Wanted to isolate & update this information from my previous thread, for anyone else interested in an inexpensive efficient modifier for their strobes for taking on the sun at a distance.
My strobe is a Rovelight 600B (600Ws) for reference.
I originally started thinking I wanted a more efficient large modifier for outdoor due to a recent group shoot where I felt the lack of power from the 600Ws strobe. I started looking at other 60 inch umbrellas that were silver lined for bounce to increased efficiency (was getting F18 at full power 1/1 off my current 60 inch umbrella bounced at 6 feet approximately). Then I started looking at 7 foot umbrellas. I'm not doing this with an assistant usually, so this poses huge problems. Well, I scrapped that, it's just too much to handle, and the wind would murder me even with my typical bungee+stake setup outdoor. So I looked at what others were really using for outdoor in bright light and found that I was going the wrong direction. I needed to be looking at smaller modifiers that were highly efficient and just be ok with a litter harder light sometimes to be able to do what I want. I had no plans of getting a more powerful output strobe at this time due to cost. But I'm ok with trying more modifiers, can't have too many right? Based on what I was looking at, it seemed like a larger reflector was the way to go, but I didn't want too tight of an angle (to get obvious gradients on edges of groups), so looked for a little wider angles.
This is exclusively for outdoor with my Rovelight 600B (600Ws strobe; HSS capable). I needed Bowens Mount to keep it universal. I wanted it to be inexpensvie, but was willing to go to $100~150 for a good modifier.
Here's the reflector I picked up:
PhotoSEL 10" Reflector (Bowen's Mount) ($48 shipped)
It advertises 65 degree output angle. I wanted to test how efficient it was. I was looking at a lot of reflectors and reading about designs and it just seemed that the larger reflectors had better efficiency for output in general. I didn't want to go into a $100+ thing without knowing for sure, as I was very intrigued by the "fireball" maxilite 16 inch modifier, but didn't want to go quite as far as that plus an adapter to make it work. I would love another +2 stops of output, but I don't think that's going to happen just from a modifier at this point, it's more just not losing as much output perhaps. I'm not an expert on that. Anyhow, I found this modifier after going through a few stores online and never found any real good material on any of them, as there's so many generic modifiers out there that are not some big ticket name that you'll find reviews for. I'm ok with that. $48, well, for science!
It fits my bowen's mount just fine, no crazy amount of play, and not tight, so that's good. I was worried it would be poorly machined and be loose and dangerous, or too tight and not fit and get stuck or something. Turns out its no different than the stock reflector that came with my light. So brownie point there for being correct. It's not heavy, but it is bulky since it's 10" and made of metal. It makes a dong' sound when you tap it. It's painted matte black so it doesn't reflect hard light around it. It's still very portable, as I can attach it to my light and it goes over my shoulder no problem. Much more portable than my previous methods with big 47" and 60" modifiers in addition to the stand and light. Simple.
With the light meter (based on 1/100 & ISO 100) and manual mode 1/1 power on my light (no HSS employed) and the 10 inch reflector:
Approximately 6 feet: F35
Approximately 12 feet: F20
At close range, you can certainly beat down the sun a few stops with room to spare. But I'm less interested in 6 feet. I'm more interested in using that wider angle spread and shooting at 8~12 feet, so that I can squeeze a group together and still at least match the sun, if not maybe drop it by 1 stop. I'm almost able to get a full stop over sunny 16 at 12 feet with this modifier on my strobe, so that alone, I'm pleased with for $48. But, that still leaves the question about how it actually looks. I went in knowing full well that it would be harder light than I'm used to, but I'm ok with that to at least test and learn from it.
Also, my main goal is generally to be able to fill in bright sun at a distance. And then sometimes, overpower the sun at a little closer range by a stop or so. The distance is so I can tackle groups in the sun (not massive groups, like 3~4 in general) at full body length, and sometimes environmental with wide angle.
I know that I lose about a stop of light, or so, by going into HSS. So while I cannot meter the light in HSS, it at least gives me a ballpark to consider knowing what it does without HSS.
To judge HSS, I wanted to just do a real world example. It's murderously hot outside right now, so I didn't ask my girls to come out and play. Instead, I scarified myself. I needed a good reason to taste one of my cigars anyways.
Rovelight 600B (600Ws strobe)
PhotoSEL 10 inch Reflector
Yongnuo YN622C transmitter (to allow HSS) via PC sync cable on strobe
Cheetah Boom Stand
Canon 5D classic
Canon 35mm F2 IS
Yongnuo YN622C transmitter
Light meter: Sekonic L478D
Remote: Generic Pixel Oppilas for wireless camera triggering
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/U5wXfn 12_Foot_600Ws_10InchReflector_Demo by Martin Wise, on Flickr
Shot around 10am this morning here in Florida.
Sun was at approximately 44 degrees.
I'm the subject and I am approximately 12 feet from the light.
Camera settings (values compared to sunny 16, 1/100 F16 ISO 100):
1/5000s (-5.6 stops from 1/100s)
F2 (+6 stops from F16)
ISO 50 (-1.0 stop from ISO 100)
This drops exposure -0.6 stops for a little underexposed ambient light which is something I often go for (ie, drop ambient by 2/3rds of a stop, or 0.6 stops).
Light settings & distance (using HSS):
Approximately 12 feet distance
9 feet up on stand, angled down slightly towards subject bust
1/2 power in HSS mode
Just a test selfie to judge the light's look, efficiency and overall ability to do what I needed. Photobombed by my yard cat. At least the cigar was good!IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/V7u4Ac 600Ws_10InchReflector_12Feet_Demo by Martin Wise, on Flickr
So looking back at the results, I know I can drop ambient by another stop or two, and move the light closer and easily overpower the sun, much more efficiently than with my other modifiers. Even with HSS enabled, and losing some power to that, I was still able to produce key level output against ambient settings that drop sunny 16's ambient down a little, at 12 feet, and at 1/2 power, so I had more room to drop ambient and more room to increase the light output, again, at 12 feet. This gives a lot more versatility to solo shooting (I don't worry about this going down in the wind, it's stable and doesn't catch air like umbrellas do), and it really opens up more options to use my 600Ws strobe on groups in the sun.
So far, I'm not disappointed with the $48 modifier.
And this was just a test.
Next I'll put it to the real test and do an actual shoot with it with some kids in the sun soon.