Advice on Studio Flash's

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Moose, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. Moose

    Moose TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I am looking for some advice on Studio Flash's.

    How do I know what will best suite my needs?

    I want to be able to do portraits of people from head to toe and sometimes with props like chairs and lounge suites.

    So here are three different options withing my price range (Aus $)

    Option #1 $299.00

    • [*] TWO 110W studio flash light

      [*] TWO light stands
      [*] TWO Silver reflective umbrellas
      [*] TWO White reflective umbrellas
    Flash light specifications:

    • [*] Out power: 110W
      [*] Flash guide No: 32m
      [*] Output control range: 1/32-1/1(Infinitely variable)
      [*] Recycling time:0.5-3S,
      [*] Halogen modeling lamp: 50W
      [*] Flash duration: 1/500-1/800S
      [*] Import Voltage: 220V/110V
    Option #2 $699.00


    • [*] TWO 300W studio flash light
      Same accessories as above

    Flash light specifications:

    • [*]
      Output power: 300w
      [*]
      Flash guide No. 55GN
      [*]
      Output control range: 1/32~1/1 Infinitely variable
      [*]
      Halogen modelling lamp: 150w user replaceable
      [*]
      Perkin Elmer Flash Tube user replaceable
      [*]
      Recycling time: 0.8~2.5s
      [*]
      Colour temperature: 5600k
      [*]
      Flash duration: 1/800~1/1200s
      [*]
      Modelling light working mode: Full power output/ Proportional flash and modelling light
      [*]
      Recycling indicate: Buzz/Modelling light indication
      [*]
      Working voltage: 170V~240V Auto voltage regulator circuit
      [*]
      Flash triggering method: Photocell/Sync cable/Test button
      [*]
      Triggering voltage: 12V Low voltage trigger
      [*]
      Overheat Protection
      [*]
      Flash automatic release function
    Option #3 $949.00


    • [*] TWO 600W studio flash light
      Same accessories as option #1
    Flash light specifications:

    • [*] Output power: 600W
      [*] Flash guide No.:72NG
      [*] Output control range:1/32-1/1
      [*] Halogen: 250W
      [*] Recycling time: 0.8-3S
      [*] Color temperature: 5600K
      [*] Flash duration: 1/800-1/1200S
      [*] Modeling light working mode: Full power/Proportional flash and modeling light Recycling indecision: Buzz/Modeling light indication
      [*] Working voltage: 170V/240V Auto voltage regulator circuit
      [*] Flash triggering method: Photocell/Sync cable/Test button
      [*] Triggering voltage: 12V Low voltage trigger
      [*] Technical specialty: Light regulating digital display overheat protection flash automatic release function
    Can someone explain what the difference in power means in real life terms?

    Thanks
    Moose
     
  2. toastydeath

    toastydeath TPF Noob!

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    A more powerful light will let you compete with sunlight/ambient light more effectively. Ambient light moreso, as I assume this is studio work.

    This will allow you to create shadows and contrast by making the ambient light appear as, well, shadow. You can fill with one lamp, and crank the other one up. You can do a lot of things with a bigger strobe, regardless of what the ambient light is.

    Is that going to matter to you? Mabye. If you are shooting in front of a window, with the sun coming through. A controlled setting won't require you mounting a strobe equivillent to a large chemical pulse laser to light the area.

    I shoot a lot of stuff with a single 60 watt desk lamp, with a plastic bag over it. It works great. But, I shoot in the middle of the night and have lots of white surfaces I place.
     
  3. Moose

    Moose TPF Noob!

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    I envisage that alot of the work I will be doing will be indoors with minimal interferance from Sunlight.

    Ambient light will be involved of course but nothing more that a 60w house globe or a couple of fluro tubes?

    Moose
     
  4. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It is a tricky estimate. My Bowens monolights are 750 watt seconds each. They are quite powerful and more than enough for portraiture. I use them for tabletop product work with a light tent and have to dial them down as far as they will go. I have 4 of those and a smaller 360 watt second unit. I can't light a stadium at night but I can light anything you can fit into a studio.

    Given that, I would say any of these options is powerful enough for portraiture. The first seems a little weak but may be OK once you get it working. You might need to have them up close and cozy.

    However, you will be happier with a three light setup if you can swing it. It is more flexible. You normally need a main, a fill and a background light. A 4th one might be a hair light for head portraits. You can do fill with a large silver or white reflector if you can get it close enough to the subject without including it in the picture. It would be good to have a couple of more powerful units. A third or fourth could be less powerful. Maybe combining #1 and #2 would be a good option?

    Check on the size of the umbrellas. You want them big if you want softer lighting. You can save some time with a flash meter because it will get your exposure setting right. Trial and error with a digital camera will be OK too since you can see your results in the LCD screen immediately.

    On the subject of ambient light, any of these units should blow out any ambient light in the room without a problem. You can ignore it. My commercial studio was brightly lit with flourescent and I never had any color problems from it.
     
  5. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    Who is the manufacturer? I would go with at least 300w lights. A lower one could be used for a hair light though. Some of the issues you find with a name brand vs. off brand is customer service, changing the flash bulb if needed, the color balance. I have seen these issues with these off brands.
     

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