Starting out with lighting, equipment advice

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by MattJH, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. MattJH

    MattJH TPF Noob!

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    Hi All,

    Long time lurker first time poster here. :blushing:

    I'm being paid to photograph a catalogue of 40 small (macro) to medium sized products with my 350D (Digital Rebel XT in the US).

    I need lighting, as it's out on the field, and my thrown together set up of lamps and paper that I have at home won't really impress my client.

    My wage for the job is about $450, though I'm willing
    to invest a little more to purchase a flexible set up.

    Am i best spending my money on a nice Speedlite (I only have a basic 220EX at the moment), or buying a "studio" set up with flash/continuous lighting and some softboxes or lightboxes?

    I'm not too knowledgeable in this area, and the thought of spending that much money and not getting the best solution terrifies me! :confused:

    Thanks for any help in advance,
    Matt :D
     
  2. JonR

    JonR TPF Noob!

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    Speed lights for me every time, they're less flexible, but infinitely more portable. When you're having to lug them around this is very important.

    Check out the strobist blog (google strobist) and particularly look at the $10 macro studio
     
  3. MattJH

    MattJH TPF Noob!

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  4. shingfan

    shingfan TPF Noob!

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    if you are doing product shot....try buying a light tent....or you also need to have some sort of background in your photos?
     
  5. JonR

    JonR TPF Noob!

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    Yes. I've never heard of that brand of light before (not that brand is everything) but also the Guide Number of the lights is only 24, whereas the speedlight is 43. This is a general measure of power, but gives you an idea.

    The ebay lights could be a bargain, or could be a false economy given that if they break quickly, you'll have to buy a new set, whereas your canon flash is likely to be under warranty. Another thing to check is whether the ebay lights use a generic flash element or whether you are going to be screwed for replacements.

    Although, I have to admit, it does look like a shedload of stuff for not that much money.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    You say it's 'out in the field'...so I will have to agree with JonR, the portability of the Speedlite will be a big advantage. The obvious advantage is that they are battery powered while the studio lights need to be plugged in.

    If the item really are that small, a light tent might be a good way to go.
     
  7. MattJH

    MattJH TPF Noob!

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    So a couple of speedlites and a light tent may be the best way to go for now, then. Maybe one 5?0EX and one 4?0EX that could act as a slave?

    There's no way i can afford more than 1 new spec speedlite though.

    Would the older (second hand) speedlite models work with my digital camera, would i lose "TTL" functionality? And if i did, is this worth the £200/£300 extra?
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    Older Speedlites, 550EX and (I think) 420EX will work as master/slave just like the new 580EX and 430EX. The older/smaller models, I'm not sure if they will work with the new E-TTL digital bodies...but they certainly can't be used with the wireless off camera system.

    You could use any flash really...something like a Sunpak etc. They can be slaved with optical triggers. You could use one on the hot shoe and one as a slave, or use two off camera but you will have to find a way to properly trigger them. The built-in flash (or any E-TTL Canon flash) uses a pre-flash for metering...and that pre-flash will trigger the optical strobes. You could buy optical slaves that can be set to ignore the pre-flash...they are more expensive than the cheap slave triggers. This set up won't be TTL, but with digital, it's easy to guess and test.

    You don't necessarily need flash units for a light tent. If the object is stationary and the camera is tripod mounted, you can use a long shutter speed to make up for the difference in light power.
     
  9. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Can I use this. Or can't I?

    [​IMG]

    It's a slave that attaches to any hot shoe fired slave. Also it has a hot sync cable (darn that will be something finding one of my old cables) :lol: So it could connect to one wired flash unit and one on the hot shoe connection. Easy?

    What's all this about Alien Bees and EX syncro, that I don't understand.

    If the flash on the camera triggers this, why can't I use it on a 10D (or something else) just like I did with the old film SLR?

    Similar situation. I have to shoot some food, on location, with a minimal setup. I'm looking for the best way to do it, without a carload of equipment.

    Light tent and slave strobes, seemed the easiest way.
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    You could use it...as long as it has the feature that will ignore the pre-flash.

    The built-in flash uses Canon's E-TTL metering which fires a preflash to determine the required flash output. This preflash would trigger the slaves and then the actual flash would fire when the slave is not recharged yet.
     
  11. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Oops, forgot about that pre-flash. So I use an old flash unit that doesn't do that, I guess, and for sure not the built in flash on the camera. :thumbup:

    I have another answer, but until I find the equipment, "somewhere" in storage, I'll stick with the basics.
     

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