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DoPchoice Astera Titan/Helios SnapBag Review

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DoPchoice and Astera have collaborated to come up with solutions for the Titan and Helios LED tube lights. The two new SnapBags allow for intensified output, adjustable beam spread, simplified pack-up, and they come with an easy track mounting system.

LED tube lights are great, but they can be a pain to mount and diffuse. A lot of solutions tend to be cumbersome and not well designed. To solve this problem DoPchoice and Astera have collaborated directly to come up with products that have been specifically designed to work with the Titan and Helios so you end up with a more tailored fit. It is like getting a tailored suit, it is always going to fit better than buying a suit off the rack.

SnapBags

The SnapBags for the Astera Titan/Helios Tubes come with an Airline Track and Pin, one front diffusion MAGIC cloth, and a carry bag,

The design allows you to place the Titan/Helios into a metal cradle, and then there are four sets of velcro that make sure that the tube light won’t move around. You could choose not to use the velcro straps as the metal cradle holds the tube securely.

On the back of the SnapBag, there is a velcro panel so you can directly access the Titan/Helios controls and run a power cable out if you are not running the fixture on batteries. Again, by making a tailored solution for certain lights, little details like having direct access to the controls can be achieved.

The inside of the SnapBag is lined with reflective material to increase the light’s output. This new special metallic fabric interior that is combined with a fold-over design is claimed to increase illumination by 80% more than if you were using the tubes alone.

The SnapBag has the ability to be adjusted so that the front opening can be narrowed or expanded. This lets you suppress the beam spread or increase it. The user simply adjusts the SnapBag opening via dual hook and loop straps until the light is focused and angled as desired. Despite being a simple concept I can’t think of any other softboxes that allow you to do this.

What I really like about the SnapBag design is that it is reasonably deep. Most softbox solutions for LED tube lights have tended to place the diffusion very close to the tube light which doesn’t help that much with creating a soft source. Having a bit of depth between the Astera tube and the front diffusion certainly makes a big difference.

The Magic Cloth attaches directly to the front of the SnapBag using velcro. The Magic Cloth certainly helps to soften the light up.

Airline Track & Pin

The SnapBag features an all-new secure and intuitive mounting system called the Airline Track and Pin. This is a really nice, robust solution.

On the back of the Snapbag the airline-style track mates with the Track Pin. The Track Pin locks in the desired position and tightens for a secure mount. Resembling a spigot, the head of the Track Pin fits standard gobo heads, clamps or other set hardware for easy positioning of the fixture complete with the SnapBag.

Build Quality

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The whole SnapBag solution with the Airline Track and Pin system is really well made. It has obviously been designed with rental houses in mind.

The Airline Track system is almost overkill given the relatively low weight of the Titan fixtures. However, it does give you peace of mind if you are hanging the light overhead talent.

Size &Weight

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The Titan SnapBag solution tips the scales at 0.85 kg / 1.87 lb and it has physical dimensions of 106 x 21 x 17 cm / 42 x 8 x 7″.

0.85 kg might sound like a lot, but you have to remember that this includes the Airline Track and pin.

Does it actually increase the output by 80%?

DoPchoice claims that the special metallic fabric interior inside the SnapBag increases illumination by 80% more than if you were using the tubes alone. I decided to test out this claim by testing the Astera Titan with a Sekonic C-800 with the SnapBag and without.

ASTERA TITAN 5500K

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Above you can see that the Astera Titan when used by itself registered an output of 192lx (17.8fc) at a distance of 1m when set at 5500K and 100% output.

ASTERA TITAN 5500K & DoPchoice SnapBag

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Above you can see that the Astera Titan when used with the DoPchoice SnapBag registered an output of 295lx (27.4fc) at a distance of 1m when set at 5500K and 100% output. This represented a 53.6% increase over the 192lx is recorded without the SnapBag. This was quite a bit less than the claimed 80% increase, but none the less, it was still an impressive increase in output.

ASTERA TITAN 5500K & DoPchoice SnapBag with MAGIC Cloth Diffusion

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Above you can see that the Astera Titan when used with the DoPChoice SnapBag and MAGIC Cloth diffusion registered an output of 117lx (10.9fc) at a distance of 1m when set at 5500K and 100% output. This represented a 152% decrease in output over the 295lx is recorded with the SnapBag without the MAGIC Cloth.

You really do need to take note of how much output you will lose when using the SnapBag and MAGIC Cloth diffusion.

Real World Performance

The DoPchoice Astera Titan/Helios SnapBags are a really versatile and easy to use product. They allow you to modify the light in a variety of ways, which in turn, allows you to use a tube light for more lighting applications. Above you can see a few quick examples where I am using just the Astera Titan with the DoPchoice SnapBag. These examples include direct lighting using the MAGIC cloth diffusion, bouncing the light without using the diffusion, narrowing the beam by collapsing down the SnapBag, and lighting from behind.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the SnapBag solution is that you can just keep the tube light inside it and pack it away. This makes it very fast to set up and use.

Price & Availability

The DoPchoice Astera Titan/Helios SnapBags are now available to purchase and they retail for the following prices:

  • SBAAT21 Helios SNAPBAG 259 Euros 
  • SBAAT41 Helios SNAPBAG 289 Euros 

Conclusion

I really like this product because it is well made, versatile, and easy to use. The only real caveat is that DoPchoice products are pretty expensive and whether you can justify spending the money on one of these SnapBags is going to come down to whether or not you think the prices are justified.

It is nice to see lighting companies collaborate with accessory manufacturers to come up with more tailored solutions. Hopefully, this is something we see more of going forward.

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