BY THEANO NIKITAS HANDS-ON
Monolights cutting loose from powercords are becoming
as popular as disgruntled consumers ditching their cable
provider. The latest lighting manufacturer to cut the cord is
Interfit, with their new S1. But there’s a lot more to this flash than its
power source. The S1 offers both TTL and High Speed Sync (HSS),
IGBT technology to regulate power flow and, to make life easier, it
can be powered by AC using the bundled international multi-
voltage AC adapter. Interfit charges $1,000 for the S1 and also sells
an S1a model that is AC-powered only.
I tested the light in my home studio, as well as in a larger, off-site
studio during a shoot with a dancer (opposite page). For the latter,
I mainly shot with the Nikon D4S and a NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8
lens, triggering the flash with Interfit’s optional $100 transmitter
(available for Nikon and Canon) or with Pocket Wizard Plus IIs using
the S1’s sync port. To match the light’s portability, most images
were captured using a small Interfit collapsible softbox.
With a maximum output of 500Ws, the light provides 7 stops of
power ( 2.0-8.0), adjustable in 1/10th stop increments for both TTL
and manual modes. HSS is available in manual mode with sync
speeds of up to 1/8000th of a second. Prior to receiving the test
unit, Interfit updated the original firmware to allow the use of third-
party HSS transmitters, which they tested with the Pocket Wizard
TT5 and the Yongnuo YN622 (Interfit said they worked perfectly).
I successfully shot in HSS mode using the Interfit transmitter and
Nikon’s Auto FP high-speed sync, which worked flawlessly.
The S1 weighs 6. 3 pounds and measures 13. 4 x 9. 1 x
5.1-inches, light and small enough to pick up by its built-in handle
and take on the road. The battery is integrated into the body,
allowing the light to maintain its cylindrical shape and is easily
removed for charging. Although built solidly enough for travel,
as with any piece of electronic/optical equipment, it’s important
to pack it carefully. The light tube is covered with a frosted glass
dome and the light comes with a plastic protective cap. A small
reflector is also included in the bundle.
On-flash controls are minimal, but perfectly sized for easy
access and well positioned below the large and bright LCD. The
Interfit transmitter, powered by AAA batteries, is fairly low profile
and fits into the camera’s hotshoe, with easy-to-operate controls.
WHAT WE LIKED
Given the tiny space that I call my home studio, anything
that’s cable-free gets my vote. But even in a larger studio setting,
working with an untethered light made it easy to adjust positions
without worrying about finding an outlet or tripping over a cable.
The 4500mAh Li-ion battery is rated for an impressive 350
full-powered shots per 3-hour charge, but since I rarely shot at full
power, I never had to use the second battery that I had on hand.
The optional AC power feature ensured that I had a backup if/when
needed. Battery levels are visible on the light and transmitter LCDs,
and, as a nice touch, the battery has its own power indicator.
Overall, TTL worked very well and the S1’s 5700K color
temperature was, for the most part, consistent across exposures
(albeit just lightly warm when the D4S white balance was set at
CUTTING THE CORD WITH THE
INTERFIT S1 FLASH
Is this the all-in-one monolight you’ve been waiting for?
The unit and transmitter are extremely
easy to use, and the transmitter has
a micro USB port for user-installable