What's your lighting setup and do you take it on location? If so, how do you power it? Also, what do you like about it? Pros cons? How did you decide on what brand and gear you purchased? I figured a thread like this can help other people that have questions about studio equipment by seeing the experiences of us that have already made up our minds...well, as much as some of us can.
My kit isn't too extensive. All of it is Speedotron Blackline gear unless listed otherwise.
1205cx 1200 w/s pack
405 400 w/s pack
5x 202VF heads
Alien Bee ABR800 ring light
and when I need to use the big lights on location, I have an Innovatronix Tronix Explorer XT SE (mouth full?).
I was originally looking at Elinchrom, Dynalite, and Profotos. My biggest fear with going with a pack and head system was having enough adjustability and reach between strobes. I figured if I were to go with a pack and head system I would need at least 2 packs, which is not something I really thought about when I first discovered pack & head systems. I originally owned an Alien Bee B800 along with the ring light before purchasing the current setup.
Elinchrom had the Style 600RX lights at a decent price, but I was worried that 600 w/s wouldn't necessarily be enough for outside portraiture work, based on an experience I had with the B800. Dynalite offered a 2 1000w/s pack and 3 head kit for about $3000, iirc. Profotos are what I want, but even buying the Acute 1200w/s packs with 2 head kits used, it would have cost me $4000-$5000 for 2 1200w/s packs and 4 heads. With a suggestion from my arch nemesis on another photography forum, I ended up looking at Speedotron gear on e-bay.
I had previously used a Speedotron Brown Line setup at a Strobist meet in Philadephia where we were mixing and matching a 1600w/s pack with a Brown Line head and a Kacey Enterprises Beauty dish along with a B800 and softbox for this shot:
After looking and checking other forums, I ended up finding some one on Fred Miranda that was selling a Speedotron kit from their studio. It was the 405 pack with the 5 heads, 5 cable and various reflectors for $1200 shipped from the San Diego area to West Virginia. I figured for $1200 (my budget was up to $4000) I could afford another pack or two as needed and some accessories. So I ended up purchasing the 1205 pack for $500 after fees and shipping on E-bay and the Tronix battery for about $400.
Right now, I'm looking into buying several strip boxes and an Elinchrom Deep Octa box. I already have a Kacey Beauty dish that I was using with my B800 (which I sold). I'm also contemplating on selling the ABR800 ring light since it doesn't get too much use. It makes a nice fill though, but it's just a lot of hassle to mount it to the camera.
I think I do want a profoto setup in the future, but that entirely depends on how successful my business is. I want a D4 pack or two and several heads. That's big money, but it's not something I plan on doing for quite a while.
I guess I should have mentioned this earlier, but I do a lot of on location portrait work, which can take me to locations without power and shooting in bright sun, and I also am getting into automotive photography with lighting. What can I say besides I like a challenge?