Inexpensive, Easy-to-Use Light Modifiers

Review by Michael Corsentino

Often maligned for their scattershot lighting, umbrellas are actually one of the most versatile, inexpensive, and useful lighting tools you’re likely to get your hands on, and F.J. Westcott just increased the ante with the introduction of their new Deep Umbrellas. They’re available in 43″ and 53″ sizes with either a white or silver interior finish, which provides a variety of coverage options and light from soft to specular.

Why go deep? The major difference and benefit provided by the deeper shape Westcott has given their new umbrellas is a quality of light with more rapid falloff, the ability to create deeper shadows, and an umbrella that’s easier to control with respect to where the light falls and doesn’t fall. In this reviewer’s humble estimation, these are essential elements for great lighting. I’ve owned all three of Westcott’s super-duper large 7′ umbrellas for many years now, and I can tell you from personal experience that Westcott knows how to build umbrellas that last.



The new Deep Umbrellas are lightweight with a solid build quality comprised of 16 durable fiberglass ribs and dual-wall shaft rods for extra support. They come with a carrying case, and because they’re low profile, they’re easy for travel.

Setup is instantaneous! Opening and closing is simple and fast—unlike many soft boxes that require speed rings and annoying, time-consuming tensioning rods to set up. One of the other pluses about umbrellas is the fact that you don’t have to purchase a separate speed ring to attach them to your particular brand of lights. Umbrellas are agnostic, they’ll work with any light that has an umbrella receptacle, which is every light worth its salt. Westcott’s Deep Umbrella’s are compatible with strobes, constant lights, and speedlights.

Much like Broncolor’s best-in-class Para series of modifiers (which, by the way, cost thousands of dollars), Westcott’s Deep umbrellas benefit from the ability to control the amount of softness or hardness of light by simply sliding them further away from, or closer to the light source. Put it all together and these Deep Umbrellas are versatile tools indeed.