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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 01 Jan 2012 (Sunday) 15:14
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Beginner looking for advice on strobes/flashes

 
biz64
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Jan 01, 2012 15:14 |  #1

Hi, I purchased a Canon T3i about 4 months ago and I'm looking to get a flash and maybe a couple of strobes for a basic home studio. I will be photgraphing mainly my wife and kids and other family members. Mostly portraits and some group shots ( 4 to 5 people). I am on a very limited budget as this is mostly a hobby and will not be generating any serious income. Anyway, I was hoping to get some answers and maybe some advice on the following:

1. I am strongly considering the YN 565EX for the flash mainly because of the features for the price. I realize I will not be getting HSS but I feel I can live without this for now. I will be using it on camera for when I'm shooting indoors and also as an OCF for home studio stuff. My question is when I shoot with a flash I like to shoot in manual so that I can control ambient lighting but just add flash to light up my subjects. Does ETTl work when I shoot with the camera on M mode or is that only for other modes?

2. I am looking at some strobe kits for when I do portraits and am wondering how much power do I really need? I know the more the better, but I can only budget about $200-$250 for the kit right now. Will 100ws, or 160ws be enough for what I need or do I need 200ws or more?
I am looking at one of the Impact strobe kits from B&H, something like this
http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …KI_Two_Monoligh​t_Kit.html (external link)

Or Adorama flashpoint
http://www.adorama.com​/FPBK1.html (external link)

or 1 Flashpoint II
http://www.adorama.com​/FP320MS2.html (external link)

And lastly this kit from amazon
http://www.amazon.com …=470938811&pf_r​d_i=507846 (external link)

One last question, why are the cheaper flashpoints rated at more power than the more expensive flashpoint II 320m?

Thanks for your help!


T3i | 18-55mm kit | 50mm 1.8II | Metz 50 Af-1 | Canon 85mm 1.8 | Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 | Canon 55-250mm II | Canon 15-85mm

  
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wizard13
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Jan 01, 2012 15:34 |  #2

1- ETTL works on manual mode to adjust the light output of the flash to match the settings in camera. I am not sure of the YN 565EX in this case but the other canon flashes will still meter to allow the proper exposure when the camera is in manual. But for OCF you need special triggers or an ETTL cord.

2- The more the better for strobes is not always right. For indoor shots not that much power is usually needed unless you are using a bunch of modifiers for the strobes. If you have looked as some lighting threads you will notice that some use ND filters to cut back the light reaching the camera. So 160ws should be decent for indoor shooting unless you are in a huge space.

Personally I would look at the Adorama flashpoint of the choices you have. But that is just my opinion. Have you looked at Calumet? Might be a little more than you are looking for but quite often have nice kits for a decent price.

Most of all. It really depends on what you are shooting and what you are trying to achieve when looking for lights. There are tons of threads on here talking about lighting. Do a search and that may help with more answers, but may create more questions also as you learn.

Take it all with a grain of salt since this is just my 2 cents--


Photography = a constant learning process
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RPCrowe
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Jan 01, 2012 19:44 as a reply to  @ wizard13's post |  #3

If I were seeking some low cost strobes for starters, I would seriously consider the Adorama units because Adorama backs up their products. There are also accessories available for the Adorama units. I would get the two light unit with umbrellas. You can always add another light with a softbox later.

There are many options for triggering these flashes ranging from a few bucks like the Ishoot triggers to more complicated and expensive setups.

I have been very successful using a Yin Yan Infra Red trigger which I have been using for many years without failure. It ran me less than twenty U.S. dollars and works just fine as long as I am the only shooter (which is normally the case) and if there is line of site from my camera to the optical slave of one of the flash units which is always the case. I like this unit so well that when an additional supply of them appeared on eBay, I bought a backup. However, based on the performance of the one that I own, I will probably never use the backup.

Note: Studio strobes will not work with your camera ETTL system. They are manual only. It is nice to have a flash meter but, not necessary. You can get your exposure by testing ans your lighting ratio can be jusges by the modeling light.


See my images at http://rpcrowe.smugmug​.com/ (external link)

  
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biz64
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Jan 01, 2012 21:10 |  #4

Thanks for the feedback guys! So, 150ws or 160ws should be powerful enough to use with umbrellas and softboxes then? Also, I can mix the flash with the strobes if I wanted to use a third light correct? Anyone know what the difference between the two Adorama flashpoints? The one with more power is cheaper than the 150ws one.


T3i | 18-55mm kit | 50mm 1.8II | Metz 50 Af-1 | Canon 85mm 1.8 | Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 | Canon 55-250mm II | Canon 15-85mm

  
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mikeca42
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Jan 01, 2012 22:36 |  #5

biz64 wrote in post #13631521 (external link)
Thanks for the feedback guys! So, 150ws or 160ws should be powerful enough to use with umbrellas and softboxes then? Also, I can mix the flash with the strobes if I wanted to use a third light correct? Anyone know what the difference between the two Adorama flashpoints? The one with more power is cheaper than the 150ws one.

Actually, the YN 565EX is powerful enough to take portraits indoors. The YN 565EX is probably equivalent to about 60 w/s, and that is enough power with an umbrella or medium size softbox made for flashes rather than strobes. A 150 or 160 w/s strobe will get you about 1 f/stop more power than the YN 565EX with similar modifiers. If the YN 565EX gets you a correct exposure at f/8, the studio strobe will let you use f/11 for more depth of field.

I use Canon 580EX II flashes in softboxes and umbrellas for portraits both indoors and outdoors. I usually use two flashes in a softbox or umbrella for 1 stop more maximum power, but unless I'm fighting the sun outdoors, I'm not usually at maximum power. The two flashes are just to improve recycle time and lengthen battery life.




  
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HelenOster
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Jan 02, 2012 10:23 |  #6

biz64 wrote in post #13631521 (external link)
Thanks for the feedback guys! So, 150ws or 160ws should be powerful enough to use with umbrellas and softboxes then? Also, I can mix the flash with the strobes if I wanted to use a third light correct? Anyone know what the difference between the two Adorama flashpoints? The one with more power is cheaper than the 150ws one.

We have an in-house Flashpoint expert; if you'd like to email me directly I can forward your queries on to him: Helen@adorama.com (external link)

NB there is a Flickr Flashpoint group; not set up by Adorama, 'though I do pop in there now & again if needed: http://www.flickr.com/​groups/1258407@N25/ (external link)



  
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boerewors
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Jan 02, 2012 11:09 |  #7

I am able to get f8 at ISO 100 on my 430EXii at full power in the studio using a reflective umbrella at about a meter from my subject. So a 100ws strobe should be fine as long as you aware that you might need to put the strobes fairly close to your subject. You could always shoot at a higher ISO if you need the extra exposure. I sometimes go up to ISO400 when using speedlights through modifiers.
You can use the speedlight as a third light but you will need a trigger for it. Triggering an off camera speedlight with the pop up flash causes havoc with optic slave studio strobes. there may have conflicting white ballance between the speedlight and strobes as mine do.
As for triggering the strobes, my cheapo strobes are optically triggered so no need for any triggers except the pop up flash set on its lowest manual power and in the case of using a speedlight you will need a trigger for it, and it will optically trigger the strobes. Your strobes should have optic slaves too. Its pretty much a standard feature in cheapo kits.


The most important piece of gear you own, resides in your head and its called your brain.

  
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Biological ­ Contagion
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Jan 02, 2012 14:37 |  #8

I have the Flashpoint II 320M kit you linked to (with the 24 x 36 softbox and light stand.) This is a quality unit that does everything I need it to do. I am surprised by how much light I can get out of it and how solidly the light and stand are built. Plenty of power for an umbrella or softbox and if you really needed to you could increase your ISO as others have stated. Highly recommended.


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biz64
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Jan 04, 2012 10:01 |  #9

Thanks guys. Now I'm rethinking the YN 565ex in favor of the Metz 50. I may just start with the flash and an umbrella and then eventually add the Flashpoint. Does the adorama stuff ever go on sale?


T3i | 18-55mm kit | 50mm 1.8II | Metz 50 Af-1 | Canon 85mm 1.8 | Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 | Canon 55-250mm II | Canon 15-85mm

  
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Beginner looking for advice on strobes/flashes
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