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What and Where to look for

  
 
lostrennie
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · What and Where to look for


I have not had the opportunity to own a good portable light kit in an annoying amount of years, so I have not kept up with the good equipment and how it all connects to the camera's of the day. I see wifi and bluetooth on a number of the new camera's that I am looking to acquire, but I am in the dark as to what to look at for a good lighting setup. I have heard that LED light kits have taken over the old hot lamps, but I was hoping someone would not mind elucidating the current state of lighting kits and equipment in general.


Jun 14, 2024 at 12:14 PM
jlafferty
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · What and Where to look for


The short of it is: Godox is the most popular, most widely adopted strobe system, with their more affordable pro level of battery driven lights - AD300Pro, AD400Pro, AD600Pro - being well above the threshold needed to do truly "pro" level work. They also make a lot of plug in lights of varying quality - some fine, some dubious. Basically, define a niche and/or budget (and/or expectation of quality), and they have a light that fits it. Adorama sells them all under their in-house Flashpoint brand and offers warranty and repair support, but they are sold as Godox elsewhere and all are inter-operable.

Paul Buff, the company, is back in action with an excellent entry called Celestial; it is hampered by their reliance on the legacy Balcar mount (which no other strobe manufacturer, and perhaps more importantly, no LED manufacturer uses). Nice price/performance and reputedly excellent support though. Kind of a weird triggering system.

LEDs, there are a handful of solid manufacturers around, Nanlite being the best among the "cheaper" options; Aputure being probably the best among the more expensive - but not Arri expensive - makers.

Also, some people like Stella Pro.

Anything deeper than this you'll have to do some research and drill down to what you want/need. Good luck.



Jun 15, 2024 at 06:39 AM
sungphoto
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · What and Where to look for


Agree with ^ that if you're getting into portable strobes now, Godox would be your safest bet. What I like about the system is that they are quite reasonable in terms of price, and have a wide variety of form factors and power.

You can start with a speedlite and go all the way up to a big boy 2400 ws without having to sell a kidney. My favorites are the AD200 Pro and the AD600 Pro - the extension head on the AD600 makes it super flexible in usage. I often contemplate selling my profoto kit and just going with godox with the stuff I keep on hand.



Jun 15, 2024 at 05:45 PM
lostrennie
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · What and Where to look for


Thanks for the reply!

I am interested to know what tends to be the triggering systems for these systems, since it seems that all of the mirrorless camera's that I am looking at no longer have the PC socket?



Jun 17, 2024 at 12:00 PM
lostrennie
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · What and Where to look for


I will definitely look into those kits and see what works! Thank you for your insight!


Jun 17, 2024 at 12:01 PM
jlafferty
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · What and Where to look for


lostrennie wrote:
Thanks for the reply!

I am interested to know what tends to be the triggering systems for these systems, since it seems that all of the mirrorless camera's that I am looking at no longer have the PC socket?


With Godox, the best trigger currently is the R2ProII, which comes in a variety of camera system specific flavors - e.g. Nikon, Canon, Fuji. The receivers are built into the strobes, so long as they're designated as being compatible with "the R2 family."

There's a third party trigger that offers some interesting features, The Raven, made by the Pocket Wizard people. It's cross compatible with two systems at once, though I think you have to choose which two at purchase: Godox, Paul Buff & Profoto.

Buff lights have their own proprietary trigger system, too.



Jun 17, 2024 at 01:53 PM
CharleyL
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · What and Where to look for


The Godox X system transmitters are made to fit the hot shoes of all of the major camera brands. A different version of transmitter is available for each brand. The output of these transmitters is standardized and works in the high WIFI channels to communicate with any of their lights that have the X receivers built into them, but they also make X band receivers that will fit onto the hot shoes of other major brands of lights to fully control them as well. These receivers also contain PC connectors, so by using a short cable you can fire any strobe that has a PC connector (but you won't be able to adjust these lights from the camera location, only fire them. Adjustment must be done manually at the light). Flashpoint is a rebrand of Godox that is sold by Adorama in NYC. Though different catalog numbers and name, they are made by Godox and work with Godox X transmitters and receivers, so identical except for name and catalog number. There is another rebrand of Godox being sold in Europe, but I don't remember this rebrand name. The Godox "X" communication system is highly reliable within the 300' range posted. I switched to Godox/Flashpoint about 5 years ago and the only misfires that I've experienced since then have been operator related (wrong channel, etc.)

Charley



Jun 20, 2024 at 07:55 AM
story_teller
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · What and Where to look for


Iíll address the "equipment in generalĒ part. At this point you have DSLR cameras (on the decline) and mirrorless cameras (on the rise). You can get some good pricing on DSLRs and DSLR lenses plus they will work well, but the newer features and improved lenses are being incorporated in the mirrorless systems. In addition, the video capabilities of most mirrorless cameras are improved over DSLR video, but you can still get very nice video out of the DSLRs. There will of course be exceptions to these statements.

Depending on what types of photography you shoot, most of the cameras have useable autofocus and lens selections. Some have better features than others, but in general they will all take very good photos. Think about what features you want in a camera and what types of lenses you will need. Landscape usually means wider angle lenses and wildlife usually requires longer telephotos. Autofocus systems of the mirrorless cameras are generally improved over the DSLRs, so if action, wildlife, birding is of interest, the mirrorless may be a better longer-term solution. The top 3 manufacturers (Sony, Canon and Nikon) will have the widest selection of camera bodies, compatibility with 3rd party gear (such as lighting) and lenses to choose from. Fuji and Panasonic are also good and will usually have better pricing, but a more limited selection of equipment.



Jun 21, 2024 at 07:14 AM
sungphoto
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · What and Where to look for


jlafferty wrote:
With Godox, the best trigger currently is the R2ProII, which comes in a variety of camera system specific flavors - e.g. Nikon, Canon, Fuji. The receivers are built into the strobes, so long as they're designated as being compatible with "the R2 family."

There's a third party trigger that offers some interesting features, The Raven, made by the Pocket Wizard people. It's cross compatible with two systems at once, though I think you have to choose which two at purchase: Godox, Paul Buff & Profoto.

Buff lights have their own proprietary trigger system, too.


Have you used the new little touch screen one?



Jun 21, 2024 at 07:06 PM
PJphoto
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · What and Where to look for


If you are considering Godox and you shoot Nikon, be aware that there is a lower reliability of the Godox brand flash triggers than with other camera brands. I have a number of their flashes across their product range (AD1200 Pro, AD600 Pros, AD200 Pro, v860II etc), multiple Nikon bodies (d850s, d750) and when using the XProII-N, R2 ProII-N and the newer X3-N trigger, they all misfire frequently. I spoke with a Godox rep about it a couple of years ago (likely before they did the R&D on the X3 trigger) and they knew about it but the issue persists with the X3.

Ultimately I bought the Raven trigger which fires every time without fail (only time it doesn't is if the flash has not recycled but that isn't an issue of the triggering system). So the reliability with the Godox triggering system is there but there is something about how their triggers interface with Nikon DSLR bodies that is unreliable. I can't speak to the Nikon mirrorless bodies.



Jun 25, 2024 at 06:30 AM
 


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jlafferty
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · What and Where to look for


I have a totally contradictory experience. D810 (multiple bodies), Z6, Z8, Z9. AD200 on up through AD600Pros, and occasional AD1200. Practically zero misfires. Iíve used the X1, X2, XPro, XProII. My bet is youíre suffering from radio interference.


Jun 25, 2024 at 08:06 AM
jlafferty
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · What and Where to look for


Nope. Not my style. Iíve seen it - a workshop student of mine had it and showed it to me. It looks nice. I just feel the UI on the XProII is about as good as it can get, and have no need for it to be smaller.

Does it offer the channel scan function? Thatís 100% my motivation to upgrade from XPro to XProII.

sungphoto wrote:
Have you used the new little touch screen one?



Edited on Jun 25, 2024 at 08:39 AM · View previous versions



Jun 25, 2024 at 08:24 AM
PJphoto
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · What and Where to look for


Glad that you've not experienced it! I know everyone that I've spoken too that shoots Canon and Sony also have rock solid performance. Possibly it only effects Nikon DSLRs (all that I've used) as you mainly mentioned Nikon mirrorless?

When I was using their triggers I was scanning for and using the channels with the highest signal strength and it occurred consistently in a variety of physical and electromagnetic environments. Given it was an acknowledged issue by a Godox rep I spoke with at a conference, I'm inclined to think it is something else. The Raven, on the exact same bodies, has been rock solid in all the same environments so it isn't an issue of protocol or the receiver on the flash units.



Jun 25, 2024 at 08:35 AM
jlafferty
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · What and Where to look for


Well, thatís strange. Just FWIW Iíve been shooting Nikon SLRs and Godox since ~2015/16 - Iíd guess somewhere around 250 shoots with Godox - and only recently switched to mostly mirrorless. Iíve had firing troubles twice, both were RF interference and solved by either switching channels, or moving monitors away from the trigger signal path.

Whoís the ďGodox repĒ? Iíd like to see what they say firsthand. Iíve never heard of this Nikon-specific shortcoming. I donít doubt what you say, and Iím glad you found a reliable solution, just curious to learn more.

PJphoto wrote:
Glad that you've not experienced it! I know everyone that I've spoken too that shoots Canon and Sony also have rock solid performance. Possibly it only effects Nikon DSLRs (all that I've used) as you mainly mentioned Nikon mirrorless?

When I was using their triggers I was scanning for and using the channels with the highest signal strength and it occurred consistently in a variety of physical and electromagnetic environments. Given it was an acknowledged issue by a Godox rep I spoke with at a conference, I'm inclined to think it is something else. The Raven, on the exact same bodies,
...Show more



Jun 25, 2024 at 08:45 AM
johnvanr
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · What and Where to look for


sungphoto wrote:
Agree with ^ that if you're getting into portable strobes now, Godox would be your safest bet. What I like about the system is that they are quite reasonable in terms of price, and have a wide variety of form factors and power.

You can start with a speedlite and go all the way up to a big boy 2400 ws without having to sell a kidney. My favorites are the AD200 Pro and the AD600 Pro - the extension head on the AD600 makes it super flexible in usage. I often contemplate selling my profoto kit and just going with
...Show more

I have indeed sold my Profoto gear and moved to Flashpoint/Godox.



Jun 25, 2024 at 08:55 AM
johnvanr
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · What and Where to look for


jlafferty wrote:
With Godox, the best trigger currently is the R2ProII, which comes in a variety of camera system specific flavors - e.g. Nikon, Canon, Fuji. The receivers are built into the strobes, so long as they're designated as being compatible with "the R2 family."

There's a third party trigger that offers some interesting features, The Raven, made by the Pocket Wizard people. It's cross compatible with two systems at once, though I think you have to choose which two at purchase: Godox, Paul Buff & Profoto.

Buff lights have their own proprietary trigger system, too.


Flashpoint/Godox has introduced the next generation trigger: Flashpoint R2 Nano Touchscreen TTL Wireless Flash Trigger. Itís available for most camera systems, but not all, last time I checked.



Jun 25, 2024 at 08:58 AM
PJphoto
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · What and Where to look for


Huh, that's about the timeframe that I moved over from Pocket Wizards and Profoto. Honestly it was incredibly frustrating - I invested a ton of time trying to figure out the cause and a solution.

The Godox rep was someone I spoke to at PPA's Imagine USA conference a few years ago on the exhibition floor. I don't recall their name. Other than suggesting all the usual steps to minimize interference, he said there wasn't much that could be done about it at that time. I bought the latest touchscreen trigger as a backup to the Raven hoping that it would have fixed it but I tested it on both my d850s and d750 and it still had frequent misfires. Fortunately it is only the backup!


jlafferty wrote:
Well, thatís strange. Just FWIW Iíve been shooting Nikon SLRs and Godox since ~2015/16 - Iíd guess somewhere around 250 shoots with Godox - and only recently switched to mostly mirrorless. Iíve had firing troubles twice, both were RF interference and solved by either switching channels, or moving monitors away from the trigger signal path.

Whoís the ďGodox repĒ? Iíd like to see what they say firsthand. Iíve never heard of this Nikon-specific shortcoming. I donít doubt what you say, and Iím glad you found a reliable solution, just curious to learn more.






Jun 25, 2024 at 09:33 AM
jlafferty
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · What and Where to look for


How current are your firmwares across the flash units and triggers? I ask because I am remembering I *did* have one other misfire issue: got the new XProII, and all was great, mixed D810 & Z6 use, across several shoots.

Then one day I pulled out an AD600Pro that I rarely use (I have three, but most of the time use one for key, one for fill, so it sits in the case as a backup). It would misfire, reliably, every third frame. At the time I had it set up inside an optical spot, very close to the camera, so I just chalked it up to proximity issues.

Then, on another shoot, I needed to pull that same light out again but to light a background maybe 15ft from the camera. And again, every third frame it went dark. None of my other 5 lights misfired. So I took it in to Adorama, along with my XProII trigger, and asked the guy there to flash all of my lights, and the trigger. He flashed the trigger to, I think it's 1.5. And strangely, he couldn't flash the AD600Pro. None of the cables he had available would connect to the unit.

Next day I'm on set shooting with that light, and the problem was gone entirely. So apparently it's some weird firmware clash with the trigger. All of my lights are on different firmware, and none are the most current, but only one didn't play well :/



Jun 25, 2024 at 10:33 AM
PJphoto
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · What and Where to look for


That is a good question and something that I'd have to check. Back when I was doing all the problem solving I did a round of updates but that was a few years ago now so definitely not going to be the latest version. As soon as I got the Raven trigger which solved the problem I left everything alone! If I get a moment I might do some updates and test with the X3 trigger to see if it has been addressed. But again, given the Raven uses the Godox protocols and fires every time, I'm inclined to think it isn't the flashes themselves but it is of course possible.



jlafferty wrote:
How current are your firmwares across the flash units and triggers? I ask because I am remembering I *did* have one other misfire issue: got the new XProII, and all was great, mixed D810 & Z6 use, across several shoots.

Then one day I pulled out an AD600Pro that I rarely use (I have three, but most of the time use one for key, one for fill, so it sits in the case as a backup). It would misfire, reliably, every third frame. At the time I had it set up inside an optical spot, very close to the camera,
...Show more




Jun 25, 2024 at 12:11 PM
PJphoto
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · What and Where to look for


Just checked the FW version history for the AD600 Pro and FW v 1.5 states "1. To solve the reception problem of external wireless;" so that might possibly be it.

jlafferty wrote:
How current are your firmwares across the flash units and triggers? I ask because I am remembering I *did* have one other misfire issue: got the new XProII, and all was great, mixed D810 & Z6 use, across several shoots.

Then one day I pulled out an AD600Pro that I rarely use (I have three, but most of the time use one for key, one for fill, so it sits in the case as a backup). It would misfire, reliably, every third frame. At the time I had it set up inside an optical spot, very close to the camera,
...Show more




Jun 25, 2024 at 12:26 PM
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