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Review: The Kacey Beauty Dish

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location lighting with a flying saucer…

Bottom line:
20100206_kacey_bd_059My never ending search for speedlight modifiers that can handle the rigors of day to day location use and be used to create a wide range of light qualities turned up a beauty dish from a small PacNW company that is definitely worth looking into. The Kacey Beauty Dish is lightweight, can produce a variety of beautiful light, is built with an eye towards quality, has good range of excellent accessories and is rugged. At about $300.00 for the dish and bracket it’s a little spendy, but to me it’s a must have.

Note: I purchased my KBD a few months ago and since that time owner Jerry Kacey has become a friend and student who has assisted me on a few shoots…I’d purchase the unit again regardless.

A few months ago I was on location struggling with my homemade Quantum Trio adapter for the Profoto BD and became so frustrated I decided to go online and see what “do it yourself” solutions others had come up with. Imagine my surprise when my search results came up with a ready made solution called the “Kacey Beauty Dish”  a high tech plastic BD made just for speedlights (and other portable lights with available adapters) on location…

Reading the rave reviews and checking out the unit on the Kacey Enterprises website only got me more interested so I pinged the owner, Jerry Kacey, who, it turned out, lived and worked just up the road from Seattle in Snohomish. He was very easy to talk to and answered all of my questions directly. When I expressed interest in picking one up he said he was going to be down my way the next day and that he’d be happy to bring one along to save postage…nice start to things…

20100206_kacey_bd_131-edit20100226_kacey_portrait_test_084-edit-edit-2Met up at a coffee shop the next afternoon and after looking at some of my images, talking technique and chatting over coffee about what I needed the dish to do and it’s various adjustments, I was on my way back to West Seattle with a new toy (errr tool ;-)…

I quickly and easily set it up in our kitchen (obviously my wife wasn’t home) and dug out Loretta the light test dummy for a quick shoot. My initial impressions were positive…great build quality on the dish and bracket, adjustments and attachments were stable and secure, it even seemed a little overbuilt given that it was meant to be used with speedlights and small strobes.

As you can see in the images the quality of light from the KBD compliments the Trios barebulb nature. It produces all of the types of light you would expect from a BD but you can drop it and toss it into the back of the SUV and not worry about taking it on location or using it with students in a lighting class…things I would normally worry about with my ProFoto Dish and grid…

20100507_kenyatta_boxer_079-edit20100417_marcus_runner_013-editAnother pleasant surprise came the first time I used it with my Profoto studio lights to get a key light with less power in my small test studio…sweet ;-) The quality of light blended very nicely with the Profotos and the smaller Trio gave me the ability to shoot nearly wide open without resorting to layers of black net on my Profoto dish like I had been doing.

As the image sets show, when used properly you can blend the light with others or existing ambient, sculpt it, make it snappy or make it soft and count on getting great light every time. Granted at 22″ it’s not a modifier you’ll be sticking in your camera bag, but when the shot calls for a great quality of light and the situation dictates that I’ll be on location using speedlights it’s become my default “go to” modifier…

20100328_shu_singer_181-edit20100328_shu_singer_275-edit-editHere are some of examples of taking models straight from inside to outside with basically the same KBD/Trio set-up on a C-stand/boom arm where we were able to create completely different looks quickly, easily and efficiently. It’s so nice to be able to grab your key light and stand and just move on to the next shot while knowing you don’t have to compromise quality and variety for expediency.

20100423_kenyatta_banks_227-edit20100423_kenyatta_banks2_056-editOn another note…it feels good knowing I’m supporting a small independent businessman (and pretty good aspiring photographer) with my purchase while getting high quality equipment at a reasonable price with great personal customer service at the same time.

enjoy…Ric

Kacey Beauty Dish with adapters for most popular lighting systems, bracket, grid and location bag available direct from Jerry Kacey at http://www.kaceyenterprises.com…

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