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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 30 November 2011
If you find this review helpful, it would be amazing if you could click the appropriate button below ;)
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There's enough reviews here to say how good they are. I've included some essential
Shaft diameter is 1cm. So it might be too big for some umbrella holders.
Shaft is hexagon and has a metal core.

What I use it for as a wedding photographer:
Onsite portraits (shoot through) and group photos (reflect).
Keeps my subjects dry like any normal umbrella.
It's also a good reflector during the day.
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on 12 January 2012
I am normally filming in the US and have the usual LOWEL RIFA Softboxes with 750W Tungsten Lamps, but I do get over to the UK and was looking for something that offered 'comparable lighting' in a travel size and at a low price.

I am very satisfied with the Westcott 43-inch Optical Satin Umbrellas. I pair them with Lowel 750W Tota lights that are attached to light stands using a Manfrotto Umbrella shoe. I must stress that if you buy these umbrellas you will want the shoe from Manfrotto or something like it because the base of the rod is larger than a standard Lowel 1/4" umbrella hole.

Anyway -- I left the black fabric on the back and bounced the light down at 75 degrees on my subject all day for 4 days and the lighting was excellent and the umbrellas did a super job.

No, I don't think it is comparable to the RIFA Softbox which sells for $900 in the USA, but it doesn't cost that as well and is far more transportable. Unlike large softboxes, these lights can attach to the lightweight light stands for sale here as well and don't require sandbags or weights for stabilization when using a lightweight light head like a Lowel Omni or Tota light.

The light color is a warm honey / tungsten neutral white using 750W, probably a bit warmer using a lower wattage head.

Once the job was done, the umbrellas collapsed to about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide and stored in a typical umbrella nylon sleeve and then inside a plastic sleeve. A lot of product for the money.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR VIDEO PRODUCTION.
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on 7 October 2011
Had this umbrella for a few weeks now and have had great results, spreads light evenly. Me personally, I like to shoot into the umbrellas and having the reflected light hit my subject. I'd recommend one to anyone who wants to get their hands on a great tool for flash photography, much more compact and conveniant than a softbox
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on 19 August 2014
I used this umbrella quite a lot, and was pleased with the results. As a reflector, it spreads the light out quite a bit but produces nice diffuse lighting. I did not find it so good when used as a shoot-through diffuser, but most people will not use it that in that manner anyway. However, it is very flimsy and mine broke after the stand fell over just once when I used it outdoors. The spokes bent/broke, and it is now unusable. I liked it enough that I will buy another umbrella, but probably not this make again.
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on 22 March 2015
Does what it says on the tin. I have used this alot in the studio and it is handy to set up and take down.

Only grip is the black cover cloth does tend to not stay on when you collapse it so when you put it back up again you have to go round and check each of the silver catches are in place before fully erecting it. It would be nice if they where magnetic so they stay on but are still easy to take off.
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on 5 April 2015
PRO: A good umbrella with a choice of shooting through or bouncing the flash

CONS: the black cover starts to unclip when down and becomes a problem when trying to pack away again - the provided sleeves are too tight to realistically pack away easily.
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on 2 November 2011
Recieved it today and was prematurely immediately dissapointed as I looked at the size of the package and it was tiny. This was silly as I was completely shocked once I took it out of the packaging. its suprisingly big which is great considering its folded down size. the quality of it feels great and it feels like a solid piece of equipment. really good if you do on location shoots and such as when folded its literally TINY and you could put it into a backpack if you wanted. diffuses and spreads light very well. I couldnt for the life of my fold it down with the black attached but I think I was just doing it wrong haha but honestly this is SUCH A GREAT umbrella.
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This brolly seems well made except for one thing. As soon as you release the tension, in order to collapse it, the bits holding the black cover come loose. They are just popped over the ends of the brolly spokes and quite a loose fit. It's actually a struggle to get the thing fully opened with the black cover in place. Fine if you can leave it opened up but I wanted something portable and it's too much hassle, and not even slightly professional looking, to battle with that cover on location. So it's either leave it permanently up in the studio or settle for shoot through with just the white bit and that's what I've gone for so I don't feel I got my money's worth with the black cover.

Another minor niggle. It comes in a nice see-through plastic holder. It's impossible to fold it tight enough to ever get it back in again.

I was going to buy two of these, but I think I might have a look and see what else is available - though, as always, if you pay enough you can probably get what you want. It's not bad value for money. It just falls short of what it could be for very little effort on Westcott's part.
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on 16 February 2013
I'm happy with this umbrella. It is plenty large enough and of good quality.

It folds down very small, and can easily be combined with a compact flash stand for a very portable setup. Folded it is probably 40cm in length.

The only disadvantage is that due to the double fold design, it can be a bit of a pain to put away... Try twisting the fabric gently round itself.

Update: After about 9 months the plastic cap at the end of the umbrella sheared off, making it hard to attach the black cover for reflect mode. Not impossible, but harder. This was a bit disappointing.
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on 20 February 2014
This umbrella is nice as stated by other people. However, the cover really is amazingly frustrating to put back on. I took the umbrella out of the nice looking outer plastic bag (nice touch) then out of the tight fitting travel cover. It opened up nice and quickly and seemed to be the portable umbrella of my dreams until I closed it and the black cover flopped off of the spines. There is no way to get the umbrella back into either the plastic or cloth travel cover. Any time you want to use the umbrella with cover on it would take ages to get all the spines back on. Forget about just throwing it up and taking shots on the fly unless you go shoot through. HOWEVER, I cant even get the black cover off...

I am a bit concerned the end of the shaft which is hexagonal may not be all that strong either. If you keep it up in a room then you probably dont have to worry about all this but what is the point of making it collapsible. It's as if a lot of great ideas were put into a product that just doesn't work as it's meant to. I bought a neewer brolly for about 4 quid that seems to be a better choice in the end as it hasn't mad me feel disappointment like this did straight from the get go.
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