IGBT and remote control: CononMark NID500

With remote power control, IGBT circuitry and portable power, is the CononMark NID500 the first "Chinese Einstein"?

CononMark NID500 Professional Flash Control Unit

CononMark NID500 with power packShenzhen, China: CononMark (CononMK) have revealed a new design of studio light in its range of remote flashes. Perhaps best known as the manufacturer of the Strobeam and IShoot Shining portable battery lights, CononMark have now announced the NID500 IGBT Output High Speed Flash. With remote power control, IGBT circuitry and portable power, is this the first Chinese competition to the Einstein?

Paul C. Buff’s Einstein 640 monolights have been a big hit in the photographic lighting market, much lauded for their insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) circuitry and digital remote control. What makes these two features such a unique combination?

NB: While the NID500 shares both IGBT control and remote power adjustment with the Einstein 640, that is not to say that overall it is better, equal or worse.

Remote power control

With many new wireless products coming to market, the ability to remotely control flash power levels from the camera is increasingly accessible to photographers. From dedicated systems such as Profoto Air and Elinchrom Skyports to third-party products from RadioPopper and PocketWizard, there are a range of solutions on offer. You can read more details on the various products here, or read more articles about remote power control.

Paul Buff’s take on remote power control is based around the Cyber Commander, a wireless handheld controller with an LCD display, offering advanced wireless control of complex lighting setups. You can read more about the CyberSync Plus system and its capabilities here.

Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT)

By using a speedlight-style IGBT circuit, the Einstein 640 gets quicker flash durations as power decreases, rather than the other way round as is the case for most other monolights which use voltage-lowering to reduce power. The first monolight to utilise IGBT was the Photogenic Solair series, and Einstein is the second. The advantage of IGBT is that even a relatively slow monolight can improve at freezing action by reducing its power level.

CononMark NID500

CononMark NID500 Professional Flash Control UnitThe NID500 AC/DC is a new model designed by CononMark. It utilises a remote controller to control the power level, modeling lamp and ready beep of the flash.

There are 2 rows of buttons on the remote controller, “A” and “B”. By using the “A” Buttons, you can control 15 flash units with different ID channels. With the “B” Buttons you can control another 15 flash units with different ID channels. So altogether a remote controller can control 30 flash units.

Features

  • 8 stops control from full to 1/128 power.
  • LCD display
  • Bowens S Comet mount. The Bowens S version is called EID500
  • Remote control with 15 channels and two groups (A and B)
  • 6.35mm sync socket
  • Ready buzz/beep
  • Optical slave, switchable on/off
  • Modelling light, switchable on/off
  • Lithium ion battery compatible with CononMark/Strobeam DL4, Nikon and Canon speedlights.

Specifications

Model NID500
Circuit IGBT
Output 8 stops 1/128-1/1
Effective distance Up to 30m
QUICK MULTI FP (continuous shutter)
Recycling time (220VAC) 0.01-1.2s
Recycling time (DC powerpack) 0.2-3.5s
Flash duration @ t=0.5 1/9600
Sync voltage 5V DC
Light sensor Yes (On/Off)
Modelling lamp (AC) 75W-150W
Modelling lamp (DC) NO
Modelling lamp mount E11
Warning tone Yes (On/Off)
Guide Number (GN) 58
Overheat protection Yes
Colour temperature 5500K +/-200K
Dimensions 52 x 52 x 200mm
Weight 1.75kg

Images

Courtesy of CononMark.

Where to buy

The CononMark NID500 design is completed and ready to be mass produced for the world market. Keep your eyes peeled for distributors!

Update: this flash will be available under the Strobeam DL5 brand in the UK from retailer Viewfinder Photography. Read more.

David Selby
Based in Paris, France, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a quantitative analyst.
selbydavid.com