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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


For the past 2 years or so I have been using Adorama's 86" Silver Parabolic Umbrella and I absolutely love it.

They recently dropped their 86" translucent white parabolic umbrella to $40 and I am really wanting to pick it up, but I wanted to get some input prior to pulling the trigger.

I have used shoot through umbrellas in a reflective configuration before, and it works, just with about 2 stops less power than using a traditional reflective umbrella, and with the light also going through the umbrella there's plenty of bounce, so it's a completely different beast altogether... but it's parabolic in nature, so the output from the shape should be increased - similar to how my silver para adds about a stop, should I expect an extra stop from the translucent? Does the parabolic shape hinder shoot-through capabilities? It'd also be nice to put 4 speedlites in a 4-square bracket, and have a massive, soft, portable system.

At the end of the day it's $40 for a freaking 7 foot umbrella, so I'm going to get it, but I'd like to see others' opinions. I'd use it as a reflective parabolic umbrella, a shoot through, and as a 7 foot 1 stop diffusion panel to cut down daylight, so it's a lot of shit for $40.
Aug 28 13 12:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,164
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


you need specular reflection to get the benefits of the parabolic shape, so it won't make any difference when you use it as a shoot-through umbrella. you may get a slight boost when using it as a reflective umbrella, if the material has a shiny surface.
Aug 28 13 02:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ThomasBlanchardFineArt
Posts: 213
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US


You will probably find the best use of the translucent outside to diffuse the sun on your subject wink. Works great.
Aug 28 13 04:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dan Howell Tearsheets
Posts: 572
Jersey City, New Jersey, US


-JAY- wrote:
At the end of the day it's $40 for a freaking 7 foot umbrella, so I'm going to get it, but I'd like to see others' opinions. I'd use it as a reflective parabolic umbrella, a shoot through, and as a 7 foot 1 stop diffusion panel to cut down daylight, so it's a lot of shit for $40.

re. outdoor use, I would look at the differences between this one and the ones that are made for outdoor use. One gust of wind could make the Adorama one a single-use item. The Photek Sunbuster looks to be much more rugged. Mine is essentially a beach umbrella (sand spike and all) with translucent skin. I have the 72".

Aug 28 13 04:24 am  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Dan Howell Tearsheets wrote:

re. outdoor use, I would look at the differences between this one and the ones that are made for outdoor use. One gust of wind could make the Adorama one a single-use item. The Photek Sunbuster looks to be much more rugged. Mine is essentially a beach umbrella (sand spike and all) with translucent skin. I have the 72".

My 86" silver one works well outside, and has for years. Just curious about the light performance of this one.

Aug 28 13 07:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mauro Luna
Posts: 82
Houston, Texas, US


Months ago I bought two of those suckers.

I later bought paul buff's spill kill.
Fun to use, depending on how much space you have to mount it. LOL

http://www.paulcbuff.com/plm.php
Aug 28 13 10:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chuckarelei
Posts: 9,250
Seattle, Washington, US


-JAY- wrote:
For the past 2 years or so I have been using Adorama's 86" Silver Parabolic Umbrella and I absolutely love it.

They recently dropped their 86" translucent white parabolic umbrella to $40 and I am really wanting to pick it up, but I wanted to get some input prior to pulling the trigger.

I have used shoot through umbrellas in a reflective configuration before, and it works, just with about 2 stops less power than using a traditional reflective umbrella, and with the light also going through the umbrella there's plenty of bounce, so it's a completely different beast altogether... but it's parabolic in nature, so the output from the shape should be increased - similar to how my silver para adds about a stop, should I expect an extra stop from the translucent? Does the parabolic shape hinder shoot-through capabilities? It'd also be nice to put 4 speedlites in a 4-square bracket, and have a massive, soft, portable system.

At the end of the day it's $40 for a freaking 7 foot umbrella, so I'm going to get it, but I'd like to see others' opinions. I'd use it as a reflective parabolic umbrella, a shoot through, and as a 7 foot 1 stop diffusion panel to cut down daylight, so it's a lot of shit for $40.

I might just go order one. $40?! That's cheap. Even I have no need/use of it. But just putting in the studio as a fixture is worth the $40.

Aug 28 13 11:05 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
welschvideo
Posts: 143
La Crosse, Wisconsin, US


I just ordered one, will report back with results.
Aug 28 13 11:57 am  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Chuckarelei wrote:
I might just go order one. $40?! That's cheap. Even I have no need/use of it. But just putting in the studio as a fixture is worth the $40.

If I had a brick and mortar studio, I'd have one set up at all times in the corner for the fancy factor. big_smile

It may be juvenile, but I giggle a little bit when models say "Oh wow, it's so big" when I open up my 86" silver on location, lol.

Aug 28 13 12:52 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Gonna pick one up today - seems like so many people use it as a shoot through, but then what's the purpose of it being parabolic? But I have seen one or two people state they used it as a white reflective umbrella, but didn't comment on how the power changed sad
Aug 28 13 01:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hi_Spade Photography
Posts: 897
Darlington, South Carolina, US


-JAY- wrote:
Gonna pick one up today - seems like so many people use it as a shoot through, but then what's the purpose of it being parabolic? But I have seen one or two people state they used it as a white reflective umbrella, but didn't comment on how the power changed sad

I think they meant a diffuser? Not sure it would reflect more than a regular white reflector (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Aug 28 13 01:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,803
Miami Beach, Florida, US


-JAY- wrote:
Gonna pick one up today - seems like so many people use it as a shoot through, but then what's the purpose of it being parabolic? But I have seen one or two people state they used it as a white reflective umbrella, but didn't comment on how the power changed sad
Hi_Spade Photography wrote:
I think they meant a diffuser? Not sure it would reflect more than a regular white reflector (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Yeah, this whole thread has been a little confusing to me. A shoot through umbrella (of any kind, parabolic or no) will defuse light, not focus it. And it will reduce the transmitted light substantially (shooting through any fabric is going to cut the transmitted light). Now if it has some reflective qualities, and you are using it like a standard umbrella (not a shoot through), it will still produce less light on the subject simply because some of it is being transmitted through the umbrella and not being reflected.

Paul Buff companies do have a large shoot through umbrella as part of their PLM system (it's called a Japanese Lantern). I have used two 86" white PLM's with the back spill kill panel to light a room, and with it's very defused light it provided a very uniform lighting solution. They also offer a reflective case to go around the white PLM which then turns it into a parabolic reflector, but it is not as efficient as the standard large PLM parabolic umbrella.

John
Sponsored Photographer for Paul C. Buff Companies. (Alien Bees, White Lightning, Zeus, and Einstein)
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida 330139
(305) 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com

Aug 28 13 01:58 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Hi_Spade Photography wrote:
I think they meant a diffuser? Not sure it would reflect more than a regular white reflector (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Since its parabolic in shape, it **should** put out more light when used in a reflective configuration (and not shot through) when compared to a traditional translucent umbrella... but havent found any real world data.

Aug 28 13 01:59 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


John Fisher wrote:

-JAY- wrote:
Gonna pick one up today - seems like so many people use it as a shoot through, but then what's the purpose of it being parabolic? But I have seen one or two people state they used it as a white reflective umbrella, but didn't comment on how the power changed sad

Yeah, this whole thread has been a little confusing to me. A shoot through umbrella (of any kind, parabolic or no) will defuse light, not focus it. And it will reduce the transmitted light substantially (shooting through any fabric is going to cut the transmitted light). Now if it has some reflective qualities, and you are using it like a standard umbrella (not a shoot through), it will still produce less light on the subject simply because some of it is being transmitted through the umbrella and not being reflected.

Paul Buff companies do have a large shoot through umbrella as part of their PLM system (it's called a Japanese Lantern). I have used two 86" white PLM's with the back spill kill panel to light a room, and with it's very defused light it provided a very uniform lighting solution. They also offer a reflective case to go around the white PLM which then turns it into a parabolic reflector, but it is not as efficient as the standard large PLM parabolic umbrella.

John
Sponsored Photographer for Paul C. Buff Companies. (Alien Bees, White Lightning, Zeus, and Einstein)
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida 330139
(305) 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com

Since translucent umbrellas can be shot through and reflected, i am just curious as to if the parabolic nature of the umbrella negages some of the light lost while reflecting. It could be more powerful to reflect than to shoot through if this is true - making this a super cheap, super big modifier that doesnt eat any power (lose a stop from light lost going through, gakn a stop from shape, if it does work)

But from what i have seen, nobody has really tested it like this that I can find.

Aug 28 13 02:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sablesword
Posts: 70
Gurnee, Illinois, US


I got the Paul Buff white PLMs a couple of years ago intending to use them as big shoot-through umbrellas. I ended up getting the back covers and using them more as big white bounce umbrellas. Either way, they work well as big modifiers providing fluffy clouds of light for not too much money.

http://www.paulcbuff.com/plm-competitor.php gives an idea of how the silver PLMs do focus, and how the white ones don't.
Aug 28 13 05:34 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Sablesword wrote:
http://www.paulcbuff.com/plm-competitor.php gives an idea of how the silver PLMs do focus, and how the white ones don't.

Thanks for that - but look... the silver PLM put out f/8 + 8/10 and the flashpoint white shoot through (reflected) did f/8 + 1/10 - just a little more than half a stop (when shoot through eats a stop or more) ... this is the kind of stuff I was looking for, thanks.

Now that I'm looking at PCB's umbrella, it's also $40 with the umbrella shaft... hrm.

Aug 28 13 06:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJScalzitti
Posts: 12,197
Atlanta, Georgia, US


I am with the rest on this, those words don't work together.  If its translucent then the shape doesn't matter, unless maybe it has a cover like a convertable one?
Aug 28 13 06:50 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


AJScalzitti wrote:
I am with the rest on this, those words don't work together.  If its translucent then the shape doesn't matter, unless maybe it has a cover like a convertable one?

Other brands have a cover, so I can see that - that's why I was curious... why take the extra effort to have the shape if the shape doesn't do anything?

Aug 28 13 06:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Green Grape
Posts: 270
West Paterson, New Jersey, US


best bet is to stick with a wescott 7 footer. cost you $99 though. you will be happy.
Aug 28 13 06:56 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Green Grape Photography wrote:
best bet is to stick with a wescott 7 footer. cost you $99 though. you will be happy.

Why is that the best bet?

Aug 28 13 06:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Green Grape
Posts: 270
West Paterson, New Jersey, US


-JAY- wrote:

Why is that the best bet?

The Quality. The Black Cover. Maximize your light strength. Very Durable. Amazing coverage

Aug 28 13 07:04 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Green Grape Photography wrote:

The Quality. The Black Cover. Maximize your light strength. Very Durable. Amazing coverage

The above link comparing translucent umbrellas show similar quality, with identical power output (f/8'1) and coverage (150°) and I didn't see a black cover on the translucent model, just the white model.

Aug 28 13 07:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Green Grape
Posts: 270
West Paterson, New Jersey, US


-JAY- wrote:

The above link comparing translucent umbrellas show similar quality, with identical power output (f/8'1) and coverage (150°) and I didn't see a black cover on the translucent model, just the white model.

http://www.amazon.com/Westcott-4632-Dif … t+umbrella

Aug 28 13 07:15 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Yeah - that's the translucent one, with no black cover. I don't see anything here that makes it worth 2.5 times the cost of the alienbee or flashpoint ones.

Aug 28 13 07:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Green Grape
Posts: 270
West Paterson, New Jersey, US


-JAY- wrote:

Yeah - that's the translucent one, with no black cover. I don't see anything here that makes it worth 2.5 times the cost of the alienbee or flashpoint ones.

from what i read in your post, you have silver?
now the price dropped to & you want white?
Soft white all together right, with 4 speed lights?

I'm guessing you shoot maybe 10-15ft away from your subject with a lower f stop being as though you want to use 4 speed lights.

wescotts material is much better to give you the soft light you are looking for especially with 4 speed lights. 

if i am not making any sense to you, ignore me & i apologize

Aug 28 13 07:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
FJG Photography
Posts: 167
Indianapolis, Indiana, US


-JAY- wrote:
Yeah - that's the translucent one, with no black cover. I don't see anything here that makes it worth 2.5 times the cost of the alienbee or flashpoint ones.

There's a reason the Flashpoint one is $40.  I ordered one.  It's built really crappy. The umbrella diffusion material is thin, the metal shaft bends easily...way too easily and the over all build is just cheap.  No carrying case just a thin plastic clear sleeve.  No way the Flashpoint was going to last very long with use.  Luckily UPS did a number on the shipping box and it arrived slightly damaged.  I emailed Adorama and sent them pics and they gave me a store credit plus told me to keep the umbrella. So I got it for free otherwise it was absolutely going back....damaged or not. I bent it back into shape the best I could so I'll use it as is but I don't expect it to last long. 

I then went to my local camera store and compared it to the Westcott version.  The Westcott is much better quality in every aspect.  Plus the Westcott comes with a decent quality storage/carrying case. I don't know if I can say it's actually 2.5 times worth the price but it is certainly a higher quality build.

Had I not gotten the Flashpoint for free I was definitely going to return it and purchase the Westcott version even if it was 2.5 times more expensive.  I at least had some faith the Westcott would last much longer after seeing it in person.  When the Flashpoint gets trashed, and it will, I'll be purchasing the Westcott one.

Aug 28 13 07:53 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Green Grape Photography wrote:

from what i read in your post, you have silver?
now the price dropped to & you want white?
Soft white all together right, with 4 speed lights?

I'm guessing you shoot maybe 10-15ft away from your subject with a lower f stop being as though you want to use 4 speed lights.

wescotts material is much better to give you the soft light you are looking for especially with 4 speed lights. 

if i am not making any sense to you, ignore me & i apologize

The test in the link above show the same power output when using the Flashpoint brand I linked in the OP and the Westcott - both putting out f/8 + 1/10, with the same 150° spread - I just don't see any "much better" in anything I am seeing online.

Aug 28 13 07:56 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


FJG Photography wrote:

There's a reason the Flashpoint one is $40.  I ordered one.  It's built really crappy. The umbrella diffusion material is thin, the metal shaft bends easily...way too easily and the over all build is just cheap.  No carrying case just a thin plastic clear sleeve.  No way the Flashpoint was going to last very long with use.  Luckily UPS did a number on the shipping box and it arrived slightly damaged.  I emailed Adorama and sent them pics and they gave me a store credit plus told me to keep the umbrella. So I got it for free otherwise it was absolutely going back....damaged or not. I bent it back into shape the best I could so I'll use it as is but I don't expect it to last long. 

I then went to my local camera store and compared it to the Westcott version.  The Westcott is much better quality in every aspect.  Plus the Westcott comes with a decent quality storage/carrying case. I don't know if I can say it's actually 2.5 times worth the price but it is certainly a higher quality build.

Had I not gotten the Flashpoint for free I was definitely going to return it and purchase the Westcott version even if it was 2.5 times more expensive.  I at least had some faith the Westcott would last much longer after seeing it in person.

I've had the silver Flashpoint for the past 2 years, and it's been fantastic for me. If the quality of the silver is good for me, I would assume the quality of the translucent would also be good for me.

Aug 28 13 07:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
FJG Photography
Posts: 167
Indianapolis, Indiana, US


-JAY- wrote:

I've had the silver Flashpoint for the past 2 years, and it's been fantastic for me. If the quality of the silver is good for me, I would assume the quality of the translucent would also be good for me.

Cool...buy it.  Not sure what answer you are looking for other than for people to agree with you to buy the Flashpoint.

Aug 28 13 07:58 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


FJG Photography wrote:
Cool...buy it.  Not sure what answer you are looking for other than for people to agree with you to buy the Flashpoint.

This is not a flashpoint vs westcott thread, and never has been. Nor is it a thread to convince me to buy it, I pretty much decided in the OP.

This thread is about reflective qualities of translucent umbrellas, and whether or not the parabolic shape was negated by the translucent quality of the fabric. It was derailed by a "just get a westcott" post.

Aug 28 13 07:59 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Should arrive Saturday!

Along with a quad-flash square bracket to attach four YN560II flashes. It's going to be a fun weekend.
Aug 29 13 07:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Westdahl Studio
Posts: 331
Seattle, Washington, US


-JAY- wrote:

If I had a brick and mortar studio, I'd have one set up at all times in the corner for the fancy factor. big_smile

It may be juvenile, but I giggle a little bit when models say "Oh wow, it's so big" when I open up my 86" silver on location, lol.

Moi aussi!

Aug 29 13 08:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hi_Spade Photography
Posts: 897
Darlington, South Carolina, US


-JAY- wrote:
Should arrive Saturday!

Along with a quad-flash square bracket to attach four YN560II flashes. It's going to be a fun weekend.

Jay please keep us posted with some pics you take with this. I, for one am very interested in seeing them.

Aug 29 13 08:14 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Hi_Spade Photography wrote:

Jay please keep us posted with some pics you take with this. I, for one am very interested in seeing them.

Probably take a couple weeks to go over enough situations to give it a thorough go-through.

Also really looking forward to playing with the 4-flash bracket.

Aug 29 13 09:06 pm  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 6,187
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Hi_Spade Photography wrote:

Jay please keep us posted with some pics you take with this. I, for one am very interested in seeing them.

Just got it in, and should be using it tomorrow.

It should be a fun new modifier.

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/4way2.jpg

Sep 07 13 12:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,137
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


-JAY- wrote:
Just got it in, and should be using it tomorrow.

It should be a fun new modifier.

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/4way2.jpg

In Victoria, that becomes a Parasail in a heart beat.
But, cool.

Also offsite there have been recommendations to pay the extra money and buy PCB.

Do NOT buy PCB at the current time, until they fix the manufacture issues. PCB 60" PLM's made in the last year fall apart, even with minimal use indoors. Bad wire holding the struts in place. You do not get your moneys worth, as you only get 2-5 uses before they break.

Sep 07 13 05:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Right Poes
Posts: 832
Colorado Springs, Colorado, US


Jay I just purchased both the translucent and the silver reflector both in 86. Haven't really gotten to use either of them to much yet. I fussed around the garage tonight with the silver. its pretty big for that use but I thingk I'm going to love it for full body shots.
I have to say these are alright by me for the price. I like to store them back in the plastic sleeves they come in but I have noticed you have to be careful or the fiberglass poles over lap each other and can be all caught up in each other when opening.
Sep 07 13 09:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
cwwmbm
Posts: 388
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Herman Surkis wrote:

In Victoria, that becomes a Parasail in a heart beat.
But, cool.

Also offsite there have been recommendations to pay the extra money and buy PCB.

Do NOT buy PCB at the current time, until they fix the manufacture issues. PCB 60" PLM's made in the last year fall apart, even with minimal use indoors. Bad wire holding the struts in place. You do not get your moneys worth, as you only get 2-5 uses before they break.

That's not true.

Sep 07 13 11:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
pdxROCKpix
Posts: 117
Hillsboro, Oregon, US


They will not focus or increase the light level. They also do not come with covers. They are shoot thru. As far as the build quality they compare pretty good to the more expensive ones and I would bet that a reasonable wind would TKO either brand when used outside.

I have 2 of them and love them. The three most recent shots in my port were done with an umbrella on either side about three feet away and a 60" octa in front about 4 feet away. Tons of light, completely even coverage on the white background paper. Awesome setup.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130829/01/521f001456342_m.jpg
Sep 08 13 12:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,137
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


When recommending PCB PLM's, please note this thread. It might put some qualifiers on the recommendations.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=901212
Sep 09 13 04:39 pm  Link  Quote 
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