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DoPChoice Dual Bowens Mount Review – Extra Output in a Compact Design

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DoPChoice Dual Bowens Mount Review – Extra Output in a Compact Design

If you haven’t noticed, we’re in a lower-cost daylight-balanced LED output race with the recently launched Nanlux Evoke 1200 and the Aputure 600d Pro popping up on more and more sets. Lighting accessory manufacturer, DoP Choice/TRP Worldwide, has created an attractive solution for those looking to double up on their Bowens mount lighting fixtures for a boost to output in a single more maneuverable setup.

For this field review, using my two Aputure 600d Pro fixtures, I tested the DoPChoice/TRP Worldwide Dual Bowens Mount Adapter, adorably named Rabbit-Ears Mount, the Snapbag Octo 5‘, and the T-bar w/28mm spigot (included with Dual Bowens Mount Adapter).

Although I have a few TRP Worldwide and DoPChoice accessories for my Litepanels Astra 1×1 fixtures, this is my first time examining one of their new products front-to-back. TRP Worldwide and DoPChoice (both partner companies) have a reputation for building lighting accessories that lean toward expensive. Still, if sturdiness over years and engineering are essential to you, the cost may be easier to stomach.

First impressions

The first thing you’ll notice when unpacking the $385.00 Dual Bowens Mount Adapter is that except for a few knob handles, everything is solid metal – enough metal to plug a leaking dam in a pinch! 

One of the first things I think about when trying out new products is where and how to store them. The Dual Bowens Mount Adapter and T-bar can fit into one of the 600D Pro cases; there’s not enough room in those same cases for transporting the $370.00 Rabbit Ears or the $1070.00 Snapbag Octo 5′ kit — which itself ships in a soft bag.

Setup

The only instructions shipped to me in the kit are for the Snapbag Oct 5′, so let’s see how this rig is put together. Since I’m not an engineer, anything without complex instructions I’m able to put together quickly is very welcome. This setup falls on the shorter side as far as setup. The only part that took me a while to wrap my head around was the Snapbag Octo 5′, but if you’re an experienced DoPChoice/TRP Worldwide user or a full-time gaffer, you’ll probably be faster.

The DoPChoice/TRP Worldwide team sent me the above link after the fact that is a great breakdown of how to setup the Snapbag Octo 5′. This is a big help for this part of the process.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

First of all, you’ll want to connect and lock both 600D Pro fixtures into the Dual Bowens Mount Adapter, as pictured below. If you connect the T-bar combo stand adapter first, the alignment will be finicky.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

Your best friend during this part of the setup is the little metal knob pictured below. When you loosen this knob, the Bowens mount will rotate on the dual bowens mount adapter, making it easier to place the lamp heads in the adapter. This is easily done by placing the whole apparatus and lamp head face-first onto a soft surface (careful not to scratch the front of the lamp head) and clicking each lamp head into place one at a time. You’ll also need to be careful when you click both lamp heads into place because you can’t have the protective plastic cover on either fixture during this part of the setup.

This knob allows the bowens mount to rotate. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

Once the Dual Bowens Mount Adapter is attached to both lamp heads, you can align both lights to be parallel.

You’ll then want to connect both Bowens mount fixtures to the T-bar adapter, designed for use with combo stands. The adapter is not intended for use with c-stands because they can’t withstand the weight I’m guessing. Most of this is straightforward, but I do wish these knobs (pictured below) were capable of ratchet-style tightening because the knobs impact the bottom of the 600D Pro yoke — which is a little awkward.

When properly seated this knob hits the 600D Pro yoke during rotation — which makes it tricky to safely lock both fixtures in place. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

The T-bar and the Dual Bowens Adapter collectively lock both 600D‘s into place and create a platform for adding the medium rabbit ears (pictured below). The rabbit ears act as the same adapter that works with 2×1 LED light panels like the Gemini 2×1 from Litepanels.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

Once the medium rabbit ears are in place, you have a setup that looks a little like Wall-E giving you options for accessories ranging from softboxes to Octo Snapbags. For our purposes, we’re installing the Snapbag Octo 5′ at this point.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

The Octo 5′ Snapbag took me a few minutes to get the hang of, but once I did, the installation is actually easier compared with other products I’ve used. Of course, you have various diffusion options for the Snapbag Octo 5′ ranging from magic cloth to full and half grid.

The key here is to un-Velcro as much as possible any connectors around the rim of the Snapbag before beginning. Then go about placing the small rods in both the top “rabbit ears” and the bottom “rabbit ears” that extend out of the rabbit ears. This type of metal bending rod system is notorious for smacking you in the face during setup. Still, the bending of the rabbit ears themselves actually works in your favor, giving some wiggle room during crucial moments.

The result of the Octo 5′ installation is a large soft source with, given the footprint, an incredible amount of output. I’ll touch on a few key use cases during filming in a moment.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

The Snapbag Octo 5′ doesn’t fully enclose around the back of the Dual Bowens Mount Bracket, and that means you’ll get some external light leak out of the rear. That might be something to keep in mind in smaller spaces where light bleed can bounce off walls resulting in unwanted spill in your frame.

Another angle of the T-bar connected to a rolling combo stand. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

Now that the setup is done, I’m excited to get started.

Overall Impressions

This whole rig is right at home on a rolling combo stand, and again, I wouldn’t use anything else given the weight and overall size once configured. When the Snapbag Octo 5′ is on, you may find it too time-consuming to break it down to move from non-rolling to non-rolling stand. In terms of overall setup time, alone and with a bit of practice, you can knock out this build in 10-15 minutes, and two people can easily put it together in less than ten.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

Are you looking for a large soft source to both combat exterior sun on an interior and properly expose for the outside and inside at the same time? This is that setup. It’s also a perfect key light for interviews, and depending on the weather, this setup will also help fill in shadows caused by the sun during exterior scenes.

Again, the light leak out the rear of the Snapbag Octo 5′ should be a consideration for potential users working in a confined space (light bounces everywhere), as well as that knob on the T-bar, which interferes with the 600D Pro yoke. Another aspect to keep in mind is that the Dual Bowens Mount doesn’t allow the use of any additional Aputure accessories (because, of course, the Bowens mount itself is locked into the dual mount). This obviously isn’t an issue when you’re looking for a high output soft source with an Snapbag Octo 5′ on it. Still, if you want a high output hard light source from two 600D Pro’s, then you’ll need to build a whole world of solid flags and a frame with an LCD on it around the combo stand to contain the light spill on your subject. I believe DoPChoice/TRP Worldwide makes a Snapgrid accessory that would help contain spill and work on the medium rabbit ears adapter, but I haven’t tried that configuration myself.

Something else to keep in mind: two 600D Pro fixtures also means two 600D Pro ballasts. Since these are large, space to clamp onto the combo stand base and weight beyond the lamp heads should be considered.

Conclusion

All that said, as of this moment, there just isn’t a better way to combine two Bowens mounted fixtures on a single stand than the DoPChoice/TRP Worldwide Dual bowens Bracket. Plus, this novel accessory also acts as a useful route to a high output LED daylight source.  Would I consider this one-man or one-woman band crew approved? Not quite. It’s just a bit too bulky for fast location moves, but with a crew of more than one, this is a great solution, and if you’re a studio owner in need of a soft source that doesn’t need to be moved often, then this is a great solution for you, too.

That this rig fits nicely into the DoPChoice/TRP Worldwide mounting ecosystem suggests other accessories compatible with the medium 2×1 rabbit ear bracket will be added over time. There’s also an extensive and ever growing list of lights using Bowens mounts, and that fact future-proofs an investment like this. If you’re looking for yet another use case for your current lighting kit, this purchase makes sense. And, without doubt, it’s a head-turning setup on location.

Note: DoPChoice and TRP Worldwide are partner companies and used interchangeably in this post. TRP Worldwide is producing and distributing in North America and DoPChoice is responsible for the rest of the world.

What do you think? Share your experiences in the comments below!



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