After some review comparison, and especially after reading John Fisher's review here at GG, I've decided to go with the AB800: http://www.alienbees.com/b800.html
Other than the lighting unit itself, what other components are
A: absolutely necessary?
...the "light modifyer frame".. get one per light.., Eclips "ribless" umbrellas..made by Photogenic... so the reflection of the umbrella ribs is reduced in the catch lights.. I have several..that range in size.. I use those for groups of people mostly but if you are just starting out,... try using them for people too..
Under A would be...
a stand to put it on? (intend to place softbox high above subjects head)
...an 8ft stand should be good to start with.. if you plan on getting additional lights, you may want to use a backlight stand,.. with the center post.. or if you want a more sturdy stand, or one that you can place some sand bags on, you may want to get the "Avenger" catalog.. I could suggest several kinds of stands... I like useing one that features a "lazy leg" which extends so you can plact the light stand on a hill..or on stairs..and manage to keep the light level.. (and safe from falling)..
a softbox? (sizes?)
...hmm... a 16x20 is a nice small box,...I still use mine all the time.. I also would suggest perhaps a 36x48" box... and I would strongly suggest buying ones with a recesed front.. ...like the kind that look like it has sort of a barn-door effect...because that is what it does.. it controls the light better.. I like Chimera boxes ... I have a Photoflex but I don't like the way it was built.. Oh, ask O*M*P #97 what brand he uses... he brought some really nifty soft boxes with him to a shoot out recently...tell him that I said "hi!" [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
cords of some sort? or is that all with it?
...the light comes with a sync cord and a power cord.. I believe they are both 15ft'ers.. Just buy an extension cord...if you don't have one already..and one of those peanut slave thingies I showed you a week or so ago..that are made by Wein.. those are more sensitive than the slaves on the back of the lights if you plan on useing a strobe to fire your strobes..
Under B would be... what?
a remote unit?
.....I never use it.. Perhaps if you have a "set" set.....like every light is in the exact place where you wantit to be and you just want to change the power output a tad without having to go to your lights and futz with them... I bought one of those remote units ten years ago.. I used it once since then.. I didn't have to either..
....Yes, I use a Minolta Autometer..that records both flash and ambient light... get to know your meter!
.....later on maybe..
.....Gels to colour the lights...grids...(10Âº, 20Âº, 30Âº & 40Âº) to project the light to a certain area,....barndoors..to keep the light from spilling over an entire area but allows you to use light to cover a large area.. a snoot / spot.. which are nice for hair lights..or a very specific area of the shot where you want light to appear..
...Buy a piece of foamcore... if they have it in black, it will save you the trouble of painting it.. and then, cut abstract shapes into it all over the surface of the board..and then use that to provide back light in a large area so that the light is broken up between shadow and lighted areas in a background.... we commercial guys call it a "cookie sheet".. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
And what the heck is a "speedring" anyway?
....you place a speedring in your softbox ...(that is dedicated to fit your light...not some other light)....and you can mount your strobe to it..... it is a must have with a softbox..
This is for use with a D70, studio only for right now, (cash for a portable power supply, later) for portraits, fashion, and beauty shots.
... I've done a lot with just one light....and you can too.. Oh, buy a sync cord adaprot... Nikon makes a nice unit..it costs about $25.00 but it can protect your camera from a power surge from the light ...I have heard of that happening before.. I'd rather blow 25 bucks than repairs to the motherboard to your D70..
Bear in mind (and some of you are really really NOT good at this!) that I've never even seen a dang strobe used in real life, and have no clue what the various doodads that have to be a part of the system even are... assume you're giving a lecture to an intensely attentive but ignorant high school class...
I WILL be taking this to do (indoor AC accessible) location shooting away from home, and possibly dragging it all onto planes, so portability, compactness, and light weight are all very important for now.
....cool... I've done "show and tell" seminars in high school photography classes before.. it's a lot of fun getting kids turned on to photography..
If you have any questions, I'd be happy to help...just PM me..
Minimal system (but capable of pro results) to get started???????
Thanks in advance!
With what I mentioned above.,...and the knowledge of how to use it,..I'll bet you that with your digital camera, you will learn fast!
Here are a few of the "action shots"..