I noticed some new videos for Joe McNally Lastolite products this weekend. Have you ever wondered why someone would buy an endorsed line of a product instead of getting the regular version? It turns out there's actually a good reason if you pay attention to the details.
What You Get With Joe McNally Lastolite Products
If it seems like I'm pimping these products for Joe or Lastolite, I am. I'm just not doing it as an affiliate or getting any kickback for the effort. I'm sharing the information because I've found something very useful with the products and you may like what you see. During the workshop in St. Lucia last August, Joe mentioned that some new products were in the works. Now they're finally here and I'm really digging what I see.
The first and only item I knew about before this weekend was the Lastolite EzyBox. It's a 24×24 soft box for small flash. Well built, durable and easy to take on location. It was a bit punchy, though. A while later, another version came out with a big label on the side bearing Joe's logo. The difference was the interior lining. Instead of a reflective silver lining, it had a white lining. It also cost more.
Even though I already owned the original Lastolite EzyBox, I took a leap of faith and bought Joe's version, too. He describes the results as “creamier.” I don't know what the hell that means, but I do know that I like the results from the Joe McNally EzyBox more than the original. The shadows aren't as harsh or punchy on the subject, they tend to fall off gradually rather than suddenly. If that's creamier, so be it.
What you're getting with Joe's version of the product is not just a logo on the side. It's developed with the wisdom and experience of a guy who is shooting images day in and day out for a few decades.
As I watched the videos for the new Joe McNally Lastolite products, I saw the same sort of theme. Some are products he used before and benefitted from him asking “Why doesn't it do this?”
Unfortunately, there are a lot of products designed by people who have never needed to use them. I've bought things that seem to have great potential, and then discovered that they just don't cover that one last detail that makes them truly useful or adaptable.
The benefit I see in the Joe McNally Lastolite products is that he's discovered those frustrating little problems, or thought of how to expand their potential by adding some simple yet key feature.
The products bearing Joe's logo are not some new revolution in light shaping tools. Instead, they are thoughtful refinements to the tools you already know that makes things work better for the photographer who uses them.
For example, take something like the Tri-flash head. Great idea. Put three flashes on a stand to distribute the load. However, it's frustrating when you realize that the sensor that reads a CLS signal is in a different direction for each flash on the head. The Joe McNally version corrects that issue with a ratcheting mount for each flash. It's a simple idea that makes life easier for a photographer who actually uses the product.
Lastolite YouTube Videos
You can find all of the videos on the Lastolite YouTube channel. The videos aren't just about directly selling a product, but rather provide useful photography and lighting tutorials in circumstances where the products can be a good solution. Even if you're not inclined to buy them, I'd say the videos are still worth checking out just for the tutorial.