Being so hard at work in the shop, we had to stop for just a moment and make time for a shoot. We heard there is “safety in numbers” so a few of us grouped together to work out our game plan. I was going all out to put the Godox PB960 pro-packs to the test, Lappies was armed with a X-T1 demo unit from the great guys of Fuji, and it would be Graham’s introductory model shoot.
The Ultimate Shoot:
The only time we could fit into our schedules was very very early on a Saturday, 4am to be exact.
A few days before the shoot, we gathered the troops and started prepping the gear, in anticipation of what seemed like to be the “be all, end all shoot”. We were super ready and nothing was going to stop us!
Or so we thought…
Unfortunately the model we booked cancelled the night before and I had to make a couple of urgent calls, thankfully though Janine pulled through for us despite the early start. We were back on track, make-up – check, lights – check, location – check, new model – check, that one guy who overslept – check…
We managed to arrange a safe and secure location on the rooftop of a prestigious building not too far from the shop and we were rushing to get everything setup for a sunrise shoot.
Confession time, I shoot into the sun… a lot! Using flashes/speedlites to fill in. My biggest struggle has always been getting enough light and fast enough recycle times on the flashes, so I was pretty excited to see how the Godox PB960 would perform, as this would be the solution to many of my problems.
As the sun peeked over the horizon, we were rolling! The first couple of shots were captured using only natural light but as the sun started creeping higher and higher it was becoming a bit harsh… almost like the gates of hell opening up on us. It was time… We jacked up the PB960’s with a couple of Think Tank Red Whips, or bungy cords as we refer to them, to the light stands and the boom with the beauty dish. A simple but durable coiled cable connects the pro-pack to the flash. There are specific cables for Nikon and Canon flashes, so be sure to get the right one. The cable also has a great weather seal around the tip so you won’t have to worry about be putting your flash in harm’s way.
How does the Godox PB960 work?
The power pack isn’t too difficult to master, the flash still runs off of a fresh set of penlights (AA) but instead of draining the batteries, to create the light that photographers are always searching for, the power gets drawn from the PB960. The power pack is doing all the hard work while the penlights are doing the smart work.
The PB960 has a lithium-ion rechargeable battery and one pack can handle up to two flashes and also has built in LED lights to indicate battery life status. The charger also has an indication light to let you know when the battery is fully charged. The packs aren’t a heavy weight to carry, come with a shoulder strap and have a belt clip on them, I personally dislike straps but it is nice to know that the options are there.
Back to the shoot
We were constantly running around between wardrobe changes, trying to find that one perfect spot on the roof so we can get the shots we want. Not once during the shoot did I experience a shortage of light. The flashes were firing every time without fail, giving me one less thing to think about. With the sun not letting up, we were pushing the flashes harder than I ever thought possible.
By the end of the shoot I had taken about 500 shots with the flashes at nothing stronger than 1/4th power and the pack had not even dropped a single battery indicator light. We did test it on full power and the recycle time dropped to 1 flash per second, which is actually super fast compared to other options (like the four penlights) but shooting the flash repeatedly at 1/1 will only result in a burnt focus screen on the flash and that’s why I dropped it down to ¼ and just ran with it. The packs are rated to deliver 1800 shots at full power and from what I’ve experienced it really could perform that well.
All in all, I was really happy with the performance and compact build of the packs. They definitely made the shoot a lot easier, not having to worry about changing pen lights or missing shots due to long recycling time of the flashes. I’ll definitely be using these little guys much more in future.
Gunther “Light it up” Swart