Strobes Vs. Hotlights

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by MarcusM, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    I know this has been somewhat touched on in comments here and there, but I don't think I've seen an actual thread devoted to debating the pros and cons of strobes vs. hotlights.

    I am starting to acquire my lighting and gear for portraiture, and I'm wondering if I should just forgo continuous lighting altogether and just focus on strobes? I'm aware of strobist.com and think it's a great site, but like to get some opinions on the other end also.

    Are strobes "the new-school method" to lighting?

    Doesn't this also save you a lot of money compared to continuous lighting?

    Anybody that would prefer continuous lighting over strobes?
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's not new or cool. It just has benefits:

    Benefits of continuous:
    You can see how your light falls on the subjects and how it casts shadows

    Benefits of strobes:
    It freezes subjects in time.
    It can be used to balance against natural lighting since it's unaffected by shutter speed.
    It will not cook your subject.
    It is a sun in a pocket and will allow you to shoot at low-iso and large apertures because of its apparent power.
    It is quite accurately white balanced.
    The white balance won't drift unlike many continuous lights.
    The burst of a slow strobe can go for 1/1000th of a second and a fast one 1/40000th. There is no other way to do high speed photography.
     
  3. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Continuous = hot = suitable for dead subjects

    Strobe = Cold = shoot anything.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Portability: Strobes can be easily moved and taken on different locations, even to places where there are no electrical wall sockets.

    QUALITY of light is the biggest advantage, though.
     
  5. SBlanca

    SBlanca TPF Noob!

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    have no idea about strobe lights, but how can they be used where there are no sockets
     
  6. SBlanca

    SBlanca TPF Noob!

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    after all i just remembered i have a small strobe at home..
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Becuase they are battery powered, they have no need for a wall socket. Using rechargeable batteries further reduces cost of ownership/usage.
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    Studio strobes are typically plugged into a power socket but hot-shoe units run on batteries.

    You can use a battery pack for studio strobes, on location, but I guess you could say the same for hot lights.

    For what it's worth...strobes all the way.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Have you ever lifted one of those battery packs for the studio strobes? I did just recently.. and damn, its like carrying a pickup truck battery!

    I would not really call them portable as much as I would call them "luggable"... :lmao:

    The ones I saw were good fro 100 to 250 (from full power to 1/4 power on the strobe), pics at most before draining. thats 8 AA batteries for me (ok 10 if I use the external 5th battery on my SB-800).

    Of course, my SB-800 is not rated at 450 w/s either, but still.
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    I've seen a photographer who uses studio strobes for all of his outdoor weddings shoots. He has a couple of assistants...one of whom carts the battery around with a dolly/hand cart. Ya, those things are heavy :)
     
  11. johnnyroc

    johnnyroc TPF Noob!

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    would anyone list a few good brands for strobes and price range for a good used strobe that one would wanna use for beauty shots?

    the biggest problem i have with strobes is they can affect the performance of the model, especially if it's a rookie. i rather have them being hot than have a flash in their face every 10 seconds. when i work with a model i don't like them paying attention to when i'm gonna pull the trigger i want them to disappear in their own world.

    as far as color goes, if you end up drum scanning the image, i know i know you're supposed to get it right on the set, but you can take out the yellow in post, it's 2008.

    and lastly, i think it would take a lot of experience for a photographer to be able to paint with light using strobes, a beginner can start painting with hot lights, i love using shadows and obviously would be much harder to control with strobes.

    also, if you're using strobes you can't really shoot at f1.8 to get the background blurry, or am i wrong? Even with a 3200 speed film, definitely not with a 160. i might be wrong here only used strobes once.
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    A lot of amateurs (& budget minded pros) are using AlienBee lights. A 4 light set with accesories should be less than $2000. Their 'pro' brand is White Lightning.
    There are plenty of other brands available though.

    Could go either way. It usually doesn't take long to get used to strobes...but hot lights can make them sweat, ruin make up etc. Plenty of other factors though. I've read a few articles about pros using fluorescent lights, which don't put out much heat.

    That could be true. Most studio strobes will have a modeling light, which would help with that though...and really, most people are probably using digital, so you can use the instant feedback to check your shadows etc.
     

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