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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 09 Jan 2014 (Thursday) 01:41
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Recommendations for Low-Medium Budget Constant Lighting?

 
Xyclopx
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Jan 09, 2014 01:41 |  #1

Hi,

I was hoping you guys could recommend some constant lighting systems that are reasonably priced. I don't mind paying more for a much better product, but I'd like to avoid paying more than $300 / light--cheaper than that would be even more appreciated.

These would be general use lights for me, for use with anything from product shots to portraits. They would only be used in my house, so they don't need to be ultra portable, and no battery source or the like would be needed.

I don't know if there are such things, but it would be great if the light had controls for intensity/brightness. I realize there are in-line power dimmers, but I'm not sure if they are good to use, depending on the type of light?

Anyway, I tried reading up on this stuff, but obvious I have a lot to learn about lighting equipment. I also tried to quickly search for recommendations on these things but didn't really see any system that stood out as a particularly good deal. From what I gather LEDs or fluorescents would be best for me as I don't want the light to be particularly warm in quality or heat.

Any suggestions?

Thanks! :)


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flowrider
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Jan 09, 2014 01:53 |  #2

Any particular reason for using continuous lights versus flash?


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Xyclopx
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Jan 09, 2014 02:00 |  #3

flowrider wrote in post #16590258 (external link)
Any particular reason for using continuous lights versus flash?

mainly so I can see the lighting effect as I work on positioning. I realize there are modeling flash functions, but it doesn't seem to be a good alternative to me to seeing the light in real-time.

i'm not going to be shooting moving models or anything, so I don't think i'm going to need the higher-output light a flash system would give. the lights would be more for effect than increasing ambient lighting.

I do have 2 600ex's for flash if needed. but i'm hoping to rely mostly on the constant lights.

unless.......... you think this is the wrong approach?


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Scatterbrained
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Jan 09, 2014 02:04 |  #4

Xyclopx wrote in post #16590265 (external link)
mainly so I can see the lighting effect as I work on positioning. I realize there are modeling flash functions, but it doesn't seem to be a good alternative to me to seeing the light in real-time.

i'm not going to be shooting moving models or anything, so I don't think i'm going to need the higher-output light a flash system would give. the lights would be more for effect than increasing ambient lighting.

I do have 2 600ex's for flash if needed. but i'm hoping to rely mostly on the constant lights.

unless.......... you think this is the wrong approach?

Proper studio strobes have modeling lights. You can get an Alien Bee B400 for $224. You can get a 300Ws Flashpoint from Adorama for $190 each.


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Xyclopx
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Jan 09, 2014 02:17 |  #5

Scatterbrained wrote in post #16590268 (external link)
Proper studio strobes have modeling lights. You can get an Alien Bee B400 for $224. You can get a 300Ws Flashpoint from Adorama for $190 each.

Thanks for the suggestion. But I think I'd prefer constant lights for how I work for the reasons I listed. Unless there's an advantage to strobes I did not consider?

Besides i don't want to spend more money on triggers and stuff and have to worry about setting all the stuff up. I just want artistic light that I can readily see and be inspired by.


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Scatterbrained
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Jan 09, 2014 02:24 |  #6

Xyclopx wrote in post #16590280 (external link)
Thanks for the suggestion. But I think I'd prefer constant lights for how I work for the reasons I listed. Unless there's an advantage to strobes I did not consider?

Besides i don't want to spend more money on triggers and stuff and have to worry about setting all the stuff up. I just want artistic light that I can readily see and be inspired by.

For one, with strobes you can leave the room lights on as the strobes are strong enough to overpower the room lights so they won't effect your final image. ;) You can trigger them with a PCSync cord if you don't want to buy wireless triggers. If you want to shoot something in the middle of the afternoon you can, it doesn't matter if you can't block out all the sunlight coming in. :cool:
You can also use a wider variety of modifiers as well.

edit: ISO and DOF are also other things to consider. You can always turn a strobe down or throw a filter on your lens to open up the aperture, but you can't always turn your constant lights up. You'll be shooting at wider apertures and higher iso's which could limit your DOF and force you to work at a higher iso than you might wish. Let's not forget shutterspeed either.


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Xyclopx
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Jan 09, 2014 02:28 |  #7

Scatterbrained wrote in post #16590296 (external link)
For one, with strobes you can leave the room lights on as the strobes are strong enough to overpower the room lights so they won't effect your final image. ;) You can trigger them with a PCSync cord if you don't want to buy wireless triggers. If you want to shoot something in the middle of the afternoon you can, it doesn't matter if you can't block out all the sunlight coming in. :cool:
You can also use a wider variety of modifiers as well.

Hmm good points...... Gotta think about this. Thanks.


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Jan 09, 2014 08:24 |  #8

most anyone who has tried constant light, and then given flash a try has gone with flash.

for small objects, LED's may be enough, but you have to deal with color shifts.

If you already have two flashes, I'd suggest working with what you have first, before you go spend money on continuous. If everything stays in the same position, but what you move, you should be able to figure out where you want the lights. It is trial and error, but it also gets much easier the more you do it.


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BrickR
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Jan 09, 2014 08:55 |  #9

I use strobes and constant lighting. Just depends on what I want to do at the time. I made a DIY Peter Hurley type setup with 4ft workshop lights I got from Home Depot and 5400K fluorescent bulbs. Ends up being a very large, very soft light source. Probably cost me just over $100 for the fixtures and bulbs. Strobes work great but constant light is different and preferable in some instances. For example: set up your lights, put your camera in live view and use it to set your exposure, then fire away. Don't even need test shots, you know what you'll get from the exposure simulation in live view.


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Jan 09, 2014 13:17 |  #10

If the things you are going to photograph do not move, or if the same light MUST serve for video, then continuous light would be a compromise choice.

For any other use, flash will provide far more utility.

Enjoy! Lon


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PhilF
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Jan 09, 2014 17:06 |  #11

tungsten...Lowel pro lights.


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happy2010
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Jan 10, 2014 00:36 |  #12

Hi PhilF,

Thank you for mentioning Lowell Pro-lights… as I have wondered about experimenting with them for awhile. (maybe potentially fresnel-like quality, for a fraction of true fresnel price).

Which Lowell Pro-Light model would you recommend to XYCLOPX, given his described applications?
http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …1&N=3988592077+​4291360044 (external link)

Which model if same general applications, but if would prefer optional portability? (i.e. me)

Thanks for any experience or insight you can shed on this, as I haven’t used them and while Arri also appear to be nice quality/reputation are too pricey for me.
(Lowell has quality lighting bags & nice 8ft nano-like light stands too, both of which I own a few).

Respectfully,
Mary


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CAPhotog
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Jan 10, 2014 10:02 |  #13

The Lowel Pro-Light is a good investment. I have Lowell Tota-lights and the V-light. If I use them, I prefer scrims for diffusion since softboxes make them difficult to work with. Can also use umbrellas and bounce off walls or ceilings.

For cool lights, you might want to check out the Westcott Spiderlite, near your budget if bought on eBay. The Linco Flora is similar and much cheaper. I have had good luck with a few of their other products and the customer service is excellent.

Finally, I like the Photoflex Starlite. I picked up several units almost new and like them. I use them with tungsten or fluorescent lamps, umbrellas or softboxes. The tungsten lamps are not too expensive but the fluorescent are costly. I use standard socket fluorescents with their mogul adapter to accommodate the bigger socket. If I ever needed the wattage from cool continuous lighting, I would go ahead and get the mogul bulbs.

I use strobes primarily but like having continuous lighting for more options. It depends on what gets the job done efficiently and artistically. Film, video and tv require continuous lighting and amazing results are achieved all the time. For example, I just viewed the short film The House At The End Of The Galaxy (external link). Each frame could be a perfectly lit photo.




  
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Xyclopx
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Jan 10, 2014 11:25 as a reply to  @ CAPhotog's post |  #14

thanks happy2010 and CAPhotog. i think the tungsten lights are out for me--they're too warm. i'd like something that feels more natural, like daylight. i'll look at the other "cooler" lights mentioned. thanks.

i wouldn't be using these for video. and for the most part the subjects will be stationary. but what Scatterbrained said about being able to override room lighting with the strobes got me thinking--it could be useful to have lights so strong that upping the shutter speed due to the strong lighting could mimic having a darkened room when the exposure is made.... and i suppose rarely i might want to use these for action shots...

sigh... choices, and more $ spent... :( ;)


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BrickR
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Jan 10, 2014 13:55 |  #15

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=OBPDSBCoN2c (external link)
Joe Edelman fluorescent light setup (part 3 with T8 bulbs)


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