PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector review

Jan 13 2009
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PRESSlite Vertex Light Modifier
PRESSlite Pro Panels
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Update: PRESSlite releases accessories for their VerteX light modifier

PRESSlite VerteX (best flash diffuser rating: 8.98) is a flash light modifier (diffuser, reflector), which tries to make the most of your flash... well, turn it into two flashes. We've been waiting for a device like this to appear for a long time now. Several manufacturers attempted to create flash diffusers (like, for instance, LumiQuest Pro Max 80-20 Bounce or Gary Fong WhaleTail) that are able to simulate multi-source lighting but they do not provide as much control as PRESSlite VerteX does now. The idea is simple - use two symmetrical panels to redirect and/or diffuse light in two or even three directions (of course it is possible to direct all the light power in one direction also).

From the online pictures, we got an impression that PRESSlite VerteX is rather fragile, and, to some degree, we are surprised that it is actually very well built. Having played with it, we would say that the device can take a significant amount of carelessness. The quality of materials seems to be very good and the design is well thought through. Creators seem to have paid attention to many details and, as the result, this device looks to be able to last for a long time. In general, we are pleased with the simplicity and elegance of the solution the design team came up with.

PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: white panels PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: panel holding arm is angled

The unit is very compact comparing to many competitors. However, we would like to see a bigger model with bigger panels somewhere in the future.

PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: folded flat for storage PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: thin profile

PRESSlite VerteX comes disassembled, and there are already reviews out there saying that it's disappointing. However, we believe that an average person is able to figure it out and assemble this device within few minutes, especially with the video available on the manufacturer's web-site.

PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: disassembled, parts
PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: rubber band part, attachment PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: magnet bar that hold the panels
PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: panel attachment, close up PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: insert attachment, close up

You can use one or two panels of PRESSlite VerteX (panels can be easily attached or detached) to control light. Each panel has white (diffusing) and mirror (reflecting) surfaces and turns every which way. You can also change the angle of arms holding the panels. This allows changing light distribution quickly (especially in one-panel configuration).

The degree of control is probably the highest one can imagine. You can redirect any portion of your light into one direction, diffuse the other part towards your subject, or redirect it to another direction. Using the panels, you can prevent the light from going into a certain direction if the light spill there is undesirable. You can even let some amount of the light stay "untouched" and follow the direction of your flash head while still reflecting and/or diffusing portions of light with panels into two other directions. (Thus, you get three-point light setup.) Of course, in the situation like that the flash would work very hard to provide enough light power. Thus, increasing ISO level, is most likely unavoidable in a complex configuration, but that's is common with many diffusers and highly depends on shooting environment.

As usual, throwing light in multiple directions requires you to watch all the reflecting surfaces you bounce off very carefully. But the most important thing is that you are in control! We can see that some people will be very excited about that, and some would say that the device is too difficult to deal with. We admit that there is a learning curve to get the most of this light modifier, but some basic functionality is similar to what other light modifiers offer. So, PRESSlite VerteX does not require much practicing to start shooting.

The samples images below demonstrate how the light can be bounced with PRESSlite VerteX off of multiple surfaces. In the left image, the light was bounced off of left and right walls with equal amount of light on each side. In the right image, the lighting configuration was even more complex becuase the VerteX was set to bounce the bigger portion of the light off of the left wall while the rest of the light was split between the right wall and the ceiling.

PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: portrait example, left and right wall bounce PRESSlite VerteX flash reflector: portrait example, left wall, right wall, and ceiling bounce

PRESSlite VerteX is an exciting addition to the world of flash light modifiers. If the control is what you want, the control is what you get.

Also read: Frame coverage test

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.