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Archive 2012 · Home Studio/Location Setup
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Home Studio/Location Setup

Hi folks,

I am currently having a dilemma and could do with some advice.

I want to setup a basic home studio for portrait work, the room will be reasonably small and i'd like to combine the studio investment with some kit that I can take out on location for weddings, location portraits etc.

Here's my thinking so far:

For Studio
Backdrop with frame
Nikon SB-910 > Shoot Through Umbrella (Key Light)
Nikon SB-700 > Black Back Umbrella (Background Fill Light)

For Location
Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe > SB-910 or SB-700 (as above)

I currently own the SB-700 and would need to buy an SB-910, is this a good move, could I use a SB-800 or another SB-700 or would I just be restricting myself in the long run?

Does this all sound feasible? I understand the shortcomings of speedlites over strobes but I really see myself on the move a lot and not necessarily in one place.

Thanks for your time

Oct 26, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Home Studio/Location Setup

I'm not a Nikon guy, but the only thing you're missing is a way to trigger the off-camera flashes if you plan to use them both off-cam. If your camera has a pop-up flash, you can probably trigger them with that, if you set it up properly. Otherwise, you'll need a trigger system, such as Pocket Wizard or a Nikon commander. Of course, if you use one of the speedlights on the hotshoe, you can trigger the other one with that. Any of the speedlights you suggest will do that, but I rarely recommend going backward to older models if you can afford the current one. Other than this caveat, what you've suggested is a good, basic setup. You don't mention the kind of backdrop you're planning on getting, but I would suggest not spending too much on one traditional muslin, as that pretty much limits you. Instead, I might suggest a few rolls of seamless paper (white, middle gray, etc.) to give you some additional versatility until you've mastered the basics with the equipment you've already suggested.

Oct 26, 2012 at 10:37 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Home Studio/Location Setup

Thanks Steve,

Not something I had given enough thought too, I may consider a third speedlight for this on location so I retain TTL.

TTL triggers are dang pricey!

Thanks for replying.

Oct 27, 2012 at 10:02 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Home Studio/Location Setup

dougfatheruk wrote:
...Nikon SB-910 > Shoot Through Umbrella (Key Light) ...Nikon SB-700 > Black Back Umbrella (Background Fill Light)

In a small room, you may find that the shoot-through umbrella casts too much light around the room, which will bounce off the walls and may cause unwanted loss of contrast (and off colours if the walls aren't white).

You might consider adding a soft box with removable grid to your kit. The 28" Apollo soft box is designed to work with Speedlights, and is quick to set up and easy to transport for location work as well.



Oct 27, 2012 at 02:07 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Home Studio/Location Setup

Don't automatically assume that using the Nikon CLS system will fail outside. I have a D7000 and used it's built in flash as a CLS commander with pretty good success outside. You have the EZbox which are nice because the flash remains outside of the softbox. This makes is more reliable when using the CLS system because you can point the CLS sensor (the small 1/4" size round sensor) towards the commander flash.

I have the Apollo softboxes which have the flash inside the softbox and still had success using the CLS system and the built in flash. The off camera flashes did not have direct line of sight to the commander flash, yet it still worked pretty well. Of course your distances couldn't be very large, but it worked in average conditions.

I have since moved to the Phottix Oden TTL wireless system which I love. They are very reliable and offer full manual (and TTL with HHS) control of the off camera flashes. They are also cheaper than the other full TTL trigger systems out there.

Nov 15, 2012 at 06:02 PM

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