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Sian: The name Bowens is synonymous with high quality lighting products and is a brand recognized by photographers the world over. From its purpose built factory in the South east of England, Bowens continue to develop advance lighting systems distributed in over 60 countries. 2008 sees a launch of ground breaking pro lighting products and hands portable power, advance remote triggering and a commercial alliance with bag manufacturer Crumpler. Join us as we take a look at what’s on offer. We’re going to have a look at the full range of studio strobes available, plus highlight the key developments in the new products. I’m joined by Keith Trainor, professional photographer and an advocate of the Bowens lighting system. Is that right Keith? Keith: Yeah that’s right Sian, we’ve been using the Bowens system now for 15 years. Sian: Fantastic. So we’re gonna first look at the new Gemini flash units. And I think the first thing to point out is the changes the power controls. Keith: Yes, in the previous models, the power controls and the modern light were separate. But research has shown but photographers mainly use the modern light in the maximum of proportion position balance to the flash output. On the new unit, the dial had been replace with a simple push button switch on the rear of the flash head. This gives the photographer the option of off, max, proportional or user defined, so plenty of choices there. Another great feature is the automatic power saving mode, where the modern lamp dims to half power if the unit hasn’t been use for set amount of time. Sian: Now these new power settings are very accurate and are controlled in either one stop intervals or one tenth of a stop intervals giving precise digital control on or between multiple Gemini units. And these simple controls are intuitive, to the point, where the untrained assistant is able to operate them. Keith: That’s right Sian, you don’t need to learn a digital menu system and you can expect a total accuracy for meter the heads. Sian: The new Bowens Gemini range starts with compact entry level units of 200 and 400 wattseconds, boasting a 5 stop power range, the older models having only two. As well as proportional modeling and travelpak compatibility, mean you can take them just about anywhere. The new Gemini professional range offers 250, 500, 750, 1000, and 1500 wattsecond options. All units offer a digital display and a remote control. All professional models are fan cooled to allow extended periods of use and improve color temperature consistency. The flash duration has also been vastly improved with each new model boasting flash durations more than twice as fast as previous. Recycling times have also been improved. Now, most people are familiar with the method of triggering their flash heads remotely using a radio trigger, but what Bowens have developed is a unique plug in module for their Gemini range of mono lines. Keith: Yes, it’s an industry first, the Gemini, it’s been remotely sync with a pulsar or the pocket wizard radio trigger system. Sian: And what is great, is it is no bigger than a compact flash card. It simply slots on the back of the Gemini, becoming an integral part of the unit. Then all we have to do is plug in the antenna and there you have it, remote triggering and no wires. And no Gemini’s complete without a light modifier, from brawlies to soft boxes, wafer boxes, barn doors, and gels. There’s a whole host of accessories to give you the control or lighting effect you need. And of course, if you prefer continuous lighting, there’s a whole range of equipment available on the website. Now let’s take a look at portable power. The travelpak portable battery system is now in its second generation and the developments are really exciting. The previous product was an all in one unit, but this has been developed into a two section unit, with two battery size options. Here you can see the main control unit has all the familiar control from the previous model. But if you press here, and here, you see the battery part is now detachable, meaning you can switch battery packs and not have to undo the cables. Now these units pack a real punch and are good for 150 to 200 flashes, running a 500 wattsecond Gemini head and even more with a larger battery option. The design had been enhanced so too has a power indicator. What also is great is the spare battery units can be charged away from the control unit, giving even more flexibility. For location based photographer, this is a great power option. So, have you ever been crumplified? No? Well, the Bowens equipment bag certainly has, and here it is. Bowens have teamed with bag manufacturer Crumpler to produce what they call the Gimlet bag, a funky joint design, addressing the needs of the mobile photographer. Keith: Yes, it’s got wider wheels, just to stop it from rocking from side to side once being pulled. Sian: It’s got rubber feet to keep it off the ground. It’s got outside storage compartment for cables and stands. And it’s got enough room inside for full two head travelpak kit and accessories. So as you can see Bowens have produced an exciting range of new products, bristling with new ideas, which continues to set them apart from the competition as true market leaders.