What do I look for when buying strobe lights?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by J.Bat, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. J.Bat

    J.Bat TPF Noob!

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    Don Kondra Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  3. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Again. How do we know what camera you have?

    For a good guide click the link below. It'll walk you through a lot. It's about a year or two old, so keep in mind the market has changed and different equipment is available at a lower price point as far as triggers go. The information here can pretty much be translated to larger studio lights too. But before we say you need a 60 w/s speedlight or a 400w/ studio strobe, we have to know your intentions. If you're going to be shooting on location at places that don't have electrical outlets handy, then the studio strobe approach can get expensive. But if you're shooting and you need lots of power, speed lights might not cut it.

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Studio strobe lights will always have an input for triggering them. It's often a standard mono plug, 1/8 size I think. The typical connection on the camera end of the cord is a 'PC' connection...so many camera have a 'PC' port for attaching the cord. If your camera does not have a PC port, but has a hot-shoe, then you can use a simple 'hot-shoe to PC' adapter. That's all it takes to connect your camera to a studio strobe.

    It's also very easy to use a radio trigger. The connection are the same, but rather than a cord, you have a sending unit and a receiving unit.

    Most studio strobes will also have a built in optical trigger. This means that they will fire when they detect another flash going off. So you could use a flash on the camera to trigger them but you would need to make sure that there is no pre-flash. The built-in optical triggers are great because then you only need to trigger one light from the camera, and the rest should fire because of that one.

    The first and third links are not strobes, they are continuous lights...they are listed in watts. Strobes are rated in watt seconds and it would be a good idea to look at something with around 300 watt seconds.

    I wouldn't suggest buying a cheap 'kit'...because it's more than likely that you would soon find it to be inadequate, in which case you would need to buy something better anyway, or it would sit in your closet and never get used. Buy something good to start with, and then you can get years of good use out of it.

    Check these out:
    Alien Bee
    Calumet
    Elinchrome
     

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