Deeppara90 "Parabolic reflector" and central focusing pole thoughts and mini review

Started 9 months ago | User reviews thread
Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 12,590
Unique qualities of paras
1

Good on ya for doing this kind of careful testing and sharing the results. I'll just add a couple of considerations that seem missing.

First, the "hardness" of light is largely determined by the size of the source as seen from the subject's position. Thus, a large focused para in close can create soft highlight/shadow transitions, despite the collimated nature of the light. I use a 5' Paul C Buff PLM this way for portraits. The light, as you say, does look "sunny", i.e. contrasty, due to the shiny silver surface of my PLM. But, it also looks soft, thanks to the large size of the PLM. This makes a fairly unique look. You don't often see contrasty and soft together, at least not indoors.

Second, one nice benefit of a focused para is that the inverse square law doesn't apply (well, hardly), because the light doesn't spread much with distance from the source. As a result, a subject 6' from the source gets almost exactly the same intensity of light as one 3' from it. This is handy with group portraits where the light is off-axis, since the people at varying distances from the light get the same exposure.

Finally, as with a conventional mod with a grid, the off-axis focused para enables you to substantially limit spill on a backdrop positioned some distance behind the subject(s).

The PLMs are dirt-cheap and very effective. Anyone who wants to explore the unique qualities of paras would do well to get a large silver one.

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"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." - George Bernard Shaw
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