Without light, you don’t have a photo. Now, a large portion of the time, I use natural light or the available light in the room, but I’d say about 30% of the time I need to add light to make a photo work. For the most part, I use an on camera flash like the Nikon sb-910. When I am doing portraits or have more time, I like to use my Quantum flash. Today I’ll talk about the good and the bads and the certain situations that work in this Quantum Qflash review.
Qflash Review: Different Models
There are different models of the qflash, but in general, most of them are pretty similar. I have the T4d, which from what I can tell, does about the same as the earlier models. The big difference in the newer models is the ability to control and fire the flash wirelessly with a Quantum trigger. The also have a Trio model that is made for a hotshoe, and I believe, it can wirelessly fire other Qflashes as well.
For this review, I will only be looking at the T4d because it’s what I have, and it’s all I have ever worked with. Again, though, it’s very similar to many of their other flashes, so most of what I say can be applied to other versions.
Qflash Review: Qflash vs. Speedlite
Most wedding photographers rely solely on speedlites, and that’s mainly what I do as well. I have found, though, several problems with speedlites, and that’s the initial reason I looked at a Qflash. My biggest problems with speedlites are power, recycle time, and battery life. Too many times, these three things have screwed me. I’ve found myself in a dark church and the bride is walking down the aisle. I need a good pop of light to make everything work. A speedlite can do that, but I might only get one or two shots because the flash will be recycling. Another situation I’ve run into in the past is the battery dying at the end of the night. Then I have to run around looking for a new set of batteries. That’s a real pain.
A qflash, in general, solves these problems…kind of. Qflashes are more powerful than speedlites. I don’t know the exact number, but I feel like I’ve been able to to shoot in a darker situation with them. The recycle time is also really fast. On lower power settings, I’ve shot like 15 photos in a row and not had to worry about the flash stopping. Qflashes work with an external battery, which is kind of bulky and can get in the way, but these things last forever. I’ve yet to run out of power with one. The last difference is the quality of light. In general I try not to shoot a speedlite directly at someone without a modifier like an umbrella because the light is harsh. The Qflash comes with a parabolic reflector and a diffuser. I still try to use a modifier, but I feel much better about using direct flash with this than a speedlite.
Qflash Review: Useable for weddings???
Alright, so here’s what really matters. Qflashes are powerful, have a quick recycle time, never run out of power, and make nice light, but would I use it for a wedding. Well, sometimes… I would never completely replace my speedlite with a Qflash. The biggest reason is that it doesn’t naturally work on the hotshoe. I can’t put it on my camera and have my camera communicate with it. I could use an adapter or a bracket, but it’s still not natural. Second big reason is that I don’t feel like it works well with bouncing the flash. This is the way I shoot 95% of the time with a flash. Yes, I can aim the flash at the ceiling still, but I just feel like it doesn’t work as well. Now, I might be doing something wrong or just not have enough practice, but a speedlite aimed up with a white bounce card seems to work better.
I would and have used my Qflash for portraits and for receptions. If you have the time, it’s great to use this off camera with an umbrella for either portraits of the couple or for family portraits. I’ve also used it off camera for dance photos. It works amazingly in these situations, but I don’t know if that really makes it the best tool for wedding photography.
I’m going to keep experimenting with my Quantum T4d and see how I feel about it. If I learn anything new or change my mind, I’ll make sure to update this Qflash review to help out all the photographers out there.