New Parabolic Umbrella Claims to ‘Bring Lighting Into the 21st Century’


David Hobby over at Strobist uncovered an intriguing new type of parabolic umbrella by B2Pro Lighting last week that has some people intrigued, even as many others are calling BS. The umbrella sports a patent pending pattern of RGB photo sites that, according to B2Pro, will “bring lighting for digital photography and motion picture into the 21st century.”

The company’s claim is that the photo sites on the umbrella — which are meant to work with CCD sensors — will make colors appear richer by spiking the primary colors. In other words, the umbrella will reflect an RGB peaked histogram instead of the standard white.

Here’s a closer look at that design:


Hobby and others are skeptical for many reasons, not the least of which is that we’ve not seen any side-by-side comparison photos. And even if the idea is sound, there’s no guarantee that those photo sites will do anything more than eat up a stop or two of flash IRL.

One commenter on Strobist also pointed out that a Bayer-array has twice as much green as blue. The rows are lined up as GRGRGR and BGBGBG one on top of the other, but the umbrella is set up as RGBRGBRGB.

We’ll reserve judgement until we see some side-by-side comparison pics of the umbrella in action. For now, let us know what you think. Is this the future of digital photography lighting, or just another gimmick?

(via Strobist)

  • Frank-O

    I call “BS”. Someones attempt to separate newbies from their money!

  • Sceptic

    The worst thing about this is that people will “buy it”.

  • Sky

    “In other words, the umbrella will reflect an RGB peaked histogram instead of the standard white”
    – interesting… but if I’m not mistaken: Pointless. Sensors don’t respond in simple peaks. Their response curve covers whole visible spectrum. So I’m not convinced this umbrella gives any advantage what so ever.

  • PocitoMustacio

    I think the concept is fascinating, but can someone explain to me why this is only applicable for CCD sensors?

  • sda

    what the hell?

  • chubbs

    I want to tattoo this pattern on my bum.

  • Opie

    Because the people who came up with it don’t really understand the technology they’re purporting to enhance. If they had any evidence to back up this admittedly intriguing concept, they would have shown us.

    Film uses three discrete “channels” much like digital, and in practice would experience the same benefit… none.

  • Victor

    Of course it’s total bs. I wish I had thought of it first.

  • Michael Andrew Broughton

    in theory it could give you more vibrant reds, greens and blues, but any colours in between those peaks (like skin tones for example) are going to look like crap.

  • Rick Bronks

    Someone’s been playing Twister for too long.
    What kakka this is.

  • Todd Williams At Magnolia

    awesome… two stops less light output… exactly what I have always wanted… not.

  • Michael Della Polla

    If this were real.. What is to stop me from printing it and putting in my umbrella?

  • Mike

    Try doing a Foveon tattoo

  • darylcheshire

    is it waterproof?

  • bob cooley

    You say that like it’s a BAD thing ;) (/sarcarm)

  • bob cooley

    With the differing color wavelengths penetrating at different depths? ouch!

  • bob cooley

    I find it kind of odd that their NY contact address is an apartment building on the west side highway (I live about 2 blocks from there)…


    FACT1: White objects reflects all colors, FACT2: Red objects reflect none, but red. CONCLUSION> you need a stronger flash when using this umbrella!

  • handsome

    This arrangement will waste light, like the CFA on sensor.

  • noisejammer

    Totally…. BOGUS

    Say the flash puts out white light (which it doesn’t) then 1/3 of the blue, green or red is reflected. Log_2( 0.333) = -0.477/0.301 = -1.58. That means there’s a brightness loss of 1.6 stops. Sure, that’ll work well.

    Is lynching still legal?…

  • PhotoShark

    We now know where you live…(roughly) lol

  • Spongebob Nopants

    …or you can just push a few buttons in photoshop.

  • bob cooley

    Ha! true that!

    Me and the 66,940 people in the immediate square mile :) (that’s the average population density/mile for Manhattan)

  • Onehappydawg

    Before writing the story, why didn’t you go out and try it, then write a story affirming or disproving the new tech. This story was completely useless. I swear there are no real reporters left in the world.

  • Oskar???

    April 1st???

  • Matt Wheeler

    I would like to say that it is an intriguing concept and all, but I can’t really see it being of any benefit whatsoever. Why reflect RGB when you can reflect, like, everything. Lol.