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Photography Question 
Tara R. Swartzendruber
 

light watts


I asked a similar question awhile ago, but did not receive a response, so I will word this differently! :)
I had a hot-light 2 umbrella set that I've had problems with an will return. I want to upgrade a bit but am not ready for strobes. What wattage should I look for? Is a softbox better than umbrellas (this is for a home studio). My current system doesn't always seem bright enough on my white background, but spills over to the background keeping my black from looking pure black (I have 2 umbrellas - 250 watt bulbs in each). Thanks!


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5/15/2007 10:43:01 AM

 
Tareq M. Alhamrani
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/26/2006
  Hi there.
I heard some places that 250Ws can be enough in some cases, you can get 500Ws one head as main and one 250Ws as fill or a reflector as fill, but there are cheaper kits as 1000Ws total kit coming into 2 heads [500Ws each] will serve you very well.
Just look around where to get that kit of 1000Ws and you will find it more than enough in many cases.
I don't know which is better but for fill I feel that umbrellas is much better, but if you can use large softbox then it will be very nice, I ordered a kit of heads 1000Ws each one with umbrella and one with softbox and I will try it when I will get it.
I think it is better to have one head with minimum of 400-500 Watt/Sec, the more light power the more control on light, and that umbrella or softbox as I read is just for making the light more softer or diffused so then no harsh light and no so much shadows as well, if you lighting your subject with enough light and it is soft enough then thats great, so one head will light half face mostly if it placed to the side then you have to eliminate the shadow to the other side, so either be a reflector or by another light, do your best and I am sorry if my answer is not accurate, I am not pro at all [beginner].


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5/16/2007 4:20:45 AM

 
Denise A. Zabor   A little warning. If you are using a digital slr, be sure the voltage on your strobes trigger no more than 250 volts if you plug straight into your pc port on your camera or you can fry your slr. Also if you use a shoe pc adapter for slaving your strobes the trigger voltage should not be any more than 6 volts at least for Canon slr's. A Wein safe sync can help with this. It can reduce trigger voltages of 300 volts down under 6 so it is safe for your digital slr.


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5/17/2007 9:05:22 AM

 
Denise A. Zabor   A little warning. If you are using a digital slr, be sure the voltage on your strobes trigger no more than 250 volts if you plug straight into your pc port on your camera or you can fry your slr. Also if you use a shoe pc adapter for slaving your strobes the trigger voltage should not be any more than 6 volts at least for Canon slr's. A Wein safe sync can help with this. It can reduce trigger voltages of 300 volts down under 6 so it is safe for your digital slr.


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5/17/2007 9:05:53 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  get the strobes... esp if youre shooting digital! they arent as mysterious and hard as they seem...


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5/17/2007 10:08:05 AM

 
Tara R. Swartzendruber   Thanks for the responses. I'm still not sure about strobes, mostly for cost. I'm intrigued with the cool continuous lights (Alzo digital has some 600's and 2000's series lights). Does anyone have experience with these or thoughts about them, good or bad?


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5/17/2007 10:47:46 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  tara, A great site for learning to use off camera flash (with hot shoe flashes) is "strobist" there is even a very comprehensive "strobist" forum over at flicker.. there is tons of info there and the cost of using a pair of older Nikon flashes or even some other brands is not bad at all...and thats with buying stands, umbrellas or soft boxes. Plus these kits are extremely portable, run on AA's and can fit into one tripod bag! Im using two nikon SB-25's I got off ebay for around $70.00 each and some cheap brolly's and stands.. the most expensive part were the pocket Wizards I bought so I could be one of the "cool" guys... lol


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5/17/2007 11:32:30 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Tara,
Just so Iíve said this continuous lights are a bad way to shoot portraits. The quartz or big bulbs are hot and bright, hard on the subject. The fluorescent lights do not have reliable color and may not create enough light. Both will require a longer shutter speed that will give you problems with movement in your image. Get real strobes. Start with one strobe with at least 500 watt-seconds; make those real watt-seconds not some weird equivalent.


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5/18/2007 12:06:25 PM

 
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