Difference in reflectors

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Kofman13, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    I need to get reflectors for an upcoming shoot. I looked around for prices and found some affordable ones, brand name. Then started looking on eBay and found 48" reflectors 5-in-1 colors ( translucent gold silver etc) for $15-$20. Roughly half of brand name prices. What's the difference between brand name reflectors and cheap ones online. Seems to me there aren't many? The concept of a reflector Is really simple?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Off the top of my head, the cheaper ones may not be truly color neutral, which may or may not be an issue.
    Also, the quality of the material & construction may be different...which may or may not be an issue.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yup, as on so many issues, Big Mike is spot on...color neutrality of a LOT of the Chinese-made lighting equipment is sketchy...I saw a comparison done by a lighting forum member in another forum, comparing the Lastolilte tri-fold refelctor with a Chinese knock-off....UGH!!!!! The Chinese imitation looked awful....horrible color match with the Lastolite stuff....very cold, purple-ish hues from the Chinese-made units...

    I found the same thing with a pair of imitation Chinese umbrella boxes I got off of eBay..the Lastolites offered beautiful,neutral whites, the Chinese-made $18 umbrellas gave purple-ish color....total "cvap"...I learned a lesson on that one. Synthetic UV enhancers are the culprit--they cause material to look extra-white to the HUMAN eye, but cameras and film react to their weird UV-exuding pigmentation...one of the things people, people look for is "whiteness",and UV-enhanced white fabric looks nice and "white", but cameras and film can often react badly to excessive amounts of Ultraviolet...try a Nikon D2h and watch that cam's excessive UV sensitivity skew colors out the ying-yang...same with Leica M-8 digitals...

    A company that has a brand and a reputation to maintain has, well, a brand and a reputation that they protect at all costs...this stuff coming in from China is OEM'd to whoever wants it, and it seems like the consistency and quality is quite variable....sometimes good, other times, not so good. The photog who compared the Chinese Lastolite imitating refelector had samples that showed absolutely terrible color matching between the Lastolite "genuine article" and the e-Bay reflectors...it was so bad that white balancing was just not possible. When something throws off your white balance by 1,000 degrees Kelvin, it's "cvap"...
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  4. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. Ok but what about size? And what's the difference between gold white an silver ones? I'm shooting one person. Mostly portrait shots a few full body
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have to give a thumbsup for Lastolite as well. I got their Tri-Grip reflector and can honestly say it was worth the money FOR ME. I can easily handle the reflector in my left hand and shoot with the right.

    I bought one of the 5-in-1 early on. It worked okay, but it was cheap, not easily handled even on its on. But, it was a start and wasn't that expensive.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I simply do not like gold reflectors...they cast a warm glow in the foreground, but the background light is always "colder". I think silver is a better choice than gold,almost all the time, but I actually prefer white over silver, for its neutrality. Silver,however, offers more specularity, and "may" give some nice eye-sparkle when a white,flat reflector will not give nearly as much "sparkle".

    Size??? I like 42x72 ish....as big as a doorway, or 48x48...square or rectangular has much more area, per dimension, than round. For close-in, headshots and stuff, smaller refelctors work, but for full-body, you really need a BIG reflector for maximum utility. I honestly think that the 42x72 inch size is the one you want for "serious" work, especially full-length work...it takes a pretty big size to actually cut the mustard on full-body.

    If you really want to have some light, a 72x72 inch square is pretty much awesome, but you'll need an assistant, sandbags, and turf spikes and two quality light stands to make sure it does not fly away in the wind, or some combination of those things.
     
  7. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    Well most of shots will be just head or from pelvis\stomach up. So I'm thinking 42 or 48" to start... Silver and white
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'd suggest one of those 5-in-1 deals. Like Derrel, I'm not a fan of the gold and usually use white...but the best use for these things is often not as reflectors at all...but diffusers....with is #5.

    If you can hold up a good sized diffusion panel between your subject and the sun, you have top quality light.
     
  9. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    :thumbup: Bingo!!!
     
  10. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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    So you mean get a 5-in-1 cheap eBay thing?
     
  11. Kofman13

    Kofman13 TPF Noob!

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