This battery powered strobe lets you shoot up to 1/8000th of a second without losing power

Jul 26, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This battery powered strobe lets you shoot up to 1/8000th of a second without losing power

Jul 26, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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priolite_500

For those who use flash on location, the biggest issue you’ll usually face is power. More specifically, a lack of power. Speedlights start to drop rapidly once you go into high speed sync and big inverters are a pain to carry.

Great advances have been made in the last few years by the likes of Profoto and Godox, but those units still lose power when you go above your sync speed. Priolite’sHot-Sync” technology claims to solve this problem. They also have a new 500Ws monolight to show it off.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/priolite/priolite-ultra-1-8000th-flash-sync-compact-li-ion

Priolite’s started making strobes in 2010, but are still a relatively unknown brand compared to the big names. The Hot-Sync technology introduced in 2012 overcomes the limitations of HSS by providing continuous two way communication with the camera.

Hot-Sync works by intentionally extending the flash’s duration to cover the entire exposure.

Let’s assume you are using a camera with a focal plane shutter. When using shutter speeds above the sync speed, (usually faster than 1/200s or 1/250s), a slit between the first and second shutter curtain is traveling across the camera’s sensor. The width of this slit is determined by the shutter setting. The faster the shutter speed, the smaller the slit. The shutter’s curtains (and the slit) move across the sensor with constant speed, independently of the shutter speed setting.

Priolite HotSync strobes start to burn at the moment the first curtain begins to expose the sensor, and burn as long as the shutter slit travels across the sensor. This time is approximately 1/200 sec = 5 miliseconds.Therefore the complete amount of light of the Priolite HotSync flashes is available for the sensor.

This ensures full power for the full duration of the shot, but I do wonder how well it can stand up to continuous firing without overheating or blowing the bulb.

Initially released for Canon, Nikon was soon added to the list. The units now also work with most Sony and Pentax (including 645D/Z) bodies, too. In fact, they appear to be the only flash that will sync all the way up to 1/4000th of a second with the 645D/Z cameras.

priolite_skater_original

The one thing that immediately strikes you about this system is the monstrously huge transmitter that goes on your hotshoe. It’s big, it’s bulky, but it has all the controls on it that you’d expect to see on the back of a strobe. They’re all right there at your fingertips.

priolite_transmitter

If you’re placing lights up on high stands or difficult to reach locations, this is an invaluable amount of control. Bringing lights down to change power only to then have to put them back up again is not fun.

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The previous generation of Priolite strobes are rather large. The new MDX500HS Ultra is almost half the size of its predecessor, which will definitely help when it’s up high. It should also make them a little easier on your back when carrying them to a location.

623b96e0dfa87a4753e313cfbde2b7a6_original

One quite interesting feature of these lights is something they call the “Quickmask” mode. Assuming you’re shooting on a white seamless, this basically allows you to create a layer mask in-camera. Running their Photoshop action then allows to quickly mask out the object from its environment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQtrXcgd6U0

It seems to me, though, that you could do this with pretty much any light, it might just take a little more effort when you shoot. Priolite’s system speeds up the shooting part by automating the lighting for multiple shots.

The Priolite Ultra is fully developed and tested, and supports Priolite, Hensel and Bowens S-Fit modifiers without adapters. They’re certainly not cheap, but they’re not unreasonably expensive, either.

You can find out more about Priolite on their website, or check out the MBX500HS Ultra kickstarter if you want to get your hands on some.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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6 responses to “This battery powered strobe lets you shoot up to 1/8000th of a second without losing power”

  1. Greg Hitchcock Avatar
    Greg Hitchcock

    Holy crap it is expensive. I could daisy chain four AB 1600’s together for that much and still have change.

  2. NitsanSimantov Avatar
    NitsanSimantov

    awesome.

  3. Will Bartels Avatar
    Will Bartels

    $1400 MSRP, $800 Kickstarter (with no promise of actually getting the light)

    Yeah…pass.

  4. Salim Waguila Avatar
    Salim Waguila

    Pass as well

  5. Kyle Rayner Avatar
    Kyle Rayner

    I will stick to the flashpoints XPLOR 600 http://www.adorama.com/fplfx600tbn.html

  6. DJ Bravo Avatar
    DJ Bravo

    The strobe is overpriced. You can get the 2 Godox AD600 with HSS & TTL and still have change. I don’t get what market they are trying to attract with this strobe. Guys who shoot Profoto are not going to switch to this unknown brand.