Opinions on this setup for a beginner

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by texassand, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. texassand

    texassand TPF Noob!

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    Well, most of you who have been reading today have seen all the threads/questions regarding lighting. I've decided to go with strobes because of the "heat" factor associated with continous lighting. I just don't know much about strobes at all at this point. ( I will learn though!!:wink: )

    What do you think of this setup off of ebay? I don't understand all the "lingo" involved and watts vs. true watts. vs. blah blah blah so an opinion of someone who knows about all this stuff would be GREATLY appreciated.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/3-studio-flash-strobe-2-softbox-3-backdrop-wireless-etc_W0QQitemZ130046451696QQihZ003QQcategoryZ30086QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Also, while I'm obviously a beginner, I might as well keep asking "dumb" questions. Will this set work with a Canon Rebel XT? What is a slave trigger? What is a hotshoe? ( i think it's the thing on the top of the camera that my external flash slides into?) And I don't understand the whole "F-Stop" thing either. And believe me, I've read for YEARS about that stuff and for some darn reason my brain just doesn't comprehend it. Even with aperatures I get confused. I've had to resort to "turning the dial to the left makes the backgrounds blur" and "turning the dial to the right makes the backgrounds sharp." Pathetic I know. For you pros........were you guys confused about this stuff at first to? It's not like we're born with the knowledge huh? And please tell me if this is right - pixel size refers to the size of your picture physically - like in other words an 8 x 10, 5 x 7 etc. And dpi, resolution, and mb, refer to the clarity of the picture?

    ok sorry for the long post. My main reason for this post was to see if you thought that set up is crap or is good.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    That looks like an awfully low price for three strobes, stands, softboxes, transmitter etc. I'd do some more research first. 160 w/s isn't a lot of power though...especially when using umbrellas or soft boxes. I'd be cautious...

    Check http://www.alienbees.com/ ...they may seem expensive compared to that...but they are pretty good quality for the price.

    The size of a digital image is counted in pixels. My camera will give me 3504 x 2336 pixels...8.2 million pixels.

    8x10 or 5x7 or 4x6 etc...those are in inches and refer to standard print sizes. Each is a different ratio though...which is kind of stupid. Your camera is in a 2:3 format, so 4x6 prints are easy. To make a 5x7 print or an 8x10...you will need to crop.

    DPI is a printer setting...has little to do with actual images. PPI (pixels per inch) on the other hand is important. When printing, you want to get close to 300 PPI...so for an 8x10 print...your image should be 2400 x 3000 pixels.

    I could try to explain it better...but it's Friday afternoon....and I'm tired, sorry.
     
  3. texassand

    texassand TPF Noob!

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    Well I'm confused because on the alienbee website which is what everyone seems to think i should go with it says:

    "Your AlienBees B400 arrives with:
    • our 7-inch Silver Field Reflector
    • a protective Shipping Cover
    • a user-replaceable 100 Watt Modeling Lamp
    • our 10mm 5600º K Daylight-Balanced Flashtube
    • a 15-foot Sync Cord
    • a 15-foot Power Cord
    • Nylon Clips for attaching Gels
    • your Bee Owner’s Manual
    • 60-Day Absolute Satisfaction
    Guarantee and 2-Year Warranty"




    If I'm not mistaken isn't that a plain old household 100 watt bulb as well????? I thought the bulbs were supposed to be AT LEAST 250 watts to have enough power?



     
  4. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They are modeling lights. You use them to preview your lighting ratios. You turn them off to shoot. The flashtube is what illuminates your subject. I agree with Mike. 160W/S is pretty weak. Fine for tabletop product shots but not enough for serious studio work. I have a small 350 w/s unit to go along with my 4 normal size 750 w/s units. You can see that 160 is pretty weak. I don't know what your budget is or your application but I wouldn't expect these to be a good choice for serious studio work.
     
  5. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, unfortunatly, I am with the others saying they really are not that great in terms of power. Save up and get some proven lights.
     
  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    With low power lights, stobe or continious. You have to have them closer to the subject to get enough light from them. Now if you stack filters, umbrellas, or soft boxes in front of them. They become weaker yet. You may have to have them right on top of the subject. The big stobes allow you to work with the lights at a reasonable distance. Also the farther they are the more area they cover if they are strong enough. The weaker ones. Will have to be closer and will not cover as much area. Thats why they may be good for small product shooting, but not full length portraits.

    If you are on a budget and have to have lights now. Get a set of 500w continious lights. They will work fine in a home studio environment for practicing. They have weaknesses, but they will work!

    It basically boils down to what would cost you less in the future. A set of continious for $140 now, and if and when you want strobes their cost later (assuming can't afford a full set of good ones now).

    Or a cheap set of low powered strobes that cost $300 now, and still have to buy the better set later if the need arrises.

    I agree stobes are better. But money is involved and inexperience is involved. You don't need a cadaliac to learn to drive!

    Remember you can use a flash as a main light and use the continious for background and fill light. You can also get just 1 decent strobe and continious light set. They will work together.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Except that flash and 'most' continuous lights are a different color temperature.
     
  8. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Agreed, but I would "assume" that the stobe would be used as the main light and the continious as fill light. The difference will not be as prominent as all of one vs. all of the other. The result is similar to using a colored reflector.
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    True, it certainly can be done...but it's tossing in one more variable which might make it more difficult for someone trying to learn. But...as you pointed out...it's cheaper than buying a whole set of strobes.
     
  10. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think it makes it nearly impossible for a beginner to learn. Flash exposures are determined by aperture. Hot light exposures are determined by aperture and shutter speed. I always thought fill flash was one of the most difficult exposure problems to deal with in all of photography. This would be about the same thing every time. Trying to balance that is more than I would want to take on.

    Also, generally we ignore ambient lighting in the studio because the flash heads blow out any other light around. They might not blow out a big enough hot light but it wouldn't be a fair fight. My studio was illuminated brightly by flouresent tubes. The ambient light never got in the way of color temperature. The effect it had on my studio shots was not visible in the images.

    color temperature can be fixed in Photoshop, I suppose, but experience has taught me that it is better to get things right in the first place.

    Don't mix flash and hot lights and expect to get the same results as you would get with one or the other.
     
  11. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    That's awfully cheap, texas. And, even if it is on the level, it's awfully weak too. But not surprising, since one tends to get what one pays for, doesn't one? Like the others said. It's good for tabletop work. Inconvenient for head & shoulders portraits*. But useless for full length photos.

    *Most subjects don't particularly appreciate flashlights going off not 2 feet from their face!
     
  12. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Just to add one more note. If you do buy a kit be watchfull of the way they list it. Alot will say like 800 w/s and 1,200w/s. Well what it is they are adding up all the lights together. Not the power of one unit! Watch ebay adds carefully.

    It has been said before. You get what you pay for. You can buy some no name lights for a lower price on ebay. Just make sure of the power and they really are a deal. Watch the shipping price too. Another deal is they sell the items at cost but jack up the shipping to make up for it!
     

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