If you have ever wanted to add some lighting effects to an image, such as hair accents, but your full size strobes are just a bit too much. Or you want to add a nice wash effect to your back drop, then the Cowboy Studio S45 Strobe may just be the answer to your prayers. Add the AC swivel light socket and you have a small compact strobe that you can enhance your photos with for around $35.
The Cowboy Studio S45 strobe is a compact little strobe that utilizes a standard household (S26) screw in socket, just like the light bulbs in your table lamps. It comes in a 45 watt (S45) and a 40 watt (S40) model, though I can’t see why a 5 watt difference is even available. It can be used as a Slave or a Master, either remotely triggered by another flash or wired using a standard flash cable to a hot shoe or flash adapter.
Features & Specs
Features include wired flash activation with a standard sync cord, remote activation using a master strobe or on camera flashand manual activation via the red button. There are two LED indicator lights located under the domed diffuser on the front of the light.A green LED to shows the power is on and an orange LED illuminates when the strobe is fully charged and ready to fire.
- Triggered by flash or a sync cord (not included)
- 45 watts
- 4-6 secong recycling time
- Light control distance of 12 meters
- Color temperature of 5500 – 6000K
- 1/800 second flash synchronization
- Flash lamp index of GN ISO-100:26
- E26 standard screw in base
Purpose of this Flash
I don’t think anyone will argue that this is not a strobe you would attempt to use alone or even in pairs for studio photos. It is extremely low power and is not really designed with full lighting in mind. But if used for what its main purpose is, accent lighting, it does a very adequate job.
If you have ever set up a shot using a couple of full size strobes, and found you had to sacrifice the setup your looking for because you needed one more light to fill in an area, accent the hair, or you couldn’t get rid of a shadow somewhere. Then adding this inexpensive light to your gear could be a life saver. Yes it is only 45 watts, but when applied to exactly the location you need it does a very nice job. I have also used it as a color fill wash on a white backdrop. Tape a color gel to the face of it and set it right next to the backdrop angled up and across to color a swath across your image. Using two of them adds another dimension to this affect.
The Switch Base
The switch base can be bought together with the strobe or separately for a little over $15. It has a rocker switch located on the back of the unit to power the strobe on and off. A thumbscrew on the side allows you to tilt the strobe vertically up and down. Sorry no horizontal adjustment on this one.
Another thumb screw located on the base is for clamping it to the light stand. If your careful this clamp works very well. After playing around with it a bit you can also figure out some alternative clamping positions that give you a broader range of motion. I’ll leave you to figure those out on your own.
Directly above the Clamp is a hole that holds an umbrella for either indirect or shoot through lighting. The umbrella is held in place by a spring inside the hole, but it appears to do a nice job of holding the umbrella in place.. The only thing to note is that it will only hold up to a 7mm (elinchrome style) umbrella shaft instead of the more standard 8mm that most other manufacturers use. But for the price of a small umbrella you can also use this light as a small soft box.
In general, for the price you pay for this unit, and the multitude of uses it can fill. I believe it is indeed a good buy. For anyone who wants to add a little bit more flexibility to the way they shoot then getting one or two of these could definitely be to your benefit.One thing I will note is that if your doing tabletop photography for small items, a couple of these will do a nice job.
- Inexpensive, less than $35 with the adjustable base and tripod.
- Compact, even with the base it is very compact.
- Lightweight – less than a pound for the light and the switch base.
- Good performance for the money.
- Fills a niche that we might not spend money for otherwise.
- Low power at only 40-45 watts. But you know this when you buy it.
- Slow Recharge Time, my tests showed between 2 and 3.5 seconds of recharge time.
- Lack of adjustment, come on, at this price range were lucky to get remote trigger.
- Small umbrella rod slot.
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