Archive for the ‘Mola Education’ Category

White or silver?

The Mola Setti or Sollo – a technical look at both the Mola Setti and Sollo reflectors, their characteristics and comparison.
Authored by Leo A. Aquino, photographer


Mola Setti or Sollo?

That’s a question that’s been asked by more than a few people, including myself, interested in using a BD. And although the question seems simple enough, the answer, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be.

Being the owner of the 28″ Mola Setti White and, more recently, the 28″ Mola Sollo Silver, I did a couple of tests with each dish with the results posted here to hopefully help you find your own answer based on your own requirements.

The first test was done with the BD placed to the left of the camera and above the subject. The subject was placed 4 ft. from a gray seamless paper background. The distance between the dish and the subject was 3.5 ft.

The camera settings were 1/250, f/5.6 @ ISO 100.

The light used with the dishes was a Broncolor Unilite head plugged into port B of an Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS pack. For the Setti, the pack was set to a power level of 3.7 (color temp metered at 4700º K) to give an aperture reading of f/5.6. The Sollo being 1 stop more efficient (as advertised by Mola Softlights) only required a setting of 2.7 (color temp metered at 4970º K).

Note: All sample images were color corrected using the gray box at the bottom of the Color Check chart, 3rd from the right.




As you can see, the silver Sollo provides a more contrasty light due, as we’ll see later, to the more directional characteristic of the light coming out of the Sollo. That is also the reason the background is darker with the Sollo.

Another observation to note is that, although the colors of the ColorChecker lit by the white Setti seem more saturated, that really is not the case as shown by following images. The reason why the colors in the above image for the Sollo seem less saturated is because of the light fall off characteristic of the Sollo, i.e. there is less light hitting the ColorChecker. As you can see in the images below where the ColorChecker Passport is placed closer to the model’s face, the colors of both ColorChecker Passports look about the same.

In the next test, the dishes were placed in front of and above the subject at a distance of 4 ft from the subject. The camera and the Ranger RX pack settings remained the same as in the previous test.

As I stated earlier, the light from the silver Sollo is more directional in nature and this is easily seen by checking out the light pattern inside of each dish.

This is the pattern looking straight into the face of the dishes:



The Sollo has more distinct and brighter rings of light than the Setti does but we can’t really tell if the light is really directional from this angle. But stepping aside a little, we have the following images from two different angles:

Something else of interest is the shadows cast by the two dishes. The shadow (under the chin) in the following images seems to be made up of layers.


Mola Compression V2 installation

This is the exploded diagram that ships with the Mola Softlights, on how to setup your mola from shipment.

This compression method uses the pressure of the black compression ring to hold the speedring in place against the back of the soft light. If the speedring turns, use the added black rubber o-ring to stop it doing so.

The spacers should be setup to allow at least an inch gap between the strobes flash head and the deflector (PAD / OPAL) to allow adequate heat to escape. Different lengths of the spacers are included for the different brands of strobe that a user may want to use with the mola. (see here if you want to stack your central deflectors)

This mounting hardware is available separately should you lose your existing hardware.

Click image to see bigger / print off.

Mola compression ring

Llumm Studios & Innovafoto Mola test

Our fantastic friends at Llumm Studios, Valencia Spain, recently teamed up with the Spanish Mola distributor, Innovafoto, to create a comprehensive Mola test. There intention was to recreate the same conditions for each softlight, so they could appreciate the differences that exist among the different Mola range.

“I am just excited about the new Mola reflectors. My company, Llumm Studios, in collaboration with Innovafoto, has collected each Mola reflector model to arrange a comprehensive test of their differences and peculiarities. … I hope this analysis helps you in choosing your Mola. Although the tests are very exhaustively done, you know results can be changed simply by zooming in or out any on these light sources.”

“The test has two parts: First, focused on the model, Charles, and secondly we took general shots where we could see the light effect over a large area. We will check the differences in shadows and contrast and also the range and light fall-off of each Mola reflector.”

Read up on the testing here – (in spanish)

Below is a behind-the-scenes video of the testing process…

and see the results from their test here: (including images like that shown below, click on the issuu ‘expand’ link)

click below for a bigger version… (courtesy Llumm Studios, translated by Mola)


FlxGrid Comparison

Toronto based fashion photographer Matt Baxter has done a quick test using the 2 different FlxGrids, we have developed, showing the difference in light quality and output.

Using a 22″ white Mola Demi with OPAL glass deflector the only changes were to the front of the grid;

First frame is just with the standard nylon diffuser sock, no grid
2nd frame is modified with the Black 25° FlxGrid
Last frame is modified with the White 25° FlxGrid

As you can see the new white Flxgrid not only grids the light but also softens the edges as well vs the black FlxGrid’s light. The white construction of the White FlxGrid makes it unlike any other grid on the market.

The Black FlxGrid’s are currently available from B&H and Adorama and the White FlxGrid will be available by the end of September.

Setti Video (German)

Clever German photographer, Ralph Man, has put together a brilliant video on the 28″ Mola Setti. The action starts at 0:24.
He talks about the Setti, its light characteristics and shows a comparison between it and using a softbox.

Although this video is in German, you can still get an idea of what he is talking about from the behind-the-scenes and his final images.

Ralph runs professional workshops in Germany on lighting and photography. Check out his workshop website here. Another of his videos can be seen by clicking the ‘filme’ link on the above workshop site.

Links: Beauty dish related

Here is some excellent, informative articles on the use of a beautydish, including diagrams and resulting images. While not all mention the Mola range of products, each article is excellent on gaining an understanding on the look and unique characteristics a beautydish gives.

This list will be added to over time, so bookmark this post! – Bobbi Lane Beauty Dishes – My Mola Love Affair (warning NSFW site)

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