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Lighting is Easy Blog

Free resource for learning how to use off-camera flash and studio lighting.

Photogenic Ion Product Review

Chuck Vosburgh - Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I've always been skeptical of batteries for studio strobes and have instead used a gasoline powered generator when needed or just made do with portable strobes and speed lights. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I ordered a Photogenic Ion ($399 from Adorama). When it arrived I was amazed at how small and light it is and wondered how it could possibly live up to Photogenic's claims. "This will probably be going back" I thought. I was wrong.

Putting it to the test

I'm not too big on scientific tests so I took it out shooting. It either works for me or it doesn't. The photo shoot was with a bunch of photo-friends so if it failed, no big deal. I plugged in two monolights; a 500 w.s. and a 250 w.s. Bowens. I used them on a variety of settings that ranged from 1/4 to full power. After well over 100 shots, the battery still had a plenty of juice left, so I let my friends shoot with it. By the end of the evening and a LOT of shots, the battery was down to 25% power. Amazing.
Next I used it on a real job. The job required nearly 150 shots at power settings from 250 w.s. to 500 w.s. and the battery still had not even gone down to 75%! This is not going back!

Final impressions

The recycle time is noticeably slower using the Ion, but not annoyingly slow. It is extremely portable and easy to use. It even has a USB outlet for charging your phone. Genius. I am very happy with my Ion and it will open up a lot of possibilities on locations where it was not possible to take high powered lights. Anyone want to buy a used gasoline powered generator?

Should you buy one?


Here's what the manufacturer says:


Eliminate your large noisy gas generators and old fashioned humongous inverters. The all new Photogenic lithium-ion battery powered ION pure sine wave inverter takes your studio flash units on location the easy way. The ION is a powerful, lightweight, get outta town AC power supply that features two AC outlets for two monolights. Weighing in at only 3.5 lbs with a compact 7.5" x 4.4" x 3.3" profile, ION is the perfect lighting travel companion. Pack the ION and a couple of extra batteries with your lights and head out to your next shoot. It doesn't matter if your destination is the top of Mount Everest, the middle of the Kalahari or your sister in-law's wedding, this powerful combination will give you over 3,500 flashes (about 1200 per battery) at an amazing 320 watt seconds. While on your way to the next job, use ION's built-in USB port to power-up your phone or other electronic devices. Charge time to 100% for the lithium-ion battery is 3-4 hours. A glance at the LED battery meter on ION's control panel verifies the battery power level. 

You can get more information here.

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