Lens Diaries Go Now
Glamour, Beauty, Nude, Models, Photographers

*    |  Register  


 
Go Back   Garage Glamour™ > Garage Glamour™ Main Forums > Main Community Forum
 

Main Community Forum General Modeling & Photography Forum
Adult posts prohibited!>>Please Read Our GUIDELINES before posting!

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-26-2006, 04:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
Lifetime Photographer

 
RHWeiner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Member GG#: 37106
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Posts: 719
Comments: 29
My Mood:

RHWeiner is offline IP: 207.81.125.45
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

I probably should post this in the Tech section but I'm seeing other similar questions being posed here and because everyone tends to come here I'll ask in this forum.

I'm giving serious consideration to purchasing either new or used strobe/monolight units as I'm tired of trying to find studio space with lighting or even just studio space. I have in mind units that are fairly transportable so I can go onsite instead.

I don't want to have this become a "This make/model is great, and this one is crap" thread. All I want to know is what is a good starting point for me to start looking around...in terms of watt/seconds. There is a guy selling 'made in China' units that are noted to be 160 w/s (tunable to 10 w/s) and he's even got a link to a photographer's site that claims to use these. I went to a studio lighting workshop that featured some monolights with a 300 w/s (tunable to 5 w/s) power. They also look great...they should as they start over $1000 CAD for light/softbox/stand.

So here's my question...is at least 160 w/s a good place to start from, or should I try to get at least 300 w/s units. My financial resources are pretty good at the moment but I'd rather pay less before I start really shelling out the cash.

Richard

PS...what I have in mind is a minimal setup with one light and reflectors. Maybe add in a small hairlight later.
__________________
"Beauty is more than skin deep"
  View Public Profile Send a private message to RHWeiner Visit RHWeiner's homepage! Find More Posts by RHWeiner
Last edited by RHWeiner; 11-26-2006 at 04:04 PM.. Reason: thought of something else...
 
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-26-2006, 04:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
Founder Garage Glamour™

 
rolandogomez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Member GG#: 1
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,803
Comments: 10
My Mood:
Send a message via AIM to rolandogomez

rolandogomez is offline IP: 70.125.156.188
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

Richard,

As discussed previously, lighting is so, so important and a long-term investment. Lighting comes in many levels, and often you pay for what you get. Because lighting is for the long-haul, invest wisely. There are many two and three light kits out there that are real great and you have to compare what each offers and what you need.

The key to lighting is learn one light first, and if you can afford it, make sure that first light is "your baby" that will make you shine. I personally wouldn't get a monolight less than 500ws (real watt-seconds). Obviously you pay more if you want 1/3 verses 1/10th F/stop adjustments, tight color temperature tolerance vs crappy all over the spectrum tolerances, multi-voltage vs 110 only, ruggedness and portability vs bulky and just not tough enough, etc. Of note, a multi-voltage light is usually better color temp tolerances, tighter as it's a more regulated power-supply.

Again, right tool for the right job. If you have the money, go for a Hensel, Profoto, or as a minimum, Dyna-Lite. If you want some extras, PM me and I'll see what I can do for you with Samys Camera--no promises. Send me your phone number and time to call--nope, I get no commission, but I love helping those that understand put your money in lights first, lenses then camera bodies. Wishing you the best, rg sends!




Click for larger version
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed? 
__________________
Photographer & Author author of five photography books. My newest book is Socially Smart: Twitter Plus Facebook, Marketing Multipliers And Brand Boosters Click here for My Tweet Workshop Information and the Photo Blog
  View Public Profile Send a private message to rolandogomez Visit rolandogomez's homepage! Find More Posts by rolandogomez
 
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-26-2006, 05:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
Lifetime Photographer

 
RHWeiner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Member GG#: 37106
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Posts: 719
Comments: 29
My Mood:

RHWeiner is offline IP: 207.81.125.45
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

Thanks Rolando...I'll be in touch in a bit.

What I and numerous others could really use with is a spreadsheet that goes through the various makes/models out there to give the photographer something to work from when going for lighting. There are many sites that give reviews and information about cameras and lenses but I've not come across any that clear up the studio lighting dilema. I think I'll start working on this myself using some of the requirements you've indicated and any other things that others reading this can think of. I'll also see if I can include MSRP as prices fluctuate between resellers.

What I won't include though is any kind of rating system. That is terribly subjective. What one photographer figures is the best may well be 'poo pooed' by others.

One key factor though is an indication of availability in the area or country the photographer lives in. There are some units manufactured or readily available only 'in country' so shipping/handling/taxes/duty may be contributing components to the photographers' choices. As it is, even with some great deals over the Internet, I try to stay close to home for support and repairs. It's little sense in saving bucks only to have to ship half way across the globe with cost/damage/loss to factor in.
__________________
"Beauty is more than skin deep"
  View Public Profile Send a private message to RHWeiner Visit RHWeiner's homepage! Find More Posts by RHWeiner
 
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-26-2006, 05:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
Evangelical Ne'er-do-well

 
ChipBulgin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Member GG#: 42306
Location: Severna Park, MD
Posts: 485
Comments: 0
Send a message via Yahoo to ChipBulgin

ChipBulgin is offline IP: 68.55.248.119
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

Try not to think too much in terms of watt/seconds and think more in terms of f-stops. W/S only tells you how much energy is stored in the strobe's capacitors, not how efficient it is or how much light it actually puts out. Two different lights with the same w/s rating can differ greatly in the amount of light they actually emit. But before you even go that far, figure out what you want to shoot, how far your strobes will typically be from your subject, and what modifiers you intend to use on them. If you're going to be placing your lights close to your subject and don't need large, soft light then you don't need much power at all. But if you want to use large modifiers or need to move the lights back to cover your subject then you will probably want more power.

To be more specific, most 300 w/s lights fitted with their standard reflector (usually around 7" that throws a 60-65 degree beam of light) will emit enough light to warrant an f-stop in the neighborhood of f/16 when placed 10' from your subject. 150 w/s lights will be in the neighborhood of f/11. But put a medium or large softbox on them and you'll lose an f-stop or two. The cost difference usually isn't that much between two lights by the same manufacturer, as housings, circuit-boards, lamp-heads, etc. all cost the same. You pay for the additional capacitors and power handling capability.

If you want to photograph people, I'd advise against anything less than a 300 w/s light. Fully discharging your strobes each and every time lengthens your recycle times, heats up the capacitors, and generally works your strobes harder. You want to trip the shutter when your subject's expression is right, not necessarily when the strobes have finished recycling. And when you need to pull back a bit to photograph a group of people or light a full-length shot you'll have the power to do it with adequate DOF to keep everyone or everything in focus.

-Chip
__________________
People who do stupid things with dangerous substances often die! -me
  View Public Profile Send a private message to ChipBulgin Find More Posts by ChipBulgin
 
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-26-2006, 08:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
Free Member

 
R_Fredrick_Smith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Member GG#: 35872
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth Area
Posts: 3,691
Comments: 41

R_Fredrick_Smith is offline IP: 76.186.138.200
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

There are many answers to your question. I work with a lot of different photographers and have gone to more workshops than I can count over the last 20 or 30 years. I've seen different lights in use at most of them. There doesn't seem to be one standard.

As for myself, I've used the same set of lights for almost 30 years. I have a Novatron 440ws power pack and 4 heads. I've shot weddings, large events, entertainment news and cover shots for Newspapers and magazines, brochure work, model portfolios and just good old fashion glamour using these lights. When I need a big punch I usually use two heads with one set at 1 stop reduction which means that one head gives 330ws and the other gives 110ws. I've used them in and out of soft boxes. I've always been able to light the scenes I needed to with this setup.

The only problem with the power pack and head based units is that it is sometimes more difficult to setup the lighting ratios except with the more expensive units. Also, no matter what you do with a power pack unit, you essentially never have more ws for all the heads than the pack will provide.

On the other hand if you go with mono-lights of some sort, then each head will have up to its full ws rating, and then can be dialed down from there. Most of the better units will give you a 5 step range. I also like the units that allow the modeling lights to vary with the power reduction so that you can get a "what you see is what you get" preview.

I've made considerable use over the years of White Lightnings and Alien Bees and have found them to work quite well. They are very economical and are American made and supported very well. I've found them to be quite reliable and right on the money for maintaining a constant color temperature.

Being older, and not too good at lifting things, I'd opt now days for something like these Alien Bees simply because they are very compact and fairly light. I also like the fact that you can get a wireless remote controller for a set of lights and then control each light from where ever you're standing. This makes it really east to get just the lighting ratio you want.

I went to a Wedding workshop several years ago where the pro giving the workshop used the White Lightnings ( made by the same people who make Alien Bees - but heavier duty and more expensive) and he was able to do some remarkable things with them using the remote controller.

You'll see lots of information on the Internet either pro or con for the WL and AB's so you might want to research that and read what they say on their websites.

When all is said and done, however, I'd agree with Rolando about getting a light that you can live with for the long haul. Just keep in mind that the price ratios between WLs and ABs and Hensel (for example) can be very large. Also keep in mind the replacement cost of flash tubes, modeling bulbs and the purchase of accessories that will work with the unit. Some models charge an arm and a leg for the replacement items or accessories.

Bottom line: its how you use the lights you have, rather than how much they cost, or what bells and whistles they have.

Here are some shots with various lights. The first is Malloy with a Hensel in a 7 foot softbox:



Here is a shot of Kelley using the Novatron power pack and 4 lights (2 on background and two on model - large 4x3 softbox for main light):



And here is Haley, shot with WL/AB units:



Hope this helps.

Cheers,
rfs
__________________

"The map is not the Territory"
  View Public Profile Send a private message to R_Fredrick_Smith Visit R_Fredrick_Smith's homepage! Find More Posts by R_Fredrick_Smith
 
Another Bee fan chimes in...
Old 11-26-2006, 09:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
____________
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Member GG#: 35406
Location: Bogus
Posts: 949
Comments: 0

Al_Nowak is offline IP: 68.255.72.143
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

Maybe I'll consider a brand other than Alien Bee's when they offer a 60 day Absolute Satisfaction guarantee, a two year warrenty, reasonable cost upgrades to the next power level, modestly priced replacement flash tubes, fast and fairly priced repair service, and a live (and friendly!) person I can talk to on the phone. Till then... AB's forever.
__________________

Elvis has left the building...
  View Public Profile Send a private message to Al_Nowak Find More Posts by Al_Nowak
 
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-26-2006, 10:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
Lifetime Photographer

 
RHWeiner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Member GG#: 37106
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Posts: 719
Comments: 29
My Mood:

RHWeiner is offline IP: 207.81.125.45
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

Damn it..everytime I ask, what I think to be, a simple technical question I get lots of very good and educated answers...with LOTS of variety! It's enough to make a person's head spin. .... LOL. Seriously though I want to thank each and everyone of you. I've got a lot to chew over, a lot of sites to go visit and some major decisions to make. I'm trying my level best to get over all the technology so that Art may appear and look effortless to anyone viewing the photos. I'm sure we all are, too.

Let's not let this thread end here. So if anyone else wants to chime in be my guest. Just remember this is not really meant to be a brand popularity fest but if you feel strongly about your particular setup please, go ahead and champion yours.
__________________
"Beauty is more than skin deep"
  View Public Profile Send a private message to RHWeiner Visit RHWeiner's homepage! Find More Posts by RHWeiner
 
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-27-2006, 01:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
Lifetime Photographer
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Member GG#: 35218
Location: Metro Atlanta
Posts: 717
Comments: 0

Doug_Lester is offline IP: 66.32.139.56
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

Do you prefer Fords or Chevys? Mercedes or BMWs? Canons or Nikons? In most ways, the same applies to studio lighting, it's mostly a personal preference. Despite the many arguments on the various forums the differences between the major brands are not really that significant. Just as you will see a difference between a Ford and a Mercedes, cost is a factor, but the major brands all work. Some offer a lot of bells and whistles, some do not. Do you "need' bells and whistles???

For example, over the past few years Novatron has sort of fallen out of favor, but I suspect that has more to do with a lack of marketing and advertising than quality. I ran a commercial studio for many years with Novatrons and they lit whatever I needed to light and did it well, ranging from individual and small groups to small products (table top) to magazine illustrations. On the rare occasion I needed to light a huge area, I rented something stronger or additional lights. I also used White Lightning monolights, the older brother of Alien Bees, for many years in my studio, often mixing them with Novatrons. The point is, all of the majopr brandds of lights work. Do you need to light individuals or do you need to light a 45' tractor trailer? Do you shoot indoors in a studio type environment or outdoors on battery power or with a generator? Those needs will be different, so suit the light to your specific needs.

Now that I'm in retirement, my lighting needs are fairly basic. I use a combination of Novatron, White Lightning Ultra and even a little Smith Victor monolight, often using them together. They all work!

M y advice is to stick to a major brand, any major brand, they all work and you'll be pleased with the results as long as you do not need to light a warehouse size space. I would strongly recommend avoiding the Chinese and other off brand lights. Some of them may work well, but the problem is in quality control. The major brands have excellent quality control, the 'off brands' do not. Some claim to provide an excellent warantee, but trying to enforce it in China can be a problem. The next time I need to replace a light, I'll probably go for an AB.

So do you 'need' a Mercedes or do you just want one? Or will a Ford do the same job for you?

As an aside, if you decide on the Alien Bees, I would strongly urge you do get the black version, the pink version will do the job, but will not do a lot for your credibility.
__________________
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.
--HL Mencken
  View Public Profile Send a private message to Doug_Lester Visit Doug_Lester's homepage! Find More Posts by Doug_Lester
 
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-27-2006, 10:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
Free Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Member GG#: 55336
Location: Lakebay
Posts: 26
Comments: 0

Bigv is offline IP: 69.29.215.105
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

Ditto about Novatron. Good lights but not very popular. I have a 240 pack and two heads that I used for many weddings. The lighter heads are nice when you are outdoors and have to secure stands. I rarely use them for anything else.

When I bought the first White Lightnings it was because of the remote light controller they offered. Being able to tweak a light ten feet up on a boom by pushing a button is really nice.

I'll give the same advice I give everyone else. Instead of buying a bunch of cheap lights buy one of the biggest, best built light you can afford. Learn to use it along with reflectors and add more lights later. Learning to light this way will make you better in the long run.
  View Public Profile Send a private message to Bigv Find More Posts by Bigv
 
Re: Minimum Strobes/Monolights power needed?
Old 11-27-2006, 12:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
Free Member

 
GreyGhost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Member GG#: 54600
Location: Orange Park
Posts: 4
Comments: 0

GreyGhost is offline IP: 66.55.2.26
 
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote

I use Alien Bees and love em. For the money you can't beat them abnd they have tons of accessories available too.
__________________
Britt McTammany
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
www.astoundingimages.com
Graphic design, image retouching / stylization, and portrait photography.
www.mctammany.com
Nature, floral, & landscape photography.
  View Public Profile Send a private message to GreyGhost Find More Posts by GreyGhost
 
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
portable power David_L_Brown Tech Talk Forum 6 09-19-2007 08:11 PM
is it possible? markomiscevic Tech Talk Forum 14 06-08-2005 09:02 PM
Homebuilt portable AC power supply ToeJam Tech Talk Forum 6 05-14-2005 10:26 AM
White Lightning "Vagabond" power system problem followup... :) JohnPaul Tech Talk Forum 12 10-08-2004 09:06 PM

Sponsors


New To Site? Need Help? Photographer & Model Links
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:45 AM.

© 1999-2017 Garage Glamour™




Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94