Reviewing CPFlash 550W, a Mobile Flash for Smartphones and Cameras

Are you in search of one thing so as to add to your smartphone images and video capabilities with out having to depend on pure gentle? Check out this CPFlash 550W overview!

Whether or not we prefer it or not, smartphones these days are extensively utilized by many photographers, videographers, and fanatics who might benefit from the ease of use that comes with smartphones and will not need to put money into an entire digital camera system. As smartphones are getting higher and higher, so are the probabilities that include this progress. Extra people and companies use cell images or videography as a result of typically that’s simply sufficient for his or her wants. I typically use my smartphone when reaching for a digital camera just isn’t an possibility (or after I’m just too lazy to take action), and I’ve even ordered print books with smartphone photographs which got here out simply high-quality. 

I used to be despatched two CPFlash 550W models from Innovatronix to overview and see how this flash system might develop the probabilities in including one thing completely different to smartphone images and video outcomes.

About

CPFlash 550W, which retails for $199,  is a tri-function flash designed to work with smartphones, DSLRs or mirrorless cameras in addition to act as a video gentle. To make use of it, you have to to obtain a free app referred to as CPFlash which works with each Android and iOS. 

  • You should utilize the native or a downloaded digital camera app to manage your flash unit(s)
  • The grasp unit is related to your smartphone through Bluetooth; the slave models are related to the grasp through radio connection
  • Can join as many slave models as you need
  • Powered by rechargeable Li-Ion Business Commonplace 18650 battery; might be charged with micro USB
  • Makes use of 550W excessive effectivity LED know-how; most lux output of 95,000 at 0.5 meters with gentle modifier
  • Can be utilized with current speedlite equipment
  • Comes with 6 shade gels, a rechargeable smartphone digital camera set off, wi-fi hotshoe DSLR and mirrorless digital camera set off, micro USB cable for charging, and a removable metallic bracket
  • Has 8 video gentle results

This unit must be in contrast with different steady gentle merchandise as a result of it falls inside that class, too. The 550-watt energy output just isn’t equal to a 550-watt xenon flash. Based mostly on the producer’s checks, this flash unit is equal to roughly 60 watt-second speedlites, equivalent to, Canon 580EX, 600EX, Nikon SB-800, Nikon SB-900, and equivalents from Godox and Yongnuo.

First Impressions

The unit is just about the identical measurement as most speedlites nevertheless it comes with a removable metallic bracket which implies that even when you do not have a stand to screw it on, you should use the bracket to appropriately place the flash to level on the proper path, for instance, when you prop it up on a chair or a desk. The unit itself feels very stable because it has an aluminum metallic casing.

As a lot as I just like the comfort of connecting to equipment wirelessly, a variety of occasions it may be a trigger for a headache as a result of typically issues simply don’t join which wastes your capturing time. This time, nonetheless, the flash shortly is discovered on Bluetooth and related to my telephone. As famous, you solely want to attach one in all your flashes to your smartphone, which is able to act because the grasp unit.

Smartphone flash light

First, I examined out the flashes as videolights and they’re a lot vivid. The colour gels which can be included have small magnets on them in order that they simply connect to the unit. The 8 video gentle results might be triggered in your app in addition to on the unit itself, and they’re meant to duplicate results, equivalent to police lights (utilizing the colour gels), lighting, paparazzi, and so forth. Clearly, that is an obscure function that may come in useful for very particular makes use of but when it is one thing you’d use, it is there for you!

This sort of gentle is simple to control as a result of it’s only a steady video gentle, particularly when you add equipment, like the colour gels or when you’ve got the rest so as to add equivalent to a softbox. As a video gentle, it’s a handy accent to only throw in your bag because it does not take up that a lot house, however equally, if a video gentle is all you want, it’s possible you’ll need to have a look at some extra fundamental choices which can be designed to ship simply that. 

Flash remote, gels and trigger

My first impression of utilizing this unit as a smartphone flash was one in all trial and error! The app itself is simple to make use of as soon as you utilize it a couple of occasions. As I used to be utilizing Android system, I can solely focus on that model of the app. To vary settings, like the flash energy, the completely different video settings, which flash is a grasp and which one is a slave, and so forth, you have to use the app itself, nonetheless, when taking pictures, you utilize your favourite smartphone digital camera app.

If you open that, a small overlay of buttons will present up in your display. This lets you make modifications to the period of your flash, the facility of your models and it additionally has a button to activate the video gentle. To have the ability to change ISO and shutter pace, for instance, you have to to make use of your digital camera app within the guide or “professional” mode, in any other case, auto settings will override the specified end result you are in search of. You possibly can set off your smartphone to take a shot both utilizing a button in your display or through the use of the included set off, which is kind of useful when you’ve got set your smartphone on a tripod and need to both take a self-portrait or want to carry one thing, for instance, a reflector or the rest. The overlay might be simply moved throughout the display so it isn’t proper in the course of your picture or different digital camera controls.

Screenshot of a mobile phone camera app

I do not often shoot with gels or studio lighting in any respect however I did actually get pleasure from testing out the completely different colours. I shot a couple of self-portraits as a result of we’re at present in lockdown and my solely selections of fashions are that of me, my companion, or my cat. After I triggered the shutter, I hid the distant in my hand or behind me. I shot with naked flash as a result of I wished to check out what’s doable for many who would merely take the flash out of the field and begin utilizing it with out having to purchase any further equipment. Even simply capturing myself it is very simple to set all of it up on my own and after a couple of check pictures you will quickly discover the very best angle and distance on your flashes.

I felt that among the colours labored higher than others, even utilizing the identical settings, and in some way appeared extra vibrant. For instance, the crimson and the inexperienced labored nice whereas I struggled with the blue and it regarded extra “washed out” than the others. This can be dependent additionally on the kind of modifiers you utilize and different variables. In case your digital camera permits capturing in RAW mode, clearly will probably be simpler to edit your recordsdata ought to you have to however I used to be really fairly proud of how they got here out even with none enhancing.

I discovered the responsiveness of the flash to be actually good. Even utilizing the flash indoors behind a door and a wall, it was nonetheless triggered simply high-quality. The producer claims that the models will work 20 meters line of sight when linking the grasp unit to smartphone and 50 meters line of sight when grasp unit hyperlinks to slave models. For this indoor shot beneath, I barely warmed up the temperature and lowered the highlights to see extra element within the workplace room. I used to be really fairly impressed how the picture got here out contemplating I shot it in full darkish and my smartphone just isn’t the very best in low gentle; the flash gave simply sufficient gentle to seize all of the element within the hallway.

Essentially the most tough half for me was discovering the best settings for the scene as a result of working with my smartphone is not as intuitive as it’s with a digital camera and it wasn’t at all times simple to guarantee consistency in my pictures as a result of though the settings hadn’t modified, it appeared that the flash didn’t at all times open up the sunshine for a similar period of time all through. This meant a little bit of trial and error through the capturing course of which shortly drained the flash unit battery in my case. I discovered that I wanted to lock the digital camera publicity and focus utilizing the AE/AF lock function to get constant outcomes.

And not using a gentle modifier, it’s possible you’ll battle to get the sunshine gentle sufficient for portraits. Despite the fact that the flash comes with a white filter among the many coloured ones to barely diffuse it, you’ll in all probability need to put money into or use an already current gentle modifier to get these portraits excellent. When working with gels it’s a bit simpler as a result of the harsher gentle can work properly and produce an fascinating end result. 

I really fairly loved working with the sunshine as a result of it does offer you extra flexibility and alternatives than simply utilizing pure gentle which, let’s face it, just isn’t plentiful through the winter season. For instance, capturing in a darkish room and utilizing the sunshine I used to be in a position to create these pictures beneath utilizing only one gentle and no different equipment. As many people are nonetheless working (and capturing) from residence, one thing like this offers our creativity an additional enhance, particularly on these darkish days.

As famous, you should use this flash together with your digital camera, too. Nevertheless, I’d see this as a bonus reasonably than the first perform of this flash, as a result of you will get devoted digital camera flashes which can be extra highly effective and have been properly examined amongst photographers. Innovatronix shared these unedited studio photographs taken by John Unbelievable, the primary one shot with a smartphone and the second shot along with his DSLR digital camera. In case you are utilizing it together with your digital camera, you’ll nonetheless want to make use of the cell app to attach and regulate settings in your flash.

It could possibly be helpful for photographers who already personal this flash and are on-the-go or their main digital camera flash has run out of battery, nonetheless, I’d personally use this for smartphone images solely.

What I Favored

  • Strong metallic cased unit which feels sturdy and dependable
  • Bracket that enables inserting flash in several angles 
  • Included shade gels to permit a wide range of experimental pictures and movies
  • No connectivity points between the smartphone and the grasp unit and between the grasp and slave unit
  • Works together with your favourite digital camera app by merely overlaying a small window of settings and a set off button
  • Simply triggered with the distant which permits for self-portraits and makes the capturing simpler
  • The sunshine is kind of highly effective
  • Video gentle might be triggered immediately on the unit’s physique, too
  • A number of makes use of packed in a single small physique: smartphone flash, video gentle, and a digital camera flash
  • Appropriate with numerous speedlite equipment which is nice for many who have already got that of their equipment
  • The flash syncs with a smartphone digital camera at any shutter pace

A monochrome portrait of a young man against a white wall

What Might Be Improved

  • Improved shutter launch that ensures the flash has opened up the sunshine for a similar period of time each time to cut back time spent on repeating pictures to get it proper
  • The bracket might be tightened to carry the flash, nonetheless, even at its tightest, the bracket would typically nonetheless transfer. I would really like for it to be safer when tightened to ensure the angle of sunshine doesn’t unintentionally get modified.
  • I believe, though the truth that you should use this flash with a DSLR or a mirrorless is nice, it could possibly be extra helpful to deal with the cell creators solely and be sure that the flash performs properly with smartphones before everything; most customers who require a digital camera flash will prioritize flash models which can be manufactured to work properly in conditions and environments the place one is utilizing a digital camera not a smartphone

Conclusion

I believe it will be foolish to disregard the rising smartphone picture and video market, which is why one thing like this might come in useful for many who already profit from smartphone know-how. It’s a versatile and simple unit to make use of and to connect with your smartphone, and the included shade gels make it a fantastic software for experimentation and including some shade to each movies and pictures. 

This isn’t one thing to make use of on lengthy and sophisticated shoots however all of the options that come packed on this one unit might be sufficient for somebody who desires to develop on their expertise and begin working with synthetic lights as an alternative of counting on pure gentle solely. I can see this being software for many who need to step up their picture and video expertise with out investing 1000’s in an in depth lighting equipment.

If that is one thing you’d wish to attempt, you should purchase this flash right here.