Shoe-mount flashguns, or “speedlights” are a fine choice for on-the-go photographers who don’t want to deal with great big studio lamps. But one of the main features they are missing out on is modelling lights, which provide a preview of the lighting before a shot is taken. Without them, a lot of test shots are needed to make sure the light is falling in the right places, and not lighting up the background or casting odd shadows, for example.
The Speedlamp, from British lighting manufacturer Magneflash, is positioned as the solution to this problem. The £9.95 (US$15) device is a small strip of LEDs the width of your average flash head. It attaches to the head using Velcro and is powered via USB from any 5V source.
Using the Speedlamp should save time on a photoshoot, as you’ll be able to tell if your light modifiers are positioned and angled correctly. It’ll also help with autofocus in the dark.
Magneflash does not supply a battery with the Speedlamp, leaving you free to add your own one that’s as portable or as long-lasting as you like. According to the specs, a small 2,600 mAh phone charger (the kind that costs £5 and fits on a keyring) will keep the Speedlamp going for two hours. But you can aim for performance too: the SkyEagle PB3000 is a speedlight battery pack that will power your flash (speeding up recycle times) and charge a USB device at the same time.
What do you think? Do you wish your flashguns had modelling lamps?