Snap Verdict

The new HaloCompact range of reflectors is a revelation. Small, lightweight and quick to assemble. Ok, not as quick as a pop-up but not too far behind.

This ability to compact means that it’s easy to transport and you can take in anywhere. At present, there’s a limited variety of surface options, just silver/white or a diffuser panel, but I’m sure more will be along soon.

In use, it’s quick to assemble and easy to handle with good sized grip enabling plenty of versatility.

The effect of the silver and white surface areas you would expect, helping to bounce the light in different intensities back into the subject.

The CompactHalo is a revelation, they’re not just good but the large size when assembled means that they make all past silver/white reflectors I own redundant.

Once a black/gold surface is available this will be an absolute must-have product for all photographers and videographers.

Introduction

A reflector was one of the first big accessories I bought when I started out. It was relatively inexpensive and for the price, it enabled me to up my game when it came to shooting portraits.

Lastolite HaloCompact review

However, it was big, and although it was of a collapsible design it’s size and weight meant that it wasn’t used half as much as it should have been.

What makes the HaloCompact so different is that it collapses down small, just 27cm in length and Xcm in width. It weighs in at X kg in the bag so is nice and light when added to the rest of your kit.

The fact that it packs down into a small cylindrical package makes it far easier to transport than when compared with other pop-up style reflectors.

The concept of a small lightweight reflector sounds ideal and the fact that it packs down so small and expands to a size larger than most pop-ups could make it a valuable accessory.

But, and this is a big but. Pop-up reflectors have become so popular because they are so easy to use. Will the hassle of having to assemble the HaloCompact each time you use it and then pack it away just make it too inconvenient to use.

Features

The Halo is available in two options, Silver / White or diffuser. When it arrives it looks quite unlike any other reflector that I’ve seen in years and comes in a small bag that looks like something from a camping kit.

Lastolite HaloCompact review

The bag measures just 6.5 x 27 x 6.5cm (6” x 6” x 6”) and weighs in at just 335g.

Once withdrawn from the bag all makes sense with the aluminium poles quickly slotting together. Like tent poles, there’s a bungie cord that goes through the middle helping guide and slots the whole thing together.

Once assembled the reflector measures in at a very respectable 82cm in diameter, that’s larger than most pop-ups.

How to get started with video

Once the frame is assembled then the surface can be clipped on.

Ensuring that the whole thing is easy to manoeuvre there’s a good sized handle. This features a 1/4-inch thread so if you need it can be attached quickly to a standard tripod head.

The diffusion panel clips into the frame in the same way as the silver/white surface and once in place helps to diffuse harsh light with the surface creating a 2 stop light reduction.

Build & Handling

Lastolite products have always been exceptionally well finished and the HaloCompact is no exception. The attention to detail on teh stitching around the surface materials is flawless.

Lastolite By Manfrotto HaloCompact review

As ever the materials themselves are of excellent quality, which is reflected in the price.

essentially you know from the outset that you’re buying a quality product that should last you for years.

What really makes this reflector is the weight, it weighs far less than the usual pop-up reflectors and because of this is far easier to manipulate.

When using the diffuser popped onto a tripod it incredibly versatile and a huge asset to have in the kit bag.

Although the HaloCompact takes more time to assemble and pack away than when compared to a pop-up, that time is measured in a maximum of a couple of minutes.

However, for that additional time the actual handling of the reflector is far more fluid and because of the weight, it’s far easier to support or hold for extended periods.

Performance

As a silver/white reflector in use, it performs as well as any other circular reflector.

Assembling the frame is easy enough after several goes I managed an average of 20 seconds to assemble the frame. Taking the challenge of frame construction a little more seriously 10 seconds seemed a reasonable fast assembly rate, I’ll update if I manage it any quicker.

Lastolite HaloCompact review

With frame assembled the surface can then be clipped on. And that takes… Between 30 and 40 seconds. Clipping the surface it should not be tried at speed for the first time as the small clips will pinch your fingers. Once you slow down and pay attention clipping the surface in and out is again easy.

The white and silver surfaces feature a custom material developed by Lastolite to reflect the light so the difference between using this and a simple white sheet of the card says is huge.

Best LED lights for video and photography

The reflected light is evenly spread and that light reflection is maximised.

the 82cm diameter makes a big difference and ensures that the maximum amount of light is bounced back into the model.

Likewise, the diffusion panel works well and is an ideal accessory for videographers helping to diffuse and tone down harsh lighting.

In this product, Lastolite has re-invented a well-used product and made it more portable than ever. It may not be as quick to put up as a pop-up but it’s the compact packed size and light weight means that you’re far more likely to take it with you.

Verdict

When the HaloCompact arrived it was instantly possible to see the potential. Here you had a product redesigned from the ground up but using technology and design that we’ve seen elsewhere.

Lastolite’s heritage in the industry really shines through and instantly makes this a winner.

As a reflector it does the job perfectly, it’s light weight makes it easier to handle than any other reflector on the market, especially at this size.

The assembly may take a few moments more than the pop-up reflector style, but for the convenience, I’m more than willing to make the sacrifice.

I’ve now managed out of the bag and assembly in less than a minute.

When/if they launch a black/gold surface then the HaloCompact will become essential. Until that time whether you already own or are looking to buy a reflector then don’t look elsewhere this is the one to buy.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Lastolite By Manfrotto HaloCompact
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