Lighting Question

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by ckd26, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. ckd26

    ckd26 TPF Noob!

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    Hi Everyone,

    i joined this forum hoping to get some advice on lights... I specialize in portraiture. Im looking into getting my first "pro" set of studio lights, but im not sure what to look for. I still use film, and i will be investing in a DSLR with in the next two years, but i want to invest in a high quality lighting set right now - im not looking for a beginner's kit. i dont know the terms to use, but i do know that i need a set of lights that will be bright enough for me to use 50ASA film with a shutter speed of 1/60 and an f-stop of 8... i do alot of full body shots and portraits of groups of ppl. im not sure what all the lighting terms are, since ive been using natural lighting for pretty much my entire career (5 years) or borrowing someone else's lights. I was told that alienbees is a good route to go... does anyone have any ideas? thanks in advance for all of the help, i really appareciate it!!!

    -Courtney
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    AlienBees are a pretty good product at a pretty good price. They may not be the most 'professional' lights though. The same company that makes Alienbees, also makes a line called 'White Lighting'. I've got an Alienbee light and I'm happy with it, I plan to get more.

    You may also want to check out http://www.calumetphoto.com. They have their own brand (re-branded) lights which I've heard are a good deal.

    The power of studio strobes is rated in watt/seconds.

    You will need to think about the light modifiers that you want to use. Umbrellas are cheap but they offer less control of the light than softboxes.

    You will want a flash meter, if you don't have one already.
     
  3. ckd26

    ckd26 TPF Noob!

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    Hey, thanx for all of your help!

    yeah, softboxes are quite pricey compared to umbrellas... so i think ill get 1 softbox and 1 umbrella, i dont think i can afford 2 softboxes just yet.

    Any suggestions on how i figure out how powerful of a light i need? I'm going to get 2, a main and a fill... I know there are a bunch of different types, but im not sure which one i should get...How do i figure out how many watt/seconds i need??

    Thanks again!

    -Court
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    I'm not sure how to figure out how much power you need...but I do know that more is always better. You can turn down the power of a light but you can't get any more out of it than its max. For large groups of people, you will need more powerful lights.

    Lights are often rated with 'true watt/seconds (Ws)' and 'Effective Ws'...I'm not sure why they do that.

    The Alienbees, for example come in three different models.
    The AlienBees B400 Flash Unit
    • 160 true Ws, 400 effective Ws,
    The AlienBees B800 Flash Unit
    • 320 true Ws, 800 effective Ws,
    The AlienBees B1600 Flash Unit
    • 640 true Ws, 1600 effective Ws,

    Most people that I see, go with the B800 because it's a good compromise of price and power. Although, it seems to be mostly amateur studio photographers who buy Alienbee lights. Professionals would probably get more powerful lights.

    Calumet Travelite Digital 1000 Monolight
    This one is rated at 1000 Ws...but I'm not sure if that's true or effective Ws.

    I guess it comes down to your budget, your needs and what kind of investment you want to make. Good quality pro lights should last a very long time...I can't recall seeing anyone complain about Alienbees wearing out...but they have only been around for a few years, as far as I know.

    I am hoping that some more experience people will chime in here to shed some light on the subject :roll:
     

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