Love playing with your speed lights? If you are like me and enjoy stretching your speed-lights to their limits and beyond, the Light Blaster opens a crazy new world for creative lighting and helps you make your environment and background unique. Throughout this, I am going to give my opinion on the Light Blaster and its uses.
Let us start with the Light Blaster unit.
First up is the feel of the Light Blaster body. It is a solid body made from a hard plastic with a metal mount that fits both EF and EF'S lenses for canon right out the box. From what I know you can buy adapters to fit different makes of lenses. The lenses fit securely onto the front of the unit but I would like to hear the pin click sound like you get when attaching your lens to the camera body.
The speed light straps onto the back with a Velcro strap. That makes it front heavy and you cannot use that plastic hot shoe stand that comes with your speed light. Personally, I feel the strap should strap around the back of the speed light as well, just for extra support.
The body has a 6mm screw-in point that you can use to put it on a light stand or even a tripod. I have found that this the most secure way to use it when you have no one to assist you. The Light Blaster also comes with accessories like the pistol grip so that your assistant can point it for you if you are not a lone worker like me. I do not own the pistol grip so I cannot review it.
You can buy an adapter to put it on a studio light. I cannot review the adapter and how it works I do not have one, but from what I have heard it works well, it just overheats a bit. I would love to test it out for myself.
Now lets talk about what type of lenses to use on the Light Blaster
Here is some knowledge I wished they had told me because the only thing I got was... the lens with the widest aperture, for example, an f1.8 works best. Well yes, that too but I am going to share with you step by step in my opinion what the different lenses do.
We all hopefully understand what different types of lenses do.
Wide angle lenses work well for capturing a larger area, for example, landscapes. Wide angle lenses do not compress the background.
Telephoto lenses take an object that is far away and brings them closer. It compresses the background so that the image looks flat.
Prime lenses have no zoom capability but are brilliant at capturing pin-sharp detail.
These lenses work similarly on the Light Blaster. Let us begin.
The Wide angle lens is my favorite for the same function it has on the camera body. When you are in a tight space, you use a wide angle lens to capture as much area as you can. Because you do not have the distance from the subject to use a lens like the 70 - 200mm, so you zoom out to capture the entire subject. The Same rule applies to the Light Blaster. You are creating a backdrop on a blank wall or even a white backdrop but the distance you have from the subject to the wall is very short, so, to maximize the projection from the Light Blaster use a wide angle lens and zoom out to project a bigger projection.
Now for the telephoto lens. Just because the lens helps you take things that are far and bring them closer does not mean it will shoot the projection further, that comes down to the power of the light source. What I feel this Light Blaster and the telephoto lens accomplishes together, is that they add a tiny projection to an image instead of making a complete backdrop, it could add something to the subject, taking an open space away or even change the feel of the image.
When I started playing with the Light Blaster I used a prime lens because it was the lens I had with the widest open aperture. Yes, you can change the size of the projection by moving it closer or further from the background or subject. Ultimately I prefer the zoom lenses. They give me the freedom to keep the Light Blaster still and change the size of the projection.
All these lenses have the same problem... manual focus. The Light Blaster does not project a constant light because the speed light only flashes light for a split second. Some speed lights have a mode that will project light for longer so you can try to adjust the focus, but it is still very challenging. Then again, it fits any canon lens and other lenses with an adapter so you do not have to carry a set of lenses just for the Light Blaster.
Now lets see about the projection filters
The filters are 35mm, but I have found a few that are slightly bigger, so you will have to trim them down, but that is no big deal. The cool part is that you can actually make your own slides but if your lazy or just do not know how to make them , they are available to buy.
From what I know there are 5 slide kits to buy:
Creative backdrop kit
Creative effect kit
Pro Gobo set
35mm slide kit
Wing effect kit
I only own 2, namely the Wing kit and the Backdrop kit but they are all transparent slides just like the rest. So I can still review the slides. The Gobo set is different I cannot review it unless I have it.
So let us get started.
Starting with the package it comes in. I
feel they really could have done better than a folded piece of paper or at least give an accessory that can hold the slide and provide easy access to each individual slide. Helpfull hint, I use a business card holder. I find it works well and if it has a white background it makes it easy to view and get to your slides.
The creative background slides are cool to set a scene with and they create a mood, but my favorite ones are the abstract and weird looking slides. You can use them as effect slides on the subject as well to create something unique. The slides are standard transparency paper. The same that is used in schools on the overhead projectors. So you are able to make your own.
Leave a comment if you want me to write and illustrate how to make a slide.
The angel wing slides are by far my favorite slides, I do not know why I just really love them. You can use them to add something to your model or subject, but I have used some of the wing slides to create a backdrop or even a creative effect.
Really, the only limit is the imagination.
My biggest issue with the slides is that they sometimes hook and grab on to the slide holder, this makes it difficult to change slides in a hurry, but just get more slide holders to pre-set your creative ideas so that you can just change the holder and not the slides in the holders.
This slide I got with the Light Blaster and found it to be more robust and easier to put in and take out. The only problem is that it is kind of a boring slide I do not really use it.
This is the slide holder. As you can see there is a slide in it. The holder is simple it has grooves that you can slide the slide into and then it clips closed. To put it in the Light Blaster is kind of a pain. It sticks a bit but i guess that it fits snug at least.