Manfrotto’s Maxima-84 Hybrid+ is the Italian company’s most powerful continuous LED light to date, with 84 individual LED bulbs and an output of 850lx (aka lux, a measurement of illuminance). The Midi-36 Hybrid+, the next most powerful LED light in Manfrotto’s range, is just 420lx!
While its design is relatively straightforward, with a single chunky dimmer dial to control output, the Maxima-84 Hybrid+ has a few clever tricks up its sleeve. A built-in rechargeable Lithium battery gives 1.5 hours of power at full beam; a ball-and-socket head allows you to pivot and angle the light and position it both horizontally and vertically; and the supplied gels and diffuser slot into the unit with minimum fuss. It can also be used on- or off-camera, thanks to its hotshoe attachment.
The bulbs on the Maxima-84 Hybrid+ are daylight-balanced (5600K) and give a natural and unobtrusive light for videos and stills, portraits and natural world images. It also doubles as a flash unit, featuring a flash socket that when linked with a sync cable kicks out 4x its continuous LED light power. At roughly 14x8x3.5cm, the Maxima-84 Hybrid+ is surprisingly portable, and as it weighs just 307g it’s certainly not going to weigh you down either.
Using the Maxima is simple and stress-free, but while it has plenty of pros it’s not without its cons too. Beware when shooting portraits – get too close to your model and the skin will take on an unnaturally healthy glow! And position the light carefully, or else you’ll find rather unflattering matrix-style catchlights in their eyes! We also had to continually tighten the hotshoe mount when using it on-camera, as it actually slid off at one point.
Minor quibbles aside, the Maxima-84 Hybrid+ is a great accessory for video fans and a flexible friend for stills snappers who occasionally dabble with movie mode. It’s not cheap – you could buy three budget flashguns for the money – and is a major step up in price from the Midi-36 Hybrid+, which retails for around £150. But it’s a powerful and versatile continuous light source and small enough to carry around.
This is a great continuous light source for both stills photographers and video makers.
- Street price: £250 (As of July 2016)
- Visit: www.manfrotto.co.uk
This review was first published in the November 2012 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.