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Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 06:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm going through my wish list for Christmas and I'm going to be adding at least one strobe on there somewhere, but I have a question about the modeling light.

How does the modeling light interact with the strobe when it is triggered? Does it briefly turn off when the strobe fires? I only ask because I mostly shoot slides and I could see a 3200 K light source tainting my pictures if it was on during the shot.

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Re: Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 06:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Different strobes treat the modeling light in different ways. Some turn it off and then it comes back on when the unit is fully recycled, but others leave it on all the time and others leave this to your choice.

However, the modeling light is not going to affect your shots unless you are doing something really special. The average strobe fires in 1/500th to 1/3200th of second and that is what the exposure is based on. Since you normally will be shooting at the camera's sync speed (1/60th, 1/125th or 1/250th) for most dSLRs then it is impossible for the modeling light to affect the photo.

Typically you'll be shooting at f8 and one of the above sync speeds, but would need to be shooting a 1/8th to expose a light bulb at f8 properly).

Example: if you wanted ambient light to affect the photo, then you can drag the shutter. When shooting in bars where there are neon signs, I might drag the shutter at 1/8th to properly expose the Neon sign, but the flash exposes the model.



Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 07:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Since you normally will be shooting at the camera's sync speed (1/60th, 1/125th or 1/250th) for most dSLRs then it is impossible for the modeling light to affect the photo.

Typically you'll be shooting at f8 and one of the above sync speeds, but would need to be shooting a 1/8th to expose a light bulb at f8 properly).

[/ QUOTE ]

Not entirely accurate. If the subject is close to the light source then it is definately possible to pick up a color cast from a 250-300W quartz-halogen bulb, even at f8 and especially with higher ASA settings. I recommend always metering the ambient exposure at the subject position. Anything within 4 stops of your shutter/aperture combination for your strobe may cause a color shift.

-Chip
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Re: Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 08:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you do a custom white balance, any potential change in color won't matter anyway.
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Re: Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 08:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There are always exceptions but my information is right for 98.4% of the times one will be shooting. The other thing is that one rarely uses high ISO settings when shooting with studio strobes. There would be no reason to do this and you would just be introducing extra noise into the shot for no real benefit. Also the original post mentioned a tungsten type bulb not a quartz halogen so I based my example on the typical wattage of those with is around 150 watts.
As for me I use the 27 watt Flouresent twist bulbs in my Novatron heads for modeling lights, so I have even more lattitude.
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 08:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The others have answered the question you asked, but let me give you an old guy with bad eye's input: cheap strobes tend to have modeling lights that are rather low wattage - 100 or even 60 W. I've found that too low to focus or even compose reliably. But if you "supplement" the modeling light, you wash out the weak modeling...

FWIW
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Re: Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 09:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have problems too with low light, but since for many years I did lots of the lighting setups using Polaroid film with an RB67 I could then turn off the other lights and use only the modeling lights. I find that the digital age has taken me back to that. I setup and do trial compositions with the overhead lights on, then turn them off for the actual shooting which gives me a better feel of the exact nuance of the light as the model moves.

But focusing can be harder in the lower light level provided by modeling lights, so what I do at the beginning of each lighting set and position of the model is to have her hold my black/gray/white calibration target and I focus on that (then switch the camera to manual focus). I shoot the first shot with the target for later use in the RAW converter if needed. I then keep the model in a zone (are of the setup) so that at f8 or f11 I keep good sharpness for the face.



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rfs

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Re: Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 09:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
If you do a custom white balance, any potential change in color won't matter anyway.

[/ QUOTE ]

While that is true, the original poster indicated that he shoots mostly slides, so potential color changes do matter to him, as he would have to consider the use of color correction filters.

-Chip
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Re: Modeling light question
Old 11-12-2005, 09:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What's a slide? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] haha You're absolutely right.
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simple
Old 11-12-2005, 09:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No, as sort of mentioned here elsewhere, the modeling lights won't affect anything if you're shooting at typical strobe shooting speeds. With strobe as the only lighting, I shoot typically at 1/125 - 1/250, and at f5.6 to f16, (and until recently, ONLY on color slide film) and have not seen any color or exposure shift. As the other folks were trying to point out, you'd have to go out of your way to use a very slow shutter, and/or possibly a wide aperature, to see any effect of the modeling light. When I shoot ringlight, I blast a 500w quartz light from right over the camera onto the model for focusing and to prevent red-eye, and I shoot at 1/250 at f11 and see nothing. I've heard of folks who slow down and open up intentionally to get some warmth from the modeling light, but its got to be one helluva modeling light to show up. Sometimes I do slow the shutter to utilize what's called a "practical light" (meaning a real light that exists in a room setting or the neon someone showed) and make it read like a lamp (or a fireplace). And BTW, I could be wrong, but I've never heard of a modeling light that turned off when the strobe was fired, unless it was done manually for an extremely long (+5 seconds) exposure. What would be the point?

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Andy Pearlman
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