Neewer C-300 strobes... update with sample image

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by Stradawhovious, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. Stradawhovious

    Stradawhovious Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Let me preface this by saying I'm not a pro. I don't aspire to be a pro, and therefore don't have a need for professional equipment.

    That said, I'm tired of using speedlights in place of strobes for staged shots. I find them to be weak and finicky when you use them for a purpose for which they were unintended.

    Today I received a $150 gift card to Amazon from work and decided to pull the trigger on a "Neewer 600w studio strobe" kit, even though I wasn't able to find any reasonable number of reviews. The kit contains two 300w/s strobes, a couple cheap stands and a couple (I assume) cheap soft boxes. I realize the modifier mounts for these strobes are not standard, so that's not a concern. What I'd really like to know is how people that own them feel about them. I'm not in danger of buyer's remorse here, since I have been known to spend more money... at the bar... on beer... in one evening... and it was free money, but if there is anything I need to know about them before they arrive, it would be nice to be armed with knowledge. (I understand the included documentation leaves a lot to be desired.)

    So have at it... anyone have any meanigful first hand experience with these?

    ETA reference link...

    http://www.amazon.com/Neewer-Monoli...F8&qid=1455197279&sr=8-2&keywords=neewer 600w


     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  2. Stradawhovious

    Stradawhovious Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Nobody, eh? I can't say I'm not a little surprised that nobody here has had some experience with these... Look like I will have to review here them when I get them!
     
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  3. Stradawhovious

    Stradawhovious Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Ok, I put the whole kit together and on the whole am plesantly surprised.

    The build on the strobes is acceptable, and they have all the functions I need. There is a modeling lamp that varies with the adjustable strobe power, an optical sensor and the ability to override or accept a preflash. There is an annoying little buzzer to tell you the unit is ready after a flash that can't physically be turned off without modification... but it's not annoying enough for me to care about.

    The softbox seems to be a decent build, but it uses a non-standard fitting for the strobe. Again, not an issue for me at this time. It also has an internal buffer that I found nice, but difficult to install. I will probably leave it attached when I break down the unit.

    Everything functions well, and they thought of a few extra things that I found surprising... for example each strobe has a 15' power cord. I was expecting 6' or less. The carrying case also seems to be of very good quality for what it is and nicely fits everything.

    The included stands are nice, but they will need to be weighted to keep from falling over. I'm also surprised that there is nothi g protecting the flash bulb except the box it was shipped in, so you will want to hold on to those.

    Overall this isn't designed to withstand rigorous abuse of field torture, but will do for the amateur.

    Full disclosure.. I know I need to move the lights up. I also know I need to learn how to use studio lighting.

    Stop judging me.

    Now that that's out of the way, here is an example I just shot of my kid for funsies.

    What I learned by farting around a bit with it...

    1. I would be really surprised if there is more than a stop and a half between full power and 1/8 power. With my fill light, since I couldn't physically move it further from the subject (house the size of shoebox and all) I needed to drape a white shirt over it to knock it down a bit.

    2. These are designed for a space larger than 12x12. My garage will likely be perfect.

    3. It's not bad. Not at all. Easy to set up, easy to tear down, cycle time is quick even on full power (2 sec on full and a fraction of a second on 1/8)

    4. A $175 light kit and a 17 year old DSLR is still a viable pair capable of taking usable images. This one was taken with a 17 year old Nikon D1.

    Please feel free to offer recommendations, ask questions etc.

    FB_IMG_1455676309313.jpg
     
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  4. roroarro

    roroarro TPF Noob!

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    Thank you.

    I recently ordered a "Godox 300W" that should be the exact same stuff branded with another name.
    I'll combine it with a Yangnuo Speedlight.

    I'll still have to receive both of them so it's good to know that the strobe will be like.
    It sounds like that the strobe is quite powerful.

    Bye!
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Nice!
     
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  6. Stradawhovious

    Stradawhovious Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I sure think so. I'm really looking forward to creating another excuse to set them up. honestly, this was largely a frivolous expense for me, since I'm not a pro, don't aspire to be, and largely despise people in general... which I'm sure tells you how much I enjoy taking their picture.

    The GOOD news is that my puppy is turning 1 next week, so between this, the new lens and the new flash meter, I can REALLY give the illusion of knowing what I'm doing when I annoy him with birthday portraits!
     
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  7. spiralout462

    spiralout462 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would call it a success! Looks great.
     
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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    HEY! Good review on the new lights, with some practical and real-world commentary thrown in. I shot the D1 when it was relatively new and was pretty much one of about three d-slr models in use. It's a responsive camera. I'm surprised there seems to be such a small amount of variation in flash power between Full and 1/8 power: I would think that 1/2 would be one stop less than full and that 1/4 would be a legitimate two stops less than full, and 1/8 would be three full stops less than the Full power output level.

    Some flash units like this do not "dump" excess power when the power slider or rheostat is turned to lower power settings, requiring a test-firing to drain off excess power. Not sure if that's the case with these, but it can be something to keep in mind if you fire one shot, then find it over-exposed, then turn down the flash power--and on the second test shot get the SAME, exact amount of flash as you got on the first shot...
     
  9. Stradawhovious

    Stradawhovious Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks!

    I was guesstimating based on visual perception through exposure. Against my better judgement I ordered a flash meter, and can do an ACTUAL test. I will update here when I do.

    Important safety tip, Egon. In addition to making sure it doesn't affect exposure (which it didn't seem to) Folks may seriously consider firing the test button after turning the unit off before packing it up. If there happens to be an residual electricity stored up, that should release it.

    I'm positively giddy over that camera. It has it (seemingly endless) shortfalls, but it's awesome fun to shoot with, and keeps things simple.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The flash meter is a huge credibility-builder when you shoot in front of people. I used mine pretty extensively from the mid-1980's and until the 2000's, and it taught me a lot of things. I think if you want to REALLY LEARN the right ways to use a flash meter, from on-line tutorials there is absolutely NO better place than the Sekonic company's recorded YouTube-hosted webinars. They have a nice collection of VERY good videos here: Sekonic

    The thing about shooting flash photos and using a light meter is the degree of control, precision, and eventually predictability it gives you over the final results. The degree of precision, 1/10 of an EV, that today's light meters give is helpful when you want to really take a disciplined approach to photography. Newer, higher-end flash meters (really called combination meters in old-school language) can provide simple, easy-to-understand readouts of the percentage of ambient and flash--something that used to require manual, human-brain calculation.

    There is a huge contingent of digital shooters, MOST of whom do not own any flash meter, and most of whom have never used a flash meter, telling people that with digital cameras there is "no need" for a flash meter. That is simply not true, and is a gross misrepresentation of the value of a flash meter. If you own a flash meter, you can measure and record the intensity of a key light, a fill light, a hair light, and a background light's reflected light reading, and actually write down those details, and have an exact, accurate, precise 'recipe' that can be re-established in the future. You can also measure precise, accurate exposure settings and keep things VERY accurate on multi-day shoots.

    There are many reasons that high-quality digital readout flash meters still exist.
     
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  11. Stradawhovious

    Stradawhovious Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    This is precisely why I got one. Between writing it down, and having a series of distance measurements and color coordinated hash marks on the strobe's potentiometers, It should be really easy to plug and play different scenarios on the fly, eventually eliminating the need for the flash meter once enough "recipes" are concocted. Don't think for one second I won't be spending hours in the garage walking through different standard and experimental lighting schemes and taking detailed notes. That kind of thing is like Christmas, birthdays and Cocaine all wrapped up into one for me. (figuratively of course).

    I skimped a bit though... I got a dinosaur of a model, the Sekonic L-308-B... but it should be just fine for what I need. Them little buggars are spendy!!!
     
  12. sscarmack

    sscarmack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I started with the 300's before upgrading to some Einsteins and absolutely loved them. They lasted me a solid 2-3 years and I never had a issue with them, other than physical abuse :(
     
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