarFlash® Kits were built with the outstanding features that we ourselves wanted to be able to use in our own photographic work. These StarFlash® Strobe Kits open a whole new world for professional and amateur photographers around the world. The StarFlash® system makes otherwise impossible lighting systems possible.
If you're familiar with strobes, you'll no doubt be excited with all the new wireless features in the StarFlash® line. And if you're new to strobes, we hope you that this lesson serves to guide you on your way to a fun-filled life behind the camera!