i need a bit of help

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Witch, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. Witch

    Witch TPF Noob!

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    im getting ready to open my own studio. however, i need to upgrade my lighting kit, as i have an old jtl set. i cant afford to spend a ton of money on lights though. so here are a few sets ive been looking at and i would like to get your opinion on which one i should get. or if you have a better suggestion, feel free to let me know. i will be doing portraiture and modeling photography. my budget is less than $1000 but ideally, less than $700. ive been meaning to update my set for years and now i have reason to do it. here are the links;

    FLUORESCENT PHOTOGRAPHY LIGHTING | VU-PRO COOL V PHOTO LIGHTING KIT | CONTINUOUS STUDIO LIGHTING | SOFTBOX LIGHTING AND ACCESSORIES

    SMITH-VICTOR FL130 STROBE PHOTOGRAPHY LIGHTING KIT

    V-300 600 W/S UMBRELLA STROBE PHOTOGRAPHY LIGHTING KIT

    SOFTBOX PHOTOGRAPHY LIGHTING KIT | JTL SOFTBOX PHOTO LIGHTING EQUIPMENT | STUDIO LIGHTING | STROBE PHOTO LIGHTING| KITS | SOFTBOX LIGHTING AND ACCESSORIES
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I looked at those sets. I own a single JTL 300 monolight,and am familiar with how it works and what its capabilities are. I would suggest you look at used Speedotron lighting gear on eBay.

    The 2400 watt-second packs like 2401B's are available for $350-$500 and used 102 light heads are going for $120 or so each on good eBay auctions. I like the 2400-series packs because they give you SIX head outlets,and you can work with them dialled wayyyyyy down in power for portraiture, and yet you have ample power to light an entire set.

    It's nice to be able to have power in 1200,800,and 400 watt-second blocks, with 1/3 stop dial-down control. These are professional-grade packs and the light head s like the 102 are very sturdy and will last for years. he 202VF head has a variable flood/narrow beam adjustment feature,and you can get all the modifiers you'll ever need in this system,quite affordably.

    I honestly look at the typical web-sold monolights as "toy lights".
     
  3. Witch

    Witch TPF Noob!

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    honestly im a bit wary of ebay. i have the tendency to get ripped off it seems
     
  4. Witch

    Witch TPF Noob!

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    bump?
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Speedotron is a thought. I have a 2400 black line and a 1200 brown line.... both very old. I'd rather be working with monolights, but it's not so bad.

    With my older units, I find the black line to be much more consistent. I do think it's a bit much for portraits, and opt for the brown line.

    Check with local camera stores. You might find a used system.

    -Pete
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    If your budget for lights is only $700-$1000....do you really think you are ready to open your own studio?
    Compared to the costs of actually opening and running a studio photography business....a couple thousand dollars for good quality lights, shouldn't be something holding you back.
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Mike (as always) is on point here. Lighting is the last thing you should scrimp on. I say $1,000 min. I also agree with Pete and Derrel I have worked with Speedotron my whole life and they are work horses to say the least. These days they are affordable through ebay. Be prepared because they take a some figuring out. Not like you can move a slider to dim them.

    Love & Speedotron
     
  8. Witch

    Witch TPF Noob!

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    you all are right and i have decided to go with a speedotron 4 light setup. the dm604. any thoughts on it? now my only problem is finding a dealer, there isnt anyone remotely close around me. thanks for your help.
     
  9. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Cool! I currently use the 802B. It is useable, but I wish I had a Blackline 2400.

    Make sure you keep the unit cool. Also screens and grids are key when using pack units.

    Save yourself some time and buy extra modeling lamps.

    Calumet is a Speedotron dealer. Although I have never had a good experience on ebay they may be a good source.

    Love & Bass
     
  10. Deadfrog

    Deadfrog TPF Noob!

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    Speedotrons 2401 B

    Hi I just ran into this forum when I was looking for text to use to sell my speedotron 2401 B
    Actually I have 2 of them. They look great cosmetically and have been in storage for a long time. I have no heads to test them but they both power up. I was going to sell them on eBay but if anyone is intrested here make me an offer on one or both. Please keep in mind they would be shipped from edmonton Canada so include shipping in your offer. Email me at deadfrog06@hotmail.com
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have a Brown Line 604 power pack...it's a pretty small pack that has never been all that popular compared with the D402. The biggest "problem" with the 604 is that it's quite powerful with only one head hooked up. One easy solution is to look for a Y-cable, which will cut the actual watt-seconds used by half, so if you need less power and do not want to hook up additional heads, just plug the Y-cable into any one of the four outlets to get a lower output. The 4-light DM604 package costs A TON more money than just buying the D604 pack and heads a la carte. The D604 has *never* been popular,and I bought one last year for $109. The DM604 package is a total rip-off! It has two M90 and two MW3R heads--MW3R heads are almost useless, have no umbrella mounts,and are a bad buy. The set costs $1,142 new,and is worth about $300 on eBay...seriously! Two M90 lights are worth $125,tops, while MW3R's are worth $35 each. The M90 is a handy light,very versatile, but the MW3R's sold in the 4-light kit are more for location lighting and backgrounds,and are not very versatile.

    These lights and packs will last 2 decades, or more. There are professional eBay shops selling Brown Line stuff every week,at fair prices. Get two M-11 heads with two 11.5 inch grid reflectors and a grid set, and two M90 heads, from eBay and save $600 over the price of the DM604 kit,and have a better,more-versatile setup.

    Here is a quoted passage from my blog article Derrel's Photography Blog: My 99th Blog Post: Speedotron Overview 2008

    "If there's a problem with the D604,it is that it is SO powerful with only one light attached. Several lower-end standard version Brown Line light units are equipped with only 400 watt-second flash tubes,meaning the full power of the 604 cannot be used with those lights unless they are upgraded to the Q or Quartz-type flashtubes,with higher W-S capacity. With one light, the D604 will deliver 600,450,300,or 225 watt-seconds, and 225 w-s is often more light output than is wanted.

    HOWEVER, as soon as a second light is added, the D604 can deliver very handy amounts of power, such as 150 and 150 at Full Power Assymetrical,or 75 and 75 at low power Asymmetrical,so the 604's main limitation with today's d-slr's is when ONLY ONE light is being used in rather close quarters. The D604 has an Audible Recycle feature that gives a Beep when the unit is recycled; this feature can be turned on and off by pressing the button. The D604 is compact and straightforward,and has a low voltage triggering system safe for d-slr's. This power supply does not seem to be very popular,and it often sells for very low prices on the used market."

    Also, "the M90 light unit delivers a pretty high Guide Number per watt-seconds of power used>>SNIP>the M90's are much more efficient than M11 heads in delivering Guide Number per watt-seconds used,at least with the 7 inch reflectors on the M11's in umbrella configuration. Looking carefully at my 1987 Speedotron Brown Line manual, it specifies that at 400 watt-seconds, an M90 unit will deliver a GN of 210, while the M11 will deliver a GN of 120 with the 7 inch reflector and a GN of 220 using an 11.5 inch reflector which was AT THAT TIME,spec'd as a 65 degree reflector, while the 16 inch deep pan reflector will deliver a GN of 160. So, in an umbrella type configuration, the M90 light unit's 8.5 inch reflector which is silvered all around the flashtube will deliver a pretty potent f/21 light burst at 400 watt-seconds, while an M11 light and its 7 inch reflector will deliver a less-powerful f/12 exposure."

    Bottom line? It's nice to have some M90 heads and also M11 light heads. My article discusses 22 years with Speedotron Brown Line. The MW3U light head is often available on eBay for $35-$45. Lastolite's enclosed "Umbrella Box" is a very nice portriture umbrella,and is in NO WAY like the cheap brolly-box things Paul C. Buf sells. One is an enclosed,reflecting,flat-faced umbrella mad with top-qulsity materials, and the Buff brolly box has a curved front,and is nothing more than a shoot-through brolly with a back cover. PM me with any questions you might have.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  12. Witch

    Witch TPF Noob!

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    so should i not go with that particular set? what about photogenic? i know thier stuff is used in commercial portrait studios. thanks for all your help.
     

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