Budget studio flash guidance needed.


RR

Link Posted 23/04/2010 - 17:57
I'm looking to purchase a budget set of studio lighting & would like some advice/experiences if you have any for me please. I know you get what you pay for in general, but I don't envisage getting lots of use out of it, hence looking at the budget options.

I have a baby on the way so that is the primary reasoning for me to pick up some lighting for home portraits. I think a 2 head kit would be fine for starters, I could always use a speedlight or 2 for any key lighting & could pick up a 3rd used head if I needed it to blow out a background.

It'd primarily be used at home & I don't have a large space available so I'm wondering if something like the Interfit ex150 kit would be powerful enough. It would be nice to have enough power to light a group of 4 or 5 people if called upon though, would bumping up the iso enable that or would the light not carry far enough ?

There are some comprehensive looking budget kits on ebay but I'm more wary about the supposed power output claims rather than build quality as I don't need anything too robust.

Any suggestions ? Or have you spotted any great deals for me ?

Thanks, Bob
My Flickr
Last Edited by RR on 23/04/2010 - 17:57

gartmore

Link Posted 23/04/2010 - 18:06
No matter what the make you might find that this covers most eventualities:

Two stands
Two heads
Two soft boxes (50x70cm)
Two 5-way brollies (optional)
One 5-way reflector
One reflector holder that clamps onto a lighting stand
Radio triggers.
A carrying case.

Working in a domestic situation even the least powerful models will give you about f11 on full power used directly and f6.7 with the soft boxes, or thereabouts.

You can do really nice things with one head and a reflector.
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -
Last Edited by gartmore on 23/04/2010 - 18:06

RR

Link Posted 24/04/2010 - 01:30
Thanks Ken.

I was thinking of getting a few manual speedlights & stands/modifiers to create a totally portable kit, but the extras are really quite expensive so thought I'd be better off with a starter studio kit instead.

Are the figures you quoted at iso 100 ? As my native iso is iso 200 anyway & is usable at least 4 stops higher do you think 2 150w/s heads would be enough to light a group of 4 in a slightly larger space ?

It seems you've provided a concise answer & scared off the others, surely someone will have experience good or bad with budget studio kit ?
My Flickr

gartmore

Link Posted 24/04/2010 - 09:00
I use 100ISO if I'm using the K20D or 200ISO with *ist DS, earlier this week I had a 4 piece rock band in the studio and using 2 small heads (One with a soft box as the key and another with a honeycomb, barn doors and half power as a backlight, silver reflector for fill) and 100ISO I was shooting at f5.6. They were contained on standard 8 feet wide background paper. My studio is quite big at 1200 sq. feet so there isn't much being bounced back, in a smaller space you'd get a smaller stop.

If I get the edit finished today I might post some shots in 'your photos' later today.

I'm quite sure Don will have an apposite opinion.
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

Don

Link Posted 24/04/2010 - 15:08
gartmore wrote:
I use 100ISO if I'm using the K20D or 200ISO with *ist DS, earlier this week I had a 4 piece rock band in the studio and using 2 small heads (One with a soft box as the key and another with a honeycomb, barn doors and half power as a backlight, silver reflector for fill) and 100ISO I was shooting at f5.6. They were contained on standard 8 feet wide background paper. My studio is quite big at 1200 sq. feet so there isn't much being bounced back, in a smaller space you'd get a smaller stop.

If I get the edit finished today I might post some shots in 'your photos' later today.

I'm quite sure Don will have an apposite opinion.

I don't try to be oppositional...lol!
just fill in the blancs left by others!

My studio is small and blacked out with grey floors.... the only light on my subjects is what I put there and little or no reflected light off the walls....

and yes, I'd be more inclined to use the softbox for fill, the gridded reflector for key, and silver reflector for hairlight....
but I like dramatic light!



this one has a gridded reflector dish for keylight and large softbox fill (from the same side, main just above the softbox, and a shoot through umbrella as seperation light/background light just behind the subject on white seamless
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
Last Edited by Don on 24/04/2010 - 15:15

George Lazarette

Link Posted 24/04/2010 - 22:22
Studio flash is studio flash. More money gets you more power and more versatile and robust equipment, but even the cheapest, weakest, stuff will do the job.

Before you buy, have a look around. I got some nice Bowens gear from Calumet that was going cheap because it had been replaced by a later model. It was a set including bag (nice - with wheels), brolly, softbox, and two heads.

I also have a forty year-old Bowens Monolight in perfect working order, so the stuff seems to last.

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

Don

Link Posted 24/04/2010 - 22:24
George Lazarette wrote:
Studio flash is studio flash. More money gets you more power and more versatile and robust equipment, but even the cheapest, weakest, stuff will do the job.

Before you buy, have a look around. I got some nice Bowens gear from Calumet that was going cheap because it had been replaced by a later model. It was a set including bag (nice - with wheels), brolly, softbox, and two heads.

I also have a forty year-old Bowens Monolight in perfect working order, so the stuff seems to last.

G

I agree, which is why I was pushing in the other "studio flash" thread to look for used, brand name equipment with a good range of accessories available!

Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

RR

Link Posted 24/04/2010 - 23:05
Thanks for the advice gents. I picked up the Interfit 150 kit today. I know it pays to invest in good gear but this kit gas a decent enough reputation as a starter kit. Of course if I get into it & need more power then I can always pick up some better made, used or as George suggested, outgoing model strobes.

I was mainly worried about the power aspect, but this kit seems powerful enough for a domestic situation.
My Flickr

gartmore

Link Posted 26/04/2010 - 07:16
Don, I said 'apposite' not 'opposite'!


–adjective
suitable; well-adapted; pertinent; relevant; apt: an apposite answer.

Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

johnnyboy114

Link Posted 26/04/2010 - 11:53
Dont' worry about the power in the domestic situation....even going the strobist route, if you know what you are doing and have the right gear, standard flash guns can light pretty massive rooms, so its probably more than enough to be getting on with. Besides, for portraits, the wide open look can be really appealling in some cases, so you will be winding down the power anyway and opening up the aperture for that really arty pro look.....just play about before the baby comes and see what effects you can come up with. I do ALL of my stuff with cheapy strobist stuff, due to budget constraints and seem to get pretty good results.....one day I will get studio gear, but for what most people need, 95% of the time, you can get away with it with some good results. Your new Interfit kit will be very, very good so have a play....it will be more than suffice for needs at the moment I reckon. Lucky thing.....
My Flickr page. Please feel free to view http://www.flickr.com/photos/23025412@N00

Don

Link Posted 26/04/2010 - 14:40
gartmore wrote:
Don, I said 'apposite' not 'opposite'!


–adjective
suitable; well-adapted; pertinent; relevant; apt: an apposite answer.

that is hilarious! I'm dyslexic ya know!
you'd be amazed at how many awkward situations you can cause when you mix up a letter or two!

Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

gartmore

Link Posted 27/04/2010 - 13:57
My wife is dyslexic too, once remarked, in an Italian restaurant, how good the placenta was. I'm sure she meant polenta.
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

Don

Link Posted 27/04/2010 - 14:50
That is ok, my wife is blonde.
true story...
we once went out to a chinese food place in winnipeg. found a nice place on Regent ave called Hung's.
The food was amazing and very nice prices! it appeared to be a family run place...link
My wife was so happy she wanted to compliment the owner.
So she turns to the greeter and asks "Are you Hung?"
He just sort of looked at us and blushed...



on the way home I explained to her that just because the guy was chinese didn't mean he owned the place, he was just Sum Yung Guy.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
Last Edited by Don on 27/04/2010 - 14:53
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