Continous Lighting or Flash?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by RacePhoto, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    While I was searching for information on daylight balanced fluorescent tubes, I found this article.

    http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00Futx&tag=

    I've been playing with spiral lights and was thinking of going to tubes for backlighting. Hmmm, looks like I might want to rethink that and go with flash and soft boxes or diffusion.

    Good thing to remember: The effective length of the exposure is determined by the duration of the flash, not by the shutter speed of the camera.

    No matter how obvious, it only makes a difference when the ambient lighting can become a factor in the exposure.

     
  2. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are several key differences between continuous and strobe or flash lighting. One is that there is much more consistent output with a strobe. It lasts only a fraction of a second but the output is much more consistent in quality and quantity of light. Also you need many many high watt continuous lights to put out the same amount of light as a strobe. Heat is another factor and if you need several high watt bulbs with continuous lights it makes an uncomfortable environment for the subject. With strobes the output is intense but still lasts a fraction of a second, thus your subject doesn't have to endure the heat as with continuous. You also have greater control typically with a strobe as many of them can be dialed back in power. I imagine some continuous lights may have a type of rheostat like a dimmer switch in your home, but the strobe is more precise.

    A popular and effecient strobe is the Alien Bee http://www.alienbees.com that many here use. They are quite cost effective, have user replaceable bulbs and are advertised to produce about 25,000 cycles before the bulb wears out. They seem to be a durable strobe and are a much better solution than the cost cutter strobes found on ebay.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    If you are shooting people, I vote flash.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Definitely. The thing about shooting people with continuous light is their pupils close up. Since wide pupils are more captivating they make for a nicer photo. Flash definitely provides that advantage assuming you're shooting indoors or in the evening.

    They are also much more versatile. A flash with a guide number of 39m/100 can over power the sun's light at common max sync rates. A studio flash is many times more powerful. Especially if you're outside mixing flash and environmental light there's no substitute for a strobe.
     
  5. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    I haven't read the article yet, so can't comment on that. But I'll give you my opinion from experience.

    I prefer flashes simply because of the heat factor. It's hot here where I live in Australia, and extra heat from lights is just ridiculous. So I vote flashes.
     

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