Westcott had a regular photographer’s playground set up at Photoshop World last week. Even though it had just announced the TD6 Spiderlite and new 7′ Parabolic umbrellas, there were plenty to be seen and put through the paces on the expo floor between the great classes at PSW.
One of the cool things that Westcott does for the attending photographers is set up several shooting stations with lights and live models to give everything a good run for your money.
The new Spiderlite TD6 lights were literally everywhere. At the main Westcott booth, there was usually a live seminar rolling with the instructor using 4 TD6 lights in a quasi-ring light configuration – or, otherwise cutting the two sides off for a more clamshell effect.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of constant lights for still photography. The one thing that I noticed about the TD6′s is that – even though they are more powerful than the TD5′s – you have to keep them close to your subject to keep you ISO low and shutter speed sufficiently high. In some cases, I had to bump the sensitivity up as high as ISO 1250 in order to get a 1/80 shutter speed at f/5.6; however, this was a setting where there was TD6 into a reflective umbrella that was a good bit away from the subject. While there’s a lot of light coming from the TD6, it’s still not as powerful as a comparably-priced monolight.
The good thing about the TD6 lights, however, is that they are daylight balanced and are cool fluorescents. If you fancy tungsten lights, or you want to use them in conjunction with tungsten practicals, you can get halogen lamps for the TD6 – although you’ll lose the “cool” moniker with those lamps.
The thing I was most excited to see from Westcott was that massive 7′ parabolic umbrella (you can see it in the top image in the top-left corner). That is one sexy light modifier. I was only able to see the silver reflective version in action, but it delivers when it comes to spreading the light around. The build quality seems to be very sound. The fiberglass ribs sure felt like a better design than the typical bending metal ribs. At $100, I think these are a pretty solid find. I only wish they had a convertible umbrella available. As it stands now, you have to buy a shoot-through or a reflective version. Still, $100 for a 7-foot modifier ain’t a bad deal.
If you’re a fan of constant lights, the TD6′s are going to be brighter than the TD5′s. And, if use any kind of artificial light in your shoots, you know that you want one of those 7′ parabolic umbrellas. You can find both via the links to B&H Photo below.
Finally, here are a few more photos from Westcott’s booth and studio setups on the expo floor.