Well,....You could save a few bucks by picking up the Alien Bee 1600 lights.. they feature just 20 watt seconds fewer than the X-1600's ...I'm not sure why they rate their lights so high.. all you have to do is be concerned with the "true Watt Seconds", which they list there as well.. I have 3 of those 1600's and I like them.. Their top of the line light,...the x-3200 is of a lower power rating than my Ultra 1800's which have 900 watt seconds.. but mine don't have a built in fan either, wich lead to one buring out on me last year..
Check this out.. http://www.alienbees.com/flash.html
For $359.95, you can buy a more compact, lightweight, powerful, and easy to use light.. the draw back is that the modeling lamp isn't as powerful,....but so what..if works just fine for me in my studio..and on location,...with the Vegabond power packs, you aren't suppose to use the modeling lamps anyway,....in addition,....modeling lamps don't "model" very well in lighted places anyway..even at 250 watts.. Allien Bees offer a 150 watt quartz modeling lamp.. I outfitted all my AB lights with them..
The wireless remote,...you can shop around a bit..I have seen some really nice usits lately..I somewhat doubt if you need at the bells and whistles that some offer for what you have in mind..
The Beauty dish,..I just bought one.. it works well... uhmmm... the price of it with the sock and shipping the bulky thing up here was about 175 bucks..
Here is a shot from my AB beauty dish taken with AB 1600 lights, and a Chimera strip light:
You should pick up a full set of gels, and grids...
The Vegabond 300 costs 500 bucks now.. you can get the 150 model for 150 less, but it is sooo damn slow........and also,...be very careful to turn those inverters off before charging it.. I accidentally left one of them on, frying it,..and basically turining it into a 150 unit..which is why I know that it is soooo slow.. their service guys actually replaced it for me for free!! .....BTW, you couldn't find a better place for product support.. they are amazing!
Speed rings..I personally like Chimera speed rings, which can work with Photoflex boxes....and I prefer Chimera soft boxes...they are made better.
Photogenic makes IMO, the best umbrellas for general purpose use...they feature a "ribless" design..so the catch lights in glasses and eye balls look better,...more smooth...
Light stands,... well, you can get the kit stands that come from WL / AB,...they are O.k... I however prefer the ones from the Bogan "Avenger" catalogue...their hardware, and ruggedness are among the best for general porpose lighting stands, and if you are shooting on location a lot,..like I do,...you will appreciate them even more.. You may want to look into picking up at least one light stand that features a "lazy leg"...thus enabeling you to set up a light on a stairs case, or a hill without it falling over.. One leg extends out, providing stability....they are great to have on location,...plus they are very rugged, and built to withstand a good load.. and wind because of their large "foot-print"..
Yep,...the Bogan boom... I have one that features a geared head that you can control from the end...which is very very nice.. It is a monster...it is about 8 ft long or so..and I normally have it set up so that the stand has 20lbs on it, and the boom arm has up to 30lbs on it.. because with a large light bank, and with the arm extended past the halfway point, you will need some extra weight on it to keep it more stable,...in addition to this, I re-hardwared the clamp on mine so that it locks more tightly.. Also,...it's a good idea to check up on your business liability insurance before using one of these, because one time, I had a boom fail on me.....just missing the subject bellow....that could have been bad..
Calumet makes this really nice background stand set.. it features steal stands and a sure-lock 4 section pole, that all fits in a black heavy duty case for like 120 bucks or so.. It seams that they always have it on sale.. I know lots of photogs who use that set... the stands are made very well too,..(if only they had better knobs on them).. I just used mine the other day when shooting a furniture catalogue on location,..I had to keep a 12' wide roll of seamless paper on the thing, and be able to roll it out smoothly (with the aid of a helper),...and it worked flawlessly..
You may want to look into picking up a Bogan "Auto-pole System"..for your backgrounds if you are planning on using seamless paper, muslins, and change them very quickly in the studio.. they can go up past 10 ft high, (the hight of my studio's ceiling)..and lock between the ceiling and the floor without stand legs..and feature a chain drive..(also available is the electric motor)..for pulling them down, and roolling them up.. Perhaps you can "get-by_ with what you have in a background stand set for now, but the Auto Pole system is just sooo darn nice to have! They run about 300 bucks these days..
Well,....good luck! I hope this helps you out! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]