Expandable Studio Lighting.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by theilluminated, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. theilluminated

    theilluminated TPF Noob!

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    Good day!

    As an aspiring photographer and current student of the subject I have found myself in need of getting myself a studio and something long term as well in the way that it is easily expandable.

    I'm starting out with a budget of around 1500-2000USD and the purpose is to have something that is good enough now as a simple setup but expandable into something more complex later on that could also be run on batteries for on-location shooting.

    The goal is to start out with a good and professional setup and later add some lighting here and there as I see fit. It is not necessary to create setups for me (though you can if you wish! :thumbup:) but I am mostly interested in what experiences you have had with own setups, why you bought them, what the initially cost was and why you stuck to it or changed to another setup.
     
  2. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Student of the subject in what way? Are you in a photo school or just reading a couple books on your own?

    What you intend to do with your photography is going to be very important in your decision of what equipment to get. I had over 10 years of photojournalism behind me when I set up my first studio, I was very serious about continuing to earn a living with photography although in a different manner and because I believe that quality tools are worth the cost in the long run, I started with 3 monolights by Broncolor.

    Not the cheapest strobes but beautiful quality and I had a dealer/service center in town which, I thought, was very important since I could get accessories very quickly and easily, I could rent extra lights until I could buy more, and if something broke (it never happened) I could get it fixed quickly.

    Now, if you are just having fun with your photo, there are cheaper alternatives. But I would definitely try and stick with a brand that is sold locally for the reasons mentioned above. If you live in Oslo it should not be a problem.

    As far as expandability is concerned, if you stick with a known name, a company that has been around for a while, it shouldn't be a problem either.

    Cheers.
     
  3. theilluminated

    theilluminated TPF Noob!

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    I'm at the moment taking an online course which is supposed teach the necessary knowledge to start out as a freelancer or having your own studio etc. and I am half way through it and love it!

    Besides the course I am taking I got a lot of different books also which I am reading to fill in or expand on the subjects I learn at the course.

    The course is done on my spare time since I am working full time in IT and I am earning enough money to buy quality merchandise and in that way I have afforded two L-lenses already and will only buy L in the future also.

    I live in Stavanger at the moment though I doubt I will stay here forever, but in general I think that the industry in Norway for renting out such equipment is considerably smaller here compared to everywhere else but I don't want to be quoted on that, hehe.

    In general I would love to do portraits (both humans and animals), product photography and landscape though the sun can help me do the last part or it would get really expensive.

    I very much agree on finding a brand and just stick to it. At the moment there aren't so many different vendors in Norway and I might need to import due to the low availability. Here in Norway we seem to have Bowens, Hensel, and Elinchrom, if I want anything else I have to import which is kind of a bad solution in the long run.

    If anyone got experiences with any of I would love to hear about it.
     
  4. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Stavanger didn't ring a bell (been a long time since I was in Norway :( ) so I had to look it up and noticed that it's closer to Bergen than Oslo. But Bergen does not seem to be much larger than your own city. Stavanger sounds like it could be a good place to be doing photography, though. Any serious photo stores there? or would you have to get equipment from Oslo?

    No personal experience with the brands you mention but Elinchrom is used by many pros and has a very good reputation. Bowens is english and I'll admit knowing nothing about the quality of their electronics. But both of those are European companies and that could be an advantage in terms of delivery time, repair turn-over time, etc
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Once you purchase into a system, you usually stick with it. Elinchrom offers a broad range of equipment and it is made to work together. I doubt there is something outside of their product line that you will ever need.

    It is like a camera system... you research, see if it does what you want now and in the future, and then make the choice based on this. Same thing for lighting.

    As for what exactly needs to be purchased... well, no one knows your needs better than you... so you get the fun of matching products with needs and finding what you are going to spend your money on.
     
  6. epatsellis

    epatsellis TPF Noob!

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    Broncolor, Elinchrom and Briese (in the EU) are three "most complete" systems out there, each has something the other's don't, with Bron traditionally leaning more towards product work, Elinchrom more towards fashion/portrait work and I dont' have familiarity with Briese to know.

    Personally, I have Bron, but I've been using them for 20+ years and if I had to do it over, I'd probably go Elinchrom.

    erie
     
  7. snowdog

    snowdog TPF Noob!

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    In my opinion, the best start into affordable studio and location lighting is either speedlights (highly compact and portable but less powerful outdoors) or the alien bees.

    www.poze-studio.ro/
     
  8. Annamas

    Annamas TPF Noob!

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    What course are you taking . . . I've looked at some options, but haven't decided upon anything at this point.
     
  9. Andrew Boyd

    Andrew Boyd TPF Noob!

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    If you look abroad you should check out the Alien Bees system. They're inexpensive, easy to upgrade and have a battery pack option which will make them portable--something you mentioned you wanted.
    But you won't get local service...

    Andrew Boyd
    TheDiscerningPhotographer
     
  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Although Alien Bees are the cheapest portable monolight solution, they no longer have a European retailer, which means he would have to buy from the US. :thumbdown:

    Elinchrom are better lights anyways, the only problem is for a battery powered Elinchrom light is that you spend $$$$

    You could always go with a pack and head system. If you buy used, they're resonable and you can hook something like a Speedotron pack up to a pure sine wave inveter on a battery.
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I *love* Photogenic, they have incredible quality equipment... and the *the* oldest studio flash makers known... at well over 100 years in business. They are also NOT made in China, Japan or Taiwan like 90% of the new mid-range systems (even Elinchrom D-Lite-2 and 4's are made in the orient!)... The Photogenic manufactureing plant is in Illinois, right near Chicago, right smack in the US of A.

    I love this brand (I own a 2500DR), and when getting studio heads, *this* is the ONLY brand I will ever purchase. :)
     
  12. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I guess I struggle to understand why something being made in China is a problem. This isn't 1950, the Chinese are capable of manufacturing some of the highest quality electronics made. Heck, Mac's are almost all exclusively made in China including the iPhone.

    If you have a "buy American" hang-up, I can understand that. But since we're talking about a European buying European products, I don't see how this is a factor.
     

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