Beginner light kit recommendations

cmerc4

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Have a nikon d3100 and a SB-700 speedlight, and want to create a little studio in an extra room. The room has no windows, and I am looking for recommendations to create a decent lighting situation for portrait photography. I was thinking continuous lighting so I don't have to use the light fixture at all. Recommendations for necessities to start out with? I know I can get a really crappy cheap kit for a couple hundred dollars, but I'd rather buy decent quality and start minimal.
 

BuS_RiDeR

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I made the mistake of buying a cheap beginner's set ($200-$300 Canadian) of continuous lights... What a waste of money.

Save your money and get a decent set of Alien Bees,or Bowen's Gemini.... Strobes are the way to go for studio photography...

Luckily I was able to re-use the light stands I got with my cheapie kit; so it wasn't a complete loss.

This is what I ended up getting: BOWENS GEMINI 400/400 UMBRELLA AND UMBRELLA STUDIO KIT BW-4717US

Not the cheapest... But after shipping and the cost to get the AB into Canada it worked out to be a better deal in the long run.
 
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mjhoward

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At the very least get some of the more powerful speedlights. My kit consists of (3) SB-28's, an SB-600, (2) 10' Linco light stands, a couple shoot through umbrellas, and some radio triggers... in all I'm out about $600 for all this. I wanted a portable setup that I could take out anywhere without having to worry about AC power and that could serve dual purpose for some macro photography, etc. If I were to do strictly a studio setup, and had a dedicated room... I would probably try and catch the Calumet Genesis kits on sale and acquire a slew of various modifiers.
 
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BuS_RiDeR said:
I made the mistake of buying a cheap beginner's set ($200-$300 Canadian) of continuous lights... What a waste of money.

Save your money and get a decent set of Alien Bees,or Bowen's Gemini.... Strobes are the way to go for studio photography...

Luckily I was able to re-use the light stands I got with my cheapie kit; so it wasn't a complete loss.

This is what I ended up getting: BOWENS GEMINI 400/400 UMBRELLA AND UMBRELLA STUDIO KIT BW-4717US

Not the cheapest... But after shipping and the cost to get the AB into Canada it worked out to be a better deal in the long run.

God I did the exact same thing. Big waste o money :( wish I had joined tpf before that purchase.
 

MLeeK

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cmerc4

cmerc4

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I figured that anyone who started cheap regretted it, that's why I was hoping to focus on a couple of necessary pieces and keep it under $500. I want to start with what I HAVE to have, and then I can add the "wishlist" pieces over time. So what do I HAVE to have?
 

Derrel

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Adorama's Flashpoint 320M monolights seem to me to be the best bang-for-buck. The Calumet Genesis models also look good. My feeing is that a person wants FOUR LIGHTS for even a small studio, and in a small studio, the 150- or 160 Watt-second lights like the 320M is what you truly want. Base ISO levels of 100 or 200 do not need a lot of Watt-seconds in a small studio. With four lights, there is simply no need for an excess of power; it is 2012, not 1992...we're easily shooting at ISO 200 with virtually no significant quality loss when using studio flash.

The way I see it, Alien Bees are both overpriced, and overpowered for a beginner kit. Continuous lights? FORGET THAT, entirely! You NEED at least three lights, and better yet, four. The price of the Flashpoint 320 M models is affordable, even for three lights.
 
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cmerc4

cmerc4

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Thanks! This helps a lot
 

greybeard

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A lot of people have good results with Vivitar 285s. Cheap and powerful
 

Alistair

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I agree with Derrel, plus, you don't have to worry as much about power issues and such if you go with studio strobes if your just going have them sit there until they are put into use again. My little studio is in my living room (Good size) so I'm kinda using OCF since I can tear it down easy, and don't have my 3 year old dropping things. =)
 

IgsEMT

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Ditto w/ Derrel :)
I have AB800. For my studio work at 1/200, iso 200, f/5.6 I'm shooting them out at 1/8 power - and they are about 5-8 feet from the subject.
When I'm trying to light up a reception hall and need lower ISOs, then I MIGHT set then to 1/2-full power.

Opposite: friend of mine shoots cars. Outdoors, he blasts ab1600 and ab800 and THAT isn't enough for him.
 

kariromano

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Thanks everyone! This was VERY HELPFUL as I don't want to waste my money on poor lighting but don't want to invest a ton....as I am just dabbling in this world of photography!
 

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