I'm interested in being able to work with hard light modified by gobos, and am thus considering purchase of an optical snoot to use with Bowens-mount continuous lights.
As of this writing, the options on the market fall into a limited number of categories:
- Optical snoots with fixed lenses (which appear to most frequently be somewhere around 85mm).
- Optical snoots with proprietary lenses (such as the Godox SA-17 with their three 60mm, 85mm and 150mm lens options). This option in particular is presently carried by major US retailers.
- Optical snoots that support EF-mount lenses (such as those sold under the Pixapro name in the UK; the "Ambitful AL-16" or "OT1 Pro II" units sold through AliExpress, BangGood and similar; etc).
I happen to own a collection of manual-focus EF-mount prime lenses, and have a limited amount of studio space (think "converted guest bedroom"), so there's only so much room to "zoom with my feet".
At present, the US-based vendors I prefer to buy from don't appear to carry any Bowens-mount options with EF-mount lens support, so I'd be working with vendors I don't have a relationship with (and might have more trouble with if returns or exchanges are necessary).
What factors should I take into account in determining whether the ability to use my own lenses is worth dealing with vendors who aren't known quantities?
Are there considerations I haven't mentioned above that are worth considering?
(I'm trying to keep my budget below $250USD. I do video, not only still photography, with LED-based lighting; to be usable for both purposes, equipment needs to be robust enough to handle the heat from a Godox VL300 -- which, compared to tungsten lights of days past, is not that much heat).