After seven years of faithful service, I am retiring my original LSI Colorsplash Flash.  Sure, it still fires, but the capacitor is wonky, the battery lid doesn’t attach properly, and the power switch is temperamental.  It never works when I need it to, but fires when it feels like it. Time for a replacement.

Enter the Colorsplash Flash Chakras Edition, not the newest product released by the Lomographic Society.  In fact, it’s not even on their online store anymore. I had wanted the original model, but that was out of stock at local stores and this was all they had.

Here’s a proper unboxing.

This being an LSI product, the packaging is graphic designed to hell: slick, visually appealing and probably responsible for an additional 60% tacked on to the actual cost of this flash.  Inside the box is the flash, a packet of color gels, an Energizer alkaline battery and, tucked in the lid of the box, a pink Colorsplash Flash poster-cum-manual and a warranty card.

The reason why I had wanted another original was because it came in a very basic black, which goes well with any and all my cameras. The Chakras Edition sort of goes nuts. The body is a uniform grey, with decals of a pigeon and its poop (yes, poop) decorating it. The color gel bezel is pearl white, while the color gel cap is a disconcerting hot pink. I’m thinking, am I back in the 80s?

Another thing different is the finish. The Chakras Edition has a rubberized coat which, while making it easy to grip, will undoubtedly make it a crud magnet. I have the same beef with the Superheadz Golden Half Chelsea edition and the Kodak Playsport.

What makes the Colorsplash Flash special is, of course, its unique color gel system. At the turn of a bezel, you can change the color of your flash from, say, green to blue to purple. Pop the flash and your subject will be bathed in surreal psychedelic colors. When you do a lot of low light or experimental shots, this trick is just magical.

The system allows for four color gels at a time. Two are permanent gels, two are swappable. With the flash come 9 extra color gels for a total of 11 (not 12 as the box would let you believe!) presto change-o colors.

The Colorsplash Flash mounts on a camera hotshoe but may not be compatible with all cameras. For instance, it refuses to work consistently with my Canon Rebel XT, but will work on a Nikon D70.  I am not sure if it is a voltage incompatibility.  Also, since it’s a hotshoe mount, I can’t use it on older coldshoe cameras which require a synch cord. Unless I buy that pricey adaptor from LSI, natch.

Another thing I really appreciate with the Colorsplash is the manual button which triggers the flash even when it isn’t connected. Meaning, you can use it as an off-cam flash as long as you get your timing right.

Aside from the garish colors and the rubber-sticky feel of the Chakras, I’m a big fan of the Colorsplash Flash.  I know how it handles, what it can do, what situations to best use it in. It may be a new unit but it feels like I’ve had this for a long time.

Collages created on my iPad using the Diptic app.