The Prince of Cheap is back!
Now its time for the second part of my 2 part review of the LP120 flash by MPEX. What I did was I took them out for a serious spin while photographing a project for a soon to be famous makeup school in Los Angeles, the European School of Makeup. The talented artist there are some of the best on the planet! I can’t begin to say enough about them! I went to take images of there entire class final!!! Prince of Cheap style!
On to the rest of the review… In my usual way, I stormed into the school with an overload of gear. 2 LP120’s, 1 Vivitar 285HV (arghhhh!), 2 Sigma EF-500 DG Superflashes, 1 Britek HS-2000 and an SL-400 for backup, Skyports and modified ghetto triggers for wireless triggering, specialty flashes, stands, bongo ties, tape, umbrellas, brolly boxes, beauty dishes, light meter, 5n1 reflector, cables, cords, not to mention my new favorite grids!!!! I was prepared for a war!
Below is a photo of my decided setup. I chose this complicated setup because: 1) I had a ton gear I wanted to put to use, 2) I had enough space and 3) since this was a makeup school, I figured the students would possibly do something crazy and I wanted to have a setup that would allow me to highlight whatever was thrown at me!
Having gridded edge lights allowed me to highlight the head, shoulders, or hair, while my main light created the type of light that I desired. Whether it was directional light or soft light (with a simple change from the ebay beauty dish to my 48″ Britek Silver reflective umbrella I had the bases covered). This is where the LumoPro LP120 really shined. I stood there waiting for model after model, shooting round after round from my new Sony Alpha A900 :)!!! The LumoPro LP120s didn’t misfire! I set them to 1/16th output to keep recycle time down. 579 Flashes later 1 Vivitar 285hv dead, LumoPro LP120’s still alive. In come the trusty Sigma EF-500 DG Superflashes to fill in the spot. Viola! 600 shots later… Lumo LP120’s still alive!
Lets talk about the role the LP120’s have played. I was getting F8 from them roughly 4ft away at 1/16th power. Meaning In a studio environment where overpowering sunlight isn’t the main issue… THEY ROCK!!! Next thing to know. The importance of edge lighting your subject assures shape and a creates a highlight edge that makes your subject stand out. I searched accessory maker Saxon PC for something cool…pre-made honeycomb grids made for your hot shoe flash! I know I know Prince, ‘I could just get the Honls or the Speedlight Pro Kit’ yeah you could…. but you’d be outta a WHOLE LOT MORE MONEY! These things are like $7 each and they are custom fitted with a foam jacket to mount onto your flash! The last I’ll say about them is that they’re very well made and I’ve already bought one for each of my flashes. Saxon PC* sells them in 65 degree spreads down to 10 degree spreads.
Okay, here’s the results of what you can do by adding the LumoPro LP120 to your system…
What have we learned? The LumoPro LP120 have given me a solid reason to carry only 1 large studio strobe for a main light and light everything else with 120’s. Its given me the confidence to go out on location and take 3 of them and wale away at my lighting challenges. Sure I don’t expect to overpower direct sunlight over a large area (pay attention to that statement and you will be able to think better about your hot shoe flashes), but I will have a powerful tool that I can take with me on location and always be in position to churn out some killer pics. Prognosis: The LP120 flash truly is the best new hot shoe flash out there for the: money, simplicity, and many ways to get it to fire! Get over to MPEX on June 22nd!!! They’ll have more LP120s for sale!!!! They keep running out for some reason!
P.S. Did I forget to tell you that I have video evidence of the LumoPro LP120 surviving a 5ft drop and kept flashing away for another 3hrs without a hitch? TAKE THAT!!
Special Note: If your running around with the Strobist mentality go invest a few bucks into the Saxon PC grids! They are absolutely a Godsend! They turn your hot shoe flashes into small paintbrushes. They give you the ability to light EXACTLY what you want. My use of the 30 degree grids should show you how useful they can be. In fact, anytime I pull my LP120’s, I’m looking for my invaluable saxon grids! Now there you have it… NO MORE EXCUSES! GET TA SHOOTIN!!!
-David Griffin for more info go to http://www.davidgriffinphotography.com/display
Special thanks to the Talented Hair and Makeup Talents of: Angel Prado, Albert Elinzondo, Rebecca Castro, Donna Figueroa, Rebecca “The Great” Deherrera and the entire European School of Makeup Staff!!!