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Photography Question 
Marnie Bigelow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/20/2004
 

strobe lighting kits


I am currently looking to buy some new strobe lighting equipment for doing film based photography. I am on a tight budget and I'm not sure what brands are the better ones at a good price. I was looking at th Alien Bees kit with 2 400's and umbrellas for I think $699.00. Are there any other kits that are comparable, that may cost a little less?


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1/23/2006 3:02:35 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  I really can't vouch for anything else so I'm not saying that everything else is bad, but I can say that Alienbees are good. Really good. Especially for the price. I have been nothing but happy with the kit I bought. The two lights you are interested in are a good starting point. Two lights is efficient for basic poses and beginning in studio work. Sorry I couldn't help you out more, but I'm sure you'd be happy with AB and their customer service is out of this world (no pun intended, I swear! lol).

Good luck,
Justin


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1/23/2006 3:35:44 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Good evening,
I have a studio wish list with a couple different types of sets.
If you would like a copy, just email me.
we disccuss this a lot on the thread "studio Photography#12, even reading just the thread#12, will give you a lot of insite.
best of luck.


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1/23/2006 7:26:22 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  hey, this is for Justin. You said you have the 800 alien bees and the 1600. Well, as I don't have any way that I could spend that much money and this by my medium format plus light meter that I'm going for, I'm going to get one or two 400s. My question, for your portraits of one person and possibly, two, what is your aperture usually and what f/stop do you have your 800 set to if you're using only one? I'm trying to see how the two compare for small glamour kind of things. Thanks!


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1/23/2006 9:17:27 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  For one person andred I'm usually usuing f/16 - f/22 for maximum sharpness. I just did a meter reading from the B800 at full power from about 5'. I got f/16 and that's with the internal light baffle (which diffuses the light even more). Without it you can get about f/22 or so. If you could I would highly suggest maybe getting an 800 and a 400 if you can. just a thought.


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1/24/2006 4:54:01 AM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Since I'm not a fan of even lighting left to right, I figure it might be best for me to only get one light to go along with my reflectors. Now that it's offered up, I'm sure that one 800 would be good to get, then maybe either another 800 or like you say, a 400. Thanks for that bit of advice!


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1/24/2006 1:23:41 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  andrew [not andred! sorry :-)]. even if you're not a fan of flat lighting you can still use 2 instead of one. I mean yeah you can use reflectors but having another light instead of a reflector is useful sometimes. having two lights won't neccessarily give you flat lighting, it's the amount of power and distance you are using the lights. for example, you have two lights and they are from the same distance you can use one at f/11 for key and power down the fill to f/8 or f/5.6 for fill and you're still using 2 lights, see what I mean? i'm not trying to sell you into buying a gazillion lights but if you have the money now you could get two lights and a reflector and even if you don't use both you have a backup. if you can afford it, go with the 800. more power means two things. #1 you won't ever be short power (well...all things considering) and #2 is a scenario.

example only but lets say the b800 and 400 both have a full recycle time of 2 seconds. making note that a b800 @ half power is roughly equivilant to a b400. but if you're powering halfway down you cut your recycling time.

what this means to you...you have to money, you buy an B800 and you are pretty consistent in shooting at lets say 1/2 or 1/4 power on it, #1 you're making your recycle times very short (the AB's recycle quickly anyways, nice feature) and #2 you're putting less demand on the light so in generalities it'll live longer.


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1/24/2006 3:07:51 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  p.s. this is a popular saying..

"it's better to have more power and cut down, than to wish you had more when you don't have enough".

another thing about AB which I love is it has full power down to 1/32 (gives a lot of room to play) and also has "stepless power". if you're shooting digital this is a very important factor when buying lights. shooting digital is like shooting transparencies. the exposure latitude is VERY narrow. you've probably nocited that when you're shooting your B&W film and process it yourself, you have a lot of room for error with light but when you shoot your 20D, you're exposure needs to be dead on. what this means to you when you're shooting your 20D is that if you need to turn down your fill light just a smudge you can compared to "non-stepless power". other models with this non-stepless only have the option of, let's say full 1/2 or 1/4 and no in between which could be a nuissance because with that if you need to turn down power a smudge you'd have to physically move the lights and this starts messing with your size of light source in relationship to the subject which in turn could affect the mood of your image.

i guess what i'm trying to say is you can't go wrong with AB as a beginner, and this is first hand experience and pure luck that I got the AB's instead of something different that wouldn't suit me. hope my rambling makes sense.


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1/24/2006 3:13:48 PM

 
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