Best Location Light Setup

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by AYoPhoto, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. AYoPhoto

    AYoPhoto TPF Noob!

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    I'm currently looking to buy a lighting setup before I graduate from college. As of now I'm using the power packs and lighting kits my school provides (Normans which are too expensive for me). When I graduate in December I won't be able to use them anymore and am looking for an affordable and reliable kit that people have experience with. For the moment I'd like something that will work well in the studio and on location. I have heard that the Alien Bees (800) are pretty good but am looking for other input as well. Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Budget?

    The bees are one of the cheapest on location solutions. You can get three B800's and a Vagabond VII battery pack to run them for about $1200. That's not including stands and modifiers though.

    Another cheap solution if you're used to a pack and head system is a used speedotron setup off of ebay. I was shooting at an abandoned prison where one of the setups we were using consisted of a speedotron brownline pack and head system running off a Vagabond.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Another option is to use flash units rather than studio strobes. They don't have as much power, but they are obviously much smaller and run off of AA batteries, so you could essentially fit all your studio lighting into a single camera bag. The Strobist link above can give you some insight into this (check out their Lighting 101 section).
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would not suggest Alien Bees if you are used to Norman pack and head systems. A far better value is Speedotron equipment, bought used. It's ben made in the USA since the late 1930's, in CHicago, Illinois, and is rented all across the USA, and it is known as the most rugged flash system made, at least among professional studio shooters. Ellis Vener says Speedotron is the most-rugged, and he's a professional photographer and a studio electronic flash reviewer who write for several professional photograher's magazines.

    Speedotron is also a very,very affordable system,and it has stuff the Alien Bees line can only dream about, like focusing monolights, as well as focusing standard light heads like the 202 VF (Variable Focus) Black Line.

    You can buy Brown Line or Black Line stuff, used, from eBay and get a complete studio system for $1200, whereas with AB's, you'd only have three lights and a Vagabond, and not much else. The Brown Line D402 power supply is small and light,and runs great off of a Tronix Explorer (like a Vagabond, only better). M90 and MW3U light heads are very affordable for Brown Line packs as well.

    Speedotron Brown LIne and Black Line lasts for 20-25 years, easily. Buy right, buy once.
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The speedotron d402 is only 400 watts split between each light hooked up. You neglected to mention that. The bees would be 320w/s for each separate light.

    The bigger packs are going to cost more. Plus there's the down side of connections to the pack as opposed to as much extension cord as you can handle. Each system has it's pros and cons though.
     

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