Studio Lighting Equipment Help :)

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Stephi, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Stephi

    Stephi TPF Noob!

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    I am looking at getting some home studio lighting equipment to be used in peoples homes mainly, if it could be used as outside lighting equipment too then great, but not essential.

    My main questions are: What equipment do other peole on here have?

    I have seen many different lights - I have chosen to go with flash units, but not sure what wattage is best - 160, 320? etc

    Background wise - what size do you use? 3m by 4.5/6m?

    If anyone could offer me any help/advice it would be greatly appreciated :)

    Thank you

    Steph
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    There are a few ways for you to go. One would be to get 'studio' style flash/strobe units. A popular type of studio lights are 'mono lights'. They are fairly big, they run on AC power (need to be plugged in) and come in a wide range.

    The other way to go would be to use 'hot shoe' type flashes...typically what you would put on your camera's hot shoe. These can be used off-camera, just like studio lights and can be put on stands with umbrellas or softboxes.

    The advantage of hot shoe flash units, is that they are small and light compared to studio lights. A big advantage is that they run on batteries, which makes them very portable and easy to use indoors or outdoors when needed. The disadvantage is that they are (for the most part) less powerful than studio lights and slower to recycle between shots.

    I have a set of studio lights (Alien Bee) and I do bring them to people's homes and set up a small studio...but I also have a few 'hot shoe' flashes that I will also use on stands when trying to create 'studio light' outdoors.

    As for backdrops, longer is better. You don't have to use all the length, but it's nice to have it when you need it. Of course, longer means bigger and more expensive.
     
  3. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Big Mike has covered it pretty well. You might check out this site however. Lots of good info. Strobist
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As Mike said. Concerning backdrops, you can go small (4' X 7'), and go for head and perhaps as much as 3/4 body shots, but the big backdrops are so much more desirable. 10' X 20' are what I consider minimum size for full body and no more than 3-4 people wide portraiture. 12 X 25 are my favorite size becuase I can pull a group of people forward enough to lightly blur the background and still get 2 rows of poeple perfectly in focus.
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I'm using 600ws Broncolor monolights, Sunpak 544 and 622's, and a healthy selection of modifiers. The universe is my backdrop.

    I think I may switch to Speedotron Black, Hensel (Porty), or Elinchrom (Ranger) soon, however.
     
  6. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    I personally use a 600W Elinchrom flash with a softbox (or as most people refer to it "What in the universe is that? A boat?!" It is easily transportable and pretty sufficient for my current needs. A simple reflector acts as a great 'secondary' light as well. Do remember it is also best to buy a light meter as well for best results
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am 50-50 when using the meter, but at least I have one and can use it when I need it.

    There are time I want to flounder around without knowing and want to use my hand and histogram as a reference tools and other times I don't want to waste time and use the meter.

    Remember, though, that we are talking about a beginner wanting to light a small area, and not many people (a single child and mother) who is not likely to go out and spend $1500 to purchase a several hundred watt 110v studio strobe and huge softbox for this occasion and portability is key.

    Her needs may be met with (ugh) simple on camera flash used as filler on a nice sunny day under a tree somewhere. At most, perhaps a sub $200 solution of a single battery powered strobe on a lightstand and optionally an umbrella for diffusion all triggered by a Cactus V2s trigger/receiver could be more valuable for her.

    Most important, though, is knowledge and they are most aptly provided at the strobist site.
     
  8. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    Of course if you want to go with slightly more power and slightly less money there are some reasonable monolights in the $200 price range but you'll pretty much be stuck with 150ws but if you decide to upgrade later that light can always be used for background or something else and you'd have a multi-light setup.
     
  9. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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  10. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    :thumbup:

    The two main criticisms the Alien Bees get are that color balance can be a little off, and that the build quality isn't excellent. I have Alien Bees, and absolutely love them. I haven't noticed a color balance problem, but I also don't usually shoot with them at crazy different powers. After having 2 AB800's, I just ordered 2 more without hesitation.

    Great for the price.
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Elinchrom D-LITE4's shall be what I choose when the time comes, and for what I think are many good reasons.

    The D-Lites are true 400 W/s lights, and slightly more powerful compared to the B-800s which are 320 W/s.

    In the Elinchrom D-lite 4 package you get:
    - 2 D-Lite 4 (400 Ws)
    - 25.5" Softbox
    - 21" Softbox
    - 2 Modeling Lamps
    - 2 Manfrotto 9' Stands
    - 2 Sync Cables
    - 2 Protective Cap
    - 2 Power Cables
    - Carry Bag for Two D-Lite's - Stand/Softbox Carrying Bag
    - Lighting Guide DVD
    - User Booklet

    To come close to duplicating this setup with Alien Bees you could come close with:
    - 2 X B-800 @ $560
    - 2 X 24" softboxes at $240 (granted they are a bit bigger)
    - 2 10ft stands (not manfrotto) - $80
    - travelling case $50

    This comes out to $930 for the Alien Bees setup. The complete Dlite 4 kit totals out to a lower $775 from Adorama plus you get:

    - slightly more powerful lights
    - greater adjustability range
    - a stronger built head,
    - better quality stands
    - no colour casting issues to speak of
    - a DVD guide on lighting
    - a user guide

    Granted the last 2 are low to no cost, but I do not see them in the AB setup.

    I'd find it hard to justify the AB's over the D-lite 4's under these conditions. When it comes time to plunk down my credit card for the purchase, Elinchrom look to be the better choice for me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  12. Don Kondra

    Don Kondra Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    But Jerry,

    The D4's don't come in lime green :lmao:

    My B1600 should be here tomorrow :)

    Cheers, Don

    PS. Vistek has the D-lite 4 kit for $849 Canadian $...

    And on ebay right now is a 2x400w/s kit for $380 US.
     

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