Lighting Decisions, Please Help

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Lyncca, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Ok, so I have finally somewhat mastered shooting with my flash off camera and I'm ready to branch out. I swear, I have gone back and forth over and over again about if I want to go minimalist (the strobist) or the whole shabang (big lighting system).

    I automatically think smaller is better (heh :) ) for toting it around if needed and because I am limited on space in my home studio. But, it seems you can purchase a bigger light setup much cheaper than buying a bunch of expensive strobes.

    What do yall think?

    As if that wasn't enough, then I have the decision of if I go with a couple of hotshoe flashes, do I stick with the Nikon TTL or purchase some inexpensive strobes and get pocket wizards? I already have an SB600, which can't be commander on my D70S, but if I get an SB800, can I have it be commander off camera, or does it have to be on it?

    I would like to use the Nikon system if I can if all that I would have to do is buy an SB800, but it must be able to be off-camera, I don't want to be limited with that.

    I'm trying of course to get the most flexible system possible that I can build on later, won't become incompatible in a year, incorporate what I have (if possible) and be economical with my money (so I can buy more lenses!) I have yet to make a decision I regret because I really read up on what I need/want before making purchases and I don't want this to be the first!

    Thanks for any help :)
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think to give you the best advice, some detail on what your primary subjects will be would help.

    Edit: D'ohhh, click the link John, click the link. Looking at your website, I would say 'Go big or go home'. The kind of work you're doing, and advertising is the kind where you're (if not right now, eventually) going to want good lighting. I don't think a couple of off-camera flashes will do it. I would say at least two (and probably three) good strobes & umbrellas, as well as regular old reflectors are the way to go.

    I'm definitely NOT a studio person, so I suspect others can give you a lot better info, but that's my $00.02 worth.
     
  3. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you need portable AND you want TTL, all you need are more SB-600s... and as long as there aren't other Nikon users near-by, you are good.

    If you need extra distance and more powerful lights, wireless transmitters (not the poverty wizards) are what you need.

    If you need longer distance AND use of TTL, you need all Nikon strobes on Radio Poppers.

    Personally, I would just simplify into 2 catagories:
    - high power
    - portability

    High power = studio setup

    Portability = 1 X SB800 + many SB600s
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    There really isn't a right or wrong choice between the two. They each have pros and cons.
     
  5. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sunpak 383's - $80 new
    Elinchrom Skyport system - $180 for transmitter and receiver
    Additional recievers - $100

    But then again, I prefer manual settings over the sometimes spotty TTL.
     
  6. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

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    I have a really nice speedlight setup I've been using for a while (580ex, 430ex and 2 sb600's). I use pocket wizards to trigger them and I can use different brand strobes since I don't use ttl. This system works great up to a point. I'm finding that these strobes do not have enough power for a lot of situations especially if you want them any distance from your subjects. After pushing these lights to the limit it is clear I will need more power and have decided to get a power pack setup. If you are shooting individuals or small groups on location or in a small studio speedlights should be fine otherwise you might want to think about something with more power.
     
  7. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    Lyncaa, you are in the same boat as I was just a few weeks ago. I had 1 SB600, so I was leaning towards going the iTTL/CLS route, but the SB800's are expensive, and who knows when Nikon will come out with the next new thing and obsolete all this stuff. I ended up going with some cheap flashes - Vivitar 285HV's ($95 each). I have to work in full manual, but some say that's better, since your exposure is consistent from shot to shot (and actually it's not that hard). For triggering, I went the cheap route and got Cactus V2s receivers, which are ok but not great. You can get skyports or pocket wizards if you need 100% reliability and no misfires.
     
  8. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys. I think I will definitely go with the speedlight route for now since with newborns and small children people are asking quite a bit about going to their house or local parks.

    If I hit the big time (ok, if I get to where I can at least support my addiction) then maybe I will do the full studio setup, but this seems like something I can build on.

    I will go to the camera store and talk to them about my options on different flashes to decide how important I think TTL is. I think once I learn more, I will probably want to go full manual to have consistent lighting if nothing else.
     
  9. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    You already have an SB600, do you have a way to get it off your camera? Sticking one flash on a stand with an umbrella makes a huge difference. Adding a 2nd and 3rd flash is nice but is not as a dramatic improvement as getting that first flash off the camera!
     
  10. mr_baseball_08

    mr_baseball_08 TPF Noob!

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    I say go minimalist for now. Joe McNally does a wonderful job using strobes and TTL. Although, not using TTL can work just as fine.
     
  11. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Joe McNally and minimalist shouldn't be used in the same post.

    7 Nikon SB800's? That's at least $1400 worth of strobes if not $2000+
     
  12. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    Haha, true! Enough SB800's can make the desert sun look like twilight! :)
     

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