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intro to lighting?
Old 03-01-2005, 11:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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If I were going to look for an elementary lighting set up for a canon digital would I do better to look at a hotshoe set up with slaves (a la 2 or 3 speed lites) and umbrellas or more of a hot light set up? or something completely different?
I need to to be protable (for horse shows and such) but also work in a small makeshift studio.
Any advice, comments or sugestions would really help. Here to fore I've only ever shot with a camera mounted hotshoe.
Thanks.
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Re: intro to lighting?
Old 03-02-2005, 12:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's going to next to impossible to put together lights that will be best for both studio use and events like horse shows and such. For the latter, multiple Canon flashes will probably be best although they may not have the range you need unless you're using a very fast lens.

Using those same flashes in a studio with umbrellas will make you tear your hair out. They're just not that easy to adjust when set to manual, which you need to do if you're going to get good studio lighting. I'd buy what you really need right now and resign yourself to picking up the other lights later on.

Paul

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Re: intro to lighting?
Old 03-02-2005, 12:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I can't really make a recommendation for you, but here are a few things to think about:

How flexible do you want your system. Do you want to be able to use softboxes, grids, snoots, barn doors, etc.? If so, you may wish to consider a set of studio lights/mono lights.

How portable do you want to be. Three speedlights will take up less space than three mono-lights, but they're lost in the noise of stands, umbrellas, etc. However, if you just want to grab a light and go, a speedlight is more portable.

Pre-visualization: Mono-lights/strobes have modelling lights which let you see what the lighting looks like before the flash fires. Some of the newest speedlights can strobe the flash for a few seconds in an attempt to reproduce this feature, but it's annoying to your subject and doesn't last long enough for you to modify your lighting setup.

Ruggedness. The hot shoes on speedlights are not particularly sturdy and don't take abuse well, relative to the 5/8" socket on strobes/mono lights. Mounting and unmounting speedlights on stands is fraught with peril.

Cost. Dollar per watt-second, speedlights are about the most expensive choice. For instance, three brand new Canon 580EX speedlights (or 3 Metz 54MZ-4's) will run you about $1200. From there, add TTL cords or wireless transmitters, stands, umbrellas, etc. to get yourself all hooked up and you're looking at ~$1600 easy. For the same coin, you could do something like an AlienBees package with portable power. Mono lights/strobes will give you much more light than speedlights for the same money.

Hope this helped,

-Chip
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Re: intro to lighting?
Old 03-02-2005, 10:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If I were you I would take a look at a two to three light kit on ebay (that sells for about 200-300), including stands, a softbox, umbrella, etc. Not the strongest lights in the world, and surely not the best. What you're getting is a training tool that allows you to see if it (studio lighting) is something you want to get heavely involved with. If not you're out the difference of what you can sell them used for and what you paid ($50-150)? I don't think you want to put down $1500 to $2000 for a semipro lighting set until you know you will use it. Good luck.. YMMV
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Re: intro to lighting?
Old 03-07-2005, 08:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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excellent advice paul. photographers use the macho approach and try to fix the world with a screwdriver and in some cases we can photoshop our way out of it certain situations. but how hard did we make a project by doing it that way? in the end photographers really need to have the right tools for the job. thats the montra i am learning now.
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