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M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F/1.4 Pro Released Under New OM Digital Solutions Brand

M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F/1.4 Pro Released Under New OM Digital Solutions Brand

M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm f/1.4

After appearing on an Olympus lens roadmap earlier this year, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm f/1.4 Pro lens has officially been announced with an RRP of £649 and an availability date of November 2021. 

More on the new lens can be found below along with sample images shared by OM Digital Solutions – the new company name given to the Olympus Imaging division by JIP.


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm f/1.4 Other sample images


From OM Digital Solutions GmbH: 

LENSES ES M2014 PRO  Product 091 |

OM Digital Solutions GmbH is pleased to announce the M.Zuiko Digital ED 20mm F1.4 PRO (35mm equivalent: 40mm) lens. This Micro Four Thirds System standard-compliant lens delivers both beautiful feathered bokeh and the outstanding resolution and performance the M.Zuiko PRO series is known for and is scheduled to go on sale at the end of November 2021. Compact, lightweight and high-performance, this single-focal-length lens utilizes the natural perspective of the 40mm equivalent angle of view for a versatile shooting experience, from the landscape genre to portraits and documentary. This lens is the first product to feature the recently announced “OM SYSTEM” brand logo.


Compact, lightweight PRO lens featuring beautiful feathered bokeh

Outstanding resolution unique to M.Zuiko PRO lenses: Featuring an 11-element, 10-group lens configuration consisting of Super ED, ED, Super HR and aspherical lenses arranged effectively for sharp imaging from the center to the farthest corners of the frame. This high-resolution lens makes the most out of camera performance, including the stunning image quality acquired when shooting using High Res Shot mode. ZERO coating is used along with optimal suppression of internal reflections within the lens barrel to reduce ghosts and flaring.

Feathered bokeh: Using the knowhow gained in the development of the M.Zuiko PRO F1.2 series, which delivers ultimate defocusing effects, we have implemented feathered bokeh that slowly introduces blur moving from the in-focus area to the out-of-focus region. Developed using specific instruments to measure bokeh at a granular level and delivering optimal control over spherical aberration allows the lens to deliver superior resolution and beautiful bokeh effects.

Compact, lightweight design with a maximum aperture of F1.4: The lens remains compact and lightweight at 247 grams with a bright maximum aperture of F1.4. When paired with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, the system is compact and lightweight at approximately 661 grams, for mobility that enables nimble shooting.

LENSES ES M2014 PRO  Product Top |

Comfortable and stress-free shooting in a variety of circumstances

Highly reliable dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof construction (-10°C): Sealed throughout, this lens offers IPX1 equivalent splashproof performance. It also features a dustproof and freezeproof construction to -10°C, and pairing it with a dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof camera body makes it possible to continue shooting in punishing environments, such as rain and snow, with peace of mind. Fluorine coating on the front-most lens allows for water droplets to roll off and for dirt to be cleaned off easily.

High-speed, high-precision AF: Superb optical design and lens processing technologies are used to make a lighter focusing lens, which enables faster, more accurate AF, allowing users to enjoy stress-free, high-speed, high-precision AF shooting.




A picture, a moment can change the way we feel. Change how we see ourselves. Change our understanding and change the rules. Provoke and change history.

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A variety of expression for any type of scene

Close-up shooting to make the most of feathered bokeh: This lens is designed for amazing close-up shooting performance with a closest focusing distance of 25 cm and a maximum image magnification of 0.22x for shooting up close to the subject. The beautiful, feathered bokeh slowly introduces blur for creative macro shooting.

An angle of view that balances natural perspective with bokeh effects: The 40mm equivalent angle of view is slightly wider than that of standard lenses, providing a natural sense of perspective and bokeh effects. This unique angle of view is perfect for a wide variety of scenes, such as landscapes, portraits, and snapshots.


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Best photo storage: solutions for any type of image

A large table of all colors of wood with photos arranged one after the other in the form of a table of memories.

Best cloud storage Amazon Photos provides the best photo storage solutions. Amazon Photos

For Amazon Prime members, take advantage of the free and unlimited cloud photo storage system that can declutter your phone and keep your memories safe.


The app can be set up to automatically save photos.


You’ll need a Prime account—but this also comes with perks of free two-day shipping and more.

Best HDD storage The Seagate Expansion 12TB External Hard Drive provides the best HDD storage. Seagate Expansion 12TB External Hard Drive

This 12 TB drive can store all your photo data, so images remain high-quality without any lost information.


Even with a massive amount of storage, this pick is compact and easily portable.


The writing speed may be slower than with other picks.

Best SSD storage The SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is one of the best photo storage solutions when you’re on the road. SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD

This ultra-portable pick is compact enough to take on any trip—and with 1 TB of storage to keep your favorite photos on-hand.


The hardware encryption software allows you to protect private information.


Make sure to format your drive before storing photos for optimal use.

We live in a time where everyone has a camera in their pocket and it’s never been more affordable to shoot digitally. Film photography is also making a big comeback and if you love shooting the more traditional way, it won’t be long until you end up with a backlog of negatives in addition to all your digital files. Shopping for the best photo storage solutions may not be as exciting as picking out a brand-new camera or fancy lens, but it’s really important. Getting your archives backed up and stored properly means you will be able to better enjoy those memories that you’re capturing for years to come.

Best Photo Storage: Digital Solutions

Whether you’re a digital shooter or a film shooter you should be storing your precious images in a few different ways. Every style of photographer should be utilizing some kind of cloud storage solution and an external hard drive to preserve their images. Why two? If you’ve been shooting for a long time, you know that there are two types of hard drives—one that has already failed and one that’s about to fail. Keeping your work in the cloud and on a physical drive means that your work is stored in two places. If one goes down, you’ve got the second place where you can restore the files. 

What’s more, cloud services can help you organize your archives with features like tagging and AI that will sort and categorize your images. Cloud services provide a low-cost way to store tons of digital files and because they live online, as long as you’re backing up consistently, you don’t have to worry about losing access to your files even if you can’t access your hard drive. 

For short-term storage, you should consider an SSD (solid-state drive). This style of drive is smaller than a traditional hard drive, more durable, and typically operates with much faster transfer speeds. Although we wouldn’t recommend an SSD drive for long-term, archival storage, it’s a great tool for quickly creating a duplicate of the images on your SD card while you’re on location before you back up to your HDD (hard disk drive) at home and whatever cloud service you may subscribe to. If you’re a photographer who has damaged a memory card (it happens!), you know how important it is to always be backing up.  

Analog Storage

If you’re primarily shooting film, in addition to using a cloud service and having a hard-drive backup, you’ll want to store your negatives and prints in an archival way to prevent them from getting damaged. 

Saving the negatives may seem like overkill—especially if you already have high-quality scans that are backed up in two places. But believe us, you should hold on to them! Here’s why. If you ever find yourself with access to a darkroom (they do still exist), having copies of your negatives means that you’ll be able to experience the true magic of film photography by making prints from those original pieces of film. Holding onto your negatives also means that you’ll be able to rescan at higher resolutions in the future. 

Make sure that you’re storing your negatives properly though to protect them from being damaged by moisture or getting scratched up. Negative sleeves are relatively inexpensive and provide your negatives with an added level of protection. Plus, they make it easy to examine what’s on a roll of film before you start scanning. 

Looking to store a bunch of old prints or family photos? Ditch the old shoe box and invest in an archival acid-free box to ensure that those pictures continue looking nice for years to come. 

Top pick overall: Amazon Photos

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you automatically have access to unlimited photo storage with Amazon Photos. This cloud service allows you to make minor adjustments to your images, auto tags photos based on image content, and can use facial recognition to automatically group images together. A feature called “Family Vault” lets you share specific images with friends or family members. Plus, the Amazon Photos app can be set to send you notifications about images that are stored in the cloud-based on the anniversaries of when images were taken. The app can also be set up to automatically back up everything on your smartphone’s camera roll—a big time saver when it comes to maintaining an archive. 

Runner up: Seagate Expansion 12TB External Hard Drive

A large-capacity hard drive is an excellent choice for having a tangible copy of whatever has been backed up to the cloud. The 12TB Seagate Expansion drive is compatible with Windows or Mac, has fast file transfers with USB 3.0, and even includes Rescue Data Recovery Services. Because of its generous storage space, it requires a power adapter to operate, meaning it’s best to store this one at home. But it’s a reliable choice for keeping a tangible copy of all of your digital files. 

Great storage for film: Print File 35-mm. Archival Negative Preservers

Film negatives are delicate and if you want them to last a long time you need to make sure you’re storing them properly. Print File’s Archival Negative Preservers are one of the most reliable choices for doing just that. The binder-size negative pages are made without PVC, which makes them archival-quality, and they’ll protect your negatives from dust, scratches, and fingerprints. Each sheet can hold up to 42 frames and allows photographers to make digital or traditional contact sheets without having to remove any negatives from the page.

Great storage for prints: HG Concepts Art Photo Storage Box

If your old family photos and negatives are sitting in dusty shoeboxes, do yourself a favor and upgrade to a photo-storage box. An acid-free archival storage box will keep your photo prints, negatives, and other important documents safe from the ravages of time. This box is made from sturdy board that won’t bend or dent, is bound in black-book cloth, and is lined with matte, black archival paper. It has a clamshell lid for easy access and comes in a variety of sizes. Plus, because it’s acid-free, you don’t have to worry about prints becoming discolored over time.

Also consider: SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD

Solid State Drives are typically smaller and faster than a traditional external drive. They’re a great option for backing up and storing files when you’re using your camera away from your studio or office. This palm-sized 1TB-drive from SanDisk is one of our favorites. It has 1050MB/s read speeds and up to 1000MB/s writ speeds. It’s drop-resistant up to 2 meters, has an IP55 water-resistance rating, and is dust-resistant too. It uses a Type-C USB and has a carabiner loop so that you can easily secure it to your belt loop or attach it to your backpack when in transit.


Q: What should I do with all my old photos?

If you haven’t already, we recommend scanning your old photos and backing them up to the cloud and an external hard drive before you do anything. If you want to hold onto the original prints and negatives, invest in an archival acid-free storage box to keep the prints from degrading over time.

Q: What is the best free photo organizer?

If you’re already an Amazon Prime user, you can store unlimited photos at any resolution through Amazon Photos. The service automatically sorts images based on content and can use facial-recognition features to sort your images by the people who appear in them.

Q: Should I keep negatives from old photos?

Even if you aren’t interested in working in a dark room, we highly recommend holding onto the negatives of your old photos. Keeping the negatives means that you can rescan at higher resolutions or print bigger versions of the photo down the line. Ultimately your original negative is the key to creating higher-resolution versions in the future. 

Final thoughts about photo-storage solutions

Whether you only shoot with your smartphone, regularly shoot digitally, or only on film, having a variety of ways to back up and store your images is one of the most important aspects of photography. We recommend utilizing multiple storage solutions in the digital and physical realms because, quite frankly, you can never have enough backups. Keep your memories safe by using a combination of cloud storage, hard-drive storage, and archival storage of your physical prints and negatives to preserve your images for years to come.


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Introducing Calibrite Photo Solutions Powered By X-Rite

Introducing Calibrite Photo Solutions Powered By X-Rite

Colour Checker


Today, X-Rite Incorporated and Calibrite announce their partnership to transition the X-Rite photo and video portfolio to Calibrite, a newly formed company dedicated to servicing the colour management needs of the photo, video, and content creation markets. Calibrite will collaborate with X-Rite on product development and take direct global control of the packaging, distribution, and marketing of X-Rite Photo solutions. The new Calibrite suite of products will be powered by X-Rite technology.

For decades, X-Rite led the market for colour management products in the photo and video industries and developed a range of award-winning products, including colour targets and calibration devices. As part of a strategic change, X-Rite decided the photo and video market would be best served through a dedicated partner solely focused on the unique needs of photographers and filmmakers.

Calibrite was formed by a group of passionate investors who worked with X-Rite in the photo and video markets for more than 20 years. Calibrite will continue to provide industry-leading solutions for photographers, filmmakers, designers, and content creators who demand the very best tools for working with colour. The Calibrite team is committed to building upon X-Rite’s exceptional products and legacy while adding a heightened level of education, inspiration, and customer support.

Colour Checker


Powered By X-Rite, Innovation By Calibrite 

Under the agreement, Calibrite will license core technologies from X-Rite. X-Rite will manufacture the devices for monitor and printer calibration and provide colour materials from the Munsell Lab for ColorChecker targets. This ensures that Calibrite customers receive the same level of quality, and innovation X-Rite Photo customers have enjoyed for decades.       

The team at Calibrite remains dedicated to an extensive research and development programme that will result in upgrades and new products covering monitor, printer, camera, scanner, and projector calibration. Calibrite will collaborate with X-Rite colour scientists to develop solutions that evolve with the speed of technology.   



All of Calibrite’s products should look familiar but the X-Rite i1Display and i1Studio devices and the full range of ColorChecker targets will now be rebranded under the Calibrite ColorChecker name.     



X-Rite’s existing distributors, MAC Group in North America and LUMESCA Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa are appointed as exclusive Calibrite distributors in those territories. There is a seamless transition for their customers to the new Calibrite product range. Calibrite has agreements with other X-Rite photo and video distributors in the Asia-Pacific region and is actively seeking new partnerships for territories that are not currently covered.     


Customer Support

Calibrite is providing global support for all existing X-Rite photo and video customers and honouring warranties for products previously sold by X-Rite. Customer support is provided via a dedicated support portal on with technical specialists responding to support requests by email or phone. Calibrite maintains access to X-Rite’s massive library of customer support documents.                                                                                 

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OM Digital Solutions releases Olympus PEN E-P7

OM Digital Solutions releases Olympus PEN E-P7

In its first round of releases since parting ways with Olympus Corporation, OM Digital Solutions has released the PEN E-P7. It’s a flat-bodied rangefinder-style camera with a 20MP sensor and tilting rear screen, but no viewfinder. Notionally it’s a successor to the E-P5 from 2013, which means it has higher-end aspirations than the entry-level E-PL10. As such, it boasts dual control dials, while borrowing creative image-processing options from the cult classic PEN-F.

OM Digital Solutions releases Olympus PEN E-P7 1

The E-P7 has a small built-in flash, and its screen can be set facing forwards beneath the camera for selfies

Like other Olympus cameras, the E-P7 features 5-axis in-body image stabilisation. This promises up to 4.5 stops of shake correction for stills, along with smooth hand-held 4K video recording. Its lightweight body weighs a mere 337g on its own, and 430g when fitted with the compact 14-42mm EZ kit zoom. The rear LCD screen hinges down to face forwards beneath the camera for selfies, while face and eye detection are available for people pictures. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built in for sharing images via a smartphone using Olympus OI Share app, while USB charging allows the battery to be easily topped-up on the move.

OM Digital Solutions releases Olympus PEN E-P7 2

Two control dials on the top plate are used for changing exposure settings

Plenty of options are available for producing creative images, with a dedicated dial on the front of the camera providing access to Colour and Monochrome Profile Controls that aim to simulate various analogue film types via a range of built-in presets. Olympus’s Art Filters are also on hand to provide an array of more stylised looks such as Grainy Film, Pop Art, Instant Film and so on. The AP, or ‘Advanced Photography’ position on the mode dial gives quick access to a set of specialist modes such as multiple exposure, panorama and keystone compensation for fixing converging verticals.

OM Digital Solutions releases Olympus PEN E-P7 3

The E-P7 lacks a built-in viewfinder, and there’s no means of adding an external electronic unit

Due to go on sale in mid-June, the E-P7 will cost £749 body-only. Alternatively it can be bought in a kit with the 14-42mm EZ zoom for £849.

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Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 4

If you’re a content creator in need of professional-grade storage drives, Western Digital’s newly unveiled SanDisk Professional line of premium storage solutions is just for you.

Professional photographers and creatives across a wide range of industries are always working with data that’s in a perpetual state of motion. Whether working with photos, high-resolution videos, or illustrations, creatives need to save, transfer, offload, share, and archive their data. The new SanDisk Professional family of purpose-built drives, launched at Western Digital’s Flash Perspective earlier this week, are designed to offer high performance and reliability for all of these things.

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 5

“As a professional photographer, one of my biggest concerns is being able to deliver assets as promised,” says adventure photographer and filmmaker Lucas Gilman. “When I am traveling the globe looking for the right shots, I heavily rely on the best equipment to help me get the job done.

“I’ve spent many years perfecting my workflow and am constantly looking for new ways to improve it, which is why I am so excited about the new SanDisk Professional brand. The new portfolio is all about managing content that is constantly in motion and I believe it’s going to be a real game-changer for all kinds of creative professionals around the world.”

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 6

The new SanDisk® Professional line combines the legacies of the world-renown SanDisk consumer brand as well as the pro-oriented G-Technology™ brand, which has been the storage choice of Hollywood professionals for decades. The SanDisk Professional lineup now comprises 16 modular workflow products. Here’s a rundown:

PRO-CINEMA CFExpress VPG400 Memory Card

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 7

The PRO-CINEMA CFExpress VPG400 is a rugged, pro-grade CFExpress card that allows for video recording at a minimum speed of 400MB/s*.


Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 8

Western Digital has announced four new PRO-READER devices that each pack a USB-C™ interface that allows for SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps data transfers. These drives are designed to support the most common camera media used for photographers and videographers, including CFast, CFExpress, RED MINI-MAG®, CF, microSD, and SD cards.

PRO-DOCK 4 Reader Docking Station

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 9

The PRO-DOCK 4 is a revolutionary new 4-bay reader docking station that provides a scalable solution for offloading data, especially when working with multiple cameras. The station allows creatives to simultaneously offload from four cards.

G-DRIVE™ Portable and Desktop Solutions

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 10

The G-Technology family of professional-grade products are now part of the SanDisk Professional stable. In addition to the existing line of ultra-rugged portable drives, desktop devices featuring Ultrastar® drives, and transportable RAID solutions, the SanDisk Professional portfolio also includes a new 4TB** G-DRIVE™ ArmorLock™ Encrypted NVMe™ SSD.

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 11

Western Digital Unveils SanDisk Professional Storage Solutions for Pro Creators 12


The SanDisk Professional portfolio is expected to begin rolling out this June. For more information on pricing and availability, you can visit

*For transfer speeds, 1MB/s = 1 megabyte per second. Based on internal testing; performance may vary depending on host device, usage conditions, drive capacity and other factors.

**1TB = 1 trillion bytes. Actual user capacity may vary. For RAID products, storage is based on RAID 0 mode.

This article was brought to you by Western Digital.

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Modern Lighting Solutions – Digital Photo Pro

Modern Lighting Solutions

For this portrait, I used an ELB 500 in TTL mode with a 53-inch Rotalux Octabox. The flash was set for high-speed sync for 1/800 shutter speed. Nikon Z 7, 35mm F1.8 lens. Exposure 1/800 sec., ƒ/1.8, ISO 100.

The photography industry has been rapidly transforming in recent years, and the major focus has been on camera systems. Every year, there are eye-catching headlines and groundbreaking technologies. But it isn’t just hype. Autofocus systems, frame rates, ISO performance and wireless transfer abilities are rapidly improving. So, if you haven’t updated your camera in a few years, there is a good chance you are missing out on some major performance improvements.

While the camera revolution has been in the forefront, lighting technology has also been evolving, and these changes are more than just little performance bumps. New flash technology has changed the way I shoot. In fact, when I started using new continuous lights and portable TTL battery systems, my entire workflow changed when I shoot on-location.

Simply put, I was creating images I would have missed without these technology advancements.

Since I teach a lot of photo workshops and lighting classes, I’ll be the first to tell students that their creative vision is more important than the camera gear they use.

But executing your vision into reality requires the right tools. And when new technology makes my job easier, I can focus more on my creative vision and less on flash exposures and sync speeds. Below, I’ve listed some new flash technologies and techniques that we use regularly in our assignment work. You might find they’re the perfect solution for your portrait sessions on the road or in the studio.

Modern Lighting Solutions
I shot this double portrait outdoors, using an ELB 500 shot through a 53-inch Rotalux Octabox. And because I was shooting at ƒ/2.8, I had to have a fast shutter speed. But the ELB 500 could handle it: I set it to high-speed sync for the fast shutter speed. Nikon D850, Nikon NIKKOR 105mm 1.4 lens. Exposure: 1/1000 sec., ƒ/2.8,  ISO 100.

Portable Strobe Systems

If there is one trend with flash systems that everyone will appreciate, it is “smaller, lighter and more powerful.”

I remember not long ago hauling 20-pound battery pack flash systems up a trail in the mountains. We were on an assignment to photograph rock climbers and needed powerful 1000-watt lights to shoot through large octaboxes. With two packs and extra batteries, we had 50 pounds of gear, not to mention all our camera equipment. Slogging up a steep trail with heavy packs wasn’t exactly my idea of fun.

Thankfully, those days are over. My go-to pack for lightweight power now is the Elinchrom ELB 1200. This pack is 9.5 pounds, half the weight of my old pack. But even more impressive, I can get 400 full-power flashes with one battery, three times the amount as my old system.

This pack uses LED modeling lights, offering hours of video lighting. And when I return from locations, I attach my ELB 1200 to a dock, which allows me to use AC power in the studio. The power, flexibility and light weight of this system are hard to beat.

Modern Lighting Solutions
For this shot, I put the ELB 500 in manual mode using a 53-inch Rotalux Octabox. Again, it shows that strobes aren’t just portable but also very flexible. Nikon D850, Nikon NIKKOR 105mm F1.4 lens. Exposure: 1/250 sec., ƒ/7.1, ISO 100.
Modern Lighting Solutions
Here’s a fun behind-the-scenes shot of the holi powder shoot.

But what if you only need 500 watts of power on location? The good news is you have a lot of fantastic lighting options, and they are very small and lightweight. Since I am an Elinchrom user, I use the ELB 500. Similar in design and style as the ELB 1200, the ELB 500 flash pack weighs 5.5 pounds and has two flash ports offering asymmetrical power distribution. If you prefer monolights, consider the Profoto B1x or Godox AD600Pro. These lights are lightweight, compact and offer hundreds of full power flashes per battery.

All these systems work seamlessly with dedicated wireless radio transmitters and offer hassle-free performance. No line of sight is needed with radio transmitters. So, go ahead and hide that flash behind the door or in the next room for creative lighting solutions. And bright sun on location won’t interfere with a radio signal, unlike older optical triggers.

Modern Lighting Solutions
I became a “TTL flash with large strobes” believer when shooting photos of Buddhist monks in the Himalayas, where the weather changes frequently. I found myself shooting through rain and wind storms, and my light position was constantly changing. By using TTL flash, I was able to achieve just the right flash exposures.
Modern Lighting Solutions
In this portrait, I employed the ELB 500 in TTL mode and shot through a 53-inch Rotalux Octabox. Nikon D500, Nikon NIKKOR 16-80mm F2.8-4E. Exposure: 1/160 sec.,  ƒ/22, ISO 100.

TLL Flash

Size and power are not the only things that have changed with studio flash. Now, many strobe systems offer TTL flash.

Now, I know what you are thinking: TTL flash is for beginners, produces inconsistent flash exposures and is best used with speedlights. Why would you want TTL flash using a strobe unit?

Part of the answer is found in the improved portability of modern strobe units. Many 500-watt battery flash systems weigh around 5 pounds, which makes bringing them on-location very reasonable. My ELB500 is about as big as three speedlights, but three speedlights can’t match the power or fast recycle time of the ELB500.

And using two flash heads with one pack, I can create beautiful cross-lit portraits.

I still wasn’t a believer in TTL flash with large strobes until I went to Bhutan, which is one of the most remote, isolated countries in the world.

Buddhism is prevalent, and the people are known for their peaceful, harmonious nature. I was obsessed with creating portraits of the mysterious, magical Buddhist monks living high in the Himalayas. I brought my ELB500 along with a 53-inch octabox as my modifier. Finding willing subjects wasn’t a problem. I encountered numerous monks on the trail, and they all were very curious and happy to pose for a portrait.

But what I couldn’t control was the weather. The Himalayas are the tallest mountains in the world, and mountain weather changes frequently. I found myself shooting through rain and wind storms, and my light position was constantly changing.

Using standard light metering with fixed distances between flash and subject would have resulted in incorrect flash exposures. Every rain squall that came through caused us to move around while we were shooting. But using TTL flash, we just kept getting perfect flash exposures every time, no matter how much we moved the light. I became a believer in TTL strobe flash right then and there. Without it, I would have missed a lot of photographs.

Wedding photographers will really reap the benefits of TTL strobe photography. No more pauses in the action setting up a shot. After photographing formal poses with a large softbox, you can use the same strobe pack in TTL mode with a small softbox to photograph the fluid party atmosphere of the reception.

The benefits don’t stop with TTL flash exposure.

Studio packs also offer high-speed sync (HSS), which is a game changer for portrait photographers. My favorite portrait lens is my trusty Nikon 105mm F1.4. The bokeh this lens creates is beautiful, and my subjects just pop off the background shooting wide open.

But the problem shooting flash at F 1.4 on a bright sunny day is having to use fast shutter speeds to get the correct exposure. I regularly shoot at 1/2000 and faster, which is much faster than my 1/250 flash sync speed. With HSS, I can shoot at any shutter speed without clipping my flash exposure. Combining strobe and F 1.4 with outdoor portraits is one of my favorite portrait techniques, and the images are striking.

Before HSS in studio strobes, I used ND filters on my lenses to slow my shutter speed down, but then I needed a large, heavy strobe pack to get enough flash power. Then, I started using multiple speedlights, but they didn’t have enough power for large octaboxes. Now, I just use HSS mode on my lightweight ELB 500, and my problem is solved.

Modern Lighting Solutions
For this portrait, I used a continuous lighting technique, created with Light and Motion CLx8 continuous lights. I also used an Elinchrom Q-Portalite Octa 56cm softbox. Nikon Z 7, Nikon NIKKOR 85mm F1.8 S lens. Exposure: 1/1000 sec., ƒ/1.8, ISO 800.

LED Continuous Lighting

I first learned studio lighting using quartz lights. Continuous lights were great because “what you see is what you get.”

But quartz lights had a few limitations: While they worked fine in a dark studio on AC power, taking them outside wasn’t practical. Most portable continuous lights just didn’t have the power to be useful for a portrait photographer. And quartz lights got hot…really hot! I have burn scars on my hands to prove it.

But then a new crop of LED lights starting hitting the market, and these lighting systems have only gotten more powerful. Many video shooters have been using LED panel systems for years, but I have only recently started using LED lights. Why? Because now continuous LED lights are powerful enough to use in brighter conditions and offer rechargeable battery power that runs for hours.

Also, LED lights operate at cool temperatures. You don’t have to worry about sync speeds or wireless triggers with continuous lights, which appeals to many photographers. Small LED lights still can’t match the light output of a strobe, but they offer enough power to be very useful for many situations.

We now use both traditional strobes and LED lights on many of our shoots.

Since I do a lot of adventure sports photography, I was looking for a battery-powered LED system that was portable, weatherproof and nearly indestructible. I found everything I needed in the Light and Motion CLx8 continuous light. This LED light looks like a traditional monolight and seamlessly attaches to my Elinchrom light modifiers. But the real advantage is the 8000 lumens of light this unit puts out.

Modern Lighting Solutions
For this pin-up style portrait, I used Elinchrom ELB 1200 in Hi Sync mode for a fill light, which allowed me to shoot fast shutter speeds beyond normal sync speeds. D810, Nikon NIKKOR 85mm F1.4 lens. Exposure: 1/400 sec., ƒ/1.4, ISO 31.

This light is great for portraits, filling in shadows or adding an accent light. And since it is a continuous light, you can use it for stills or video. A wireless remote adjusts the power output, so you can dim the light right from your camera position.

There are some other really nice LED continuous lights on the market that will interest still photographers: 1×1-foot panel systems, like the LitePanels Astra and Westcott Flex, offer variable temperature bulbs. Just turn a switch and change the white balance of your light source. The Westcott Flex is a flexible panel, which can be wrapped around objects for inventive lighting solutions.

Both these systems offer both AC and DC power options.

If you’re a road warrior assignment photographer or a weekend portrait shooter, more lighting options are available than ever before. New technology has opened the door to exciting creative choices and stunning strobe performance. Consider your options, and see if your work can benefit from these modern flash solutions.

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