Help with lighting purchase

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by tjones8611, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. tjones8611

    tjones8611 TPF Noob!

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    As someone new to lighting, Im looking for equipment recommendations. Im not certain about an umbrella, soft box, or octabox…Which is preferred? Is there more equipment I should consider as a must have for the initial setup? Im not looking to travel with it, most of the time it will be used in the house, at least for now.

    One - AB800
    One -U48TWB 48-inch Shoot-Thru Umbrella
    One - LS3900 13' Heavy Duty Stands
    One - Foldable Medium Octabox (35") with speedring attached
    One - Light meter
    Grey cards
    reflecter
     
  2. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

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    I have the above set up (3 of them actually) along with 1 (non-named) 5 foot Octobox ...

    I hated the look of the catch lights in my portraits with my ST umbrella (they looked like starbursts because I could see the ribs from the umbrella in them). I switched to the OB as the diffuser for my mainlight and use the umbrellas as fills/background lighting.

    All of the Paul C. Buff stuff is pretty good and I have no problem suggesting them to anyone. They are easy to use, and set up and are pretty powerful (with internal fans) and have the quickest recycle time that I found in their respective price points when I was doing my research.

    When it comes to whether to use an umbrella/softbox/or octobox ... they are pretty much pretty similar they just create different lighting patterns - though, I believe, an octobox gives you the biggest angle of spread (if you are comparing same size diffusers) which comes in handy if you are shooting large groups of people (6-ish or more)

    I am sure that there is more information that I am missing, and other people will be along to add more, and possibly correct what I have said, because like I said, I am not 100% sure on all the "technical" stuff, I just know what works for what I have been shooting with mine. :thumbup:

    Wait, you posted the other day about buying this stuff used from a guy on CL, right ... did you decide to buy new gear versus the used stuff?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  3. Big Mike

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

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    I prefer softboxes (or octabox etc) to umbrellas. Umbrellas tend to spill light all over the place. That's OK for some types of shots, but when you want more control over your light, umbrellas don't give you many options. They are cheap and they pack up pretty small, so they are still worth having around though.

    You may want to consider a wireless remote trigger, so you don't have to shoot with a cable attached to the camera. Actually, I don't think your camera has a PC port, so even if you didn't have a wireless system, you would still need a hot-shoe to PC adapter.
    Alienbee have their own brand of wireless triggers, Cyber Sync, which are very good, but certainly not the cheapest option. You can get THIS, which should work well enough to get you started.

    Also, HERE is an E-bay store that sells AB compatible softboxs etc. for a good price.
     
  4. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

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    THAT'S THE EXACT OCOTBOX I have and the store I bough it from!! I would do business with them again in a heartbeat.

    The only thing about octoboxes is that they are a pain in the ass to set up ... I've gotten really good with mine and it takes about 15 minutes to put it together ... I've never tried to put a square softbox together, I am sure it's a lot easier ...
     
  5. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I use Octoboxes and Softboxes for most of my work, I do have umbrellas, but almost never bring them out.

    With the softbox or octabox, you can also get grids to control the light even more. I would recomend getting at least one grid.
     
  6. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

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    if you buy the ocotbox from the store that Big Mike suggested, it comes with an "egg crate" grid included ...
     
  7. tjones8611

    tjones8611 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone, very could information. I ordered wireless triggers last week, they should be in soon. I knew they would be a must have.

    From everyone's input on the craigs list offer, I decided to just go new. From all the reading, it appears that boxes and light stands tend to get abused often, I guess form the traveling with them. Decided it was worth to spend a little more upfront than having to deal with potential issues later.

    The ebay store looks to have much better prices than PCB.
     
  8. tjones8611

    tjones8611 TPF Noob!

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    One more thing, is there a real need for continous lighting? Whats does it add that an umbrella and/or box doesnt?
     
  9. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

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    HEAT!

    Constant lighting is always on and serves some purposes, but I would rather work with strobes ...
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    Continuous lighting is a type of lighting...much different from flash/strobe. (the lights in your house are continuous, a flash/strobe is just a very fast burst.
    Either type can be used in an umbrella or softbox, they are light modifiers, not types of lighting.
    Some/most studio strobes have a continuous 'modeling lamp'. This is usually just a regular light bulb. It's not meant for shooting with, it's just so you can see where you light is going etc.


    The Alienbee (Paul C. Buff) 'collapsible' softboxes are structured like an umbrella. It takes me about 5 seconds to set it up. (it would be faster but you have to turn a set screw to hold it open).
     

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