Thursday, May 02, 2013

Is This the Future of Umbrellas?



See this umbrella? It's very different than the typical reflector in one very specific way. And it's being touted as being way better for digital sensors.

Can you tell what's different about it? Probably not without looking at it close-up…

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I'll preface this by saying I can't figure out whether this is sound math and genius, or total snake oil with just enough of a truth base to sell the story. Here it is up close:




It's being sold as a much better modifier for digital, because rather than a full process white it (supposedly) reflects a tri-peaked histogram or red, green and blue. Just like the RGB pixels in your Bayer-array sensors.

I am kinda on the fence about it, myself. Haven't seen any side-by-side comparisons (I know, red flag right?) so who's to say. Seems logical enough, though.

It's from a company called B2Pro, and there's a sparse page on it here.

No price yet, that I can see. (If you have to ask…)

Snake oil or not, you have to give them credit for the (patented, natch) concept being interesting enough to make you wonder. As for myself, I'll wait for the awesome side-by-side comparisons to come in before going any further.

Interestingly, there was an almost zero-information reference to a similar tech on Borkded.com about a year ago. Looks different—like a prototype or something.

So, cool science or snake oil? I dunno. What do you think?

Thanks to Don for the tip.




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85 Comments:

Blogger Jason Doiy said...

April 1st was last month ;)

May 02, 2013 11:22 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I guess I dont understand how this will help since the source of the light has color, its being white balanced at some point (post or in camera)... how much better can it be - I suppose with a "pure" source reflecting off three-peaked colors makes "scientific sense" (sort of)...but in reality I dont see it making any difference - like when CD's first came out .. they touted a greater dynamic range than the human ear...ok so who cares if you can't hear it anyway...?

May 02, 2013 11:25 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

This won't make ANY difference.

White "carries" all wavelength of light as this only will carry 3 specific wavelength RGB.

And not only just RGB, but only on type of red, one of green and one of blue...

If this was true, bulb makers would have jumped on this wayyyyyyy before those chumps.

May 02, 2013 11:31 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I dont understand how this will help. The light source has color, the resulting image will be white balanced at some point (post or in camera or both). SO now I will get an evenly tricolored spike of the reflected impure source? How does that help? I suppose if the light source was "pure" then scientifically i could see the argument for it (sort of), but this reminds me of when CD's first came out..."they have a greater dynamic range than the human ear" -- great, so what if you cant hear it?! I have a funny feeling this is in that category... I don't understand (and i do plead ignorance) as to how this will make my whites whiter and my colors brighter - to steal a laundry detergent commercials line...

May 02, 2013 11:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The closeup shot shows a highlight on the surface. And that highlight is... white. Not red and green and blue.
I'm voting snake oil.

May 02, 2013 11:37 PM  
Blogger James Wood said...

This appears to filter the light from the flash into red, green and blue components. It does this by absorbing all other wavelengths at each "filter site."

If the RGB wavelengths it permits are exactly matched to the wavelengths your sensor sees (and I bet you they're not), then each camera pixel is receiving less than 1/3 the light it would have seen if the *other* colour filters weren't blocking the light that would otherwise have reached them. This can be though of as essentially a 2/3 gobo for each colour.

If the wavelengths are *not* precisely matched, then the red pixels won't see the full red component of the light, and so on for the other colours.

As each camera pixel blocks the wavelengths it can't see anyway, this is a pointless waste of light - sort of like putting a vertical polariser filter over the flash and a horizontal one on the camera. Some light will make it through, but there's absolutely no advantage.

May 02, 2013 11:42 PM  
Blogger Michael Sebastian said...

Snake Oil, I'd say. I can't think of any reason grounded in physics why that arrangement of colored patches would confer any benefit over plain white or silver.

Reading their selling-points bullets, you realize that something is off, not quite right, about their language. "selective use of color dyes tested to respond to digital CCD sensors"; what the hell does that mean? Wouldn't the sensors, not the dyes, be doing the "responding"?

"Allows vivid color photography that doesn't use gels which only shift the color in one color direction". Whaaat? That sentence is meaningless. Kinda like saying "I like to drink bourbon, but giraffes are mating."

"The light source adapts to everything from patented strobe bulbs, to tungsten, hmi, and flourescent for any shooting situation". Since when do light sources "adapt"?

Taken as a whole, it smells like someone in marketing got out his/her Pseudoscience Shaker and sprinkled it all over this dish, hoping to cover up the real taste of the food.

Would be interesting to see if anyone from the company would care to explain things better here, perhaps in these comments. Should be amusing at least.

May 02, 2013 11:47 PM  
Blogger JJ Darling said...

My knee-jerk reaction is to say that it's snake-oil...well...that might be a bit harsh, but at a minimum unnecessary.

The layout of RGB pixels in a sensor is designed to be optimized as photo-receptors and is calibrated, I imagine, to white light. This seems to be re-optimizing for the right histogram, thus undoing the work of the initial optimization...

That analysis is based on my likely-flawed model my brain uses to understand these things, so I could be totally wrong. I agree this definitely merits further investigation, but color me (aha!) super skeptical.

May 02, 2013 11:49 PM  
Blogger BWJones said...

I'm calling bogus... Everyone considering purchasing this should read about light reflectance values http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_Reflectance_Value There is a ton of psychophysics work over 80 years to back this up.

Besides... Just look at the ratio of r, g, b in those images. It's constant. If one were to optimize that for different sensors, one might expect the ratios to be different. Regardless... It's still bogus, but I'll wait until I see side by sides..

May 02, 2013 11:50 PM  
Blogger munkisquisher said...

At the very least, it'll be soaking up a significant amount of light. The little red squares will be soaking up energy from the rest of the spectrum and reflecting out mostly red light.

I've done some photography with led's that are made up of tri colour arrays. The photos were terribly inconsistent as the peaks in the light made different materials return drastly different intensities. This was for photographing artwork and I ditched them and went back to old school hot lights that gave much smoother results.

Even if they could match the colour temperate of the light so you got an even intensity from each one of the reflected patches on this reflector. each maker (probably even each generation of sensor) has a slightly different tint of the filters over their photosites, you'd never get them to match 100%

May 02, 2013 11:55 PM  
Blogger David O'Sullivan said...

snake oil. Bayer arrays have twice as much green as red or blue i.e:
GBGBGBGBGBGB
RGRGRGRGRGR
GBGBGBGBGBG

this has RGBRGBRGB etc

Sounds like someone designed something they thought photographers might use without talking to photographers or making the effort to learn about photography

May 03, 2013 12:10 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Probably snake oil, and if it does look different, it will be because your colors are all wrong.

Basically, less light at the wavelengths which would excite R+G or G+B sub-pixels is hitting your subject, so if an object has reflection peaks at those wavelengths, it will excite those sub-pixels less and appear as a different color than you expect.


Another way of looking at this is that you are intentionally reducing your CRI value, which may lead to poor color reproduction. A good explanation:

"Color is a human perception constructed from the combination of the spectral power distribution (SPD) of the light source, the spectral reflectance of the materials being illuminated, and the tri-chromatic nature of the human visual system. If there are gaps or large variations in the SPD of a light source, there is a potential for confusion between the apparent colors of objects."

http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/nlpip/lightinganswers/fullspectrum/claims.asp


A good test would be to illuminate objects which have sharp spectral reflectivity in the yellow and cyan areas. With this umbrella, they will appear less saturated than they do with white light illumination. Other objects which are 'grey' looking because they have spectral reflection bands in yellow and blue, for instance, will look blue with this umbrella instead of grey with broad spectrum illumination.

May 03, 2013 12:18 AM  
Blogger Tim Kamppinen said...

I suspect all this will accomplish is eating an extra stop or two of flash power... as well as lining the pockets of the people selling it, of course.

May 03, 2013 12:40 AM  
Blogger Tyler L said...

i'm not sure i really get it. you're shooting white light (from a flash or strobe) into a reflective surface; the surface is reflecting all kinds of colors back out, many of which, i'd think, would cancel each other out. certainly if there were some science to this, the umbrella would require that a very precise distance be used (so that the reflected colors would be matched to the sensor). frankly, i'd guess that a colored grid of some sort (which would look, i'd think, like a lite-brite) would accomplish what this thing is trying to do better than it does. i call bs. i'll keep my strobist gels.

oh, and has anyone tried to use more than one gel at the same time on a flash? it produces weird effects, some of which are cool but most of which involve (charitably characterized) moderately interesting shadows. just reiterating my earlier-called bs.

May 03, 2013 12:58 AM  
Blogger Audrey Cramer said...

I don't know what to say about this. It has all the hallmarks of being hokey to me but some things have had that gimmicky look and turned out to be useful. At least their not trying to sell it for $19.95 and throw an extra in for free, just pay shipping and handling (snicker). I hope not anyways. I'm going to withhold judgement until someone tries it and posts a review but I'm leaning to the ridiculous side on my opinion.

May 03, 2013 1:00 AM  
Blogger Balmore said...

I think they specialise in removing money from uneducated photographers. They sell a black focusing umbrella! http://www.b2pro.com/lighting/focus_umbrellas/220_umbrella/index.php?p=skins

Balmore.

May 03, 2013 1:13 AM  
Blogger Bram said...

Yeah, this is a clever if futile idea. As has been mentioned, the colour array does not match that used in RGBG sensors, and the likelihood of the colour coming off the colour dots matching the colour filtration of the bayer mask is approximately zero.

It looks like a gimmick that will result in less light on your subject and no gains.

May 03, 2013 1:51 AM  
Blogger Julius Stavaris said...

They've tried to use the concept from "Sony tri-colour LED backlighting" technology and then sprinkled some marketing snake-oil on it

May 03, 2013 1:55 AM  
Blogger jason anderson said...

I am waiting for the c,m,y,k version it must be expoentially better then this one right ???

May 03, 2013 2:22 AM  
Blogger Tsukasa said...

I do not know what is best for sensors, but I assume that sensors are CALIBRATED.

It means that RGB input from sensor is processed pre-assuming continious daylight / tungsten spectrum. You have a smooth blackbody-like curve from IR to UV light.


Reflection from colored dots create 3 peaks on that curve, as the reflective material "emphasizes" R, G, B frequecies and therefore disfavors others.
If you rather supply 3-peaked spectrum to it, then to match continuius spectrum result, these 3 peaks have to be arranged in certain ratio.

I do not see how coloring arbitrary light source in greenish, reddish and blueish would immediately do any good to the image. I would say this might change color temperature of light and I do not know which way it will be. I prefer my light not being color-altered on the way.

Best, Askar

May 03, 2013 4:14 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

I think we're missing the main point here: it looks like your 7 year old neice's toy parasol and no serious photographer's going to be seen with kit like that. Debate over.

May 03, 2013 4:25 AM  
Blogger Per Rutquist said...

This is worse than snake oil. It will actually make color reproduction LESS accurate. A lighting tech would say it lowers the "color rendering index" (CRI) of the light source. (Google it!)
For example "yellow" photons have a wavelength in between red and green and are picked up by both the "red" and the green photodetectors (both in our eyes and in the camera.) If you filter out those photons at the light source, then some dies that look yellow in daylight will appear much darker.
If you did a catalogue shoot in this kind of light, you'd have to start over. Even color-calibration software couldn't save you.

May 03, 2013 4:26 AM  
Blogger Spica said...

As someone pointed out higher, seems to me like this will just take out 2/3 of the light, compared to a full white umbrella, cause each little circle will only reflect the red, green or blue component, when a white umbrella would reflect the three together. So basically, 1/3 of the whole umbrella reflects blue, 1/3 reflects green, 1/3 reflects red: total is then 1/3 of the whole reflection, when a fully white umbrella would reflect each of the three component on the whole surface.
But would love to see actual tests to confirm that.

May 03, 2013 4:35 AM  
Blogger Red Thread Snaps Photography said...

OMG...I am so getting one of these! What says " professional" more than a pretty polka dot pattern on your light modifier? Plus, this umbrella will match perfectly with my daffodil emblazoned camera strap and my monogrammed camera bag. My only questions...can this umbrella be used while in P mode and what is flash?

May 03, 2013 5:06 AM  
Blogger DonatoGreco said...

it's a hoax, with no scientific ground why it should be better than a pure white reflecting media.

May 03, 2013 5:22 AM  
Blogger Good old Clive said...

Skeptical shooter speaking, this has to be total b******s. Agree with James Wood for starters on his absorption point. Michael Sebastion "I like to drink bourbon, but giraffes are mating," still smiling at that one. In fact agreed on the majority of points raised by better minds than mine. One other thing, red, green and blue dots all over your background? Could be it'd make a fine disco light. If it turns out to be some sort of major lighting break through I'll eat my octabank, filled with BS, naturally.
Happy days.

May 03, 2013 5:29 AM  
Blogger chris r said...

Nice grey umbrella!

As that what it amounts to.
It will also be warmer to the touch than a white umbrella since it is absorbing 2/3 of the light hitting it!

May 03, 2013 5:43 AM  
Blogger Kevin Russo Photography said...

I don't have enough background in science to say with any kind of authority if this is any better or not but I believe the snake charmer has come to town with this one.

May 03, 2013 5:46 AM  
Blogger Felipe Curvello Anciaes said...

OMG! Please, tell the sun to shine in RGB so I can take better pictures with natural light.

May 03, 2013 7:15 AM  
Blogger Ernie Rice said...

I don't think it will help the color of the light, but I would guess that it's going to cut out a stop or so of light. So it could be great for reducing your power..... :)

May 03, 2013 9:27 AM  
Blogger Darrell Noakes said...

I vote snake oil.

I wonder if the inventor is related to the inventor of this invention:
http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2013/01/bad-physics-bad-investment.html

May 03, 2013 10:27 AM  
Blogger shuttereye said...

So many skeptics here! I'll be the first to say it....This thing MUST work!!....You know it is on the internet and everything on the internet is true.
This thing would look great on my pink and green Alien Bees!!

May 03, 2013 10:29 AM  
Blogger Ian Tindale said...

I think I'll release a song that has been specially formulated to only use the frequencies at 3rd octave intervals to match the graphic equalisers that professionals use on their audio equipment.

May 03, 2013 10:57 AM  
Blogger Rikk said...

I saw this and checked my calendar for the first day of April.

I also ran it by a couple of engineering consultants who snickered and said "really?"

It might cut the intensity of the light but then gray would do that too.

May 03, 2013 11:02 AM  
Blogger David Tanaka said...

RGB is an additive process CMY is what you need for reflected color. And to reflect full spectrum (white) color you need ... Um, oh yeah, a white surface

May 03, 2013 11:51 AM  
Blogger Landon said...

Is this sRGB? If so, I'm holding out for Adobe RGB.

May 03, 2013 11:54 AM  
Blogger David Tanaka said...

RGB is an additive color model. For reflected surfaces CMY applies. And to reflect full spectrum color (white) you need um ... Oh yeah, a white reflective surface.

May 03, 2013 11:56 AM  
Blogger Randall Hull said...

It's products like this that give Snake Oil a good name.

May 03, 2013 12:11 PM  
Blogger kayzar said...

Ok, there is one possible use for this.
If the umbrella is using the RGB dots to somehow colour balance the light before it hits the sensor it would, in theory, mean that colour temperature shifts between multiple lights is no longer an issue. You could even use strobes, tungsten and fluro all at the same time and get identical colour temperatures.

Mind you, I have no idea what the umbrella is actually meant to do. It just sounds like that is the general premise based on the website. I also have no scientific grounds as to how it could work.

May 03, 2013 12:39 PM  
Blogger jim "shu" carroll said...

i usually let this really smart guy, david hobby, figure this kinda stuff out and then just follow him around like a photo groupie. when's the test shoot?

May 03, 2013 1:07 PM  
Blogger NYCdesign said...

I've found that whenever a "features" portion of a product description is peppered with pointless, hyperbolic statements written in all caps, it *must* be true.

B2Pro (which I, admittedly, have only personally seen in use a couple times in NYC) struck me as a more-cheaply-made Briese. Makes little matter to me, though, as they're close enough in price that the chances of having either in my studio are exactly nil.

May 03, 2013 1:13 PM  
Blogger David Schacher said...

No price yet, that I can see. (If you have to ask…)

I do. (I'm a photographer).

May 03, 2013 1:18 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I'm selling a CMYK umbrella, it's better if you plan to print your photos.

May 03, 2013 1:27 PM  
Blogger NYSTAN said...

Hey Guys....listen up. I live in New York and I have a fantastic bridge for sale...it will blow you away and you will be the sole owner....low reserve, free shipping.

May 03, 2013 1:31 PM  
Blogger vertizon said...

It's likely already been said, but just to register my vote:

It will cut power by absorbing light and you can't use it as a shoot-thru anymore. I'm sorry, but I've already got plenty of ways to customize my color balance with $20 umbrellas and a gray card.

Besides,even if this thing miraculously did something remotely useful, who is going to go out and replace all of their light mods, or shoot with just one in the meantime, to prevent color contamination from their other mods? Either we're all missing something far greater, or this was a really poorly thought out business plan.

Thanks though.

May 03, 2013 1:39 PM  
Blogger motownlife said...

James Wood has it right. If you filter the white flash at the reflector, the colored reflections are a fraction of the original light, as dyes on surfaces cause SUBTRACTIVE colors (Red, Yellow, Blue), whereas the sensors are looking for ADDITIVE (Red, Green, Blue) light.

Subtractive is subtractive by absorbing the non-reflected color.

Since RYB( or typically CMYK) have to be mixed to make a green dye, I doubt they are really reflecting a pure wavelength for R,G, and B.

All this to say, it's at best a 1.5 stop loss, and at worst, weird colors will ensue.

May 03, 2013 1:45 PM  
Blogger R. J. Kern said...

Run away. Fast.

There are always be those take advantage of selling products to newbies that won't stand the test of time.

Let the people speak.

May 03, 2013 1:46 PM  
Blogger Gard Gitlestad said...

This sounds completely absurd. Normally, what one would want in order to get decent colour reproduction (CRI/RA) is an emission spectrum that is as wide as possible (to put it a bit over-simplified). What this thing does is to absorb certain wavelengths, resulting in a less even spectrum; there is no way that that can result in better colour rendering.

If the contraption we are discussing here reduces the full spectrum to red, green and blue components, the end result should (in theory!) be something like an RGB LED luminaire, which consists of three different monochromatic colours.

As any lighting designer would know, the advantage of RGB luminaires is colour mixing, not colour rendering -- as a matter of fact, if colour rendering and good quality white light is important, one would invest in RGBW fixtures that have additional white LEDs; in other words, the opposite of what this "RGB umbrella" is trying to do. (And of course, when the red, green and blue light is reflected from coloured surfaces, the whole colour mixing thing is completely irrelevant, meaning that this umbrella has no advantage (unless you can adjust the size of the dots (in which case I'd be impressed ;) )))

Another funky thing: the manufacturer states on their website that the umbrella can be made on request for sodium vapour lamps. That's something I'd REALLY love to see, considering that sodium vapour lamps (typically used for street lighting) have practically no greens or blues, mostly just amber/yellow -- so almost all of the light would be absorbed! Also, who on Earth would want to use sodium for photography?

@kayzar: That would work only if you have light sources that emit identical amounts of red, green and blue but are otherwise different -- and that sounds quite unlikely to me.

May 03, 2013 1:50 PM  
Blogger Deej said...

It's nice to see so much Internet snarkiness in the name of science. Still, until I see a physicist, lighting designer, or lighting engineer respond here, I will withhold judgement.

The world is full of scientific advances that seemed improbable when first introduced, from penicillin (cure disease with citrus mold?) to LEDs (they'll never be bright enough for anything but little displays) to personal computers (an IBM exec once said he saw no need for such a consumer product).

I am skeptical of this umbrella, but like any truly scientifically minded person, I'll wait for impartial evidence... In the meantime, I certainly won't rush to buy one, if for no other reason than I'm satisfied with my current gear!

May 03, 2013 2:00 PM  
Blogger Jan Fredrik Leversund said...

The whole web site seems strange to me. A lot of the products they're selling seem like direct knock-offs of Briese equipment, yet at the same time they're selling what appears to be genuine Briese gear.

May 03, 2013 2:12 PM  
Blogger Jim Quinn said...

If you simply must add dots to your umbrella, you can do it for a lot less money:

http://thecameraforum.com/totes-skinni-mini/

My tests with the Totes umbrella didn't show any color shift; those dots probably just wasted a little light. This would definitely not impress the next Mr. or Ms. Big you have to shoot, but as a quick and dirty modifier, it has its uses.

May 03, 2013 2:22 PM  
Blogger Carlos Bruno said...

You guys!!!
For everyone who talk bad things, ignore the power of this new invention or pretend to be a "Doktor" in light:
YOU AIN'T KNOW NOTHING!
NOTHING about ... deceive others!
One more item for my "F.C.Konsumer's" list that has already Gary Phonyng, ANY product than chocolate that comes from Belgium (like "motivational" DVDs from PRETENDER photographers), and WHY we "still need" a flash trigger that CAN DO IT FROM 1,600 feet. For a Lion's portrait? But WHO will put the flash THERE???

May 03, 2013 2:36 PM  
Blogger As Seen by Janine said...

Gosh Dave, Kinda hoping you can get them to front you a demo & then you can do the side-by-side comparison for us!

May 03, 2013 2:38 PM  
Blogger photoshopabuser said...

Oh good lord. I just read the first 30 or so comments and my eyes started bleeding.

May 03, 2013 2:44 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Not trying to be a wiseguy, but what about the reflection from the white spaces between the colored dots? How is the sensor going to deal with that input of full-spectrum light if it's so much better to have the three-color light? Plus, if I'm remembering high school physics correctly, the three primary colors essentially combine to make up white light anyway, don't they?

May 03, 2013 3:26 PM  
Blogger Michael Quack - Visual Pursuit said...

B2Pro is the US outlet of Briese, and this RGB umbrella is definitely snake oil. Unless it matches primary colors to the pint, it might even kill color rendition of a single primary color entirely when bayer pattern filters and umbrella colors mismatch.

The market for Briese focus umbrellas is pretty saturated, and their packs suck. So they need to invent new markets, as their unique (and only) selling point are focus umbrellas.

May 03, 2013 3:39 PM  
Blogger John Naman said...

Snake oil. But if they made the dots really teeny and put it on a filter ...

May 03, 2013 3:53 PM  
Blogger John Naman said...

snake oil. But if they made the dots really teeny and put them on a filter ...

May 03, 2013 3:54 PM  
Blogger Bart said...

Snake oil. If anything it will be less effective than a white or silver reflector. Three spikes? And where would they fall? Everyone knows that three spikes in an image (or light) that is otherwise monochrome means colour cast. Moreover,what does that have to do with it being better for digital? Do you have to put it between the lens and the subject? ;-)

May 03, 2013 4:13 PM  
Blogger Bart said...

on second look: it's not even a bayer patern :-)

May 03, 2013 4:22 PM  
Blogger Richard Wintle said...

There have been a lot of good comments here (both serious and not so much), but I LOVED this one from Landon:

"Is this sRGB? If so, I'm holding out for Adobe RGB."

I'd ask my dad, the retired physics professor (his Master's was in optics, many moons ago, although more of a solid-state dielectric expert since then) about this... but I don't think I really need to, somehow.

Still, side by side tests... why not?

May 03, 2013 4:53 PM  
Blogger Peter Koppenaal said...

Is this April 1st? This is either a joke, or just another attempt to separate foo-, or rather people, from their money.

May 03, 2013 5:26 PM  
Blogger Chris Malcolm said...

If this has been done properly to produce a tri-spiked apparently white mix with spikes aligned with sensitivities of Bayer sensor dyes then you'll get more saturated colours from your camera image than you saw with your eyes. You will also get different colours sometimes due to metameric effects.

To understand this you to realise that mixing yellow & green pigments only gives you what looks like green to our simple eyes. It's not a true spectral green, it's a double spiked mix which averages out as green in our human kind of colour vision. Animals with better colour vision wouldn't be fooled.

What I can't understand is why this RGB spiked pseudo white gives different results than simply turning up the saturation in your camera or post processing.

May 03, 2013 6:45 PM  
Blogger anonymous said...

I always see ridiculous products being sold to photographers, and it's good to see all the comments of people not falling for it (tho Garry Fong might have something to say about that)

May 03, 2013 6:52 PM  
Blogger Noces Blanches said...

I must say that I am amused how people are shooting down a product and saying how it won't work or that it is "snake oil" especially since they haven't even tried out let alone seen it in person.

I'll admit that I have some questions about it's use and effectiveness as well, but until I've seen a side by side comparison with a normal umbrella I will reserve my judgment. How many of the readers of this blog laughed at the idea of taking their flash off the hotshoe first time they read about it or were reluctant to stick a coloured filter on the front of their flash to balance colours? Is that so different than changing the inside colours of an umbrella?

On a different note if this umbrella has been designed/produced by the guy who runs the borkded.com blog and B2Pro (i.e. Jared Roessler) then there may be some truth in it.

This guy and his team know a thing or two about lighting, you know with being lighting engineers and riggers/gaffers on some of the biggest movies, tv shows and commercial productions around.

Their company rent out and set up and rig lighting gear some of us have never even heard of so again before laughing at this umbrella it might be worthwhile if someone actually tries it out.

Or even better, why not try and do an interview with Jared Roessler to understand the thinking behind it?

May 03, 2013 7:35 PM  
Blogger Dave R said...

I bet they will still sell a million of them.

May 03, 2013 10:27 PM  
Blogger FFMC's Creative Arts Ministry said...

Now, THIS is the way you make money through photography :)

May 04, 2013 11:55 AM  
Blogger Bob K said...

Well look... if some photographers don't understand that it's bogus, then the odds are slim that their clients will know that it's bogus. See what I'm saying? Sure it's snake oil... snake oil we can use to impress clients. Seriously... what family is going to notice whether you have a Summicron or a Noctilux? But they'll notice the umbrella for sure.

Not that any of us ever try to impress customers with our gear. But just hypothetically.

May 04, 2013 12:15 PM  
Blogger chris said...

Yeah April first was last month, and by sending out waves of photons at specific frequency in a structured patern your gonna get waves of constructive and destructive interference resulting in in uneven light, just like if you throw two stones in the water and where the ripples meet there are flat spots, or basically like noise canceling headphones, photons may be particles but the "Young Slit" experiment (Google it) proves they act as waves and thus this will not work anywhere as good as a white umbrella :)

May 05, 2013 4:49 PM  
Blogger joost said...

I don't see why everyone calls BS on this before it's properly tested by people who actually know a thing or two about physics. Not all light sources are created equal. For instance. LED lights are known to be very limited in spectrum. Resulting in pale colourless photos and video.

I would love to give this a go to see if it's really as good as it looks.

May 05, 2013 4:59 PM  
Blogger ttphone said...

Oh come on, this is nothing but marketing nonsense! How should a funky pattern on a DIFFUSER correlate in any way with a SENSOR??

May 05, 2013 5:02 PM  
Blogger Mark Davidson said...

I am detecting a consensus...

May 05, 2013 8:12 PM  
Blogger J. Dennis Thomas said...

The way I see it from someone who shoots concerts frequently under LED spots is that this umbrella may bring up the very same problems that RGB LED spots have, namely causing color channels to clip much more quickly.

It's pretty late and this is just a knee-jerk reaction, but that's my initial assumption.

May 06, 2013 4:17 AM  
Blogger Lee J. said...

Almost Unanimous -
Snake Oil.

Probably a sure sign that it isn't

Can't wait to find out

May 06, 2013 9:45 AM  
Blogger Clement said...

Maybe the trick lies in the fact that there is also some white. It covers the entire spectrum but it's no longer a flat spectrum. Who knows, maybe the colors will be slightly more vivid. Very wasteful for sure, but maybe more vivid...

May 06, 2013 8:30 PM  
Blogger willmcgregor said...

Well, Jared changed a whole industry with the RED and he pumps so much money in to R&D that if anyone can build something like this that works, it would be him.

May 09, 2013 5:01 AM  
Blogger jaredroessler said...

http://www.borkded.com/post/24961996095/top-image-in-a-silver-umbrella-lower-image-in

borkded.com is my tumblr.

Here's a side-by-side using a 2.5kW HMI, shot on RED Epic. I had to change the ISO between images.
Feel free to ask more questions if you like.

May 09, 2013 1:11 PM  
Blogger Bobby Sorensen said...

I bet it still keeps the rain off...

May 12, 2013 12:46 PM  
Blogger dwbell said...

Jared, you had my curiosity, now you have my attention....

May 16, 2013 6:24 AM  
Blogger jaredroessler said...

Full-on HMI and strobe side-by-side results are coming!
HMI was shot on an Epic two days ago, strobe will be shot on an H2 to a P45 on Monday.

May 17, 2013 1:55 PM  
Blogger Joe Varghese John said...

What about the surfaces that are between the RGB's, the white (or the grey). This is not going to work..

May 18, 2013 3:17 AM  
Blogger Fuzzy said...

I already tested something similar. I suspect I shot it at too small an aperture. Check it out here... www.duenkel.com/bogus.jpg

May 27, 2013 8:23 AM  
Blogger Jeff Krutsinger said...

SNAKE OIL. White is the culmination of ALL colors, not just three specific red, green and blue wavelengths of light. That being said, any color that isn't properly reproduces with their interpretation of the perfect blend of RGB will not be recreated accurately. Although with the amount of white around each dot, I'm sure it wont be noticeable. But for those with more money than gray matter, feel free to waste your money on this product. I certainly won't be buying into such hype!

June 07, 2013 7:16 PM  
Blogger richbkk said...

Snake oil for sure. Imagine gelling your strobe to the exact red for this umbrella (say for a background fill) in theory you will get 1/3 of the power output of your strobe reflected due to the active red surface area being a thord of the coverage. Then imagine the same shot with a white umbrella utilising 100% surface area. The math doesn't add up. And no the red spots will increase the output of the red wavelength. Is it April 1st already?

June 18, 2013 7:21 AM  
Blogger Paulius said...

Definitely snake oil.

White light contains all wavelengths of light. Your sensor will pick up the ones it can and, obviously, 'ignore' the ones it can't detect.

At best, you'll get exactly what you'd get with a white umbrella.

Also, it doesn't take into account the variance from sensor to sensor. No two sensors are exactly the same.

October 10, 2013 6:59 AM  

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