lighting kit

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by chriscorbin, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. chriscorbin macrumors 6502

    chriscorbin

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    #1
    I have been doing studio-style portraits for a while now and i make money off them, but i am being hired to take pictures inside a house now, i have always taken portrait shots outside. i need some lights, i work for a pro studio photographer, so i know a lot about portrait lighting, but i am dangerously low on money and i want to buy my lights all at once, the guy i work for says he had excellent results from a cheap lighting kit, so are there any recommendations? :confused:
     
  2. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #2
    On the cheaper side, I like Lowel stuff, and for really cheap Smith Victor.

    That's just personal opinion, though.
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    For new, Alien Bees get great reviews. For cheap, Novatron units are always on Ebay with packs, cases and brollys. I'd go with strobes over hot lights for two reasons, you can use the modeling lights or not to get the pupil size you want (you don't get the deer-in-the-headlights hot light look) and they're cooler (which makes posing nicer and cuts down on the risk of injury/fire from modifiers.)

    With the Novatron units, the only thing you need to know that isn't obvious is that the 2100C head (the one that doesn't have controls on it) *MUST* be plugged into the pack any time you fire it, so if you're doing single-light shots, you have that head and set the power level on the pack.
     
  4. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Wenonah, NJ
  5. chriscorbin thread starter macrumors 6502

    chriscorbin

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    #5
    three would be nice, a fill a main and a background or a hair light

    budget is whatever i can get away with, i want strobes!

    but i have about $400 to play with, i know its not much, but it is all i have

    also i already have a SB-600 flash will that help me?
     
  6. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    The Library.
    #6
    This is the cheapest you can get with strobes. You can get it new for $410 with one of the amazon sellers.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #7
    You can use the 600 as fill off camera on a bracket, or you can get an SB800 and use that in commander mode to trigger the 600, and probably trigger the 800 with the on-camera flash (I'm not 100% sure if you trigger the SB800 with a flash that it'll trigger downstream flashes,) you'd have to check that, but that'd give you three lights for the cost of an SB800.

    If you go to the Strobist Web site, you'll see all kinds of help with strobes as lighting.

    With your budget though, I'd get one SB800 and use a reflector if you have to, and save up for a second SB600.

    I might think about an SU-800 in your place, but off-axis with the SB800 as fill/commander will probably be just fine.
     
  8. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wenonah, NJ
    #8
    compuwar, is there a reason you suggested newer flashes over older, cheaper flashes? I would think adding a few sb-24s and some ebay radio slaves or pc-sync cords would be a better idea. Take a look at strobist.blogspot.com for more info. The added bonus is that your lighting setup becomes ultra-portable compared to regular studio strobes with power packs.
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    Absolutely- the Nikon Creative Lighting System allows you to basically have the camera do all the "magic" stuff. The CLS is well-worth the money as you get used to the learning curve of multiple flashes. Newer flashes have great recycle times as well. Since the OP already has an SB600, with the addition of a single SB800, they'll have wireless flash sync and *control* automagically. They'll still be in the ultra-portable category (if you look, you'll see that I recommended they check out Strobist)

    If you're going to be a shooting pro, you're going to end up with PWs, no matter what, but then you're going to have to get the flash settings right no matter what. With the CLS, you get TTL flash to multiple flash heads within IR line-of-site and you can control the settings of each strobe from the SB800. With the 800 dialed down for fill, and the 600 set as the key off and up to one side, you've got a perfect 2-light system that just needs a bracket for the fill and a stand for the key without worrying about cords, dancing back and forth for settings, etc. It's a great way to learn while making easy adjustments at the camera.

    I'm not saying the SB24 route sucks, but if you've already got a start on the CLS, why not step up. If the OP upgrades to a D200 in the future, then they'll have a 3 light system right there (I'm pretty sure the D200's flash will also act as a light in commander mode, which you don't get with the D70s, which will act as a commander- giving you the option of using SB600's instead of 800's.)
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    You want cheap? I used to use Vivitar 285 units with Wein "peanut" optical slaves. I could get 50 to 100 "pops" off one set of recharable AA batteries. Nothing magic about the 285. Any full-manual, full size made in china strobe will do. The key is the optical slave triggers. Then on my camera I mounted a very small Nikon SB16 and aimed the flash head up at the ceiling or back wall. The on-camera strobe added almost zero light on the subject but would trigger the Vivitar strobes. I also had some ubbrelas and softboxes. The photoflex softboxes cost more then the strobes


    Ideas #2. This is digital right? You can white balance any light. Go to Home Depot and buy some halogen work lights. Make a reflectors from cardboard and aim the $10.00 light at the white cardboard reflector for a "window light" effect or directly at the subject for a very dramatic and un-flaterring look. Best part is it's not flash so you can see the effect without taking a test shot. The technical term for this is "hot lights" Buying these sets you up for video work too.

    Idea #3. This is what I do now. Found a studio that was going out of bussines and bought a Norman power pack setup. These are 1000 watt second strobe with built i model lamps. The system is 20+ years old but you can still buy Norman equipment and it was cheap. 10 cnts on the dollar at least. But you need a moving dolly to haul the power pack
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    These are the ones I used. Calumet is never cheapest place. Seen en as low as
    $60 each. For year these units were THE standard for wedding and even photogrphers
    They look cheap but they are bullet proof and pack a ton of power
    http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/VR4165/

    This gadget turns a cheap strobe into a wireless strobe
    http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/CG1200/

    The above sell cost about $300 for three heads. Leaves $100 for
    stand and reflectors. But if you have the SB600 it will work as well as
    an old 285.

    Use the on-camera flash set to 1/64 power to trigger the Wien slaves.
    1/64 will not do much compared to a 285 on full.

    Don't let anyone tell you that yu need an automatic TTL strobe. One you put
    a light on a stand the TTl stuf is worse then useless. If you want the key to be
    1.5 stops higher then the fill and the fill is 8 feet away and the kket is 6 feet
    from subject. Don't bother with punching buttons on a computer just set the
    exposure for the key then pop the fill light and check in the histogram display that it is 1.5 under exposed. No need for TTl ia it will stay 1.5 stops forever even if you
    move the camera
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #12
    This also says a lot about the newer units:

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=23986121
     
  13. chriscorbin thread starter macrumors 6502

    chriscorbin

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    #13
    I am on vacation in chicago, i went to a local camera shop and they recommended inter Fit lights, those are cheap and i was able to use one at the store, i really think they will be alright, any experience with these lights to keep me from buying them?
    i would buy the EXD200 home studio lighting kit, after i get my first paycheck next week:D
     
  14. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #14
    Alienbees all the way if you have the cash. Small cheap Vivitar units if you don't but want multiple strobes. JTL from KEH are cheap and readily available. The JTL units have a battery pack smaller than the unit that Alienbees and others use.
     
  15. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #15
    This may not be entirely appropriate for this thread, but rather than create a new one I figured I could (maybe) redirect this one a bit.

    As an amateur photographer, I know little about lighting systems--I've stayed mainly outside with sports, and had some success here and there. Would someone mind giving me the lowdown on lighting systems and their specific parts? Preferred placement of parts, strength, etc, etc?
     

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