Lightening Up And Lighting It Up

DSCF2588ADid goe to the Hot Rod And Street Car Spectacular these laste two days and was greatley entertained – and not a little instructed.

First day saw the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera, a Metz 45 CL-1 flash, and a large quantum battery carried. Three lenses were chosen – 14mm, 18mm, and 35mm. These were to get interiors, main bodies, and detail shots. I also carried a Manfrotto carbon fibre monopod to see if shots from a high viewpoint would be a good idea. Not a back-breaker, but a bit of a juggling act. The flash had a convenient disconnect from the camera body to allow me to hand-hold the flash – it is the type that operates on its own thyristor quench circuit.There was a white diffusion cap on the flash.

That was yesterday – today it was the same lens choices, but the body was the X-E2 and the flash was the Fujifilm EF42 on a small bracket. the synch connection was an Elinchrom Skyport set. A little odd to see a radio set on a flash that was right next to the camera, but when I took it off for hand-held flash it was great not to have a wire dangling. I put a Gary Fong Lightsphere on the Fujifilm flash. Manual flash. No monopod.

As far as handling matters, they were both easy and hard at the same time. The diffuser on the Metz can throw off the thyristor if you angle it too far forward – the Gary Fong on the Fujifilm is ungainly and tends to flop around. The Metz was an easy thing to hold on to, but there was a wire to the camera and wire to the battery pack on my belt. The EF 42 the bracket had no real handle to grasp but you could actually switch it from left to right easily.

Light patterns? I suspect a little better with the Metz plastic block than the Fong. No diffuser is perfect in these crowd situations and the equation that says a softer light with a larger dome doesn’t help either. Softboxes are no less awkward than the Fong. Separate lights on lightstands are impossible at a car show, unless you are the official lens and get access before the public are admitted. Likewise most tripods…

Battery life? Two of the Quantum needed but I did 500 half-power shots and was still shooting at the end of the day – it probably would have gone on to 650. The Fujifilm had a partially -used set of AA alkalines and pooped out so a new set went in and shot on to the 300 mark today – from 1/4 to fill power setting. I cannot say for sure but I suspect that when you dial your own settings in manual, it uses less electricity than when working TTL.

Conclusion? I will further develop the Metz for outdoor shows – the big tube overpowers the sun in Western Australian shows and lets me get rid of dapple effects and harsh shadows. It also recharges far faster than the Fujifilm EF42 for dance show shooting. For indoor shows – cars, toy trains, dollhouses, etc. I will further refine the EF 42 outfit – a convenient handle will mean that it can be a main or fill wherever needed with these subjects. I shall also investigate whether there are any box diffusers suitable.

Note: The $ 5  Chinese Wei Feng shoulder bag that I brought home from work is one of the best carriages I have found for this sort of day out. It is ugly as sin but designed so well that you can carry it like a feather all day. And we refused to carry their line of goods…

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