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Starter lighting kit


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Mr. Lemay

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 05:25

Hello Fine ladies and gentlemen

i am considering buying studio lighting equipment since i am constantly borrowing the one from my friend

i will be mainly shooting in studio , or simply inside , i was thinking going with two head for now , but a power pack that would give me
the possibility to add 1-2 heads in the future

maybe a 24.5x32 and a 34x45 softbox

i already make a little research but i wanted an input from you , maybe what you are using , what you used in the past ,
brands i should look into , transmitters etc

I also wanted to know if it is safe to buy second hand for this kind of equipment

what are your thoughts on monolights ?

-Gabriel

Edit : i have looked into a lot a brands around the web and a name that kept coming up was Photogenic
http://www.photogenic.com/

supposedly they are quite versatile and robust , any of you have experience with them ?

Also , more expensive is the Profoto option .

any thoughts ?

Edited by Mr. Lemay, 14 December 2011 - 01:25 .


#2 charlie

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 05:25

What is your budget?
What are you taking pictures of?

I use an Elinchrom Ranger battery pack and Profoto Acute2 with Elinchrom soft boxes on both. I can only speak from my experience with these brands.
The quality of light from both is excellent but mechanically speaking I much prefer the design of Profoto, both in the way the light mounts to the stand as well as the modifier mount.
If you are on a tighter budget I would say go for the lower end Elinchrom models, Dlites or BX-Ri, and then if you want to upgrade to the RX's or Ranger in the future all of your modifiers and skyports triggers will be compatible.
If you have more money to spend I recommend Profoto.

The down side of power packs is that sometimes it is troublesome to get the right ratios when using multiple flash heads with one power pack.
You may have to use ND filters, add or subtract diffusion, move the distance or aiming of your light, etc to get the right ratio you're after.
Also you are limited by the distance of the flash head cables to the power pack. The plus side is that all of the controls are at the pack and not on the light.
Monolights can be adjusted independently though they are larger and heavier and if you need to change the power settings you will have to go to the light, which sometimes means lowering it down from the light stand unless of course your triggers have adjustments built in.

#3 black_bird_blue

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 07:59

My advice would be to start cheap and get to the end of the equipment you have before you spend more.

There are lots of cheap ways of getting "studio" lighting and the higher ISOs modern DSLRs shoot at reduce the burden on the lights. Try getting a bunch of SB24s or SB25s and using them manually with stands and brollies. Start with three lights, trigger them dumbly from those "magic eye" sensors and do it all iteratively. Hint: don't get a beautiful girl to sit in front of the camera while you work it all out - start with a teddy bear or something.

With cheaper lights comes more budgets for stands, different brollies, reflectors and so on - these are the things that make a lighting setup versatile, not the price tag on the head unit. If you finally decide you want more - modelling lights, faster recycle, more Joules of light, then think about buying some heads. Still I would say start cheaply - Jessops Portaflash 336VM stuff still abounds on ebay and is perfectly useful once you get to know it.

E-bay is littered with £1000 lighting kits bought buy people who wanted to jump in and then found it wasn't for them. You need a dedicated space, a hard floor, and a ready supply of people wanting to be photographed - not everybody has those.

Damian
"The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very conformable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with transmutations." - Sir Isaac Newton

#4 Mark English

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 12:10

HI Gabriel,

I am using white lightning (Paul Buff) lights and accessories. The new Einstein's are doing a nice job as well. The good news is they work great but you will have to order them from the US. They're not that expensive compared to the profoto lights and the portable powers is small and inexpensive.

You can see more here and the portable power here


I quite like them.

Erika.jpg


EvanNG.jpg

Best Regards,
Mark


"Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera."
Yousuf Karsh

#5 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 14:26

I use Hensel which gives me very good service. If I had money I would buy Profoto anytime of the week.

I agree there are a good number of second hand stuff available from people who just HAD to have the lights - and then dont use them. Look around.

Mark - I love the blue backdrop you used!
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#6 Mark English

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 15:09

Hi Elsa,

I got them at http://stores.ebay.c...est-Backgrounds but the price and selection seems to have changed, for Christmas most likely. I have the blue and brown and paid $89 each. They are 10' x 20' and have gromets at one end and pole slots on both ends. He has more on his main site at http://www.timwestba...s.com/home.html but the price is much higher.
Best Regards,
Mark


"Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera."
Yousuf Karsh

#7 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 15:16

Thanks Mark - you are giving me some nice ideas.
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#8 Mark English

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 00:50

Thanks Mark - you are giving me some nice ideas.


Excellent... I look forward to seeing themPosted Image
Best Regards,
Mark


"Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera."
Yousuf Karsh

#9 Mr. Lemay

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 02:01

{What is your budget?
What are you taking pictures of?}


i Have around 2500-3000$ budget And i'll be shooting a lot of portraits indoors[ headshots ,semi-nudes]




{My advice would be to start cheap and get to the end of the equipment you have before you spend more.}


i usually am not a fan of this approach because i already enjoy studio with my friends equipment and starting ceap then going with good equipment is more costly in the end in my opinion .

{HI Gabriel,

I am using white lightning (Paul Buff) lights and accessories. The new Einstein's are doing a nice job as well. The good news is they work great but you will have to order them from the US. They're not that expensive compared to the profoto lights and the portable powers is small and inexpensive.}


i have heard good things about the White Lighting brand. i still need to research

thank you all for you replies

Also thank you mark for theses backgrounds , i didn't even think about backgrounds in my budget hahaha


For now my mind is pretty much set on the Speedotron brand for heads and power pack since this is what i have used in the past year
and softbox/octodome from photoflex

Are Manfrotto Stands worth the money? of any stand + sandbag do?


thanks
-Gabriel

#10 black_bird_blue

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 15:57

i usually am not a fan of this approach because i already enjoy studio with my friends equipment and starting ceap then going with good equipment is more costly in the end in my opinion .

For now my mind is pretty much set on the Speedotron brand for heads and power pack since this is what i have used in the past year and softbox/octodome from photoflex



If you already knew everything there was no need to ask, then ;-)

Damian
"The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very conformable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with transmutations." - Sir Isaac Newton

#11 JBPhoto

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 00:18

I have used just about every brand of flash in my career, Broncolor, Profoto, Balcar, Dynalite, Norman, Elinchrome, some odd UK 220v units the size of a rolling tool box and Speedotron. I settled on Speedotron Blackline about 25 years ago due to their robust nature. Not the smallest or lightest but every one of my heads and packs is still in work mode and simply functions pop after pop.

I'm old school so the fact I can't dial down each head separately is no biggie, I have a full suite of diffusion and ND gels to get the job done. I even modded all my heads to use with my Innovatronix Explorer XT for battery power when shooting on remote locations.

Since your friend has Speedotron, why not get the same so you can add a light when you need three or four heads and you can return the favour should he/she need more light?

BTW, I have three Manfrotto ART 004 stands which I bought in 1983 and they are still part of my extensive Manfrotto grip collection, excellent stuff and you can't go wrong with them. However I don't recommend it but, if you do go cheap on stands better have a few spare flash head parts handy.

Added:
Also if you are thinking of Blackline, pass on the 1005 power pack and go for the 1205. I've read the 1005 has horribly slow flash duration.

Edited by JBPhoto, 21 December 2011 - 00:24 .

James

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#12 Mr. Lemay

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:35

Thanks JBPhoto , i didn't even thought about sharing lights with my friend [ i feel so selfish now]
to be fair , i'm always uncomfortable with equipment i never used. This is what makes speedotron so attractive

for the pack i was thinking about getting a 2403with two 206vf and a 106 cc . Witch is the set up my friend has , and i managed to get some fairly decent lighting out of it
do you have a how to guide to theses modded lights?

thanks


-Gabriel

#13 yunfat

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 15:34

I use a one light setup with an Alien Bees B800 and a PLM V.2. @$450

Posted Image

Posted Image

#14 JBPhoto

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 20:10

Thanks JBPhoto , i didn't even thought about sharing lights with my friend [ i feel so selfish now]
to be fair , i'm always uncomfortable with equipment i never used. This is what makes speedotron so attractive

for the pack i was thinking about getting a 2403with two 206vf and a 106 cc . Witch is the set up my friend has , and i managed to get some fairly decent lighting out of it
do you have a how to guide to theses modded lights?

thanks


-Gabriel


Huh? Unless you are trying to vaporize your subjects that's way too much power. :biggrin:

I have the 2403 and I am constantly dialling it down to -3 stops and that is with 3 heads attached and often I bleed another head off it to lower the output. You'll need no more than 1200 w/s with all sorts of modifiers to get the job done. Also the 2403 is a brute, big and heavy. The heads you are suggesting are the wrong ones, the 206vf and 106cc are designed for 4800 w/s. I think you meant 202VF CC or 102 CC, BTW VF stands for variable focus and CC stands for colour corrected flash tube. The later is important so if you are buying used heads like the 102 or 103 make sure the flash tube is the UV coated variety. And just to add, you'll never need 4800 w/s out of one head so those choices of yours are never going to be utilized.
HTH
James

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#15 TGB

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:21

I use a set of Profoto D1 Air with Profoto Batpac for location work. Only problem with the Profoto D1 is the front glass, can be changed, and should be if you're using beautydish or big modifiers (octabox etc). The equipment is pretty cheap compared to what you get; and it's profoto :) We're considering a 150.000+ USD set of profoto equipment in studio, which will be fun :)

#16 charlie

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 15:43

Only problem with the Profoto D1 is the front glass, can be changed, and should be if you're using beautydish or big modifiers (octabox etc).


Why's that?
Do you mean changing the flat piece of glass out for the domed glass?

#17 TGB

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 23:39

Why's that?
Do you mean changing the flat piece of glass out for the domed glass?

Exactly, the flat glass and the built inn reflector is no good for beautydish; you will get uneven spread of light and darker spot in the midle. By replacing with a domed glass the D1 will work as any bare bulp flash. Don´t get me wrong, the build in reflector can be useful as well.




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