05 Jul

Episode 6 of 1 minute 101's v2

Modifier attachments, and the Bowens S-Type.

I've spoken so much about Bowens fit for modifiers already in some of these previous blogs accompanying the 101's, and as mentioned in this video, the Bowens S-Fit, or S-Type if you prefer, are my favoured attachments and what power (not literally, err, hold?) all our mods here at Splash Point Photo photography studio.  

Back when I was assisting a lot on the hair awards gigs and what not with Rafa, he used to use Elinchrom, and I really never liked the attachments!  I can't remember why to be honest, maybe at this point I was already so used to the Bowen S-fit that I just had no reason to care for something different.. or maybe it was just a faff?  I reckon it was a faff because I've avoided them since.  You tell me!?  Have you used Elinchrom recently, and how did you get on with it?  

Anyways, Bowens and Elinchrom fit are the two that even most of the other strobe light manufactures want their lights and mods to be compatible with.  The 3rd party companies who only specialise in modifiers, or are hoping to be the next Godox or Neewer in the lighting game; some of them are savvy enough to be creating converters solely for other companies 'fits' to adjust to Bowens etc, because there's sales to be had.  There's a demand because there's just so many different and readily available mod options under the Bowens and Elinchrom fit umbrella already, so along with the ease of use and sturdiness, this means that most lighting companies have made their strobes compatible solely with those two modifier fits.  And thus, with so many that are already producing them, and the newer companies still basing their business models around them, it can only mean that the mod market only gets more crowded with higher competition, so then the prices in turn are kept more competitive, and that's despite new tech as the world gets older, and thus the quality gets better down at the budget end too.  It just makes sense to go there to future-proof your self, even if, well, especially if, you're on a budget - unless of course something radical changes in the game of lighting attachments!  

 A Bowens (or 3rd party Bowens fit) speedring.

Any lighting companies with their own 'fit' are playing with fire and limiting their audience of established photographers, or they're just hoping to do an Apple and fully monopolise their standing in the industry.. and that requires a little arrogance and a lot of fanboys to get on board.  In reality, a converter will just be made and sold by someone 3rd party to gloss over the problem, assuming of course that company has not trademarked their attachment mechanism to try and get around that happening.  It's just not a very intelligent or inclusive thing to do unless you believe your product is unrivalled.   As seen in the video, we have a few converters here for both the cheap unbranded strobes, but equally the Broncolors.  Broncolor consider themselves to be somewhat, I duno, the Armani of the photography world - and as suggested above, they consider themselves a premium brand that don't care whether you find them convenient, expansive or compatible.  Like Apple, you buy an insanely expensive piece of kit, and then you have to buy an insanely expensive modifier to make the most of it.  

An Einchrom (or 3rd party Einchrom fit) Speedring

Premium as Broncolor may wish to seem, and as also mentioned in the video, I actually genuinely prefer the quality of light from the Bowens! #sorryphotographygods, but it’s true! If I have a plug socket nearby, I will reach for the Bowens over the Bronnies any day, but they do have a particular type of client, and unlike Bowens who struggled and then liquidated because cheaper Chinese based manufactures who use their s-fit attachments were getting better and more competitive in the photography game but on a smaller budget; Broncolor I imagine have theirs tied up. They have little competition from else where, such is their market of full on editorial working pros and their sky-high price point. While we're talking modifier fits though, the Broncolor attachment is actually really horrible by the way, and it doesn't feel premium in my mind. It's fiddly and just spins on its axis constantly. Maybe they see this as convenient as speedrings often have that option so you can spin the box on the fly, but it just makes it feel loose to operat, and it isn't as tactile and as satisfying as the s-fit to use.  Even if it isn't trademarked, it probably doesn't have too much of a budget following to make it worth the while the smaller companies to make light mods solely for Broncolor, or from say Bowens to Broncolor - I mean, who is gonna own a Broncolor modifier that doesn't own a Broncolor?

A Broncolor to Bowens converter (as seen in the video).

Let's talk speedrings!

So you've read all that and are still confused, so then let's do a jargon buster.  Whereas metal dish type modifiers (reflector and beauty dishes) will have their attachment built in; the basis of every soft box (y'know, those big rectangular and octagonal things that some non photographers assume are the lights themselves) are all based around speedrings.  Those holes and protrudes around the side on the above speedrings, they're where small flexible (but frustratingly never flexible enough and will have your eye out) poles slide in to, and then they shape and push out a big reflective box that is covered by a white light suppressor to spread the light evenly and, err, 'soft'ly - hey presto, a soft box!  It's like a tent that attaches to your light, and the speedring is where you find the all important compatible attachment and is the base of the box.  A converter is simply where a speedring of one brand changes to that of another brand so you haven't got to buy a whole new speedring, which in reality most are so box specific, that you may as well buy a whole new attachment than go down that route.

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