Ok, the secret is now out… I love my 22″ Paul Buff beauty dishes. I use them every chance I get and it’s virtually all I use on-location outdoors. With the diffusion sock in place it’s relatively wind-resistant and is certainly less prone to toppling over than an umbrella or softbox. It’s also extremely durable and dents are easily banged out with a hammer. Catchlights are round and light beam-spread output can be tightened with a grid, medium with a bare-bulb, or loosened to approximately 150º with a diffusion sock. This gives photographers plenty of options to control their lights in a consistent manner.
Photo of Danyell using white 22″ beauty dish in my studio.
I picked up the (discontinued) black and white 22R a few years ago and like it a bit more than my new high output silver dish (22HOBD). The older model 22R is a more durable steel construct, with a permanently attached center direct-light blocker, and is painted matte black on the outside. The new dishes are a lighter weight aluminum fabrication built with the same material the new 7″ reflectors are made of. It’s sort of a brushed aluminum which gets dull with age. As opposed to the older 7″ reflectors which seem to be chrome-plated aluminum and which remain very shiny over the years. The new HO dishes use your umbrella mount to hold the direct-light blocker in place. I guess that’s not a big deal unless you happen to forget or lose the blocker part.
Photo of Leah using 22″ white beauty dish on location.
I have not tested my silver dishes light output against my white one but Paul claims the silver HO dish has six times the efficiency of a white dish. My goal is to overpower the sun with my silver HO dish and B1600 using a polarizing filter at ISO 100. Previously, my white beauty dish was not quite efficient enough to do the trick and I had to simply use my 7″ silver reflector on bright days. I’ll try to revise this post once I’ve tested my silver HO dish outdoors.
Behind the scenes with my 22R on location. Photo: Jen Vejvoda.