I love to use flash in my pictures. In fact, I wrote two eBooks about the use of flash: Making Light 1 and Making Light 2. I currently use four types of flashes in addition to Fujifilm's own EF-42 flash;
- The Godox Ving V850 is great because it is powered by a Lithium-ion battery instead of the traditional 4 AA cells. As a result, it can fire almost 600 flashes on a single charge. Impressive! I trigger the Ving V850 with Godox's own FT-16s trigger. You can read a full review about this flash here. This is a manual flash, but you can at least change the power remotely with the trigger.
- Another manual flash that I really like is the Cactus RF60. It sports more features than the Godox, especially when paired with the new Cactus V6 trigger, but it does use traditional AA batteries. A nice feature is that it has a radio receiver built-in.
- When I don't need the power of the latter two flashes, I like to use the Nissin i40. I find its weight and size to be a perfect match with my Fujifilm cameras. I also like the analog dials on the back.
- Finally, I often use my old Nikon SB-900, especially for off-camera flash. With the Roboshoot X triggers (reviewed here), I can even use the SB-900 in off-camera TTL with my Fuji cameras! And with the X100T, these triggers will sync all the way up to 1/2000th of a second!
As I work a lot in sunny environments, I often have the need for more powerful, portable light sources. Sure, you can put a couple of speedlights on a multi-flash bracket but recharging all those batteries is pretty tiring and soon the weight starts to add up, too. That's why I often use one of these two portable, battery powered studio lights:
- Phottix Indra 500: this is as state-of-the-art as it gets: 500 Ws of light in a very portable package: the head is about 2 kgs and the battery weighs about half of that. The battery will last over 400 full power pops. When used with a Phottix Odin trigger, on most Nikons and Canons this system will allow for TTL control and High Speed Sync. All the way up to 1/8000th of a second.
- Jinbei HD600 II: unbeatable in terms of (light) bang for the buck: the Jinbei HD600 II does not have as many features as the Indra (no TTL, no HSS) but it can still be triggered and powered up or down remotely with the simple trigger that's included in the set. At 600€ all-in, it's a great set. I especially love the fact that the (removable) battery is incorporated in the head. It's hard to find in Europe but the friendly guys over at Fotomorgen.de have it. If you live outside of Europe, Adorama has a rebranded, almost identical version of this flash called the Rovelight RL-600. For a complete review of the Jinbei, check out this blog post.
- I've recently also come to enjoy the Godox AD600B. This is a powerful 600 Ws portable studio flash.
I've spent way too much money on lighting accessories and I've got more than my share of softboxes and umbrellas collecting dust, but I seem to reach back to the same five or six modifiers, depending on the type of shoot. Here they are, in ascending order of size.
- Honl Grids: whenever I want to control my light, I use a grid. I like the ones by Honl because of their rectangular shape.
- Lumiquest SB-III softbox: at 20 x 20 cm, it's a small light source but still considerably larger than a bare flash head so, when used close enough, it can produce some a lot softer light than an undiffused flash can. It folds down very small so it fits in almost every camera bag.
- Rogue Flashbender: size-wise, this modifier is similar to the Lumiquest SB-III but it has the advantage that it can also be used on-camera, as a flag (without the diffuser) and a snoot. It's really the Swiss army knife of small light modifiers!
- Lastolite Tri-Flash umbrella: probably the modifier I use the most: it sets up in a snap and collapses down to a very small package, which fits in almost every camera bag. It's not the most sturdy of umbrellas (are any?) and because of the triple folding mechanism the shaft is slightly thicker than other umbrellas - make sure it fits your umbrella adapter - but it's the modifier I shoot 90 percent of my outdoor shoots with.
- Phottix Foldable Octa: Phottix make some great and affordable photo accessories: their folding Octa takes a bit more time to set up and you have to put the flash inside of it, meaning you'll need radio triggers to fire it, but it gives you a nice controlled octagonal light that's very slim and lightweight to carry around. You can sculpt the light even more with the included grid. Great value for money!
- Phottix Collapsible Octa: another favourite of mine, especially when I use my Phottix Indra 500 or the Jinbei HD600 II. This affordable, 110 cm (42 inch) octa is one of the easiest ones I know to set up. It comes with a Bowens mount and
- Lastolite EzyBox Switch: I really like the concept of the EzyBox Switch: this is a rectangular softbox that you can turn into a strip light.
- Lastolite HiLite: another cool Lastolite product I don't regret buying. The Hilite collapses down to a circular bag of about 100 cm diameter, which is relatively easy to transport. Still, when set up, you get a background that stands by itself (at least inside, where it's not windy) and in which you can fire one or two studio flashes (or speed lights, as I do). Just power up your flashes until the background clips in your camera's LCD and you have a portable, pure white background. Great for corporate type stuff.
- SMDV Speedbox 70
- SMDV Alpha 110