buying first lighting setup - looking for some suggestions

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by HeY iTs ScOTtY, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. HeY iTs ScOTtY

    HeY iTs ScOTtY TPF Noob!

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    getting ready to buy my first lighting setup. i want to go with alienbees i think. ill be shooting mostly still life and portraits-group photos. don't really know to much about lighting or how it works because Ive never really been a fan of it but Ive recently came to my senses and realized the potential of it and the fun in learning to use it. let me know what you guys use and if you like it and if you could of done something different- that would really help me a lot in making a decision. I'm trying not to make a mistake in making my first lighting purchase. thanks for the help.

    Scott
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    I have Alien Bee lights and I like them. There are plenty of good reasons to go with them.
    They are affordable (compared to some high end stuff)
    They perform pretty well.
    Their customer service is top notch.

    Of course, there are reasons to look somewhere else...
    They have an issue with color shifts at lower power levels. This may be an issue for those that are really picky about their color...but most AB users don't seem to mind.
    While the parent company has been around for a long time...the head guy may be starting to loose his mind...getting into arguments on internet forums and all...
    They have been promising new & exciting products that are just around the corner...but that corner never seems to come.

    It's up to you.

    Would I personally recommend them...sure.
    I would also recommend you take a look at Elinchrom, Calumet, Bowens etc.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Years ago, in 1987 I went with Speedotron Brown Line with a 1600 watt-second power pack, a 36x48 softbox, four light stands, a heavy duty boom stand on rollers with a 15 pound counterweight, and 3 M-11 light units and 3 11.5 inch reflectors, a 16 inch rflector, and a barn door set. I still have all that stuff, and 2 of the 3 original flash tubes still work!

    Over the intervening 22 years, I have added more Brown Line power packs, more Brown Line flash heads, and more reflectors,and also bought a bunch of used Black Line stuff. The reflectors,grids, barn doors, and diffusers all fit between the Brown Line M11 heads and the more-powerful Black Line 102 and 202VF heads.

    Speedotron is one of the most-durable brands of lighting gear,according to Ellis Vener, a real lighting guy's lighting guy. It might not have the ultimate in finesse, but it lasts a long,long time and is made for heavy use. I would buy all I needed used, off of eBay. I have bought most of my lighting stuff used. Pack and head systems are actually less-costly than monolights, especially if you need a lot of power, or need 3 or 4 lights. I would buy the same brand again...I've tried Norman, JTL, and DynaLite, as well as shot extensively with Photogenic Machine Company lights. Speedotron has the most power and the most flexibility of all those brands.
     
  4. HeY iTs ScOTtY

    HeY iTs ScOTtY TPF Noob!

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    funny that you say that, its not the first time i've heard it.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unfortunately, that corner is never coming either. Too bad, they sounded really badass.
     
  6. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use both AlienBees and Dynalites. Quality of both are great and are work horses.
    What I don't like about AlienBees - b/c the weight is high up, 1 could be accidentally tripped over the lightstand and knock the light down.
    What I don't like about Dynos - for portraits one pack with two heads are great but if need to be setup far apart, second power pack is needed, hence more $ is needed per equipment.
    But again, quality of both is great. Don't forget to add either shoot through umbrella(s) or reflective ones and/or softbox. - Might as well learn and shoot things right :thumbup:
     
  7. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I went with monolights because I was working mostly with people. Fewer cables to trip over and never had a problem with the weight at the top of the stand. You have to have the right stands, that's all.

    I chose Broncolor for their quality but also, very important, because I had a dealer/service center in town. It can be very useful if you have a problem, need to rent extra lights, etc and I usually tell everyone to try and get something sold locally. Which, by the way, doesn't keep you from buying used equipment.
     
  8. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    There's not much weight up there at all, they aren't exactly heavy. Regardless, I yanked one over again by kicking a cord on location this last weekend... and once again after a nasty spill the light works fine.

    I also keep sand bags around so I can anchor properly in wind and stuff. The light being up high (like every other studio light I can think of) isn't the problem most of the time, it's the light modifier catching wind that can be an issue.

    For the money, get the Bee's. It's a great place for a novice studio strobist to begin.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The single easiest way to prevent a light stand tipping over is to secure the power cord at the very bottom of the light stand with either a cable clip or a twist-tie...if the power cord is secured at the bottom of the stand, WHEN (not if, just WHEN) you or an assistant or a subject trips on the cable, the force will just slide the light stand along the ground.

    If the power cable runs from the floor and goes straight up to the light head or monolight, WHEN somebody trips on the cord, the light stand will topple over.

    This is another situation where castor-based (wheeled) light stands work best.

    And the funny thing is, when a light stand is going over, it always looks like it's moving in sloooooooowwwww mooooootion....waw-waw-waw-waw-waw-- CRASH!
     

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