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suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-24-2006, 08:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Im going to be making a purchase sometime in the near future.
Never shot with strobes, or any other source of light, other than available.
I was planning on building some diffusion panels, with some Alien Bees strobes.
Someone in another forum was wanting to buy softboxes, but it was then suggested to him, he get hot lamps with umbrellas for the learning curve first.
ps - why the new look/change to the forums?
thanks guys
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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-24-2006, 09:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Alot of people use hot lights. My opinion is that they are a good option to have available sometimes but if you want to learn then get strobes and learn them and you will be better off in the long run.

I prefer to use softboxes as opposed to umbrellas. I like to have the better control of the light that softboxes give you. and... As Rolando says... "It is bad luck to open an umbrella inside. LOL
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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-24-2006, 09:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I worked with hot lights for a good 2 years before getting strobe lights. The end result was that I had to learn lights all over again. Strobes are not the same. If I had to do it all over I would go right to strobes. But that is just me and how much better my work was after going to strobes. Some people have a way to use hot lights like Jeff Black that look awesome. So you have to be the judge on what you want. I think you should learn natural light before you get in to strobe lighting. In school that is the way they did it.

Keep in mind about softboxes is that they are a pain in the arse to take down after every shoot so it is better to keep them in a place that you can keep them together all the time. People told me this and until you take them down a few times you see what they were talking about. I have a few soft boxes and I love them.

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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-24-2006, 11:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I also agree that you're better off going with strobes than hotlights.

As far as the softbox versus umbrella issue, well, if you're serious about this, you will eventually have both. No question! So get what your budget can stand to start with.

I do however strongly recommend that if you cannot get a quality softbox you get yourself quality umbrellas instead of a cheap softbox. The cheaper softboxes are even harder (than others) to assemble and disassemble and they really don't stand up well to that kind of use - they're better left always set up if possible. Also the cheaper ones may not give you as even lighting as better ones and may or may not have a "baffle" or diffusion panel inside and most probably they will not also accept optional fabric grids.

Hope this helps...

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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-25-2006, 02:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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awesome, thanks for the replies, much appreciated (considering other forums, you get little help, if any!)
I guess ill get into the strobes, since they do come with modelling lights as well.
I remember reading somewhere, that one should make sure that the modelling lights give off a certain amount of power, forget where and what the power rating was, should this be a concern? if so, what wattage should i watch for as a minmum.
again, thanks for replies.
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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-25-2006, 04:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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silver umbrellas get my vote, and i find them to be much more versatile than sofboxes. but that's just personal taste.
you can go from:

to:

to:

all shot with one umbrella.

modeling light bulbs just help you see where the light is falling. if you are using softboxes with the baffles, or using a lot of grids, then you would need a brighter bulb so you can see a bit better, as these modifiers will cut your modeling light down significantly.
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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-25-2006, 09:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hmmm, thanks for the addition of confusion to the mix Sean
How much, in regards to stop difference, is there, between a softbox and umbrella?
Or roughly the same?
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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-25-2006, 12:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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nobody mentioned beauty dishes. i have a 35" mola and i love that thing. i also use softboxes (mostly strips) and sometimes umbrellas but these are generally used for accents and highlights. the beauty dish is my mainlight of choice.
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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-26-2006, 10:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Another question in regard to all this is, how much difference is there, between a diffusion panel and softbox, or rather, what is the difference?
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Re: suggestions softboxes? umbrellas?
Old 03-26-2006, 04:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The bigger the light source, the softer the shadow edges will be.
Some will say you get softer light, but the effect is what is stated above.
Its all about from how many directions the light hits the subject.
Depending on material, you may lose some strength of the light, resulting in a little lower contrast.
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