HEDBOX RP-DC50

Smart chargers aren’t always that smart.

I purchased a Hedbox RP-DC50 for my NPF batteries and thought that instead of having the same type of battery in both slots I would get a plate for my Nikon D850 batteries. Putting one of the D850 batteries in the charger and leaving it for a bit, I returned to the charger to tell me the battery was now at 100%.

Except this was a lie. Putting the battery into the camera showed that it wasn’t at 100% but 10% lower.

Charging the battery with the charger that came with the camera gave me a full reading.

Now I’m wondering if the RP-DC50 is charging my NPF batteries correctly. Maybe there is something to be said for dumb chargers.

Phone app for lights

There is a trend for new lighting equipment to have the ability for them to be controlled via your phone.

To be able to control your lights standing next to your camera rather than having to physically access your lights, especially if you have taken time to position the light at a precise angle is a big tick in my book.

The issues I have at the moment with working from my phone is that each manufacturer has a propriety app and with the connection problems if the phone and light decide they don’t want to talk to each other.

Jumping from app to app in your phone, if you have more than one manufacturer of light, quickly gets annoying. Granted, if you are only have one brand of light this isn’t going to be a problem.

Wasting time trouble shooting a phone not connecting with a light is super annoying. Especially when you have no idea what you did differently to make it work.

At this stage I’m not considering running lights via DMX control. My set up isn’t complex or large enough to warrant that type of investment. So in conclusion, until I don’t have to download multiple apps and they are 100% reliable will I be staying away from my phone.

High end gear

I was watching this YouTube video by MarkusPix and it made me question my current obsession with high end equipment.

If you scroll through the articles on here it is all about the top end expensive kit and very little about the entry level products that my wallet would appreciate.

First of all I have to say that there is no right or wrong in equipment choice so long as it does the job. The majority of people looking at a photograph, watch a film, listen to music or visit an art gallery will have at the top of their minds what tools were used to produce it. Most people will just enjoy what they are consuming.

So what are my reasons for splashing the cash? I wouldn’t be honest if there was an element of snobbery. But the main reason is that in my day job the procurement process for equipment isn’t simple. I can’t go into details but I often end up with the mid to entry level products that have to be pushed hard to get the best out of them. It is like sitting on a hard wooden stool. Does the job. So in my spare time I would rather recline in a soft leather sofa.

The little time I now have to do my personal photography I like to enjoy setting up the equipment I own. For now, that means no compromise in getting what I consider the best of the best.

Bye bye DSLR

The talk of the town has been that Nikon is shutting up shop on the DSLR market. There are many clickbait commentators saying that this is the end of the line for the company.

This video from Engadget is a much more balanced view of the situation.

I am well aware that my next camera is going to have to be a mirrorless version if I’m going to keep up with the changes in the industry. Do I feel sad or angry that it wasn’t that long ago that I brought my Nikon D850? No, why would I? Making this purchased gave money to Nikon for them to be able to invest in research and development to create the Z9.

None of the range of mirrorless cameras from Nikon available in July 2022 match what I want in a camera. So I’m going to wait for the right one to come along before I spend my money.

No, I don’t have itchy feet to move to another system. I like the feel of Nikon equipment over other brands and I can’t explain why. I just do. Fair enough if you prefer other brands but I’m getting a bit tired of online comments dumping on brands other than the ones you personally use. There is no right or wrong when it comes to buying kit.

Unboxing – Profoto A2

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My Profoto A2 has arrived and it is tiny.

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It does look like it is the same size as the picture on the box and weighs like nothing when holding it with either my B10 or B10 Plus in my other hand.

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Unlike the B10 or B10 Plus the A2 doesn’t come with a front cap.

In my previous post, I wished the A2 would take the Sony NPF battery to made standard my lighting power sources. But having thought about it a bit more, I guess that the reason behind Profoto using their own bespoke battery is to make sure that the A2 draws the correct power for full power flash. I’m assuming that the electronics in the battery are talking to the unit to work seamlessly.

One thing I don’t like about the A series battery is that there isn’t a level indicator but then most camera batteries don’t have this feature either. The B10 batteries are bigger so I guess they have room for the circuitry to show how much power they have left.

I’ll need to test how these three lights compare to one another at full power.

Switching on the light in continuous mode there doesn’t seem to be a way to change the colour temperature. It looks quite warm to me so I’ll have to see what temperature it is showing on my colour meter.

I’m glad know that I didn’t buy a two light kit for either the B10 or B10 Plus. Having three different sizes of lights allows me to decide which one is the best one for the job. Do I need small and portable or need large with firepower?

10 July 2022 I’ve manage to put my colour meter in front of the A2 and the continuous light is giving me a reading of round the 3500K mark.

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The power readings I was getting from the A2, B10 and B10 Plus wasn’t a huge surprise with each light outputting more light than the model down.

A25698K664 lx
B105976K1430 lx
B10 Plus6004K2800 lx
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What I also found was that there are extra holes in the A2 that allows the stand adapter for the B10 also fits.

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What I’m going to have to wait for now is the Clic OCF Adapter II to allow me to use the OCF modifiers I already own with this light. Profoto are estimating the shipping date as November 2022.

Profoto A2

Profoto announced the A2 mono light in this press release today.

Courtesy of Profoto

I’m pretty excited about this light because it ticks a lot of boxes for me. The form factor is the same as the B10 lights I own but in a much smaller size. It would have been nice if this light took the Sony NPF battery but then it wouldn’t have been able to retain the sleek lines.

At £849 it is well worth getting so that I have a three light set up with my B10 and B10 Plus.

Unboxing – Dedolight DLED4-D

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Having got the Rotolight NEO 3 I knew that I needed to get a hard LED light. So I decided to get a Dedolight DLED4-D.

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The light is small and can be run off V mount batteries. I was looking at the Litepanels Sola 4+ Daylight Fresnel but it is way too big for my liking.

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Luckily I managed to get a cheap used battery ballast and also hunted around for a cheap V mount charger and batteries. If I couldn’t find these accessories for less than full price I don’t think I would have got this light.

While waiting for this light to turn up, Dedo announced the Neo range of lights with a unified ballast.

It makes sense for them to have one ballast rather than one AC and a different one for DC for each individual light. Having at least ten different ballasts is probably not a very good business model. A bit of me wishes I waited for their Neo range. But I think having this previous version will still do what I want with it.

This is a really powerful light. In spot mode I was getting 13000 lux at full power and in wide the reading was 1470 lux. Rotolight Neo 3 at full power was reading 2550 lux. And out of curiosity, both the Profoto B10 and B10 Plus in continuous mode at full power was about 1000 lux. However, the Profoto lights are way more powerful when in flash mode.

It will be interesting to see how well these three brands work together.

Rotolight NEO 3 in flash mode

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The problem I had with the Nikon Speedlights I own is that the colour would change from one flash fire to another. And I wondered if this was also the case with the NEO 3.

Full powerHalf power
3000K2810K2809K
5500K5745K7086K
6500K7043K7060K
10000K7021K7150K

I’m glad to say that there was no problem with variation between flashes. What did surprise me was that the unit peaks at around the 7000K mark. I’m not sure at what kelvin point the NEO 3 starts to peak at full power. But at half power, 5100K gave me a reading of 5472K and after that all the readings were in the 7000s.

There is a possibility of user error here. I might not be using a setting which will make it right. But the reason I’m not going to look into this too much is that I will probably not be using the NEO 3 in flash mode. If I do need flash I will choose to use the Profoto B10.

In testing I didn’t have any problem using the Hedbox batteries over the one Rotolight provided. They do recommend using their own battery for flash but maybe because there are issues with certain brands. Use at your own risk I suppose as I wasn’t really pushing the light at all.

Will I be getting the larger AEOS 2 to complement this light? I don’t think I will. What I have found with the larger Profoto B10 Plus is that the bigger size and weight is a draw back. Working on my own, if I want multiple lights I need to keep the size and weight down for each item. There is nothing new that I would learn from owning an AEOS 2 as it has the same quality of light as the NEO 3.

YouTube suggested this video to me.

And it made me realise that most light created by the sun around us is both soft and hard. So owning one continuous soft light won’t give me very convincing set up. This is another reason for not getting another soft light. I will need a continuous hard light to achieve what I set out to do. And that is to learn how to create natural light using artificial lights.

Westcott Apollo and Rotolight NEO 3

Since I have in the past tried putting the Profoto B10 lights in my Westcott Apollo light modifiers I thought I might as well see how well they work with the Rotolight NEO 3.

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With a much smaller form factor there is no issue with it in the Apollo Medium.

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Neither is there a problem in portrait mode with the Apollo Strip.

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However it can’t be said when the Apollo Strip is in landscape mode as it is a bit tight.

What I don’t know is how hot they will get with the front diffusion in place. I’m hoping they will be okay as the light does get warm running at 100%.

While I was playing with the light I thought I might as well see what readings my Sekonic C-700R would give me with the light in CCT mode.

100%50%
3000K3055K3064K
5500K5683K5780K
6500K6770K6817K
10000K10319K10106K

The next thing for me to test is the flash function.

4 June 2022 Just checking out the shadow and the reflection/catch light the NEO 3 creates has given me a thought about if I need to get the Diffuser Dome or the barn doors.

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As you can see, using the light bare gives you a reflection in which you can see the individual elements of the light. This also gives you multiple shadows which is a feature of lights that have more than one array.

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Taping a Lee 129 Heavy Frost filter in front of the light solves the problem.

So do I get the dome to permanently fix the issue or do I get the barn doors to be able to clip the Lee 129 Heavy Frost filter. The dome is £49.98 and the barn doors are £132.98.

Obviously, there isn’t this problem if I just use the Westcott Apollo modifiers. But this would be fairly restricting in where I could place the light. Being able to place this light into positions which I don’t need a lot of rigging is what attracted me to it.