Lighting tools are essential to controlling your light source. I love lighting modifiers and with my strobes, I always seem to use an Octa Box as well as a beauty dish. With a studio strobe, you have a lot of power to use an Octa Box as they typically are large modifiers, however I recently picked up a brilliant lighting modifier that I can see replacing my convertible umbrella for editorial portraits and beyond.
I shoot a lot of portraits and often do editorial portraits around New York City. When I travel to these shoots, I’m flying solo with a minimal amount of gear and typically on the subway. Anyone who’s been to NYC knows that the subways are totally jammed and that there’s a ton of stairs and walking involved in getting around town. As versatile as a convertible umbrella may be, it’s a pretty large and long object to be carrying around hanging out of a backpack.
Flash to the Chimera Octa Beauty. This puppy folds down into a 18″ carry sack which is amazing for getting around town. The build quality is fantastic. Made in Boulder, CO USA, you can really see and feel the difference in quality of materials compared to most of the stuff that’s coming out of China. Takes only a few minutes to set up and is nice and light weight. Build quality aside, this little modifier packs a serious punch! Absolutely stunning light and gorgeous catch lights. I can easily see keeping this modifier on axis for the catchlights and adding a second light off axis for shaping and fill, however on it’s own, it kicks ass as a one-light off-camera setup. That and it accepts virtually any speedlite. It’s a bit pricey, but then again, you’re paying for the superior build quality. Unlike a cheap convertible umbrella that you’ll replace every few months, the Chimera’s build quality will ensure it lasts a good long time.
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