Sometimes I get something, and I end up thinking “How did I not know this existed?”
I consider myself somewhat of a photography geek; theoretically, this should never happen.
I keep up to date with new developments and innovation. If a camera got released with a global shutter, I’d like to think I would know about it a nano-second after it happens.
I failed at my “photography geek 101” course because I was in the dark, no pun intended. Lastolite released this little gem a couple of years ago, and I’m not the only one who missed it.
Everyone I’ve shown it to has given me the “wow, that’s pretty cool!”. That’s a lie; my wife gave me the blank stare she gives me every time I show her something photography related, and I’m excited.
Let’s set the scene. You carry your reflector for 25 shoots in a row, taking up valuable space from your bag. It’s dangling around getting in the way the whole time.
So you take it off your bag out of frustration and put it back into your cupboard. Then you’re out on a shoot, and you suddenly need it, and you think, “if only I brought my reflector with me”.
With the Lastolite Halo Silver/White Reflector, you don’t need to worry about that. It’s small enough to have with you all the time.
Let’s see why it’s one of the best photography reflectors for portrait photographers right now.
Table of Contents
Lastolite Halo Silver/White Reflector Specs
- Compact size
- Innovative approaches moving photography forward
- Longer setup time
- Higher cost
- Harder to dismantle
- Surfaces: Silver/White
- Shape: Circle
- Working Size: 34.3 x 34.6″ / 87 x 88cm
- Weight: 19oz / 539g
The Lastolite Halo Silver/White Reflector is a reflector that uses a frame concept similar to those found on tents as opposed to the pop-up idea. The poles connect by an elastic string.
From there, you clip the reflector part to the frame by attaching several hooks around the frame. The design isn’t 100% unique, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it applied to reflectors.
The advantage of this approach is that it provides you with a reflector that has a much smaller footprint when folded up.
Construction quality is excellent. It doesn’t feel cheap or sub-quality. The frame on the reflector is aluminium instead of plastic which ensuring durability and keeps the weight low.
The reflector is available in 4 variants:
- Two stop diffuser
- Sunlight/soft silver
- Diffuser/Soft silver
Fortunately, you don’t have to buy a new reflector each time. You can buy panels separately and use a single frame.
Features & Handling
Don’t let the folded size deceive you. The Lastolite Halo is a full-sized reflector. The difference is that it folds down to the size of a 500ml bottle.
The Lastolite Halo Silver/White Reflector is straightforward to set up, but it’s not all roses compared to a conventional reflector. A pop-up reflector takes a couple of seconds to unzip and setup.
The Halo, on the other hand, requires you to:
- Set up the frame (which takes about 20 seconds)
- Clip-on the reflector (which takes about 60 seconds)
It may seem like a long time, but you don’t set up reflectors 30 times during a shoot. You pull it out, and it stays out for a while.
You may pull it out a second time, but most of the time it stays out for an extended period, and hen goes back in permanently.
I also found that you can optimise the way you set up reasonably quickly. Instead of manually linking them, grab it by the middle and let the pieces hang down in the air.
Most of the poles connect on their own, and all you have to do is connect the handle piece. The reflector part, on the other hand, is the more difficult element.
Stretching it out is more time consuming and attaching the clips is a little frustrating, particularly for the last couple. It’s harder(and sometimes a little annoying) removing the clips when you take it down.
The speed may give the conventional style reflectors the apparent advantage, but there is one small problem: A faster reflector is only better if you have one with you.
Lastolite incorporates a grab handle like their tri-grip, which is helpful and my one pet annoyance with most pop-ups. Try holding a pop out reflector without an assistant when its all floppy and bendy.
They also include a tripod/light stand mounting screw although you will still need something to adjust the angle. Solving this would be easy with a small ball head; there are many available cheaply.
Value for Money
The Lastolite Halo Silver/White Reflector retails for around $80. Compared to Lastolite’s Trigrip, it’s $10 more expensive, which seems reasonable given the extra parts.
Lastolite is a premium brand, so it’s hard to compare pricing to some of the lower-cost brands like Godox, which will always be cheaper.
You’re paying a little for the Lastolite name, but the quality of construction is high. The frame is metal instead of plastic, and the quality of the reflector surfaces are high.
You’re also paying a little for the innovation cost because Lastolite is first to market. Without innovation, we won’t see new products like this on the market.
Additional double-sided reflectors are available for around $35 without the frame, which is close to half the cost of the reflector. The bag will fit two, and it’s easy to pack 2 or 3 extras in the Lastolite Halo Silver/White Reflector bag.
While there will no doubt be a flurry of cheap knock offs appearing, you’ll notice it fairly quickly when the silver coating starts to peel so if you use reflectors regularly, I would advise against buying cheap.
Lastolite Halo Silver/White Review | Conclusion
The Lastolite Halo Silver/White Reflectoris the kind of reflector that every photographer should have, if not just as a backup. The compact size makes it indispensable and unique in a market of reflectors that all look the same.
It’s an idea that seems obvious, but often the best ideas are. The shape also means that it will find a place in one of the bottle holders on your bag.
Yes, you can dangle reflectors off your bag, but we all know how annoying that is. For that end alone, I’m happy to pay a little more for the lack of annoyance.
Then there is the aspect of a compact reflector that suits any occasion. I haven’t seen many reflectors that are small enough to carry everywhere. The Lastolite Halo Silver/White Reflector is small enough for me to take out with my X100.