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| p.1 #1 · Westcott Rapid 2 light kit and Phottix Mitros - quick thoughts |
So lately I have been doing more location style shooting with Speedlights, and I was using my Lastolite 24x24 McNally model softbox because its white inside and not silver and an Impact 15x15 silver interior softbox. Both with grids at times. Both softboxes fold similarly, both use the identical sort of bracket and both consequently can be a pain to carry around. I have sprung the tension wire gizmo more than once on them too as I tried to quick fold and break them down after shooting. I wondered if something better was out there.
I have a few older SB-800 flashes which I love and a newer SB-910 and I use PocketWizard TT1/TT5's to trigger it all. I like to use CLS too but it limits me. I augment all this with a few 560 II's from Yongnuo. I use them as optical slaves to light backgrounds, with gels for color, or when in a chef's kitchen for some environmental stuff, mounted over the fryer on a Justin clamp in case it fell. No need to fry a Nikon flash that way.
I have been intrigued by the Rapid Box though. I kept hearing about the very soft, "painted on" look of light it produced. How quick they folded. Easy to use. Right now there is an entire kit on sale now, the 26" octa, a 10x24 strip, cases, stands, deflector, and a bigger case to haul it all around. I have not used it for work yet, just around the house with the pets, christmas trees, outside in dull mid day winter light and that sort of thing. Here is what I know so far:
-1) the light is soft; really nice. I'm looking forward to using it soon. On a shoot with a lawyer and more work with a chef in her kitchens and restaurant.
-2) its very portable and very very easy to use. The Lastolite wasn't huge, but it is odd shaped folded and the Rapid box is more rapid and much easier to carry.
-3) the build is pleasantly stout. Not like a Elinchrom, Profoto or Chimera softbox but not flimsy either. The brackets for the flash border on genius. I love them.
So thats the Rapid Box...why would I be using a Mitros with the 3 Nikon flashes and a couple of yongnuo's? Well I also use 7' parabolic umbrella's, a few PLM umrellas and other modifiers and like to gang up several flashes in them at times. But I could still use another flash or two as a kicker or fill and prefer for them to have TTL ability. The Mitros are half the price of the Sb-910. And, as I learned they work just as well. They do CLS, they do PocketWizard CTL and they are pretty much a one for one swap. They have 3.5mm plugs, which I like better. They come with an adapter so I can plug my external battery pack from Nikon into it. Comes with a "stylish" dome attachment. The build is as good as any Nikon, the swivel action well damped and the menu and LCD panel are easy to use and understand. Two year warranty too. Wow. Its an impressive package when you open the box, pull out the nice case and see all the cool stuff included. Works for me. Once I shot with the unit, I was sold. I have another on the way. I can use one as a commander with CLS if needed since the light pulse is directional now due to the swivel head. Renders my SU-800 almost useless. All in all a nice unit.
I think the Strobist, David Hobby, wrote about the Mitros a while back. Something to the effect that Nikon better watch it given the features, build and price. I'm a believer now too.