Saturday, February 11, 2012

Westcott Apollo Orb vs. Photek Softlighter II


Just got the new Westcott 43" Apollo Orb octabox for speedlights and I have to say it is one sweet light mod.  Since there are already several good reviews of the Orb out there, instead of doing a review of just of the Orb, I decided to do a comparison of the Orb with its closest competitor, the Photek Softlighter II.  Both are really nice lighting modifiers and while they have many similarities, there are a few noticeable differences as well.  Let's check 'em out...


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Powerex 8 Cell Battery Charger


Looking for a reliable battery charger?  Well then, go get this one now, right now, I'll wait.

Seriously though, if you're using speedlights (or any AA rechargeable battery consuming device) then you know what a hassle it is keeping them charged.  At one point, I literally had every outlet in the house littered with little 4 count battery chargers that took all night to charge and sometimes wouldn't even charge one or all of the batteries in the deck.

So after a few years of frustration with small chargers, I finally sprang for the PowerEx 8-Cell battery charger.. and I am in love.  This charger simply rocks!  It has individual charging circuits for each battery and can charge either AA or AAA rechargeable batteries.  What's so great about the individual circuits is that you can mix batteries of different charge levels at a time.  With most standard chargers (the cheap-o ones) if you have batteries of different charge levels, it won't charge them.

Another great thing about this charger is that you can charge your batteries in 1 hour!!  When I first used this charger, I was able to charge 16 batteries in less than 2 hours!!  That is awesome.  Also, it has a "Soft" charging cycle which extends the battery life and only takes 2 hours to cycle.  If you have a bunch of AA rechargeables lying around that won't hold a charge anymore, this charger will condition old batteries and bring them back up to optimal performance.  It also has a LCD display that tells you the status of each battery.

There are many other cool features about this charger, but the ones I listed above were enough to sell me on this product.  I seriously may buy another one soon.

I haven't yet switched to the PowerEx series batteries because I have so many Energizer batteries lying around that still seem to kick out the juice, but over time I am planning on slowly migrating to them.

If you're on the fence about getting a good charger, then go ahead and make the jump.  I can't believe I waited so long to get one of these, it simply makes my life easier.

See you next time!