Review of the Portaflash Digital Studio Kit

Manufacturer: Portaflash
Model: Digital Studio Kit
Price: £249

This Jessops Portaflash Studio Kit comes with a pair of 336VM flash heads. These small lights have a Guide Number of 36m, outputting 100 Joules. Power can be adjusted from a quarter, a half and full power, with a recycling time of 4sec at full power.

The lights also include an integrated slave unit and power cord. On top of that, the kit also includes a pair of lighting stands, two small reversible silver/white umbrellas and brolly clamps. A remote trigger unit is also in the box along with a PC sync cord. Finally the whole kit can be packed away in a small black carry case.

No Frills

This offering from Jessops is aimed squarely at the first-time studio buyer and as such everything is kept pretty simple. Its budget credentials speak for themselves, with no frills and little in the way of features. The small lighting stands are slightly wobbly, especially when at full extension, while the pair of brollies are small.

Useable Results

Lack of control in output means you need to move the lights back and forward for slight adjustments, while the slow recycling time is annoying if you are shooting portraits. Jessops quotes the colour temperature at 5600°K, slightly warmer than daylight, and tests proved this to be about right, with 5700 to 5800°K measuring throughout the shoot. Despite our initial misgivings about the lights, they actually produce very usable results, provide enough coverage for full-length portraits and give a decent quality of light.

Flash Heads: 2 x 336VM
Other Contents: Stands, 81cm brollies, brackets, leads, bag
Guide Number: 36m
Output: 100 Joules
Recycle Time: 4sec
Output Levels: 1/4, 1/2, full power
Trigger Voltage: 5v
Slave: Yes
Modelling Lamp: 40W
Colour Temp: 5600K

These budget lights are usable, but they don’t
offer much in the way of control and they also fail to match the robust
build of the Interfit or Elinchrom systems. On the positive side, the
simplicity of build and handling make them a doddle to use. They’re
backed up by a wide range of accessories, allowing you to build a
system cheaply and easily, however we’d recommend spending a little extra on
something better.

Price, decent light

Slow, small brollies, limited control

What Digital Camera Score: 78%