Review Initial Review of the Lencarta Safari 600 ringflash and head.

Messages
7,649
Name
Edward Bray
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
On Thursday evening I received my Lencarta Safari 600 powerpack and ringflash kit along with an additional Safari 600 powerpack head.



On opening the kit I was very impressed with the quality of the case, the supplied powerpack, faster battery charge adapter (you can also charge the battery in the powerpack although it is slower), mains adapter/charger and the ringflash itself. Yes the ringflash body is made of plastic, but can you imagine how heavy it would all be if made of metal? And, it is big. 19cms diameter with a 10cm diameter aperture for your lens to fit through. Also supplied was a radio trigger and a normal sync lead. I was disappointed to find that there was no instructions included other than how to put the ringflash components together to make the framework, although Garry Edwards did advise me that they were available to download from the website.

The picture below shows the ringflash head fitted to my 30D with the 100mm Macro and hood attached. I works and feels very good in this mode.



This is the models eye view of the ringflash unit.



I was pleased to discover yesterday that at ISO 50 and with the ringflash on its minimum power setting I could get 1:1 macro with my EF100 lens @ f32. As I did not have any means of making the flash power any lower I cut a piece of paper to fit the ringflash and was delighted to find it gave me a drop of almost 2 full stops as well as a more diffused light, I also cut a piece of paper to cover falf the head and this allowed me to introduce some limited modelling. I have now placed an order for a number of various scrims and ** gels from Lee to make some modifiers to vary the light output even more, this I feel will make the ringflash even more versatile.

Macro shots taken yesterday posted here!

I decided to try the ringflash out this afternoon in what is laughingly called our garden, with the ambient light being broken cloud and sunny patches, I wanted to use the ringlight on full power to try to keep the backgrounds unobtrusive (my garden is not the prettiest I'm afraid).

These images were taken from about 10ft away ISO 100 @ f22 1/160sec with my 50mm f1.4 on the 5DMk2 this was to ensure the ambient light was subdued or better! Pressed ganged the grandchildren into helping (well actually I had to promise them a toy each if they did well).









Now you have to remember that these images were taken in relatively bright light at between 1pm and 1.30pm this afternoon, but look like they were taken in the late evening. This opens up some creative opportunities not usually possible with a portable on camera flash unit. the quality of the flash light itself seems very consistent and the powerpack head seems to recharge the capacitors very quickly. I had no trouble taking images that were consistently well exposed from the same place, this leads me to believe there is little variance in the flash power during use.
 
OP
OP
EdBray
Messages
7,649
Name
Edward Bray
Edit My Images
Yes
#2
Later this afternoon I talked the grandchildren into posing in order for me to try out the flash head that I purchased at the same time as the ringflash and works with the Safari Powerpack to give me a powerful portable flash head.

The box that brought the powerpack head had the powerpack head/cable with its protective cap, and a handle, no instructions, no reflector even though in the site information it states one is supplied. The head though does seems very well made, the body is made of metal, and the fittings look like they will survive regular use. I was disappointed to find no instructions for the Safari 600 Head in the box, and the instructions available on the website do not cover the head well.



I set the ringflash up on a small tripod to act as a background light and aimed it at my white lastolight type background as seen here.



I bounced the flash head into a large white (silver backed) umbrella and placed this about 5ft away from the models on their RHS, to their left I placed a pop up reflector to reflect some light back into their faces.





I have been using the powerpack all day and it still has not registered a reduction in charge, the powerpack has a LED battery charge remaining scale and it still shows fully charged.

My initail findings are that the products seem well made, there are a couple of issues but Garry is aware of them and has been very helpful in assisting me in sorting them out.

I am now looking to buy another head as I feel that a portable twin head outfit will be even more versatile. I will update this thread when my minor issues have been resolved, and I have used them a bit more to enable me to give a more objective review, but for now, quite pleased so far!
 
Messages
10,605
Name
Garry Edwards
Edit My Images
No
#3
Ed,
Thanks for posting this - very helpful.
With at least 10 times the power of a hotshoe flash, this gear is ideal for overpowering the sun, as you've found yourself. A friend of mine, who is a very famous fashion photographer has one, he intends to use it for just that (as well as using it for other outdoor shots where there's no power) and has promised some shots for the Lencarta website. As his models never seem to wear very much though, he tells me it will have to wait for better weather.:LOL:

Ed is right about the teething problems, the reflector that should have been included wasn't there and there was also a problem with the radio trigger, this has of course now been put right.
 
Messages
121
Edit My Images
No
#4
Thanks for a very informative review, Ed. I found it very useful. The only extra bit of info that you could perhaps have added would be the prices.
 
OP
OP
EdBray
Messages
7,649
Name
Edward Bray
Edit My Images
Yes
#5
Ed,
Thanks for posting this - very helpful.

Ed is right about the teething problems, the reflector that should have been included wasn't there and there was also a problem with the radio trigger, this has of course now been put right.
No problem!

I can confirm that Garry has been most helpful in sorting out my teething problems and I am very impressed with both the kit and the quality of Lencarta's and Garry's customer service.


Thanks for a very informative review, Ed. I found it very useful. The only extra bit of info that you could perhaps have added would be the prices.
The current price of the ringflash kit is £600 and the additional heads are £189 each.

I understand that in the near future there will be a 2 head & powerpack option too but there is currently no price for this. I would suspect that it will a great kit for those who wish to do studio pictures in customer's homes as well as external on-location shoots.

I am waiting to try my Safari 600 outfit with some models on Dartmoor, not a lot of electricity available in the middle of the moor so should be perfect for the situation.
 
Messages
121
Edit My Images
No
#6
The current price of the ringflash kit is £600 and the additional heads are £189 each.
Great. Thanks for the info.
I am waiting to try my Safari 600 outfit with some models on Dartmoor, not a lot of electricity available in the middle of the moor so should be perfect for the situation.
Cool. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I'm a fan of the overpowering the sun effect. You do see it a lot, but I still think it looks good.
 
Messages
10,605
Name
Garry Edwards
Edit My Images
No
#7
Well, Ed has now got the Lencarta Beauty Dish & diffuser as well, he emailed me last night to say that he will update this thread with some pics with it when he can.
A fantastic bit of kit for beauty fashion or glamour portaits because of the way it emphasises high cheekbones, and, with the diffuser fitted it produces a similar effect to a perfectly round softbox. One of my favourite tools.
Mind you, it takes a bit of practice to get the best from it. Quick tip: Position it high and directly in line with your subject, i.e. directly in front of wherever your subject's head is facing. See this short article on the Lencarta website
 
Messages
721
Name
Mart
Edit My Images
No
#8
Hi, I'm new to the forums and have been looking for realistic reports on the Lencarta pack and heads.
I did post on Flickr but have had no response! (UK strobist thread)
I am very interested in the pack and head, along with the ring flash. Its nice to see a good review. would love to try one out, but guess that I have to pay my money and take my chance.
Most of my shoots are location and I need more power that my SB800's will give me some of the time.
Would like to see the results with the head.

Cheers,

Mart.
 
Messages
10,605
Name
Garry Edwards
Edit My Images
No
#9
Mart,

Chester is a fair way from me (Bradford) but if you do get up to God's own county you're very welcome to come to my studio by arrangement to give it any test you like.
If you can't make it any if nobody in your own area can help you out then you won't be taking much of a risk buying unseen because there's a 30 day cooling off period on all Lencarta equipment.
It has about 10 x the power of your SB800.
 
Messages
721
Name
Mart
Edit My Images
No
#10
Garry, thanks for the offer, i may well take you up on it. Will be very interested when they have a 2 head kit with the power pack, that looks like the way forward for me.
Cheers,

Mart.
 
OP
OP
EdBray
Messages
7,649
Name
Edward Bray
Edit My Images
Yes
#11
Okay folks, an update on the Safari 600 powerpack heads.

Firstly after a little practising I have now worked out the controls on the heads themselves. These are identified in the picture below.



Side View



I managed to persuade my wife to sit for me again and took some further test shots with the new 70cm beauty dish to which I had added the diffuser this was on one of the Safari Powerpack heads on a boom stand just above and in front of my wife's head. The safari powerpack was set to the minimum setting which offered an aperture of f5.6, the second head was fitted to reduce the power ( by 50%) but as I do not yet have a standard reflector and the appropriate honeycombs was relegated to being aimed at a corner with the head protector in place.

In order to simulate the use of the second head firing through a honeycomb, I set up one of my Elinchrom BX400 lights with a honeycomb on a tall stand and aimed it at the top of my wife's head ensuring that no light fell on her shoulders (once I have my lencarta bits, i will use the two Safari 600 Heads to do the same thing).

i don't know what the rest of you think but I like the lighting on this and would definitely do it again. I will have to try it out on some assorted shaped models, but considering my wife is not exactly in her youth (she is a Grandmother after all) I do not think it is particularly unflattering. My wife also has this strange aversion to make-up and will not wear any, so the picture is au-natural, only PP is a crop, resize and a little sharpening for the web.



I have to say, I bought the Safari kit because of the ringflash, but I am loving the small portable Safari 600 heads immensely, I suspect I will be using them considerably more than both the ringflash and my Elinchrom BX400s in the future. I am seriously considering selling my 3 head BX400 outfit and replacing them with another pair of Safari 600 heads and another Safari powerpack.
 
Last edited:
Top