newbie: additional Lens and lighting kit

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by deepdesign, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. deepdesign

    deepdesign TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    I stumbled across this forum the other day and I have been reading the posts and have seen how helpful people are. I have always enjoyed taking pictures, but recently I decided to take it more serious. I purchased a Nikon d80 and I have been studying all its features and settings. I now have a comfortable understanding of how the shutter and aperture work and how it relates to depth of field. I have also bought many books to understand exposure and lighting. But, all the lights that they suggest are way up there in price, any suggestions on a good starter lighting kit? I am also looking for a good lens for taking portraits.

    Id say around 1000.00 total for lens and lights. That maybe to little amount of money for what I would need. I was thinking the Nikon lens that is 50mm 1.4F and for lights I was thinking multiple flash, but I'm not sure.


    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Erik
     
  2. 31M0

    31M0 TPF Noob!

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    Giving a price range for both will help people tell you what's the best in that range.

    I wish I could help you but I use Canon stuff as opposed to Nikon, and I don't know that much anyways..
     
  3. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    Well, the SB-600 is an ideal mate for the D80. The "400" doesn't support all of the D80 features and the "800" is overkill. Unfortunately, the "600" sells for around $180.

    I would expect that you'll outgrow a "starter lighting kit" fairly quickly. My suggestion is that you spend time learning everything that you're able with what you have while saving your pennies for the "600."

    Edit... I just read your other post. We must have been typing at the same time. Have you investigated CLS? (Check page 96 of your user manual.) With the popup plus two 600s and the 50mm f/1.4, you'll get several hundred dollars change from your $1000.

    Also, the 50mm f/1.4 is a really great portrait lens for the D80.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    You can take great portraits with a window. Or you can use 37 lights with all the accesories etc. We will need a little more info to help you out. *edit* That helps :)

    As for lighting kits. There are good reasons why we recommend what we do. If you buy something cheap, you will be limited...probably sooner than later. In which case, you will probably either put it in a closet, or have to upgrade to something that works better. It's cheaper to buy something good in the first place.
     
  5. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    This was a "grab shot." I was walking into the room, in the process of taking my jacket off.
    D80 with 50mm f/1.4. Single SB-600 mounted on Stroboframe bracket.
    No post-pricessing (normal for me).

    http://web.mac.com/george.dick/Photos/Katie.html
     
  6. deepdesign

    deepdesign TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Socrates for taking the time to respond to my post. I have read a lot on here about the 50 1.4f and I also was thinking that it was a good choice, but I thought id ask one final time before purchasing. As far as the multiple flashes, do you get the same quality picture as you would with with multiple incandescent lights? I know they cost more and they do put off a lot of heat, but would they be a better investment? Probably should have both.. lol
    Erik
     
  7. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    I'm generally down on incandescents as are most photographers. The problem is the heat and the resulting discomfort of the subjects. On the other hand, it's difficult to confirm good modeling when you're using flash. Fortunately, you have a Nikon D80. Look at Custom setting #26 on page 98 of your user manual. (I haven't used it yet so I can't confirm how well it works.)
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    When shooting people, it's usually much better to use flash rather than constant lighting. As mentioned, heat is an issue...but there are other issues.

    When using constant lighting, you need to have enough light power to give you shutter speeds fast enough to freeze movement. That may not be so hard if you are shooting at F1.4...but if you want more DOF, you will need to use a smaller aperture...which will require a lot more lighting power if you want to keep a decent shutter speed.

    With strobes/flash. You don't really need to worry about shutter speed for your exposure, so you are more likely to get sharp images.
     
  9. deepdesign

    deepdesign TPF Noob!

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    Your very familure with the manual I see, #26 states talkes about "modeling flash", at first I was alittle confused by this, but after trying it out, I now have a better understanding. I can use this feature to see how my model will look using the flashes ill be using for my picture, am I right? Now will this only work with one flash or all the flashes?

    Thanks

    erik
     
  10. deepdesign

    deepdesign TPF Noob!

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    Thanks mike for responding. I have a better understanding now. I do have another question. When your using flashes during the day in a room that has some daylight coming in through the window, would it be better to block of the light coming in? Also, do you want some lights on in the room? or complete darkness using the flash? Im new so go easy on me :)
     
  11. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    I believe all flashes but be reminded that I haven't used it myself. Call Nikon. I've called several times and never spent more than a minute or two on "hold." The following is pasted from their web site:
    Digital Imaging Technical Support
    24 hours a day 7 days a week
    1-800-Nikon-UX or 1-800-645-6689
    Have your digital product, serial number, and computer (if applicable) available.
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    It can be done either way...but it helps to have a good understanding of what is going on...and what you want to do.

    Sometimes, you want to set your flash to balance with the ambient light. This way, you can have photos that look fairly natural...as opposed to that 'deer in the head lights' look.

    Sometimes, you don't want ambient light to interfere with your lighting. So you could either get rid of it (turn off the lights and shut the blinds etc.)...or you could even overpower it with your strobes.

    Each flash photo is actually two separate exposures. One is the flash exposure and one is the ambient exposure. The ambient exposure is controlled by the aperture, shutter speed and ISO...just like any photo. The flash exposure is controlled by the aperture, the ISO and the power of the flash...not the shutter speed.

    So when using flash, you can change the shutter speed, with no real affect on the exposure of the flash exposure (subject in front of you). (just keep in mind to keep it under or at the max sync speed of your camera).

    Now, we know that the shutter speed does affect the ambient exposure...so if there is some ambient light in the room...you can adjust how much of it is recorded in the photo. A long shutter speed will give you more ambient and a short shutter speed will give you less ambient.

    A good example is taking a photo of a person in a large room...with some ambient light. Your flash will light up the person only (assuming you are fairly close to them). If you set a fast shutter speed (1/250)...very little ambient may be recorded and it might look like the person is in a cave or something. This is good for isolating your subject but doesn't necessarily represent what the human eye/brain sees.

    Now if you use a slow shutter speed, maybe 1/60 or 1/30 etc. Much more ambient light will be recorded. In this case, more of the background will show up. This gives the subject some contexts and looks more natural to us.

    Also, keep in mind the color temperature of flash. It's balanced to sunny day light. So most artificial light will be a different color. Since your camera or film can only be balanced to one color temp at a time...you may end up with color shifts in your photos when trying to mix lighting types. Sometimes it's not a issue but you can correct this by coloring your flash with a 'gel' to balance it to the ambient light.
     

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