Shine on

It’s a flash­gun, it’s a con­tin­u­ous light source, and it’s go­ing to rev­o­lu­tionise on-cam­era light­ing. Meet the Ro­to­light NEO 2

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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%.

Wire­less con­trol

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

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