DigiTek DFL 210 PRO & Platinum Monopod

 

After years of championing the cause of ambient light and high ISOs, I stumbled into the world of flash, around the time I started making prints. The freedom of amping up the ISO is great, but the freedom to control illumination in a shooting situation that is otherwise chaotic, is something that truly pushed the way I see. Most recently, I used the Digitek DFL 210 PRO and came away rather pleased at all it offers at its conservative price tag.

Economical and Convenient
However simplistic this may sound, for me, light is light. A flashgun’s appeal, for me, does not lie in the various features it may or may not have. It also does not depend on how powerful an illumination it gives: my typical usage is at 1/64 or 1/128. What’s most important, for me, are the ergonomics of the flash. How quickly I can get to a certain function determines whether I control the flash or whether the flash controls me. In that aspect, I felt quite at home with the 210 PRO, whose design takes inspiration from some of the proprietary manufacturers, and allows quick access.

As compared to the proprietary manufacturer flashguns I usually use, the 210 PRO has a slightly warmer output. This isn’t noticeable unless you are actually comparing both side by side (and if a flashgun does err, I’m personally happier it errs on the warmer side). So while it wouldn’t be my first choice if I need critical accuracy, it produces a pleasing output for most kinds of documentary, event and portrait photography.

The build quality is quite nice, and with features like built-in wireless transmission and the ability to zoom and direct illumination, the flash justifies its PRO moniker. I missed the inclusion of colour gels, though considering the low price of the flashgun, one can invest in gels separately. According to the manufacturer, the flash comes equipped with Overheating Protection. As a serious photographer who carefully considers his frames, I do not remember the last time I had to indiscriminately fire away several bursts of flash, so using this flash was a smooth experience for me.

Should one pick it up? For a photographer whose gear sees a lot of wear and tear, a value-for-money flash like the 210 PRO can be a great supplement for the rest of your kit.

Sturdy and Practical
As a photographer who has only recently started exploring moving images, I prefer my video setup to be rather minimal, with functionality being more important than flexibility. A DSLR/ mirrorless camera, a prime lens and a monopod (with the occasional use of a tripod) are ideal for my style of organically made documentary footage. With that in mind, I looked at the DPMP-170B with a fair amount of interest.

I received the 170B for test without a ball head from the company, and so, used my own for the purposes of this test. The build quality is quite good, and the framework made of platinum, looks like it can withstand rough conditions. The Twist Lock mechanism is what I appreciated the most, as it makes it simple and quick to set up the monopod, adjust its height and break it down, all in a secure and efficient manner. The three-legged locking base is a huge advantage, as with its own ball-head mechanism, it not only makes the monopod more secure, but also makes it easy to manoeuvre the monopod while shooting. It is a folding mechanism and does not take away from the convenient form factor of the monopod.

Moreover, simply pressing one of the legs with one’s foot allows you to adjust the position of the monopod with respect to one’s body balance. It also functions as a base stand for the monopod, which I found useful in a pinch (only while using a light camera), when I was shooting without an assistant.

The DPMP-170B is an excellent intermediate option. It offers way more control and security than other cheap monopods, and while it may not be as robust as high-end alternatives, it offers a lot to keep most videographers happy.

Tags: Digitek, IMS Mercantile, monopod, Raj Lalwani, speedlite