e-Photo’s Beauty Dish:
Recently I purchased a 16″ Beauty Dish, from my friends at e-Photo. I love the engineered shape and design. It’ has a highly reflective silver interior that returns the maximum light from the Speedlights. I LOVE the mounting bracket that attaches to a standard light stand. For $60.00 this offers so many advantages over the DIY Beauty Dish and is something I would highly recommend. It comes with a sock or defuser, a speedring adapter and grids are available as options.
I must admit I am having a lot of fun with this Beauty Dish outdoors. But after using the Alien Bees, Beauty Dish with the flat white interior for so many years, I will need some time to acclimate myself to its power range. The highly reflective silver interior surface throws a lot of light on your subject!!
The center reflector on this Dish is fully adjustable and slides back and forth on it’s metal hangers. There are two indents to serve as stop guides, which I have not yet had the time to experiment with. I love using this Beauty Dish connected an SB-800 via an i-TTL cable. So far I’m very pleased when I shoot .07 of a stop under. I’ve had great luck using Nikon CLS in remote mode.
The e-Photo Beauty Dish w/Alien Bees 1600:
Very recently I shoot in my friends studio; Studio K, in Modesto CA. It’s a beautiful, spacious, modern facility very well equipped in the California central valley. If your ever looking for a rental studio in that area, I would highly recommend Studio K.
My buddy had taken the studio’s Beauty Dish out for a day shoot, but I had my new e-Photo dish in the car and decided to see what I could manage. The e-Photo 16″ silver Beauty Dish connected up to my Alien Bees 1600’s like it was designed for it. First, I really must say; WOW, I had no idea how much light my white Alien Bees Beauty Dish was eating… From the beginning I had to reduce the power down to about 1/3 on my AB 1600 (shooting at ISO 100 with the dish about 10′ from my model).
I managed to get the feathered lighting effect I love so much and it was exactly where I expected it. So aiming was easy and experienced no learning curve issues jumping from the AB 22″ white dish to the 16″ silver dish.
You realize all studio lighting has its own color shift? The color shift is usually much more prominent at lower output settings than it is at higher settings. I have not yet had the opportunity to shoot a color card and write a profile, but I will and update this review sometime soon.
Overall I was very happily surprised with the performance and effect from the e-Photo Beauty Dish when used in conjunction with my Alien Bees. I have no doubt this Beauty Dish would be very effective with lesser powered systems. From ten feet away in the studio I can still light a full body shot, so I haven’t noticed any negative effects from the 16 inch size. This Beauty Dish is easily maneuverable in the field because of it’s smaller size. You will need to sandbag your lightstands, this dish will catch wind just like it’s big brother…
The e-Photo Beauty Dish w/Nikon SB-800 Speedlight:
The setup I purchased from e-Photo is marketed for the Canon 550 and Nikon SB-800 series speedlights, but it appears to me that it will attach to virtually any hot-shoe mounted portable flash. The adjustment in the bracket (pictured above) easily accommodates from the very small through very large speedlights and portable flash systems.
Kristina was shot Rembrandt style (a single light, centered, 8″ above eye level), with my SB-800 connected directly to the camera through an i-TTL cable. OMG! I LOVE THIS SETUP!!! I have no idea why I decided to connect the i-TTL cable, but thank God, I did. I immediately went onto e-Bay and bought a 33′ i-TTL cable to extend the distance of the speedlight from the camera.
With the Speedlights I’m still seeing the magenta cast in the white balance and need to make a -3 correction in Camera Raw to compensate. No big deal! I quickly became accustom using this dish as a fill source and it’s another tool in my arsenal that I can not live without!
They offer a studio version of this Beauty Dish without the speedlight bracket and costs a few bucks less too. e-Photo has a speedring option available, you should consult them regarding studio strobe attachment.
In conclusion I guess I should list the Cons. I don’t see any with this particular Beauty Dish. IMHO all Beauty Dishes share a few disadvantages. They are bulky and difficult to pack for transportation. You do not ever want to dent a Beauty Dish. Loss of it’s shape will undoubtedly effect the light on your subject. The #1 disadvantage to owning a Beauty Dish is: Models will quickly become addicted to the flattering light, insisting that you shoot at all hours of the day 🙂