SMART GUY

The debut of self-adjusting studio lights.

We often describe studio lighting with words like «bright» or «rugged.» Now, we frequently find ourselves adding the word «smart.»

Quantum Instruments’ most recent LED ring lights, the Omicron OM3 and OM4 ($698 and $689, street), feature Auto Lighting Track (ALT). With the help of a built-in lightmeter, ALT dims or brightens Omicron output as a subject moves toward or away from the light. Because LED ring light output falls off rather rapidly, working distances are fairly shallow, and the brightening and dimming is often subtle. ALT does, however, noticeably expand a subject’s freedom of movement.

A comparable system has evolved from a collaboration between Phase One, the Danish maker of digital backs and image processing software, and the Swedish lighting giant Profoto. It requires a supported Canon or Nikon DSLR or a Phase One digital back. This must be tethered to an Apple computer running Phase One’s Capture One Pro 7 software with the Profoto control plugin. You’ll also need a Profoto power pack with Wi-Fi control.

With these four elements in sync, as you change the aperture or ISO, the Capture One software automatically instructs the Profoto strobe(s) to brighten or dim output accordingly. While the Phase One/ Profoto system has a limited audience, it portends exciting things for the future of in-studio cross-talk among devices.

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