The Dualflash wants to turn your single speedlight into two light sources

Jun 8, 2021

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.

The Dualflash wants to turn your single speedlight into two light sources

Jun 8, 2021

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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These days, there are a lot of modifiers out there for speedlights, but this is certainly amongst the more unusual ones I’ve seen. It’s the “Dualflash” and it’s about to launch on Kickstarter. What it essentially does is turn your single speedlight into two. Kind of. It splits the output into two separate sections, but its practical uses seem fairly limited.

Like most speedlight modifiers, it slots over the head of the flash and then holds on with a velcro strap. It sits directly across the centre of the Fresnel lens splitting its output into two distinct areas, allowing you to then gel and alter them independently. At least, that’s the theory. How well it’ll do in reality… I’m not convinced.

YouTube video

According to the Dualflash website, it splits the speedlight head output into “2 controlled beams”, although I’m not entirely sure what kind of control it really offers. There’s not a lot of information on the website and from looking at the video above, the only real control it provides is the ability to gel each side of the flash differently.

There are only really two situations where I can see something like that potentially being all that useful. The first is basically as it shows in the image above, acting as a background light, and then you have your subjects standing in front of the light so that you can’t see it. The other is as a dual purpose rim & background light (which, as far as I can tell, is the Dualflash’s primary selling point), with one side of its output pointed towards the subject and the other side pointed towards the background. A couple of examples of the latter are shown in the video up top.

Even if we ignore the fact that the light used in this shot that has the Dualflash connected to it is way too low (I’m talking about height, not power) and projecting shadows upwards on the side of the subject’s head from below, I’m really not sure what the benefit is over just buying an extra speedlight. It feels like a solution looking for a problem.

Its design means that you’re forced to have your background light and your rim light on your subject at the same power level (because the entire flash head only has one power level). So, your only way to really control the brightness output for either side is by distance (which alters the perspective and the direction in which any shadows will be cast) or by messing around with ND gels to darken down one side but not the other.

The company says they’ve been working with a local manufacturer throughout the development process and that the prototype is essentially done and “working very well”. There’s no word yet on exactly when the Kickstarter campaign will begin, nor how much it will cost to back the campaign and get one of your own, but they say that they’re expecting to ship by December 2021.

You can find out more about Dualflash and sign up to be notified when the campaign goes live on the Dualflash website.

Personally, considering you can pick up something like a Godox TT600 speedlight for $65, I’d probably just get a second speedlight and have completely independent control over two separate lights for rim & background rather than try to have one light perform double duty, but maybe that’s just me.

If it’s cheap (and it’d have to be very cheap to be worth getting over just buying that second speedlight) then it might be a fun tool to experiment with every now and again for specific tasks, but I couldn’t see it becoming a regular tool in my arsenal when photographing clients.

What do you think?

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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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4 responses to “The Dualflash wants to turn your single speedlight into two light sources”

  1. Robert Hicks Avatar
    Robert Hicks

    Someone tried this 13yrs ago during the height of Strobist and I recall it selling about as well as a life raft made of cotton candy

    1. Jamieson Avatar
      Jamieson

      I remember that… It was called the “Wing Light” or something you that effect

  2. beto_castillo Avatar
    beto_castillo

    really seems like a solution looking for a problem to fix. . .

  3. ext237 Avatar
    ext237

    Seemed kinda interesting, but the example images doesn’t sell the product.