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About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 08:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello all...

Even though I serveral times in my post have proclaimed that I wouldent go flash any time soon, mainly because of economical matters, I got a rather good offer on this kit:

Interfit EX 150A KIT

Now, I am totally ignorant about anything regarding flash, but as much as I can see, it seems that it isent the most powerfull kit.

I understand that it will give me 150 watt per second, but can this in any way be compared to 150 watt from a tungsten/hotlight?
Just wonder if this kit could get me going, in closups as in larger frame shots...

And oh, then I will need a light meter as well, wont I, and I bet that wont be inexpensive...
Is there no way to use such a flashkit without a light meter, I mean to testshot, adjust, and so on, just for starters?

Anyway, if this kit wont cut it, theres no flashkit for me in this round... Just got a good offer on it...

Btw, I have the Canon 350d...

Thank you,
Tim.

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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 08:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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They are low end lights but will work to get you started. As for the meter...Yes you should have one but you will find that as you use your lights and get familiar with them you will pretty much know the exposure by where you place the lights in relation to your subject. That doesnt mean you wont need the meter it just lets you get closer to what you want when you set up. Look for a meter on e-bay.
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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 08:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You're going to get a lot of varying opinions regarding whether 150 w/s is enough or not. That's about the equivalent of an Alien Bees B400 in output, so you could do a search and refer to the various debates on which AB light to buy.

150 w/s is a perfectly usable amount of power for a studio shoot of one or two people using a softbox or umbrella. If you try to shoot a small group you'll probably want more power. If you try to shoot outdoors Christian-style, you'll find that these strobes won't compete with the sun very well.

This is just a guesstimate, but shooting this strobe at full power through the softbox positioned a few feet from the subject, you'll probably meter somewhere around f8.0 at ISO 100. Give or take a stop depending on how efficient the softbox is, how you have it set up, etc. I used to use an Alien Bees B400 as a main all the time despite the insistence of many that it just wasn't powerful enough to be used that way.

One thing I'll point out though, the 4-second recycle time is gonna seem like an awful long time. You'll have to pace yourself in order to make sure you don't fire off a frame before your lights recharge. It's not the end of the world, but 4 seconds will seem long when you're waiting on it.

You can get away without a flash meter if you're patient. It'll be a bit hit-or-miss, but in time you'll develop a pretty good "feel" for about what the exposure will be based on your setup. A few trial frames and histogram reviews should get you there. However, to really get the most out of your lights you'll eventually want a good meter. Carefully crafted lighting schemes require a reliable method of balancing multiple light sources, and I'm sure most of us haven't spent a couple hundred (or more) on a good light meter without good reason. Well, I'd like to think that anyway. :-)
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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 08:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for your answer...

But it means that I, not even for a shorter while, can do without the meter, even if I have the time for a test shoot and adjust settings, from the pictures taken? Or will it be very hard to get something usefull from it?

Regarding the kit, is was just worried about the 150ws, as I see other newbies around here gets much stronger kits recommended....

Thanks,
Tim.
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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 09:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you Larry.

That was a very good answer ;-)
Gives me a little hope...

And yes, if I go for this kit, I will absolutly go buy a meter, but unfortunatly I cant go buy too much candy at a time, so I will get the kit first...

Thanks,
Tim.
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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 09:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As a newbie in some respects, I would go for the lights. It's not a lot of power and as mentioned it'll do for a one or two person shoot if positioned right. As for the meter, heck I use mine even outdoors. Especially in the early morning and eveing hours when I don't have time to waste. My meter is my best friend at the moment in lighting reads. If you can swing it, spend the $100 for a good inexpensive one.
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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 09:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No sweat. The power ratings can be confusing and intimidating. You have to remember that in order to get another stop in aperture, you need double the power output. So all things being equal, if a 150 w/s strobe meters at f5.6, a 600 w/s strobe should meter at f11 in the same setup.

Where you start really needing some power is when you begin experimenting with other modifiers. Honeycomb grids might eat a stop or two, and certain colors of gels can absorb quite a bit. So if you want a background effect that requires a dark blue gel and a 20 degree grid, you may lose around 3 or 4 stops through all that. That's when your more powerful strobes start to come in handy.

The kit is probably fine to start out with. When you get to expand with bigger 'n better strobes these will still make fine hair/rim/background/accent lights.
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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 02:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Since you are outside of the US, I don't know what the pricing or availability of Alien Bees is. I think that they are available in a European voltage, but I don't know. Paterson has a generally good reputation and would probably be OK. If you are shooting digital, you can get by without a flash meter. The better you know your lights, the less you will need a meter. You can evaluate the exposure from your histogram and your display.

Watt seconds can be conferted to Watts by dividing the Watt seconds by the flash duration. If, at 150 Watt seconds, the flash duration is two milliseconds, the instantaneous power is 150/0.002 = 7500 Watts (assuming I did the arithmetic properly). That's why strobes are preferred over hot lights.

Bill
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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 02:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Larry is right. The rated output in W/S has little to do with how much light the strobes put out. Some strobes are more efficient than others. That's why the Alien Bees B-400's are named what they are. They techincally are a 160ws output, but put out the equivalent lumens of 400 w/s lights. They are also VERY reasonably priced, not sure what VAT you pay in Copenhagen, but might be worth purchasing. Also, you don't necessarily need a light meter straight away. I usually meter in the studio for a starting point, but end up adjusting the lighting output and f stop based upon how the image and histogram look in the camera. It has worked well for me. Good luck!

Bob Strle
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Re: About do you think about this flashkit?
Old 01-04-2006, 05:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Tim -

The 100 Joule power is probably enough to satisfy you in the beginning, and will certainly allow you to learn how to use strobes. However, I think you're going to find the 60 W modeling lights inadequate unless you work in a darkened studio. Ordinary ambient room lighting will "compete" with the 60 W (and somewhat, although less so, with the optional 100 W) modeling lights and make the modeling light less visible.

I use the old-style White Lightnings (WL 5000 & WL 10000), which also have 60 and 100 W (albeit old style incandescent) lamps for modeling lights, which is why I say this. But then again, it's not terribly hard to darken the room.

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