|Norman 200B Photo from www.fredmiranda.com|
I must state here and now that these units are durable and reliable. In my opinion, the greatest single drawback is the weight of the batery pack. The weight of thepack can be used in place of a sandbag when mounted with a Norman quick-detachable bracket at the base of the stand. A typical assignment, described here, was one where I used a 200B in a medium sized softbox held aloft with a paint pole.
A Viable Replacement? As a simple Joe Consumer type, I get my information about new products only when they become available to the general public, and often only when a dealer decides to put the item on sale, as was the case here.
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Lightweight Wonder: Did I forget to mention that the complete head, body, and single battery weigh on two pounds?
Twin Heads: Another feature that attracted me was the interchangeable head feature. On the one hand, there was a standard, non-zooming speedlight head capable of a light spread suitable for a 35mm lens. On the other hand, it would accept a bare bulb, just like the Norman and my Amatar converted Vivitar flashes. When used inside a softbox, the bare bulb is a better solution than the narrow beam of a speedlight head, since bare-bulb light goes in every direction and without a pronounced hot spot.
After charging the battery, I decided to play with the bare bulb head, just to see if it would indeed recycle as quickly as advertised. Sure enough, it took less than 2 seconds to go from discharged state to fully charged, and without thinking, proceeded to fire a dozen or so shots in rapid succession. Pleased with the performance, I proceeded to disassemble the unit and return the pieces to the fitted case.
Okay, I learned a serious lesson, and gave some additional thought to how I'll use this flash in the future. Before anything else, I'm going to attach a label on the dedicated flash controller that simply says "Slow Down", a reminder that the unit needs to have time to cool off between shots. I'm sure this flash will become a suitable backup for one of the two Norman 200B units I routinely use for photographing the Adult School's Graduation Photo I do every year in June. I'll breathe a little easier knowing I have a backup should one of the Norman units get cranky on me.
I know that the catalog photo doesn't give you any idea of how large, or small, the unit is. I'll include some image of the flash "in action" when I have a chance to use it.