A question for you lighting / strobe gurus...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by PatrickHMS, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    I have decided to upgrade my off camera lighting. Use would mostly be for indoor work, and for some outdoor work where ambient light is lacking, use for fill, other creative uses, etc.

    Have already started building the bracket (I saw this elsewhere on TPF) where I can mount 2x flashes on one bracket, and mount either a reflector or an umbrella with it, all on one tripod, and have two of them.

    Wired control would be okay to start with, but eventually would like for this to be wireless. Would normally use mostly with a D90 or D200, but also have a D40 that I would like to be able to use this setup with.

    For some time, for my eBay and Craigslist listings, I have been using 2x old Vintage Kodak movie light bars, each with 2 60W (can adjust as needed by changing bulbs) bulbs on each bar, each bar on one tripod, turn on, leave on, and take shots with adjusted WB, camera on a tabletop tripod.

    My shots turn out well, bright and clear. Even macro shots look good done this way, even small details like mint marks on coins, or the tiny publication info for books are clear and legible, and the lights are not that hot when on for just a few minutes.

    That got me to thinking about using 2x strobes on one tripod, then when I saw the post with the pic of the bracket - THAT was what I was looking for all along.

    Don't plan to do that much portrait work, no interest at all in weddings (maybe some event work (I do video stuff for Churches using a HDD camcorder), but not that much), but I do need this new setup for some low light work such as in museum settings and lighting.

    I also do some automotive or motorcycle type shots with staged setting.

    Already have a pair of Nikon SB-400's, and one SB-600. Also have a pair of Vivitar 283's and a Vivitar 285HV that I have accumulated over the years.

    Since I don't have 4 of any one flash, but I do have enough to trade up or down to get 4x of something...

    Just wondering, if, for the money, if the Nikon Speedlights are THAT much better than say 2x Vivitar 285HV's on one bracket, done twice.

    Might start with the 285's, get them working right, tweak everything, then upgrade to the Nikon Speedlights later if I decide to do that.

    What could I do with the Nikon strobes that I could not do with the Vivitar 285HV ??? And whatever it is, I am wondering if it is worth the extra $$?

    Thanks for any input you could share with me.
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One word...CLS.

    Off camera iTTL lighting which is great because flash power changes in faster dynamic setups automatically and you do not have to waste time in between shots setting up the flash strengths.

    High speed sync FP flash. Sync your off camera flashes up to 1/8000th. You can overpower bright daylight situations and still be able to use open shutters like F/2.8

    Range is limited as shutter speed rises, but it is freaky to see shutter speeds of 1/2000th and "Flash activated: Yes" in the EXIF.

    Is it worth the extra money to you? That is a question you will need to ask yourself. For me it was worth it BIG time.
     
  3. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Jerry,

    Was hoping you would eventually answer...

    Don't know what " CLS " is.

    Wondering specifically if the cost of the Nikon (say SB-600) strobes are worth the extra $$ over the cost of Vivitar 285HV?

    Thx in advance.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nikon's proprietary strobe control system... automatic adjustment of strobe power based on a series of metered quick pre-flashes and control adjustment flashes.

    CLS = Creative Lighting System. Reference your camera and flash manuals or google it, there is a ton of stuff out there on this. :)

    As for worth, as I said, for me it was, for others it is not. Depends on how important CLS is to you.
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It depends a lot in how you operate your off camera flashes. If you run them in manual, don't need high speed sync, and the Vivitars have the GN (guide number=power) you need then the Vivitars will work just fine.
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not a fan of TTL for doing shots where the subject doesn't need constant adjustment from the strobes for a proper exposure. With TTL, unwanted adjustments can occur when you get your settings dialed in.

    Nikon speed lights have power adjustment in 1/3 stops. That's pretty handy. If you don't want to purchase brand new SB600's, look for something like an sb28 on Ebay.
     
  7. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, just wondering "out loud" if it is worth it to buy 3x more SB-600's over getting 3x more less expensive Vivitar 285's that I can pretty much come out even after trading or selling what I already have (2 SB-400's
    /SB-600/2 Vivitar 283's).

    2x 285's on each tripod should be plenty of power for most situations.

    Might just go with the Vivitar, and upgrade if I am not happy with that.

    Most connections and triggers should work for either one, what does not will still have value to sell or trade to upgrade.

    Already have a ton invested in camera bodies and lenses, trying to do this more ecnomically.

    Thanks guys!
     
  8. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    I have 3 Vivitar 285HV's and 1 SB600. The main difference is the Vivitar's must be shot in manual mode (both camera and flashes). The SB600 can be used in manual or fully automatic, which is what you're paying extra for.

    SB600's, 800's and 900's can be triggered wirelessly using all your cameras (except the D40). The Vivitars would need some kind of cable or 3rd party wireless triggers, or optical triggers. If you get Cactus triggers (the cheapest solution, but also the most unreliable), they will work with all your cameras, including the D40.

    I see you have 1 SB600 .. have you got it to work wirelessy with your D200 or D90? Since you already have 1, the simplest thing might be to stick with Nikon's CLS system and add another SB600. You can do a lot with 2 of those.
     

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