Modified beauty dish

A couple of years ago I bought a slightly used 14″ beauty dish with a fitting that I couldn’t identify. I used it a couple of times with my old Lumedyne kit and kept meaning to make an adapter so that it was easy to attach and detach without looking like a “bodger”. I never got around to it – largely because the work that I was doing didn’t really call for that kind of light. A couple of months ago I came accross the dish and decided to adapt it for use with my Elinchrom Ranger Quadras.

To make it work properly with the Ranger Quadras I had to remove the orginal fitting. The dish is made out of relatively thin aluminium and it was very easy to use a hacksaw to take the whole of the fitting off. There were three screws holding the wires that keep the dome on position and I removed those to get ready to use the same holes to attach the Elinchrom fitting. This was made from a 13cm reflector which was cut through the reflector bowl in three places, allowing me to spread the metal of the reflector wider so that it could be bent to mirror the curviture of the beauty dish. I then drilled three holes in the modified Elinchrom reflector to match the three existing screw holes in the beauty dish and screwed the whole thing back together. Finally I used some gaffer tape to cover the slightly sharp edges of the Elinchrom reflector where I had cut it.

What you see in the three images above is the “finished” beauty dish. It is lightweight which is great for heads as small as the Elinchrom ones and it puts out a beautiful even light. I have shot some portraits using it but I cannot show them here yet because the client hasn’t used them in the magazine for which they were shot.

The total cost was £20.00 for the secondhand beauty dish, about £25.00 for the Elinchrom reflector that was sacrificed to make the adapter and some gaffer tape. Change from £50.00!

As a footnote, the colleague who proofread this piece for me asked why the cable has two yellow stripes around it. The answer is that I like to be able to identify bits of kit from a distance and the two stripes signifies that it is a two (and a bit) metre cable and that it was bought at the same time as the head. Newer purchases get different colours and a three metre cable would have three stripes. A simple idea but it really helps when you are working quickly and need to set up kit or make changes in a hurry.

7 comments

  1. Neil,

    Modifying a beauty dish to suit the quadra is much easier/neater now. I recently acquired a 2nd hand quadra and have modified a bowens style S mount dish to fit. I used a lastolite easybox quadra adaptor plate. Again three holes. and its done.

    Having done this, another option is available – rather than using the original dish reflector plate I have the option of using the Elinchrom rotalux reflector set which mounts on a 7mm shaft slid into the quadra head.

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    1. That sounds like a far neater option. The Bowens dish is also a better size. I find that I need to use my dish pretty close up to get the desired effect with portraits.

      I used the one that I had because I had it already. I will buy one of the large Elinchrom dishes at some point but only when I can justify the money.

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  2. Hi Neil,

    I’m curious – you say that the Bowens dish is a better size – what size is this?! Is it the 38cm (15″) softlite reflector that is currently available on the Bowens website? I too have the Quadras and would really like to try a beauty dish modifier for a little bit of extra control, even when working quickly.

    Also, I like your DIY approach and may try and hunt out a second hand beauty dish – for me this is experiment rather than necessity right now. Any tips on what to look for?

    Thanks for this post, really informative and very helpful (like so much else here!)

    Like

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