Studio flash kits can help you take complete control of your portrait photography. But which are the best studio flash kits available, and which one gives you the most versatile lighting? We test 6 of the best studio flash kits on the market to find out.
There’s no denying the convenience and portability of a flashgun, but for creative lighting effects they often fall short. The small size of the head makes for very harsh lighting and, even if you’re using multiple off-camera flashguns with diffusers, they are no real substitute for studio flash heads.
Coupled with softboxes or brollies, the larger size and greater power of studio flash heads enables far greater control, flexibility and creativity.
The studio flash kits in this group test all come with practically everything you need, which includes two studio flash heads and a pair of lighting stands, so you can position them in varied ways to create the effect you’re after.
Modifiers will generally be either softboxes, which produce a soft, directional light and are ideal for portraiture, or a pair of umbrellas. Some umbrellas have removable or interchangeable covers, so they can be used as white or silver reflective brollies, or as translucent shoot-through ones.
Bowens Gemini 400/400 Twin Head Kit
Price: £540, $900
Buy it: www.bowensdirect.com
Based on two Gemini 400Ws heads, with wide-angle reflectors and umbrellas, this kit delivers plenty of power and flexibility.
Both brollies come with removable covers – silver and white reflective, and translucent shoot-through.
Flash intensity can be controlled through five f-stops, although the step-less adjustment knob is marked with a range of 1-6, and it doesn’t correlate with f-stops.
The auto-dumping facility for when you reduce power can be quite slow.
Flash output power is consistent over a series of test shots, but the controls feel a little basic considering the high price.
Pros… Sturdy build, powerful flash output and modelling lamps
Cons… Works well, but lacks refinement. Fiddly brolly covers
WE say… Consistent, but power adjustments lack precision
PAGE 1: Bowens Gemini 400/400 Twin Head Kit
PAGE 2: Elinchrom D-Lite 4 it Studio To Go
PAGE 3: Interfit EXD200 Home Studio Kit
PAGE 4: Lastolite Lumen8 SV 400w Softbox Kit
PAGE 5: Photo Basics 2-Light Educational Kit
PAGE 6: Proline Apollo 180/180 Twin Head Kit
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