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Archive 2013 · Location lighting?
  
 
PennsyBill
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p.1 #1 · Location lighting?


Just about a complete novice when it comes to studio work but I'd like to put together a portable strobe outfit (2 lights max) for taking individual and small group photos outdoors.

Portable, easy to set up and simple to use - and while price isn't the major consideration, I'd like not to lie to my wife about what I spent.

Any suggestions?



May 02, 2013 at 12:48 AM
pmiller228
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p.1 #2 · Location lighting?


I'd say it depends what you want to do.

I have 2 kits depending on my needs.

If I want easy to transport and lightweight, I bring a set of manual hot shoe flashes and radio triggers, light stands, and whichever modifier I want to use.

If I want more power and better modifier selection I have a set of Paul c buff Einsteins with vml battery packs, HD lightstands,etc..



May 02, 2013 at 01:56 PM
eburge
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p.1 #3 · Location lighting?


Novatron (my first studio lighting kit) make 2 light kits with everything in the case.


May 02, 2013 at 03:49 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #4 · Location lighting?


A good deal of location work can be done with a pair of strong (e.g. 580EX or 600EX-RT) speedlights. I use that approach all the time with one flash on a bracket and the other off camera because nobody is playing me and I don't want to be bothered hauling around the studio lights, which I also have.

Outdoors the lack of strength of speedlights can be worked around by taking maximum advantage of the natural light and avoiding it's problems:

1) Put the sun directly behind the subjects as "hair light and expose at F/11 @ 1/250 @ ISO 100

2) Pose the faces up in to the brightest part of the skylight as the ambient "Key" vector.

3) Then light the face with two flashes similar to indoors with the flash "Key" placed to match the angle of the natural "key" modeling and the fill flash, if needed, coming from near the lens so it is "neutral".

It's a case of "working smarter" not harder; outsmarting the sun by getting it out of the way as "hair" light requires less flash power for the faces in the shaded side than battling the sun directly and trying to overpower it with flash.

If you don't mind hauling two stands, modifiers and 40 pounds of sand to keep the stands upright in the wind then look a the Paul Buff line of monolights. The 320WS Alien Bees AB800s are $280 each, a battery/inverter to run them about $300. The Einstein line is more powerful and better in all respects but costs more.



May 02, 2013 at 04:12 PM
John Skinner
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p.1 #5 · Location lighting?


I'm NOT a fan of trying to use speedlights in a 'studio type setting', nor am I in agreement with considering them to be a replacement for portable multiple light set-ups on location. Speedlights are meant for bracket mounting (off axis) type lighting.

How people got pulled into a company's (Canon-Nikon's) idea that using 2 or 3 of these lights in a cluster to perform as a monoblock is purely hilarious. Even with Quantum lights it's a stretch.

To keep the overall cost of this down, and really, make sense in long term ownership. The E640s from Paul C Buff and the Vagabond power system is a pretty good start for a flexible kit for both interior and exterior lights. And whether or not your using Profoto, PCB, 4 SB-900/910s in a cluster.. Attach ANY modifier and use it in windy conditions, your going to need " 40 pounds of sand "... You gotta pick those battles.



May 02, 2013 at 09:25 PM
george malamis
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p.1 #6 · Location lighting?


The OP asked about a portable lighting kit to take portraits outside. The only reason you see people mounting 3 speedlites on a stand is to do action type shots, not portraiture. The easiest and most portable solution would be a speedlite kit. You can pack multiple speedlites, and manfrotto nano stands in a small shoulder bag. If you used canon 600exrt's then you also have the radio trigger solution included if you use two or more 600exrt's. Lower cost options can be strobist style with vivitar 285's and cheap triggers.
Monolights have a lot more power than speedlites but are bulkier, need external power supply/battery, and can only sync at 1/200 or 1/250.
I have both but unless I need to light up a large group I more often reach for the speedlite kit. Either system will work, you will need to decide what features are more important to you.



May 03, 2013 at 12:37 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #7 · Location lighting?


John Skinner wrote:
...How people got pulled into a company's (Canon-Nikon's) idea that using 2 or 3 of these lights in a cluster to perform as a monoblock is purely hilarious.


2 or 3? That's kid stuff.








May 03, 2013 at 03:09 AM
pr4photos
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p.1 #8 · Location lighting?


Loving that pic!!!


May 03, 2013 at 08:55 AM
pmiller228
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p.1 #9 · Location lighting?


Not a bad way to spend $4k... Or is it? Lol


May 03, 2013 at 12:50 PM
george malamis
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p.1 #10 · Location lighting?


I guess you've got to pay to play. HSS gives you up to 5 stops of additional sync speed but at a cost of power where the flash pulses rather than one big pop like monolights. This pulse sucks up a lot of power which the speedlites are already low on compared to monolights which is why multiple speedlites become necessary. I saw a video on a guy that was big into action sports photography and he used a ranger and PW flex system and was able to get sync speeds of 1/1200-1/1600. He described what components were necessary and he described shooting a white wall and pushing his shutter speed until he saw evidence of the shutter in the frame and then backed off.
I'm sure this is completely overkill for the OP but a small speelite kit is hard to beat.



May 03, 2013 at 01:15 PM
 

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BrianO
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p.1 #11 · Location lighting?


pr4photos wrote:
Loving that pic!!!



Here's the video from which it came:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNDAINwhTWU



May 03, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #12 · Location lighting?


BrianO wrote:
Here's the video from which it came:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNDAINwhTWU


That was cool



May 21, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Michael White
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p.1 #13 · Location lighting?


Adarama has several moonlight that are AC/DC setups that are cheaper than Speedlights and have more power. I have several canon speedlites plus a quantum qflash q5dr and a Speedotron pack and two light heads and I'm looking at picking up a couple of the monolites. Now as powerfull or compact as the top line ones but they don't come with the top line price tag either.


May 22, 2013 at 06:28 AM
pmiller228
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p.1 #14 · Location lighting?


Michael White wrote:
Adarama has several moonlight that are AC/DC setups that are cheaper than Speedlights and have more power. I have several canon speedlites plus a quantum qflash q5dr and a Speedotron pack and two light heads and I'm looking at picking up a couple of the monolites. Now as powerfull or compact as the top line ones but they don't come with the top line price tag either.


If you're shooting things sitting still they should work fine, otherwise they have a looooong flash duration. I'd suggest spending a little more on alienbees for a much better flash duration and great warranty.



May 22, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Mike Tuomey
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p.1 #15 · Location lighting?


Does the Cheetahlight CL-180 represent a midway solution between ABs and speedlites for nice, portable location lighting? The CL 180 seems positioned well between the two alternatives: small, light, fast recycle, inexpensive modifiers, etc.


Jun 02, 2013 at 05:53 PM
BigIronCruiser
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p.1 #16 · Location lighting?


The Cheetah CL-180's are marginally more powerful than speedlights, but fall well short of a monolight like the PCB Einstein. Cheetah's offer great portability, their trigger system can control more zones than anyone can keep up with, and the lithium battery pack is good for something like 800 full-power pops. It's a pretty nice system when used within its limits. Cheetah, by the way, is expected to introduce a CL-360 (double the power) in about 2 weeks. For large groups outdoors, however, monolights still rule.


Jun 02, 2013 at 08:13 PM
aztwang1
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p.1 #17 · Location lighting?


Take a look a this..Dave Black and some High speed synch action in the Pacific Ocean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP6a47BQA70



Jun 04, 2013 at 01:16 AM
markd61
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p.1 #18 · Location lighting?


Flash duration is a real no- issue for group photos that the OP asked about.
His real challenge is sufficient light to be useful outdoors.

For me, outdoors means freakin' bright sun as I live in the desert. I always look for shade but many times it is full bright sun and the attendant need for thumping fill.

Yes, you can use Speedlights but only as direct fill without modifiers. Quantums can work with an umbrella at short distances but then the group needs to be small ands close.


THE most affordable solutions for this problem are the Flashpoint AC/DC flashes from Adorama and various Chinese manufacturers on the web and Paul Buff's Alien Bees. Einsteins are very nice but Bees get the job done for a lot less.
As John Skinner noted, modifiers on any light means you need to get the sand bags out.
There is a place for small flashes outdoors as long as the ambient light is low-ish and you aren't too ambitious with group size or distance from the flash.

Also. the OP wanted to keep costs low. Canon or Nikon Speedlights are not cheap. They are very expensive for their output. I would much rather brag to my wife about my new Bee/ Vagaond setup for ~$800 that can do way more than a $1000+ Speedlight setup,



Jun 04, 2013 at 05:08 AM
markd61
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p.1 #19 · Location lighting?


BigIronCruiser wrote:
Cheetah's offer great portability, their trigger system can control more zones than anyone can keep up with, and the lithium battery pack is good for something like 800 full-power pops. .


At $670 with a battery it seems a great value in comparison to the Quantum it is competing against. I would like to see it in a head to head comparison once it is released.

As for zones, I have still not met any photographers (pro or amateur) who have ever been more ambitious than setting another channel for shooting so as to not interfere with the other setup. I can see how someone might use them but so far (for me) it is a feature in search of a user.



Jun 04, 2013 at 05:14 AM
pr4photos
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p.1 #20 · Location lighting?


Got myself a Godox EX600 recently and it kills speedlights dead for quality of light outdoors. Very pleased with it, and it was only 280 delivered to the UK from HongKong (ebay purchase)


Jun 04, 2013 at 02:28 PM
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