Portrait Lighting Set

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by mangorockfish, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. mangorockfish

    mangorockfish TPF Noob!

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    Has anyone ever bought one of the light sets off Ebay that has a couple of soft boxes some umbrellas, light stands and continuous lights. All of this for like $83. Are the boxes and umbrellas worth having? Seems like the stands and bulbs would come to more than $83. Just curious.


     
  2. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    There is no such thing as a free lunch.
     
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  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've purchased some inexpensive umbrellas and light stands via mail order, but no continuous lighting. Continuous lighting is not as good as one would hope, except perhaps for video. When you want to order, look for flash lighting.

    Inexpensive gear is just what you would expect. The performance is generally not as good as the upper end stuff, and cheap gear may start to fall apart in a few years, but just to try something out it is not all bad. Go ahead and order some inexpensive stands and modifiers, but don't put a lot of faith in continuous lighting, especially for things like portraiture. Cont. lighting will be fine for still life photography. Eventually you will want some flashes (either speedlights or studio strobes).
     
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  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Seen them, never bought one, and DO NOT recommend it! On it's own, a decent light-stand should cost at least that much. As designer mentioned, continuous lighting, and especially this sort of cheap, low-powered continuous lighting isn't going produce many good results. I would strongly suggest saving up a bit more money and buying some better, entry-level strobes such as the Flashpoint series sold by Adorama. In the long run, you will be MUCH farther ahead.
     
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  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well...the issue is mostly that low-cost continuous lights are dim...requiring ISO 400,500,or even 800, and slow shutter speeds for people pictures. For product photos, for-sale photos, or still-life and tabletop set-ups, continuous lights and small f/stops (like f/11 or f/16) and longer shutter times, like 1 to 6 seconds at lower ISO values like 100 to 200 are not a problem. YES, slooooow shutter speeds are VERY common with close-up photos made with low-powered lights, and using a tripod and the self-timer delay is the standard operating procedure. LONG shutter speeds, in the 1- to 6-second range, usually provide a sharp,crisp photo as long as good camera technique is used. Longer speed shots( like 1 to 6 seconds) are often better for sharpness than the slow-but-instantaneous speeds in the 1/3 to 1/8 second range.

    Anyway...I reallllllllllly prefer electronic flash with modeling lamps (low-proced studio type monolight flashes) for photos shot using light stands and light modifiers like softboxes or umbrellas. The modeling lights give you a preview of what the flash Pop! will do, and you can literally see to focus, see what the light is doing, see where the shadows fall. Adorama's Flashpoint-branded flashes are available in lower-cost "budget" models at around $49-$60 for the low-powered units. Something in the 100- to 150-Watt seconds of power, per flash is ample for most indoor, small-scale shooting scenarios.

    Adorama's 320-type models cost more, but have user-replaceable flash tubes, so they start at around $99...and are the correct basic power level for most indoor beginning flash users. Powerful monolight flash units like 300 or 400 Watt seconds are not necessary for most uses.

    You _could learn_ a good deal with a low-priced,continuous lighting kit, but I do not think it's really the "best" choice to start out with. Still...it's only $83...and it CAN do a lot.
     
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  6. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    To put things into perspective for you, one of my rolling light stands cost $250. Just the stand. $83 for new lights, stands and modifiers? One bit of advice important in photo gear, buy the quality you need the first time or you will buy twice. Those stands will last my entire career and make adjusting them and rolling them precisely into place a pleasure the whole time.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    THIS looks to me to be the best all-around value in a low-cost yet capable monolight: Flashpoint Studio R2

    Why? It has 300 Watt-second power at full output, plenty of power for use with a d-slr or mirrorless digital camera at today's ISO levels of 100 to 400. It uses the Bowens S-type accessory mount system, which is very popular. Price is $109. Modeling light and flashtube are both user-replaceable. Priced fairly for the power level...not $249,not $279, but rather $109. Has a BUILT-IN radio triggering receiver. Has a PC cord connection receptacle and an optically-triggered "slave" triggering system,so another camera's flash unit can be used to fire the flash, if desired.

    I would add a $29, 9.5-foot tall light stand, and a 40-inch or so umbrella, and have a capable light, a light stand, and an umbrella. With that you'd have decent equipment that would allow you to do a lot of set-ups. One, decent light and a 40-inch umbrella can do a LOT of stuff! Ignore those who are constantly suggesting 60- and 72-inch umbrellas; believe me, that size of an umbrella is a PITA much of the time. To start off, keep the umbrella size in the 30- to 43-inch range!

    Do not spend a lot of money on light modifiers until you really know what you want to buy. Stick to inexpensive to moderately-priced Made in China modifiers; there are lots of YouTube videos online, and you can watch those and see how various soft boxes and octaboxes perform.
     
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  8. lance70

    lance70 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I wouldn't recommend that purchase either.....are you set on continuous lighting? Asking because a good deal on a quality light would be a Flashpoint 320M, you can use a cheap umbrella at first and get a softbox or octabox down the line.
     
  9. mangorockfish

    mangorockfish TPF Noob!

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    I know Derrel has recommended the 320Ms in the past and also has recommended the Flashpoint Studio R2. I'm new to this so which would be the best to start out with? Thanks
     
  10. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    Derrel has pretty much wrapped it up for you there. I use the Flashpoint stuff and it is just fine to get you going. Looking at the new studio stuff, if you don't plan on having it outside, that would be a great way to go. The addition of the Bowen's mount, which the earlier stuff did not have, is great.
     
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  11. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Yes, I have. If you want to throw away $83, I'll send you my address so you can mail it to me, then I'll send you $30 back. That way it won't be a complete loss for you, as you can go to Lowes and buy a reflector and LED flood light that will give you more light than you can get out of the CFL bulbs they use in them.

    I have both Alien Bees and Impact strobes. I can tell you that both do the job, but the ABs are built like tanks compared to the Impacts, plus the folks at Paul C. Buff, Inc. | Professional Photographic Lighting have customer service that is beyond good.
     
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  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think the new Flashpoint R2 300
    is the better value over the 320M model. The R2 series uses the Bowens mount accessories, which is the better system.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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