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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 12 Feb 2017 (Sunday) 06:49
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Lighting advice 

 
JackRFlint
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Feb 12, 2017 06:49 |  #1

I am building a 12 x 12 home studio. I'd looking to do Chromakey, time-lapse, and portraits. 

I'm searching the net for the appropriate lighting setup. It seems to me that continuous LED lighting would be the best choice due to the low heat, and ability to see the light effects before the shot, but I can't find much literature on the topic.  
 
Price isn't an issue, this is all about getting the right setup. I've searched the forums but haven't seen much posted lately. Does anyone who has experience care to share their wisdom?




  
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RicoTudor
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Post edited over 1 year ago by RicoTudor.
     
Feb 12, 2017 17:57 |  #2

Strobe lighting lets you see the light effects before the shot, and the modelling light may be tungsten, halogen, or LED. On taking the shot, the flash discharge is instant and totally suppresses motion blur at the camera or by the subject. You also get a full spectrum. Others will mention their favorite brand of strobe, but the cheap stuff is cheap and good. You can also use Speedlites effectively in the studio: I use both, and often at the same time.

The only good continuous light is the sun.


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JackRFlint
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Feb 12, 2017 18:35 as a reply to  @ RicoTudor's post |  #3

What equipment do you recommend? Also I thought it was the opposite of what you said on strobe, they do not let you see until after the shot.




  
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Angmo
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Angmo. (3 edits in all)
     
Feb 12, 2017 19:15 |  #4

JackRFlint wrote in post #18271728 (external link)
What equipment do you recommend? Also I thought it was the opposite of what you said on strobe, they do not let you see until after the shot.

Strobes will have a modeling light. That's what you use before the shot. A100watt modeling light is not enough though. Those are cheaper lights.

With a room that size I'd look at getting grids to control light bouncing all around. Barn doors too.

Brand-wise, you'll get a thousand recommendations. I use Elinchrom strobes. A few are over 20 years old and have never failed, never broke. Many use other brands and are also happy.

Paul C Buff has a nice line of strobes and accessories too.


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Feb 12, 2017 20:06 |  #5

What is your ceiling height?


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Blackey ­ Cole
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Feb 12, 2017 22:21 |  #6

my self I've switched from speedotron to elichrom quadra lights in a studio I think these would be perfect they are small light weight head with rechargeable battery packs that can be used while being charged unlike some. the color of the light is always spot on.


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F2Bthere
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Feb 15, 2017 01:16 |  #7

I like the Elinchrom Rangers, but they are a poor choice for the OP's stated needs. The OP wants to be able to see what the lights will produce. The modeling lights on the Ranger are under-powered.

AC powered units can have much more powerful modeling lamps.

Modeling lamps will not be exactly the same as what the flash will give, since they are different bulbs. They will be close enough for most purposes.

If you want to go with continuous lights, it might be worth looking into the way movies and videos are lit. It is important to understand what your requirements are. Do you want to use standard still photography light modifiers (softboxes, beauty dishes, etc) or do you want to light the way movies are lit? How much light do you need (determined by the Aperture and ISO you want to use if you choose strobes or the aperture, ISO and Shutter speed if you want continuous).

Continuous lights are what you see is what you get. But it is hard and expensive if you want, say, f8 at ISO 200 with any reasonable shutter speed for photographing people, as an example.


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simonbarker
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Feb 15, 2017 07:06 |  #8

JackRFlint wrote in post #18271111 (external link)
It seems to me that continuous LED lighting would be the best choice due to the low heat, and ability to see the light effects before the shot, but I can't find much literature on the topic.

That isn't really a reason to get continuous lighting, it's one of the most common beginner mistakes. Any modern flash will have a decent modelling light so in practical terms it shouldn't matter for learning.

There are tangible advantages and disadvantages to whatever technology is adopted but unless you have very specific requirements it shouldn't really matter because light is light. To me the main advantage of a flash based setup is your money will go further towards a good quality system than alternative options, if money is no object then you can do whatever you want of course but again unless you have very specific needs I don't see a good reason to spend a great deal.

I'm not so sure about the advice to get portable units, they can only ever be inferior to a mains powered unit of similar specification and you have to worry about maintaining/replacing batteries.




  
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RicoTudor
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Feb 15, 2017 09:01 |  #9

simonbarker wrote in post #18274234 (external link)
That isn't really a reason to get continuous lighting, it's one of the most common beginner mistakes. Any modern flash will have a decent modelling light so in practical terms it shouldn't matter for learning.

Beginner mistake to be sure, and no help from the pros who push the next great thing (LED) regardless of its suitability for photography. Videography has a legitimate need for continuous, and many working stiffs need both still and video results, but flash remains a necessity.

A properly engineered strobe system will offer powerful modelling lights of 250W at the least, and the modelling will conform with flash output. Case in point is Profoto where both are enclosed in a frosted glass dome. The Twin Head ships with 500W modelling, but all Acute/Pro heads can be outfitted similarly.


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Wilt
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Wilt.
     
Feb 15, 2017 23:45 |  #10

I am one of the traditional 'you need studio strobes, with 250W modelling light' soapbox preachers on POTN, so I'd like to weigh in on this discusson. I will be the first to admit that after I set up with modelling lights, I usually turn them off/down in intensity, because modelling lights, just like 'continuous light' of the past meant


  1. 'hot,
  2. squintingly bright for the subject,
  3. yet not intense enough for good shutter+f/stop at limited film ISO'



Now with improved technology, we have

  1. digital cameras that can support ISO 1600 or 3200 (or higher) at high quality, to overcome limited light intensity
  2. now LEDs are much more thermal efficient while producing much more light intensity than incandescent
  3. improved price-performance of LED technology

...and the photographic world is now different (or becoming more so, as the LED technology progresses) because of it.

Past 'continuous light' disadvantage #1 is overcome by the greatly reduced heat of LED. Higher useful ISO in our cameras make it easier to shoot with reasonable shutter + aperture, without #2 and #3. So the greatest disadvantages of past 'continuous' -- as well as modelling lights -- have changed with LED.

I am soon to build my own LED panel to evaluate the technology, and determine if it is close to ready for prime time. I saw LED sources in use probably 15 years ago...it was not yet ready for prime time. It might be close now.

  • One significant issue is the color accuracy achievable with not-specified CRI...that may change when the LED manufacturers of the world better realize the importance of that characteristic. I can remember that even 10 years ago, the average CFL did not cite a CRI value either, and now even household CFLs and fluorescent straight tubes list CRI. Hopefully the commercial lighting companies have already solved the CRI issue in selecting LEDs to use in their products...but you pay a premium for that integration. My tests will give some indication about the feasibility of DIY experimentation using blind selection of LEDs.
  • As for squinting, I will try with the LED panel at same intensity as 250W-300W modelling lights, and regulate them down until the subject does not have to squint so much, and determine what ISO+shutter+aperture combination works for that level of intensity.


So, back to the OP, the LED constant light source is about to go to one 'judge/jury' (me) and in a couple weeks I hope to post my preliminary opinion. The world of LED in 2017 is very different than it was 15 years ago..its time may have come!

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Angmo
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Feb 16, 2017 05:10 |  #11

I do like the looks of the eyes using strobe versus continuous light. It impacts the pupil. Flash does not.


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Wilt
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Wilt. (2 edits in all)
     
Feb 16, 2017 10:00 |  #12

Angmo wrote in post #18275266 (external link)
I do like the looks of the eyes using strobe versus continuous light. It impacts the pupil. Flash does not.

Hmmm...


  1. strobe with modelling light outputs 300W of light intensity all the time, then the flash goes off too rapidly for the pupils to respond.
  2. 300W incandescent light outputs 300W of light intensity all the time, then there is no change of the pupils when the shutter opens
  3. 50W LED light outputs equivalent 300W of light intensity all the time, then there is no change of the pupils when the shutter opens
  4. strobe with modelling light is used for setup but modelling light is turned off during shooting (with only a low wattage ambient lighting in the room), then the flash goes off too rapidly for the pupils to respond.


So scenarios 1-3 all have the pupils closed down due to the modelling light/constant light, but scenario 4 has dialated pupils. Yet both scenario 1 and 4 use strobes!
What am I not getting, when I think about strobe vs. continuous, and impact on the pupils?

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Angmo
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Angmo. (3 edits in all)
     
Feb 16, 2017 11:21 |  #13

Wilt wrote in post #18275425 (external link)
Hmmm...


  1. strobe with modelling light outputs 300W of light intensity all the time, then the flash goes off too rapidly for the pupils to respond.
  2. 300W incandescent light outputs 300W of light intensity all the time, then there is no change of the pupils when the shutter opens
  3. 50W LED light outputs equivalent 300W of light intensity all the time, then there is no change of the pupils when the shutter opens
  4. strobe with modelling light is used for setup but modelling light is turned off during shooting (with only a low wattage ambient lighting in the room), then the flash goes off too rapidly for the pupils to respond.


So scenarios 1-3 all have the pupils closed down due to the modelling light/constant light, but scenario 4 has dialated pupils. Yet both scenario 1 and 4 use strobes!
What am I not getting, when I think about strobe vs. continuous, and impact on the pupils?

I don't drive modeling lights to full power. They are adjustable. - Proportional to flash power, manually set or off. Strobes have a wide variety of modifiers available.

I think constant lights will not have all the modifiers available as you lose stops of power. Not an issue for strobes.

I have full Control over flash and ambient light. Constant Lights are ambient light generators and IMHO less capable for my needs. But others love them.


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Wilt
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Feb 16, 2017 11:23 |  #14

Angmo wrote in post #18275507 (external link)
I don't drive modeling lights to full power. They are adjustable. - Proportional to flash power, manually set or off.


OK, now I understand your earlier statement.


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JackRFlint
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Mar 15, 2017 20:39 as a reply to  @ simonbarker's post |  #15

I've come to the same opinion that I don't need to go with continuous lighting. For the money it seems like Godox products give a lot of value but I'm concerned about light meter compatibility.




  
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