It’s a flashgun, it’s a continuous light source, and it’s going to revolutionise on-camera lighting. Meet the Rotolight NEO 2
British lighting manufacturer Rotolight has just hammered a nail into the coffin for hot-shoe flashguns with the launch of the NEO 2, a portable cameramountable light offering both continuous lighting and high speed sync flash (HSS).
Aimed squarely at both stills photographers and videographers, the NEO 2 offers a host of world firsts. It is the first hotshoe mount flash with dial-in colour temperature adjustment, enabling users to balance the NEO 2’s output precisely to the ambient lighting, or the camera’s WB settings, using the built-in kelvin display.
Unlike conventional flashguns the NEO 2 has no recycle time, so you can use it with your camera’s high speed burst mode, at shutter speeds up to 1/8,000sec, and it will fire continuously without missing a shot. No need to worry about running out of juice, either. Thanks to the relatively lower power consumption of LEDs compared with Xenon flash tubes, the NEO 2 offers unprecedented battery life, boasting around 85,000 full power flashes from a single set of AA batteries – compared with an average of 200 from most speedlights.
Continuous light source
Using standard flashguns it can be difficult to visualise the lighting effect you’re going to get with your light without doing a few test shots first and reviewing the results. In low-light situations focusing can also be a challenge. These problems are a thing of the past with the NEO 2, thanks to the fact that it is also a continuous light source. This enables you to see exactly the effect of the modelling on your subject before you shoot, and also means you can adjust the colour temperature by eye if you want to. In low light the continuous light source makes focusing the lens much easier, and means your subject isn’t blinded by a bright flash when their pupils are wide open (which should also make
redeye a non-issue). Of course, having the continuous light mode means that you may not have to use the flash at all – but if you do need that extra power, then switching from continuous mode to flash mode increases the output brightness of the NEO 2 by a whopping 500%.
Although the NEO 2 can be mounted on your camera’s hotshoe we all know that from a light quality point of view this isn’t generally the best place to put your light, but off-camera flash with conventional flashguns can be complex and often requires the purchase of additional accessories. For the NEO 2, Rotolight collaborated with Elinchrom to incorporate its highly regarded Skyport 2.4Ghz HSS wireless flash receiver into the unit. This enables users to wirelessly control up to 10 NEO 2 lights, in four groups at up to 200m (656ft) with the new Rotolight HSS transmitter, optimised for Rotolight by Elinchrom. (Available for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony, with Fujifilm coming soon).
If you’re one of the growing band of photographers who also shoot video you’ll be pleased to learn that the NEO 2 is 85% brighter in continuous mode than its predecessor. Rotolight has also updated its suite of CineSFX effects, which offer film makers a selection of preprogrammed lighting effects. These include simulations of lightning, a flickering TV, a fireplace, and a police siren, and a host of other effects.
Whether shooting stills or video, the NEO 2 is a great light for faces – its colour rendition delivers perfect skin tones, and the shape of the light itself produces attractive circular catchlights.
The NEO 2 can be purchased as a single light, in a kit which also includes a power supply, belt pouch, accessory shoe and four-piece filter pack for £299.99. Or three-light kit with hard flight case, stands and ball heads (£1,349.99) ‘ The NEO 2 is a game-changer. There’s genuinely no recycle time, you’ll never miss a shot,’ says Jason Lanier, Sony Artisan of Imagery.
NEO 2 is available to preorder now from www. rotolight.com, shipping in September 2017.
The NEO 2 produces natural looking skin tones and attractive catchlights
The NEO 2 incorporates Elinchrom’s highly regarded Skyport technology so can synchronise up to ten NEO 2 lights, wirelessly
You can dial in a precise colour temperature for both flash or continuous light
The Rotolight NEO 2 can be mounted on your camera’s hotshoe