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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 14 Mar 2010 (Sunday) 01:04
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[studio] with a grand to spend...?

 
Octowl
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Mar 14, 2010 01:04 |  #1

im looking to take pictures of my "more then willing" girlfriend, but i would love to have my own "studio". i was wondering what i would need to buy besides what is in my sig to have a complete set-up. are there reasons for strobes or other types of lighting? which are best for what, and what are the main purposes? my main goal is to have an amazing set up that i can use to shoot cars and models (girlfriend :lol:). or can i not have the best of both worlds? any suggestions or a complete set-up for me would be great and id look more into the brands/models.


My name is Daniel and I'm a Graphic Designer, but my passion is Photography
Canon EOS 60D | 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 50mm f/1.8 | 85mm f/1.8 USM | 580EX II | D-Lite-4 IT | Glidecam HD2000
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jra
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Mar 14, 2010 05:40 |  #2

An amazing setup to shoot cars and models....that's a tall order for $1000 or less ;) I would suggest on getting yourself started with a nice two light kit and let the world be your studio. There are a number of highly recommended starter set-ups that a quick search would reveal. From there, add modifiers, backgrounds, additional lights, etc. as you find a need for 'em.




  
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Oxford_Matt
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Mar 14, 2010 08:21 |  #3

Hi,

Richard Frankfurt Photographic have an awesome deal at the moment.

A New Bowens 500 500 Gemini Esprit Kit.
With x2 500w Heads, x2 Bowens Stands, A Bowens Softbox,
Reflecter, Umbrella, leads, Carry Case with wheels.
All for £757 Inc vat . Next day delivery. I have bought 2.


CANON 5D MKII / Canon 40D / 17-40mm F4L / 24-70mm F2.8L / 24-105mm F4L / 70-200 F2.8L IS / 50mm f1.2L USM / 580exII / 430ex II / Adobe LR4 / Adobe PS6.

  
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Oxford_Matt
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Mar 14, 2010 08:22 |  #4

Sorry forgot the Web address: http://www.richardfran​kfurt.co.uk/ (external link)


CANON 5D MKII / Canon 40D / 17-40mm F4L / 24-70mm F2.8L / 24-105mm F4L / 70-200 F2.8L IS / 50mm f1.2L USM / 580exII / 430ex II / Adobe LR4 / Adobe PS6.

  
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Octowl
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Mar 14, 2010 14:41 |  #5

what all would i need a pocketwizard/st-e2, and an umbrella and stand for it to start my OCF? what else is needed like fill light/mirrors or?


My name is Daniel and I'm a Graphic Designer, but my passion is Photography
Canon EOS 60D | 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 50mm f/1.8 | 85mm f/1.8 USM | 580EX II | D-Lite-4 IT | Glidecam HD2000
Full Gear List | flickr (external link) | Google+ (external link)

  
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Marloon
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Mar 14, 2010 15:34 |  #6

ATXsouljah wrote in post #9794880 (external link)
what all would i need a pocketwizard/st-e2, and an umbrella and stand for it to start my OCF? what else is needed like fill light/mirrors or?

Here is the first place to start. I made a quick video (external link) of the basic things you need in terms of gear.

And then all you have to do is change up the gear to something that suites more of your style. I have some questions that you might want to answer so that i can help you.

Now that we know how much you are spending, we can just ask a few questions that will guide our recommendations for you.

1) Is weight an issue for you?
2) Is this used mostly for indoor or outdoor work?
3) How portable do you want it to be?

I'll have more questions for you... I just woke up and can't think of them all. I swear i've typed all of my questions out before on some other threads.


I'm MARLON

Former Canon Platinum CPS member

5DII • 24L • 35L • 50L • 85L • 135L • 200LIS

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RPCrowe
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Mar 14, 2010 16:24 as a reply to  @ Marloon's post |  #7

I don't like the Strobist hotshoe doctrine...

I don't like the STROBIST concept of modifying hotshoe flashes into pseudo studio strobes. I know that this is a fetish for many readers and posters on this forum but, it isn't the best way to equip yourself for portrait photography if you have a/c current available which is a given in most studio setups. You did mention that you were interested in a "(studio)" setup.

1. You are shooting blind when using hotshoe flashes. the only way you can accurately know what your light is doing is to shoot and then either chimp the image or shoot tethered to your computer, Using a STUDIO flash provides a modeling light so, in effect (to steal a computer term) you have WYSIWYG photography. Use of a STUDIO strobe with modeling light also negates the only advantage of continuous lighting which is being able to see your light.

2. The STUDIO flash can be attached to light stands and can be equipped with light modifiers without resorting to extra attachment accessories. A REAL STUDIO flash is more effective in using an umbrella because you start out with a far-far larger reflector which because of the ability to mount the umbrella correctly on the flash - fires directly into the center of the brolly. Additionally most studio flashes have reflectors which can be removed to facilitate working with soft boxes. You "CAN" try to diffuse the intensely specular light from the tiny hotshoe flash reflector with a softbox. Heck, you "CAN" boil ice cubes to make tea but that certainly is not the most efficient way of boiling water.

3. The STUDIO strobe is powered by a/c current instead of puny AA cells. The recycle time remains constant.

4. Many STROBES have reduced power ability that is totally variable and not limited to certain percentages.

5. STUDIO strobes are more powerful generally than hotshoe flashes.

6. STUDIO strobes are equipped with optical slaves and it is easier to trigger a set of STUDIO strobes than needing to jury-rig each hotshoe flash as a slave. The Canon hotshoe flashes will, of course, work with a 550EX or 580EX as a master but, for the price of a set of Canon Speedlights,you can get a really nice set of STUDIO strobes.

7. There are normally more effective light modifiers such as snoots, grids, etc. available for STUDIO strobes.

You do normally need a/c power for studio strobes but, there are several which can be used on battery power.

Sure you can get some good results with hotshoe flashes, Joe McNally does it all the time and hotshoe flashes are quite portable. You, as marloon mentions, need to decide which is most important - portability without being tied to a/c power or the best studio setup possible...

Generally a studio portrait setup will have up to four lights: main, fill, hair and background. However, you can do quite well at the start with a pair of lights or even a single light. See the video tutorials on lighting at:

http://www.prophotolif​e.com/video-library/ (external link)

Lastolight also has some interesting video tutorials. Although, they are specifically aimed to tout the Lastolite products, the information provided can transcend brands. I was especially impressed with their use of a single light and their Triflector for female portraiture. This could be done with three individual replectors or even modifying a pair of auto windshield reflectors. Lastolite has a lot of other interesting videos.

http://www.lastolitesc​hoolofphotography.com/​using-the-triflector-mkii (external link)

BTW: Both Calumet and Adorama have a line of reasonably priced full capability STUDIO strobes available.


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

  
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thaking
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Mar 14, 2010 16:31 |  #8

@RPCrowe - only downside to what you've stated is if OP is wanting to utilize this equipment on location without a/c power, he'll need a power source...these would eat up about 30% of his budget....

strobist may not be the ideal in all situations, but it has allowed me to get my feet wet with lighting, at a very cheap price...and i've actually taken some amazing shots using this gear...




  
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Octowl
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Mar 14, 2010 19:38 |  #9

Marloon wrote in post #9795120 (external link)
1) Is weight an issue for you?
2) Is this used mostly for indoor or outdoor work?
3) How portable do you want it to be?

1) weight is not an issue.
2) it needs to be a cross, i want to shoot cars either in parking garages or out in the open (ex: sunset) also inside my house in the downstairs office approximately 15ft. by 15ft.
3) portability wise, i would love for it to fit inside of my current car (if i have to take my subwoofers out and fold down the back seats for the room id be willing to take the time to unhook the subwoofers every time im going to carry/drive the equiptment to a shoot (anything outside of my own home). I drive a 2006 mitsubishi eclipse http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net …673646411_69291​3_3807.jpg (external link) (a fairly small car with a backseat just for insurance purposes).

thaking wrote in post #9795120 (external link)
only downside to what you've stated is if OP is wanting to utilize this equipment on location without a/c power

for example if im going to shoot my car or a friends car for that matter and we would be in a garage downtown with multiple floors or outside in the country with a sunset. i would not have the option to plug anything in.


My name is Daniel and I'm a Graphic Designer, but my passion is Photography
Canon EOS 60D | 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 50mm f/1.8 | 85mm f/1.8 USM | 580EX II | D-Lite-4 IT | Glidecam HD2000
Full Gear List | flickr (external link) | Google+ (external link)

  
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Marloon
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Mar 14, 2010 20:11 |  #10

ATXsouljah wrote in post #9796464 (external link)
1) weight is not an issue.
2) it needs to be a cross, i want to shoot cars either in parking garages or out in the open (ex: sunset) also inside my house in the downstairs office approximately 15ft. by 15ft.
3) portability wise, i would love for it to fit inside of my current car (if i have to take my subwoofers out and fold down the back seats for the room id be willing to take the time to unhook the subwoofers every time im going to carry/drive the equiptment to a shoot (anything outside of my own home). I drive a 2006 mitsubishi eclipse http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net …673646411_69291​3_3807.jpg (external link) (a fairly small car with a backseat just for insurance purposes).

Well what happens now is that since weight is not an issue with you, you can go with either pocket strobes or full studio strobes. Its not really your choice since unfortunately, your budget determines what you will end up with.

Here are a few more questions to determine what you'll likely end up with...

1. How many lights do you want? Or how many do you feel that you need? I personally want (and have) 4, and most of the time, i only need 2-3. (I emphasize on the need and want. There's a difference.) I usually have a main, separation, and a background. If the background is lit by ambient lighting, then i only use 2. If i want to skytrain downtown with my girlfriend, i bring a small compact umbrella + light stand for some quick and dirty Off camera flash portraits. Lights usually range from 90 dollars to thousands per head/strobe.

2. How important is TTL to you? a lot of people swear by TTL (like Joe McNally). I personally don't use TTL because (a) I want full manual control over my lighting and set up, (b) ETTL flashes are quite expensive as each 580ex's is $445 USD and 430ex's is $265. In addition, if i dont want to rely on Canon's IR flash signaling/triggering, i have to buy pocketwizard MiniTT1s and FlexTT5s ($200-$220 each) for each flash that I use. Also, another reason why i dont rely on TTL is because when I finally make that stretch to full studio strobes, I don't have to learn how manual controls work as the principals are the same whether it be pocket strobes or full studio strobes.

Since our budget is so minimal, you'll likely end up with a cheaper quality of gear. Like lenses and bodies, lighting is definitely not cheap. Hopefully, we will try to stretch your money.

Here are the essential accessories that you'll definitely need while we wait for your answers.

1) Triggers. I've dealt with wireless triggers on ebay and I cannot recommend them unless you want headaches. You can read about my ebay wireless trigger headaches here -> http://quicktwist.word​press.com …part-1-wireless-triggers/ (external link)

The triggers I'd recommend are made by Paul C buff. They are called cybersyncs and you can find more information about them here: http://alienbees.com/r​emotes.html (external link)

You'll need a CST which is their transmitter and the CSRB which is their receivers. the amount of CSRBs will be determined with how many lights you decide on. So in terms of prices, 1 CST is 59.95 and each CSRB is 69.95. Just for a 1 light setup, you will have put away $130 already just for wireless triggering, leaving you with 870 and you still don't have lights, batteries, light stands, modifiers and cables required to make all of this work.

anyways, answer those questions. At least we already know your choice of wireless triggers.


I'm MARLON

Former Canon Platinum CPS member

5DII • 24L • 35L • 50L • 85L • 135L • 200LIS

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thaking
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Mar 14, 2010 20:12 |  #11

ATXsouljah wrote in post #9796464 (external link)
for example if im going to shoot my car or a friends car for that matter and we would be in a garage downtown with multiple floors or outside in the country with a sunset. i would not have the option to plug anything in.

so if you plan to utilize something other flashes for your lighting (strobes) then you'll need power - like the vagabond http://www.alienbees.c​om/VIIsystem.html (external link)

it was a bit pricey for me, since i was just starting out with lighting...as i get more experience, etc, i'll move up to this type of setup....




  
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Marloon
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Mar 14, 2010 20:14 |  #12

The bolded are great points!

RPCrowe wrote in post #9795383 (external link)
I don't like the STROBIST concept of modifying hotshoe flashes into pseudo studio strobes. I know that this is a fetish for many readers and posters on this forum but, it isn't the best way to equip yourself for portrait photography if you have a/c current available which is a given in most studio setups. You did mention that you were interested in a "(studio)" setup.

1. You are shooting blind when using hotshoe flashes. the only way you can accurately know what your light is doing is to shoot and then either chimp the image or shoot tethered to your computer, Using a STUDIO flash provides a modeling light so, in effect (to steal a computer term) you have WYSIWYG photography. Use of a STUDIO strobe with modeling light also negates the only advantage of continuous lighting which is being able to see your light.

2. The STUDIO flash can be attached to light stands and can be equipped with light modifiers without resorting to extra attachment accessories. A REAL STUDIO flash is more effective in using an umbrella because you start out with a far-far larger reflector which because of the ability to mount the umbrella correctly on the flash - fires directly into the center of the brolly. Additionally most studio flashes have reflectors which can be removed to facilitate working with soft boxes. You "CAN" try to diffuse the intensely specular light from the tiny hotshoe flash reflector with a softbox. Heck, you "CAN" boil ice cubes to make tea but that certainly is not the most efficient way of boiling water.

3. The STUDIO strobe is powered by a/c current instead of puny AA cells. The recycle time remains constant.

4. Many STROBES have reduced power ability that is totally variable and not limited to certain percentages.

5. STUDIO strobes are more powerful generally than hotshoe flashes.

6. STUDIO strobes are equipped with optical slaves and it is easier to trigger a set of STUDIO strobes than needing to jury-rig each hotshoe flash as a slave. The Canon hotshoe flashes will, of course, work with a 550EX or 580EX as a master but, for the price of a set of Canon Speedlights,you can get a really nice set of STUDIO strobes. (Marloon NOTE: see what i mean by price being an issue?)

7. There are normally more effective light modifiers such as snoots, grids, etc. available for STUDIO strobes.

You do normally need a/c power for studio strobes but, there are several which can be used on battery power.

Sure you can get some good results with hotshoe flashes, Joe McNally does it all the time and hotshoe flashes are quite portable. You, as marloon mentions, need to decide which is most important - portability without being tied to a/c power or the best studio setup possible...

Generally a studio portrait setup will have up to four lights: main, fill, hair and background. However, you can do quite well at the start with a pair of lights or even a single light. See the video tutorials on lighting at:

http://www.prophotolif​e.com/video-library/ (external link)

Lastolight also has some interesting video tutorials. Although, they are specifically aimed to tout the Lastolite products, the information provided can transcend brands. I was especially impressed with their use of a single light and their Triflector for female portraiture. This could be done with three individual replectors or even modifying a pair of auto windshield reflectors. Lastolite has a lot of other interesting videos.

http://www.lastolitesc​hoolofphotography.com/​using-the-triflector-mkii (external link)

BTW: Both Calumet and Adorama have a line of reasonably priced full capability STUDIO strobes available.


I'm MARLON

Former Canon Platinum CPS member

5DII • 24L • 35L • 50L • 85L • 135L • 200LIS

Wordpress Blog (external link)Youtube Channel (external link)Twitter (external link)Gear List (external link)

  
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Marloon
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Mar 14, 2010 20:22 |  #13

RPCrowe wrote in post #9795383 (external link)
1. You are shooting blind when using hotshoe flashes. the only way you can accurately know what your light is doing is to shoot and then either chimp the image or shoot tethered to your computer, Using a STUDIO flash provides a modeling light so, in effect (to steal a computer term) you have WYSIWYG photography. Use of a STUDIO strobe with modeling light also negates the only advantage of continuous lighting which is being able to see your light.

The only way to prevent chimping is to use light meters. Light meters are compatible with both studio strobes and pocket strobes.

When you attach a battery pack to your strobes for on location shoots, it is suggested that you turn off your modeling lights anyways. In this case, you'll be highly dependent on your light meter.

RPCrowe wrote in post #9795383 (external link)
The STUDIO strobe is powered by a/c current instead of puny AA cells. The recycle time remains constant.

True when you are dealing with AC powered strobes. When dealing with battery pack strobes (whether they are pocket strobes or full studio strobes), recycling time is determined by the amount of battery left in the battery pack.


I'm MARLON

Former Canon Platinum CPS member

5DII • 24L • 35L • 50L • 85L • 135L • 200LIS

Wordpress Blog (external link)Youtube Channel (external link)Twitter (external link)Gear List (external link)

  
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thaking
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Mar 14, 2010 20:50 |  #14

Marloon wrote in post #9796681 (external link)
The bolded are great points!

however, the bolded stuff in #6 is a bit misleading...there is really no reason to dole out the money for the top of the line canon speedlites...look into the Lumopro or Yongnuo flashes...much, MUCH, cheaper...




  
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Mar 14, 2010 20:51 |  #15

Marloon wrote in post #9796726 (external link)
The only way to prevent chimping is to use light meters. Light meters are compatible with both studio strobes and pocket strobes.

I think you might have missed a key point. Truly great product shots requires that you illuminate edges with light, and/or with 'negative illumination' and to well place that lighting requires that you see before hand what the lens will capture. Extremely subtle adjustment to light placement and size and position of reflectors, etc. is often needed. The meter merely helps to adjust light intensity from different lights, but not where the light will show up in reflections which better reveal form.


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[studio] with a grand to spend...?
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