A great new accessory for event photographers
The ProMediaGear Boomerang has always been a top notch flash bracket and it costs like it. Its light weight and very well made but by the time you mount a speed light and ANY modifier to it, its a pretty heavy combination to lug around when covering larger corporate events or a wedding. So it sat on my gear shelf and every so often I would contemplate selling it. PMG did show it being used with a Profoto B2 head and pack flash setup on their site. I thought yes! I was shooting Profoto back then and had a B2 so I tried it. Once. It was still pretty unwieldy to use.
I drank some Kool-Aid, sold my Profoto equipment and I have been a Godox (and it's variants) flash user now for some time. Foremost in my flash arsenal are the AD200's (and it's variants). I own three of them. They are 200 w/s flash units that use either a traditional speed light head or a bare bulb head that can be swapped out so you get to use either based on the situation. Thats not the best thing; it uses a rechargeable Li-On battery which allows for very fast recycle times, and very long times between charges. It sips power. Yet its 5-6 times more powerful than a large system speed light - in the same size and weight class. AND it has built in wireless support for practically any camera system on the market. Use any supported camera's wireless trigger on your make of camera and any godox light will fire - TTL or manually. Studio monolights, speed lights or pocket flash units like the AD200. There is even a bracket that lets you use two 200's together! Kudos to Godox for this, its a really nice unit. And truly universal.
An AD200 on a Boomerang bracket is still a lot of heft. I tried it and it wasn't fun. Plus the head's mobility was limited meaning hard to bounce off walls or anything else so it wasn't really an option for event or highly mobile use unless you could take it off camera on a stand. Like possibly at a wedding for some shots. Then Godox announces their EC200 flash head extension. They basically put a 6.5 ft heavy duty cord between two adapters so that you can extend the fresnel or bare bulb flash heads up to 6.5 ft away from the body! The extension head is small and weighs next to nothing! Now it could fit on a Boomerang and you barely notice it PLUS it swivels vertically and rotates so you can bounce light if you want. Sure the cord is a bit of a hassle when used this way but it really delivers when you need a pretty decent punch of light in certain areas where speed lights struggle. The power more than makes up for the hassle of the cord. You could now boom an EC200 head off a smaller easy to use boom and arm setup. It fits right in a Bowens S Bracket like the AD200 does so you can use any modifier now but without the weigh of the flash unit.
Recently I was hired for a series of promo and meet n greet shots by a local entertainment authority that works with the city. These are mostly music shows indoors and outdoors since the authority operates several venues. All the shots have to be backstage because of contractual terms and agreements with the talent and their media management people. As the photographer for this, I don't always have a say in where I get to work, and I have a maximum of 15 minutes to get all my shots. Usually that can drop to 10 minutes - and even once a spot or location is selected, so far it has always changed at the last minute. Backstage at any venue so tends to be a dark place; there aren't a lot of nice white walls or surfaces to bounce light off for a softer effect. There are A LOT of people scurrying around and you cannot EVER be in the way. I don't have the luxury of pre metering for light output so I have had to depend on the camera's TTL mode for metering. Thankfully Fujifilm has that down damned good! The problem is a speed light on a bracket or camera just isn't powerful enough to light any of the locations without seriously bumping my ISO north by a lot (1600 to 3200) and shooting larger apertures than I care too. And I can have issues with recycle times since the speed light is usually running at max output. With the EC200, I shoot at about ISO 100-400, and f/8 all day long. Recycle time is super fast so I can rip off 3-5 shots with each shutter press which helps counter problems with the subjects closing eyes, lazy eyes, deer in the head light looks, etc. I'll always have one good shot of each setting. So far. And the light when used with my MagMod Magsphere or Magbounce is really really good. Great coverage and plenty of light. I print 4x6's for the subjects as a courtesy and the prints and out of camera JPGS are very nice thanks to the adequate light and coverage. Great colors that pop and good skin tones. Its not a cumbersome set up and with the AD200 flash body mounted to a Capture clip (from Peak Design) on my belt, the cord and unit stay close by me and don't get tangled up in all the "stuff" you find backstage - spare guitars, roller carts, cases, coolers, speaker wires and other cords. I have shot sessions so far with Diana Krall and Elle King and wish I could show you some of the images but I do not have releases or the authority to use the images. I just get the cash for the work and free tickets to every show I work.
Yes, I could get these done without the AD200 but it just makes it easier and it is the right tool for the job. I'm impressed that Godox comes up with these sorts of accessories. They do the same extension concept on their 600 w/s battery powered studio/location strobes too. So again, you can mount just a lightweight strobe head on a smaller boom arm and fire away. Smaller booms are easier to move and much lighter on the wallet. Your assistants will love you.
The EC200 retails for around $40. Some places like Adorama are a bit cheaper and not every vendor has them in stock as of this writing. I bought mine via Amazon when I spotted it being in stock while looking for something else. Its worth the price. It extends my ability to provide a superior product to my customer. It also helps me since I can shoot with confidence in ANY situation, making the best of bad lighting locations. This is why I switched to Godox, they just deliver good, well thought out, products. Nicely done Godox!