New to the forums - Looking for advice on studio lighting

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by SteveP, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. SteveP

    SteveP TPF Noob!

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    I'm in the process of deciding what studio lighting equipment to purchase and would appreciate any unbiased feedback on any of the popular brands of lighting equipment. I've used Broncolor, Dyna-Lite and Speedotron. I know Broncolor is the gold standard, but I'm seeking a new and less costly system, which leaves me to decide between Dyna-Lite, Speedotron, Norman, Novatron and others.

    I don't have enough recent experience to compare the Speedo and Dyna-Lite systems. If anyone has any insight based on real experience with any of these systems, please pass it along.

    Thanks,

    SP
     
  2. Tally Ho

    Tally Ho TPF Noob!

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    Although I have never owned any of them, many of my pro friends use Paul Buff's White Lightning flash units. All I have ever heard was ranting and raving about them, and their service department.

    I have used Bowens flash units since 1983. They have served me well. In fact, I still use several of of the units I bought in 1983 virtually every day.

    Tally Ho
     
  3. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    I have 3 of the Excalibur SP series of monolights that I've used for a number of years now. I did a lot of research of the popular brands, Photogenic, White Lighting (this was before their Alien Bee's came out), and a few others but found that the Excalibur gave me more flash for the price. After the Alien Bees were introduced I compared them to the Excalibur and the price was still better. It is even a better deal when you get the light stands and umbrellas that come with the Excaliburs. They are not flimsy cheap projects and match the lights real well.

    Another advantage is that the SP line of softboxes, barn doors, umbrellas, snoots, light stands, etc., are cheaper under the SP name even though they are name brand add ons. I have the SP-6400 (640 watt seconds), SP-3200 (320 ws) and SP-1600 (160 ws). I need to get another SP-3200 or SP-6400 but I'm not doing as much studio type work as I did when I got these.

    What ever brand you get, make sure you get a light that is strong enough to give you the light you need when used with a softbox or large umbrella. Some people, when trying to cut costs, will not buy enough power to do what they need to do. So do a good evaluation of where and how you will be shooting.

    Mike
     
  4. Fits of Fancy

    Fits of Fancy TPF Noob!

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    What amount of power do I need?

    I'm setting up a portable "studio" behind the curtain at an awards banquet. The recipients will come behind the curtain, pose with the president of the asociation. At this point I don't know how much light I will have, but I assume that it will not be spot-light room only.

    Do you recommend slave lights or ambient (if the room is well lit to begin with)?
     
  5. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    Don't gamble on light you don't know/have never worked with. Use the K.I.S.S. principle: take your own flash light, with cable for off-camera operation (or wireless remote). Set it up on a tripod. Off-camera! Arrange a reflector on the opposite side, just outside the FoV. Use your camera unsupported (flash freezes motion anyway). Test your setup before the banquet to adjust if neccessary.
    If you've done that in advance, then during the banquet you can work fast, concentrate on the people/subjects, direct them, choose the right moment for exposure (facial expressions), and you can afford to make a few exposures per subject, so you can choose the best one later!
     
  6. Scurra

    Scurra TPF Noob!

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    If you haven't already take a look at the Elinchrom D-Lite range, they are pretty affordable and for the money provide a lot of features only found on the higher end lights.
     
  7. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    My buddy uses Photogenics and swears by them. I use Alien Bees and love them. But all of the brands you mentioned would work good. Kinda depends on the budget you are looking at.
     
  8. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another great buy in studio strobes is the type I use myself - Calumet, available from http://www.calumetphoto.com. They are made by Bowens of England for Calumet. You can choose either mono lights or centrally powered units. They are very popular with pros in the Midwest. I have some monolights I have been using since 1992. Never a failure or breakdown. I just have to replace tubes every few years.
     

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