Choosing a beginners' lighting kit

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Thanshin, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Thanshin

    Thanshin TPF Noob!

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    Trying to buy a beginner's flash kit as a gift (and knowing little about photography), I've just discovered the prices range from 250€ to several thousands.

    Some reasons for the price are obvious, like power and accessories, but even searching kits with a fixed power and no accessories, the range is still huge. Clearly there must be quality differences underneath I'm not able to evaluate.

    Thus, the question:
    What should I be looking for to choose a beginners' strobe kit for under 1000€?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Are you looking for 'studio' type lights...or would portable 'flash' units be OK?
     
  3. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    If it's studio lights you are looking for, look at Alien Bees kits if you are looking for strobes. Cost is down to a number of things. Build quality, consistency, power, ease of use, the modifiers that come with the kits and probably a whole lot more.
     
  4. Thanshin

    Thanshin TPF Noob!

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    I was looking for studio lights.

    Essentially the objective is to make better photos of clothing and, sometimes, people wearing them. The idea is to use the lights at home.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    ELINCHROM

    Check out their D-Lite series.
     
  6. Thanshin

    Thanshin TPF Noob!

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    I'd have to find a distributor that delivers to Spain, but, taking alienbees' packs as an example, would I need anything more than a pack with this?:

    - 2 lights
    - 2 light stands
    - 2 reflectors (a silver umbrella and a translucent umbrella maybe? I don't know when one would use each)
    - Some wiring to connect the lights to the camera.


    With those constraints, I think the range moves between a suspiciously low 267€ in americanphotoimp's "kit iniciación flash mettle" (which I don't think I'll use because they only offer me direct bank transfer as payment method) and 690€ in fotocasion's "Elinchrom 2 D-lite 4 to go" which I'd gladly pay if I knew it was a reasonable price and the correct material.

    It's more than double for a quite similar offer. So I imagine it's just a problem of me not understanding the difference.
     
  7. Thanshin

    Thanshin TPF Noob!

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    Just as I was writing the last post...

    Ok, Elinchrom it is.

    Time to reduce the hunt to good price and safe dealer.
     
  8. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Sorry I didn't look at your location. I use Elinchrom BX lights which are superb but I guess the D-Lites would be pretty much similar - at quite a bit less money. So I would agree with Mike try them. There is also a huge range of pro modifiers you can buy.

    My last purchase was a 53" softbox - fabulous addition.

    I'd say the main difference is build quality, consistency and reliability although I'm sure the Elinchrom name adds a bit too :)
     
  9. Thanshin

    Thanshin TPF Noob!

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    Finally all distributors has very similar prices so that's it. Elinchrom d-lite 4 + cable + a 5in1 reflector.

    I'll leave the rest of the toys for other birthdays. :)

    You've all been most helpful. Thanks a lot.
     
  10. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Two things to remember when using strobes.

    A light meter will make life much easier. Your cameras meter is useless when using flash. Something like a Sekonic L308s is a cheap option.

    Also 2 your camera is usually connected to the strobe by a sync cable (which comes with the kit). Much easier if you can use a radio trigger. I use the Elinchrom Skyports which are fantastic but you can buy them very cheaply on ebay if you wanty to try first. Not totally reliable and they synch at slower speeds than your camera but they work well at 1/125 (which is pretty much what you can use anyway).

    Add those two items and you can then take your time adding other modifiers.
     

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