Just discovered Strobe light....need advice
/forum/topic/1159832/0



ether1
Registered: Sep 02, 2012
Total Posts: 187
Country: United States

I am a new to photography and doing it as a hobby only...but slowly building my "toolbox"...currently for light source I use Speedlite 580EX II and Yongnuo
I took a great class on studio photography where we played with all sorts of different lights.
I was most impressed with Strobe lights but the one in the studio were like $5000 units.

Here is my question for those that have some experience:

1. I would be willing to spend around $500 for some decent starter kit of strobes. What would you recommend? What are the pros /cons of such entry level strobe as comparing to my current flashes?

2. Should I rather buy two stands, ext. battery pack and some light modifiers and for the time being just stick with my two flashes?

Appreciate your input.... bottom light...I don't want to spend that $500 for strobes that will only dissapoint and give me nothing better than a pair of speedlits....I want to spend my money wisely.

Thanks!



runamuck
Registered: Oct 29, 2006
Total Posts: 7013
Country: United States

Check out strobist.com



ravisrajan
Registered: May 04, 2012
Total Posts: 175
Country: United States

ether1 wrote:

1. I would be willing to spend around $500 for some decent starter kit of strobes. What would you recommend? What are the pros /cons of such entry level strobe as comparing to my current flashes?
Thanks!

Here is what I suggest to look at pros and cons of PCB Einstein and other expensive strobes, via http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1152757


I have been using Two PCB Einstein light package over 4 months, I am very happy with this setup for taking portraits for my friends and family members even though this package is well beyond your budget range, but you can get one Einstein light for $499+shipping, this light have 9 stop adjustment from 650W to 2.5W/s. In terms of how many canon 430 speedlight to one Einstein please see my comparison at http://ravisrajan.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-many-canon-flash430-is-equal-to.html

Another option is try beginner bee package for $372+ shipping, as you grow in your needs to studio lights you can use this one as backup or hair light etc., This B600 is one stop less then Einstein. http://paulcbuff.com/pkg-beginnerbee.php


Good luck
Ravi S



BrianO
Registered: Aug 21, 2008
Total Posts: 8550
Country: United States

ether1 wrote: ...Should I rather buy two stands, ext. battery pack and some light modifiers and for the time being just stick with my two flashes?

Others disagree, but since you already have two Speedlites I think this approach has some merit.

If I were shooting professionally day in and day out I would certainly get some good studio lights at whatever price point I could afford at the time; but since I'm not shooting day in and day out (I do a few weddings from time to time, and some senior portraits, families, etc. on request), I've spent my money on upgrading my camera and lenses, and got some good Speedlite modifiers.

Not as convenient as A/C powered lights, but recharging batteries after each shoot isn't that onerous a task given the time between shoots.

Here's some of my current gear:



GraceNFaith
Registered: Jun 22, 2012
Total Posts: 69
Country: United States

runamuck wrote:
Check out strobist.com


+1 great resource



hugowolf
Registered: Nov 11, 2011
Total Posts: 591
Country: United States

ether1 wrote:
IShould I rather buy two stands, ext. battery pack and some light modifiers and for the time being just stick with my two flashes?

You will have to buy two stands whether you put studio flashes on them or your shoe mount flashes on them. So two stands is a no brainer. Umbrellas are inexpensive and you can use them with both. Then all you would need to mount your flashes to the stands are umbrella swivel mounts.

So the only major expense is remote triggering of the flashes you have.

Brian A



ether1
Registered: Sep 02, 2012
Total Posts: 187
Country: United States

yes -that is the easiest option.
the point I was making was to hear from others who maybe had the same dilema as me; doing photography for fun , not professionally and wondering if they REALLY realized the benefits of going for stobe lights or if it ended up as spending $500 on an accessory that is not that much better than a set of speedlites.
I am currently reading Syl Arena's Guidebook on speedlites and seems this guy does every trick just by using flashes....granted, he sometimes uses as many as 6 or 8 which = cost of good strobes.

I appreciate all your POVs and feedback so please share it.



ether1
Registered: Sep 02, 2012
Total Posts: 187
Country: United States

still debating with myself
those alien bees are tempting but also a lot of people rave about the Einsteins and for the extra $200....wonder how soon I would find myself trying to off-load the cheaper lights and wanting to buy single Einstein strobe.



buckeyeguy1
Registered: Jan 23, 2012
Total Posts: 157
Country: United States

I have an Alien Bee B800 strobe AND two speedlights. I do like the B800, but for the size of area that I am taking portraits in, I almost wish I had gone with the B400 instead. The nice thing about the Einsteins are the fact you can turn them down lower than the lowest power of the B400s and as high as the highest power on the B1600s which make them VERY versatile as far as power output.

I really like using my speedlights. They are lighter to transport, don't take up very much room and are pretty quick to set up. However, I really like my large softbox for my strobe. Like someone had already mentioned, get a couple stands, flash mounts and umbrelas and give them a go for a while. If you decide that you want to get a strobe(s) you already have a stand and umbrelas. Just make sure you get a good sturdy stand from the beginning.



ether1
Registered: Sep 02, 2012
Total Posts: 187
Country: United States

so just one more question....comparing to the Einsteins....what else is there in the same price range ($350-500) that is highly regarded?
Or is that really the best $500 one can spend on a strobe light?

Thanks!



DigMeTX
Registered: Nov 26, 2010
Total Posts: 1521
Country: United States

Elinchrom d-lite series is a good one in that price range. They sell a kit that is more but you might be able to buy the kit second-hand in that range or just one light.

Very consisitent and precise digital adjustments in small increments. A set just sold on the used forum recently for under $400. That was admittedly an outstanding deal but if you're patient you might find a deal ~$500. Check B&H for demo/open-box/used deals.

brad



Smridevan
Registered: Jul 19, 2011
Total Posts: 391
Country: United States

BrianO, could you please tell me the equipment that you have in the picture? What is that circular lamp? Is that a modeling lamp? What brand is the beauty dish? Thanks.



BrianO
Registered: Aug 21, 2008
Total Posts: 8550
Country: United States

Smridevan wrote: BrianO, could you please tell me the equipment that you have in the picture?

The small dish on the boom is an RPStudio BeautiDish (note the spelling...with an i instead of a y). It's only 11 inches across, so not really effective as a beauty dish in the classical sense, but I use it as a hair light or accent light. It comes with a diffusion sock, and I bought the optional grid as well.

The umbrella is a Photoflex. I can't recall now if that's the 45" or the 60" -- I'll have to measure it again one of these days.

The soft box is a Westcott 28-inch Apollo; in my opinion the best Speedlite-capable soft box on the market due to its retro-reflective design -- very even lighting across the face of the panel. It can also take monolights and strobe heads, so it's very flexible.

The larger dish is a 20-inch RPStudio BeautiDish, and this one I do use as a traditional BD with the opaque reflector, and as a round "soft light" with the translucent reflector. (Both types of reflector come with both the 20" and the 11" dish.) This larger one comes with the sock and the grid as standard.

The boom stand (I have two) is a Manfrotto 420B Combi stand, and at around $150 they are another "best buy" in my opinion. They can work as either vertical-column light stands or as boom stands with the simple flip of a lever, and they come with a small sand bag for counter-weighting the boom.

The big light stand is a Promaster SystemPro LS-4 air-cushioned light stand.

The tripod is a Manfrotto similar to the current 055XPROB.

Not shown are a small Manfrotto floor stand for back lights, a monopod, and an old flash bracket that I got in the '80s and still use. (I can't recall the brand of the latter, but it has a telescoping column that I find very handy when doing weddings and events in large rooms.)

I also have Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce caps in white, green, and orange for all three of my Speedlites, plus assorted cables, clamps, cold shoes, umbrella holders, gels, etc.

The last picture is of a Datacolor SpyderChecker, which I take a shot of under the lighting conditions I'm shooting under so that I have a known-color reference for color-correcting shots after the fact. (I usually shoot in raw mode, for the widest gamut and most flexibility in post processing.)

Hope this helps.



Smridevan
Registered: Jul 19, 2011
Total Posts: 391
Country: United States

Wow thank you for the detailed response!