Looking for recommendations regarding a solid introductory studio lighting kit.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by cturko, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. cturko

    cturko TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys.

    I am looking in investing in my first studio lighting kit, but have some hard decisions to make.

    I have been looking at an introductory Opus lighting kit with 2 strobes, an umbrella, soft box, barn doors and some gels plus a carrying case. I can get it for about 500 dollars.

    Although friends who shoot professionally have warned me against buying this kit, simply because of the quality of the stands...etc, and have recommended holding off and investing in better equipment.

    I am only using it for really small shooting, I would probably be in a basement for now, with 8-10 foot ceilings (I am aware this is stupidly low and won't work to well) with a suspended ceiling which would reflect light. I am hoping to perhaps get something portable in order to shoot on location, as its primary use would be shooting for friends ( I am primarily a natural light photographer) so the possibility of higher ceilings does exist.

    Now go!
     
  2. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    I would be inclined to get good second-hand equipment. 'Portable' means different things to different people. With the approximate eBay prices in brackets and B&H new prices in double brackets, my carryable outfit is based on a Metz 60CT-2 (US$170), a 60CT-4 (US$200) and a Mecatwin (US$70); two medium-sized Manfrotto stands ((US$60 each)) and one small one ((US$50)); and a Chimera small Video Pro Plus softbox. There's no need for a softbox capable of being used with continuous lights if you are only using flash, so the Pro should be OK ((Small Pro US$114 with speedring US$63)). This little three-head system is just small enough for me to carry on my own, along with a portable background setup and a medium format outfit.

    You could also consider the old Dyna-Lite D-804 II power packs and heads. These aren't as light as the newer ones, but they are cheaper and you could put a two-head kit with accessories together for $500. Or you could go for the current M series Dyna-Lites, also second hand of course. I still use the D-804 II packs in the studio and elsewhere when I need more power than the Metz units can provide.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Check out strobist.com. You'll be amazed what you can do with camera flashes.
     
  4. cturko

    cturko TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the help guys. Strobist seems really awsome - I am interested in the idea of creating my own custom set up, so that is some suggestions.

    I'll definately read more into this.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    The frustration I have with the Metz outfit (which are camera flashes, but big ones) is the recycling time. I also use a Metz 54CT-something with a Quantum battery. Although these have a comparatively short recycle time for battery units, especially when the power is turned down, they can't match the Dyna-Lites.

    Best,
    Helen
     

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