December 1, 2012

Study in Dishes

Nowadays it is all about light control for me. My first modifiers - umbrellas off course - were spilling light all over the place.  I still resort to umbrellas for location shoots if the spill does not affect the picture.  My current studio favorite though is a cross of umbrella and a softbox.
Therefore when I started looking for a beauty dish, a grid was a must-have.  After all how else can you control the spill, right?  I did some research and settled on this eBay package: 16" Beauty Dish With Grid for Speedlite. Today I received it and learned that this is a Cowboy Studio product.  Indeed they have similar thing on their web site.

The first thing I did was to examine the light pattern under different flash zooms, with no fabric diffuser or grid installed.  I used both normal and recessed position for the front diffuser.

Here is what I like:
  • Fit and finish are solid.  I especially like the silver dish coating - somewhere between reflective and matte.
  • Mounting looks sufficiently rugged with metal plates and thumb-screws
  • Lightweight enough for use on a nano stand.
  • Central reflector is attached to the dish with 3 wires which offer normal and recessed position.  This design is lightweight.  Off course I'd rather have one position that works really well instead of figuring out which one to use.
  • Grid is of the right diameter, is attached to the dish using grid's plastic tabs, which provide an adequate hold.
Not so good:
My conclusion is that this product should be treated as a great DIY set and can not be used as is.  I plan to design a new mounting mechanism which would allow for a deep insertion of the flash into the dish.  Something like this.  In all fairness use of the grid  and/or diffuser might mitigate the ugly spill problem.
Continue to the problem resolution.

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