15 Top Strobes, Continuous Lights and Modifiers

July 27, 2017

By Greg Scoblete


Bowens Generation X [Update]

These studio strobes are no slackers. They include the battery-powered XMT and the AC-powered XMS strobes. The XMS flash systems are available in 500, 750 and 1000 W/s models and are fully controllable via the XMSR 2.4 Ghz radio control and trigger (sold separately for $290). They feature Bowens’ Sync Offset functionality for syncing with cameras at shutters speeds as fast as 1/8000 sec.

Prices: $1,100 (xms 500), $1,300 (xms 750), $1,500 (xms 1000), $1,800 (xmt 500)

Update: As of July 2017, Bowens has shut down. Products will be sold until inventory runs out. Bowens European-based owner, Calumet, is still finalizing servicing arrangements for U.S. customers.

Broncolor Scoro 1600E

The Scoro E pack is packed with a surprise: a built-in Wi-Fi module, allowing you to control the unit from your desktop (Mac or Windows). You can store four customized light settings on your computer for easy recall. As you may have guessed, the 1600E delivers 1600 W/s of power output through two independently adjustable lamps. It employs Broncolor’s ECTC technology to stabilize color temperature over the flash power range. You can adjust power over a seven-stop span in either 1/10th or full-stop increments. The flash recycles in a speedy .06-1.0 sec. depending on the power setting with flash durations as short as 1/10,000 sec. (measured at t.01).

Price: $7,183

Dynalite A6

The A6 is a 600 W/s strobe that runs off of AC power. You’ll enjoy 1.3-second recycling times at full power and flash durations (0.5t) of 1/500 sec. at max power. High Speed Sync (HSS) is supported for Canon or Nikon cameras (using optional triggers). You’ll be able to adjust power over seven stops in 1/10th-stop increments. A stroboscopic mode has three presets for shooting 5, 10 or 15 flashes per second. There’s a 300W halogen modeling lamp and a Bowens S-mount for adding modifiers.

Price: $549

Interfit S1Interfit

Interfit Photographic’s S1 is a 500 W/s strobe that supports HSS and TTL for Canon, Sony and Nikon cameras. The S1’s interchangeable lithium-ion battery is good for up to 350 full-power flashes in either manual or TTL modes and up to 400 full-power flashes when shooting in HSS mode. Unlike many rival battery-powered strobes, the S1 can also be run off of AC power thanks to the included multi-voltage AC adapter. The flash works with an optional remote for Canon and Nikon cameras ($100) to enable TTL metering. Recent firmware updates have given the S1 greater power control with a newly expanded nine-stop adjustment range, up from the original seven.

Price: $750

Profoto D2

An update to Profoto’s workhorse studio flash, the D2 brings several upgrades to the older D1. Specifically, the D2 offers faster flash durations, HSS using Profoto’s optional Air remote, a 20 fps continuous mode and greater power control (a ten-stop range vs. the D1’s seven-stop range). The 500 W/s version offers flash durations between 1/2600 sec. up to a time-freezing 1/63,000 sec. while the 1000 W/s model clocks in between 1/1600 sec. and 1/50,000 sec. The 500 W/s D2 boasts recycling times between .03 to .6 sec. while the 1000 W/s D2 recycles from .03 to 1.2 sec. Power is adjustable in either full stops or 1/10th-stop increments. Both support TTL using Profoto’s optional Air remote and incorporate a 300W halogen modeling lamp.

Prices: $1,495 (500 w/s), $1,995 (1,000 w/s)

Adorama Orlit Rovelight RT 610 TTL

This 600 W/s flash can run off an internal battery or an AC outlet via a separate adapter. It is one of the first studio lights to be compatible with Canon’s RT triggering technology. Canon users can use the 600EX-RT flash as a master and the Orlit RT 610 as the slave. The RT 610 TTL can be adjusted from between 1/256 power to full power in 1/10th-stop increments. You’ll get about 450 full-powered shots on a single battery charge. The flash supports HSS and features 2.3 sec. recycling times at full power. There’s a 20W, 3200K LED modeling lamp and a mini USB port for firmware upgrades. It has a Bowens S-mount for adding modifiers.

Price: $700

Photogenic Matrix MCD400R

The 400 W/s Matrix offers power control over a six-stop range, from 1/32 to full power, in 1/10th-stop increments. It sports a built-in wireless radio receiver, optical slave and a digital display. Recycle times will range between .4 and 1.7 seconds, depending on power settings. You’ll find a 150W quartz modeling lamp too.

Price: $390

Phottix Indra 500LC

The Indra 500LC is Phottix’s first studio light that’s compatible with Canon’s radio flash system. The 500 W/s Indra500LC uses Canon RT triggering and control technology alongside Phottix’s Laso triggering system. Working in tandem, you can control Canon RT-enabled Speedlites and trigger the Indra500LC from the Canon ST-E3, Canon RT Speedlites or from the Phottix Laso transmitter. The Laso triggering system also supports older, non-RT Canon flashes as well, so you can mix and match old Canon flashes with the more powerful Indra. The strobe also supports HSS and TTL metering and offers an eight-stop power adjustment in 1/3-stop increments. There’s a strobo mode with an adjustable frequency between 1-100Hz for up to 100 flashes.

Price: $1,299


Savage Universal LED1000

The tubular LED1000 delivers 1,000 watts of 5600K light with stepless power adjustment and a digital display for light settings. You can attach any Bowens S-mount light modifier to the LED1000 for your light-shaping needs. The light has a CRI of 85.

Price: $270

Kino Flo Celeb 450 LED

If you need a large LED light with a broad range of color temperatures, the Celeb 450 is worth a look. It is adjustable from 2500K to 9900K with cinema color gel presets and magenta correction. The color temperature remains precise as you dim or increase the strength of the light. It features a CRI of 95 and has built-in color channels to alter the color for creative effects.

Price: $4,995

Fotodiox Flapjack Edgelight Studio XL

The new Edgelight Studio XL is the largest FlapJack yet at 30 inches, but at just 1cm thick, this light won’t take up much real estate in your studio. You’ll be able to adjust color temperature and brightness manually or via DMX remote control. It includes an AC adapter but can also run off a pair of V-lock batteries. The Edgelight Studio XL operates silently. It delivers 1,980 lumens with a CRI of 96. If 30 inches is a bit too much, you can spring for the Edgelight 1.5 x 1.5, which offers most of the same features in a smaller body. It delivers 1,278 lumens and has a CRI of 96 as well.

Prices: $1,100 (xl), $650 (1.5 x 1.5)

Light & Motion Stella Pro 5000 RF

The ultra-compact Stella Pro 5000 RF is the first of a pair of new LEDs from Light & Motion to be integrated with Elinchrom’s Skyport wireless technology. Using the EL Remote for Stella, users can dim the light from 0 to 100 percent, turn it on and off and control up to 20 lights (total) in four groups. The remote has a range of nearly 200 feet indoors and about 670 feet outside. Like other Stella models, the Pro 5000 RF is weather-proof and has a CRI of 90. It is daylight-balanced and can output up to 10,300 Lux at 1 meter. If you want to venture outdoors, it has a built-in battery that’s good for 1.5 to 6.25 hours of operation.

Price: $2,000


FJ Westcott Omega 360 Reflector

There are multi-purpose reflectors and then there’s Westcott’s new Omega 360. The 360, which was introduced at WPPI, integrates a ring flash into a traditional reflector to produce a main light and a backlight with a single light source. It features a one-stop diffusion panel with interchangeable white, silver, sunlight and black covers. It also has a removable, 13-inch center disk so you can shoot through the center of the reflector. The center disk attaches via Velcro so it’s easy to pop on or off. You’ll get a suction cup hook for mounting the Omega 360 on glass surfaces, plus a travel case.

Price: $130

Elinchrom Deep Umbrellas

Elinchrom’s new line of deep umbrellas and diffusers/reflectors replace its Varistar umbrellas. The add-on diffusers turn the umbrella into a de-facto softbox (in this case, one that conveniently folds up). The umbrellas will be sold in white, silver and translucent. They use 16 fiberglass rods, come with a portable sleeve and will be sold in 41- and 49-inch sizes.

Prices: start at $97

Zylight/Chimera Active Diffusion

The Active Diffusion panel is like no other light modifier you’ve ever seen. It’s an LCD screen that can be placed over fluorescents, LEDs and other cool light sources with an adjustable opacity, allowing you to dial up or down your desired diffusion without ever having to physically replace the modifier. The diffuser can be operated via remote control, is DMX-compatible and is rated for over one million on/off switches.

Price: tbd

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