Customer Reviews

119
4.4 out of 5 stars
Westcott 2001 43-Inch Optical White Satin Collapsible Umbrella
Price:$21.95 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2009
Verified Purchase
I bought three of these umbrellas over a year ago after reading about them in a Strobist article. They have been fantastic. They hold up as well as the much higher priced brands after over a year of commercial field abuse. Their most endearing attribute is that they double fold when collapsed, so they are ultra compact when folded. Best of all, I have not had a single failure of any kind since I bought the trio. I am not overly gentle with my photo tools, and this product has never let me down. Buy a lightweight, ultra collapsible stand, bungee the two together, an you have a portable light studio for your Speedlight and Pocket Wizard combo that is as as compact as a small folded newspaper, and pleasingly light to boot.

One review mentioned that the umbrellas included the Adorama logo on the outside perimeter. It's very true. I was surprised to see dual brands printed there, but after considering that my first purchase from Adorama was in the early 1980's, and that I have bought everything from film to large format lenses from Adorama since that time without a single complaint, I welcome the Adorama logo as an old friend, and I'm more than happy to display the name wherever I shoot.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
I was looking for a large-ish umbrella at a budget price, and chanced upon this umbrella. I've used it on a number of photo shoots so far, and it has worked very well indeed.

(Do note that this is a shoot through style umbrella - where the outside surface of the umbrella faces your subject. It will not function well, if at all, as a reflector umbrella.)

Pros:
####
1. The light it generates as a shoot-through is soft and well diffused
2. It folds down to a very compact 6" or so size. However, it is often a struggle to pack it back into its tiny case.

Cons:
####
1. You get the build quality that you pay for - this isn't an umbrella that will stand up to rough use.
2. The extension handles are not the smoothest. It sometimes sticks, but this is not a show stopper issue for me.
3. The handle is a very thin tube - and I'm always nervous when tightening the screws that hold it in place.
4. Has an annoying Adorama logo.

In conclusion, this cheap accessory makes makes me look like a better photographer - so this is excellent value for money.

You might want to watch out for the build quality though - I use it very gingerly and rarely take it off the stand except when I'm transporting it.

I suspect that I'll upgrade this at some point, but for now, it works well enough for my needs.

Note that I use this umbrella in conjunction with a Manfrotto 5001B 74-Inch Nano Stand, a Stroboframe Bracket Shoe Mount, and a Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tite Umbrella Adapter. This combination works exceedingly well for my purposes.

Happy Strobing!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2012
Verified Purchase
The umbrella is nicer than I expected after reading the reviews. I wanted a moderately sized white shoot-through umbrella specifically to use while on the go. I decided on this instead of one with a removable cover (Westcott Compact 43" White Satin Umbrella with Removable Black Cover - Collapsible) because I think a shoot-through is sufficient for the majority of mobile applications. I also wouldn't bother with removing and putting a cover back on and would probably just leave a removable cover at home anyway.

The package comes with a clear plastic cover, and a black nylon sheath that is admittedly tight-fitting. I think this is good as it makes the whole setup more compact and protects the white surfaces completely. I use this with a standard Strobist setup: Manfrotto 5001B 74-Inch Nano Stand Replaces Manfrotto 001B (Black),Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tite Umbrella Adapter, and Stroboframe Accessory Shoe holding up a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash and wrapped with 10pc Premium-Grade New Virgin Rubber 8" Bungee Ball Cords - Tarps, Canopy, Wrap Hose & Cords. With this setup everything is reasonably solid, the flash points directly in the middle of the umbrella, it's portable, and takes great photos.

PROS:
- It provides very nice, soft light. The "optical white satin" has a nice sheen to it and gives off very nice, diffuse light.
- It collapses very small, is light, and very compact when collapsed.
- It opens to a good size, and is competently built. It won't take abuse as it's a lightweight affair, but it will last if handled with care. You can't expect an especially strong shaft because it's hollow and therefore collapsible (with the exception of the reinforced tip for attaching to an umbrella holder). Any umbrella will break if knocked over on a stand enough times.
- The end of the shaft has been reinforced with a solid metal piece to keep you from accidentally crushing the hexagonal hollow shaft when attaching it to an umbrella adapter. The old workaround of glueing in a sawed off pencil is no longer required. This is a nice improvement made by Westcott recently and I applaud them for that.
- There is a lever-action "button" to snap the umbrella in the open position and close it easily. I really like this feature.
- The case is nice and tight fitting. It's pretty easy to get the umbrella in if you twist the fabric it closed tightly before inserting it into the sheath.

CONS:
- The "tips" around the diameter of the umbrella are a bit sharp, likely to accomodate a removable cover. I would prefer if the ends were capped in some way, or perhaps rounded at the ends. I may just cap the ends myself.

SUMMARY: A very nice umbrella with very minor drawbacks. I will definitely buy another one for back-up, and intend to get several more sizes and types.

*UPDATE (9/10/2012):
- A 2"Wx16"L mailing tube from the Post Office holds it perfectly if you prefer a sturdier case.
- After comparing the fabric and build quality on a few cheaper umbrellas, the Westcott is the one to get. The "Optical White Satin" provides very nice light, it has a nice sheen to it.
- Seeing the "spokes" in the catchlights bug me a little, but I fix that in post. I can't really blame the umbrella, though. At least the catchlights are round, which is what I personally prefer in most cases. For square catchlights I use a softbox (e.g. Lastolite LL LS2462M2 Ezybox M2 Hotshoe Kit (24-Inch X 24-Inch)). A softbox has less light spill, is more directional, and has nice square catchlights. On the other hand, it's 10x more expensive.

*UPDATE (12/27/2012):
- I still really like it, but now I wish I bought the Westcott Compact 43 inch White Satin Umbrella with Removable Black Cover - Collapsible. The cover is useless as a bounce umbrella, but the cover would be handy to partially cover the umbrella when you need to feather the light. The shoot-through gives very pleasing results, but it kind of sprays light everywhere which is a problem if you'd like to keep the flash off the background, for example.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
Verified Purchase
Very large when open but extremely compact when closed. Ideal for on location multiple flash photography.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2014
Verified Purchase
At first because of the compact size when folded, I thought the umbrellas were missing from my order! It's folded inside a black thin pouch that's inside a thick clear pouch which is easy to store (I ended up getting rid of the black pouch). It's only about 14" folded including the center tube which makes traveling with the much easier (I bought two, might by a third soon).

As for the umbrella, these are built much better than other cheaper umbrella with the center tube being round and thin which spun around the umbrella adapter easily. This Westcott version has the thicker hexagon shaped finish which prevents it from spinning and also fits just right in most umbrella adapter. The center tube also three stages for shortening & lengthening the tube.

The best part about the umbrella is the white satin finish. It's thicker and has a shiny coat inside which is great for bouncing or soften the light drastically shooting through. To get the most light but diffused, I would bounce the light while shooting through to cut the output and soften the light about x3.

On a side note, I never liked how the speedlite flash head always aimed on top 2/3 portion so I also bought "M-18 Pro Flash Hot Shoe Umbrella Holder adapter" on Amazon so I have the extra leg to move the Speedlite horizontal to the center tube. The light is diffused better with the light shooting through the center.

Overall this is probably one of the better quality umbrellas on the market.

6/20/2014 Update: I was doing a shoot at a location and obviously with an umbrella it can get knocked over easily. It was a slow motion but didn't catch the falling stand on time & seemed like the umbrella hit the side gently but completely bent the center shaft. Lesson learned, use weights :p
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2014
Verified Purchase
The inside reflects light as well. I would buy another.
review image review image review image
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2014
Verified Purchase
Short and brief. (?)
I have been shooting professionally for a long time. Portraits, head shots, corporate exec's etc...etc. I like to work tight (close to the subject) and this of course denotes setting your Speedlights on a lower power. Usually, my units are set around 1/16th power. This umbrella is so good at transmitting light that I had to reduce my flash units to 1/64th power. (less power = more flashes & faster recycle time) But what surprised me the most, was how much softer the light is with this unit. It really is fantastic ! The build quality is very good. For those who say different, I would say: "Hey folks...it's an umbrella...not a TRUCK". Really...??

As for its packaging: I welcome the fairly heavy clear plastic case. I can't see where anyone can b#$@h about the black sleeve that it fits nicely into. Just gently twist the top umbrella (like you do any portable rain umbrella) so it is easily started into the sleeve.
I love the ease of collapsing antenna. This is also built of a strong hexagonal shaped metal shaft, and telescopes vey smoothly. And I do believe it will last!

Ending: I have been around a few blocks in this life, and this is the best portable, packable, usable, practical, best deal photo related piece of gear you'll ever buy!!! That's a mouth full...but all true. Oh...and did I mention that it has a professional look about it that is certainly deserving too!

I ordered two more today, and I don't need them, I am just afraid they (Westcott) will find out what they have and double the price.
There...what else could you ask for? Do yourself a favor...buy this one.(or better yet, buy two and save yourself more time and shipping)
Your Welcome,
Bill Boone.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2007
Verified Purchase
Cheaply made but will do for now. The ends doesn't have the plastic caps which makes the tips of the umbrella very sharp. It's very dangerous where it could cut you and damage your equipment.

Adomara also added their logo on there. Not a big fan of their logo on my umbrellas, but hey it's cheap and we have the choice to buy it or not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2014
Verified Purchase
They say that the final arbiter is the output. So in theory, using a no-name China-made umbrella should be a no brainer, right? Well, that's what I thought.

I used a couple of China-made umbrellas to cross-light mounted paintings. Behind them were a couple of Nikon SB-800's of roughly the same age. When we were done with the shoot, we noticed that the umbrellas (from the same maker) were giving us a colour cast different from one another. Sure you can retouch in post, but do you really want to do that ALL the time?

When we tried out the Westcotts, we were amazed that the colours went back to neutral for both. So I'm very happy.
Plus the fact that there was certainly more effort in having the Wescotts made well. The no name China ones had the tip as you would with a normal rain umbrella. The compact Westcotts had flattened tops.

And, they fold into maybe 12"? So carrying them around David Hobby style is no bother at all.

Worth it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2013
Verified Purchase
The material that the umbrella is made out of is very high quality as is the internal spokes and shaft. But how the umbrella attaches to the retractable spokes is the weak point and is mind numbing why even cheap umbrellas seem to have a better idea of how to make these two things work together. After opening this umbrella 3 times! the thread that holds the umbrella to the spokes broke and pretty much makes this umbrella unusable. I'll sew it back together myself because I'm past the return date, but this is just a stupid design and just makes me mad.

One more thing the shaft is larger than normal umbrellas and it will only fit into one of my stands and I have to seriously force it into it. I'm not sure what this was made for, but not the typical stands.
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