How many Ws would I need?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by redtippmann, May 14, 2010.

  1. redtippmann

    redtippmann TPF Noob!

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    Well I'm looking into getting an A.C. Strobe sometime soon. I will be using it in a gym and will be bouncing it off the ceiling. My question is, how many watt seconds would I need?

    I was thinking of getting the Speedotron with 2400 Ws but on full power it has a flash duration of 1/225 seconds. And I think that would be too slow for freezing basketball action.

    So I have a price range of 400 bucks and about 45 of that will be going to an adorama 13 foot light stand.

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. creisinger

    creisinger TPF Noob!

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    I'm not familiar with taking action sports shots using such a high light output but I have a couple things to throw in here.

    First off, do not buy a light stand for $45. Yes, it will do the trick for the moment but these things are super flimsy. I know it because I bought them. I have to treat them very carefully not to bang into anything stronger then they are because once the tubes get a dent you may severely lose stability.

    It's a tough decision but I also did it because I simply didn't have the money to also invest into good stands. Now I have to say a prayer every time I extend them all the way using a strobe including a softbox. Not even a grip or sandbag is giving me peace of mind, it's the actual stability of the vertical aluminum tubes. It's scary. C-stands is the way to go and those things will last forever unless you run them over with your car.

    I believe you would need 1/500 to freeze sports action. So the first thing is to figure out how to properly sync your camera with the strobes. With my studio lights I can't go faster than 1/125 which is fine for portraits etc. But shooting sports is more challenging.

    I would consult professionals directly, although I believe somebody here could asnwer this as well, regarding the height of the gym and the distance the light has to travel up to the ceiling and back down, considering the loss of light on the way. Maybe even the 2400Ws could be too low.

    Can you do a test shoot? Maybe using less Ws and increasing your ISO might help out. Oftentimes photographers switch from 100 to 200 ISO to reduce their light output and enjoy faster recycling times. Even at ISO 400 you should get acceptable images and maybe you can decrease your light power that way as well.

    Just some thoughts.

    Looking forward to see the pics!
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Bummer.

    In the studio, we were shooting break dancers and we have Speedo 2401 packs and a bunch of 102 heads, which have a duration of about 1/800th, we couldn't do it.

    There's a photog here in portland named Andy Batt who shoots alot of sports, and he has to use Broncolor's. Broncolor's and upper end Profotos are pretty much the only thing besides spedlights that can shoot at fast framerates, with lots of power (2400w/s ish) and reliably without color shifts or overheating.

    Instead of buying them, i'd see about renting them.

    OR crank the ISO and use a bunch of speedlights.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have 2403B packs, and the durations are slow at high power. You will NOT need anything close to 2400 w-s in a high school gym,as you learned from your shooting this winter using a single speedlight. Honestly, I would look for Speedotron Brown Line as being more what you'll actually want to carry to the site and use. I would look at the Brown Line D604 power supply and an M11 flash head, which at 600 watt-second will give you a 1/1000 second flash duration with the entire power outlet fired through a single head; if you hook up two flash heads, and aim one at the near end of the court and the other at the far end, and fire 300 watt-seconds thru each, you'll get a flash duration of about right in between 1/2200 seconds (at 200 watt-seconds) and 1/1500 seconds (at 400 watt-seconds).

    I was on eBay earlier tonight, and there was a D604 power pack for $194 Buy It Now priced. Guide Number on a D604 at 600 watt-seconds is 255, and 180 at 300 watt-seconds when using M-11 lights with the "older" 65 degree 11.5 inch reflectors. With the "new" 11.5 inch reflectors that cover only 50 degrees, the power will be higher.

    255 divided by 40 feet equals f/6.3 at ISO 100...so as you can imagine, if you up the ISO to 400 or 500 you can easily get a small f/stop so focus will not be very critical at all. At 300 watt-seconds, or Half Power, with the 180 Guide Number at ISO 100 in Feet, with the flash balcony-mounted 40 Feet away, a 65 degree reflector will deliver an f/4.5 f/stop at ISO 100 on your D2h. If you upped the ISO up 2/3 of a stop, you'd be at f/5.6 at ISO 160...so as you can see, you don't need too much flash power. If you wish to ceiling bounce, you'll need to go to ISO 400 or 500 or 640 for the same f/stops as directly-aimed flash from the balcony or mezzanine at ISO 125 to 160,due to light loss.

    I agree with creisinger--get an Avenger steel-based "turtle base" style light stand, which is a Matthews C-stand knock-off that will NOT fall over. You're not going to be shooting this stuff at really high frame rates for basketball.

    You could probably buy a D604 power pack and two heads for $300, with stands, from eBay. Right now, you could get the pack for $194, and the heads for $50-$75.
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    i shoulda remembered about when you were telling me about those brown lines...

    silly silly me.

    BUT!!!


    How fast can they recycle?
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Recycle times are not super-fast to full power. A D402 is 1.7 seconds, a D604 is 2.3 seconds. When shooting strobed basketball, I tend to think those recycle speeds are amply fast, with the idea of shooting one, or two frames per shot attempt, rather than shooting like you can when using ambient light. Recycle times are faster when shooting at lower output levels. Compared to using balcony-mounted off-camera speedlights on clamps or stands, even using a Quantum Turbo battery, a 2.3 recycle time on 600 watt-seconds of flash power is ridiculously fast, and if the flash is set to Half power, you can shoot roughly 2 frames in 1.1 seconds with a D604 pack...enough to get a jump shot attempt, and a rebound attempt.

    D604 packs are practically given away these days. They are quite small and fairly light.
     
  7. redtippmann

    redtippmann TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, I'll need to find someone thats selling the heads then!
     
  8. JtotheTickle

    JtotheTickle TPF Noob!

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    I am looking at buying my first set of lighting equipment. I currently have a Nikon sb-600 speedlight, but I want to invest in a couple strobes and umbrellas. I have looked at several kits, but I am unsure what size light to buy. I have been looking at a kit that includes two 180 watt strobes that are adjustable. I am wanting to use these for some studio work and for some group shots at weddings. I am worried at whether or not 180 watts will throw the light far enough for me. Any suggestions?
     

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