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Photography Question 
Amanda R. Milam
 

Studio Lighting Kit


I'm seriously thinking about buying the Novatron D1500 Studio Four Head Kit w/ Wheeled case. Is this a good choice? Does anyone own this kit that could possibly give any pros/cons about it?


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3/13/2008 6:49:16 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  While I don't own one, IMO Novatron is a very good system with numerous accessories available, well-made and durable. I know a lot of pros who have Novatron lighting and they like them a lot.
And, just for kicks, if you haven't done so already, you might take a look at either Bowens monolights or even Calumet Travelers. John Siskin, who teaches lighting here, and I both also like the Norman packs systems like the P800 and I have a special affinity for Norman and Speedotron pack systems with at least 2000 w.s. Monolight systems are pretty easy to expand on. So you can start with say 2 lamp heads and get more later without a huge investment now.
Essentially, which lighting you get depends on what you plan to shoot now and in the future, whether it's expandable with additional heads, how powerful the heads are and who services them in the event something goes kaputsky.
Remember, Amanda, everyone sells cases. That's just a bit of glitz they throw in with the deal. Try and get as much light-bang for your bucks. Used equipment cases abound, even at B&H or Adorama.
Your thoughts here are good ones though.
Be well.
Mark


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3/14/2008 10:50:05 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Amanda,
I know Novatron to be good gear, though I have never owned any of it. The thing I would mention is that if you want one more head you will need to buy another power pack or buy a monolight. If you started with one monolight and built a kit from there, say with the Calumet Travelites or the Alien Bees, you would almost certainly pend more. But you might spend the money over more time and create a lighting kit that is fitted specifically to your needs. I also noted that the kit weight is 64 pounds, worth considering. Also, can you stand on the case? I never get lighting cases I canít stand on.
Thanks, John


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3/14/2008 5:15:37 PM

 
Amanda R. Milam   Thanks for the advice. I'm really new to all the studio aspect of photography. I will be using the lights for portraits in studio and wedding portraits (if I decide to venture into wedding photography). Do you think that the four heads will be enough for a small studio set-up?


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3/14/2008 8:02:32 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Amamda,
The four heads will do well for a small studio. You will be happier with monolights for wedding portraits. It is easier to set up the power. Thanks, John


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3/14/2008 8:09:40 PM

 
L. W.   Hi Amanda,
I have used Novatron kits for years now and recommended the lightning kits enthusiastically. At first my reason for buying Novatron was the lower price but was happy with my purchase immediately after setting up the equipment for a quick shoot. Since my first kit, I have brought three more-each larger-and the kits are interchangeable. I used a mini kit for shooting kids' sports leagues and in-home portraits for over the past ten years without the equipment ever letting me down. The larger kits are better for weddings because they provide more lightning choices. I never found the kits difficult to set up. Because the kits are made to fit the cases, I don't worry about transportation damage. My suggestions are: DO NOT buy the kit with the flash meter (I suggest Wein or Sekonic meters); ALWAYS have additional synch cords (I use transmitters with the kits) and have a three-prong electical adaptor in your travel case (I have used the case to pose kids but use a ladder to stand on). Friends have bought kits on my recommendations-all are quite happy as well. Hope this helps. Happy shooting!


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3/18/2008 5:21:46 AM

 
Bruce A. Dart   Hi Amanda,
In 30 years of attending seminars I have always been amazed at the diversity of lighting that has been used to create wonderful portraits. John and Mark offer good advice here. A 64 pound kit is probably not one which you will take on location many times without looking for a more "portable" system. Several years ago (OK more than several) I had a dealer talk me into a great Pelican camera case that would hold all my gear. Wonderful, I thought. With all my wedding cameras, strobes, extra lenses it weighed in a 45 pounds!! Wearing a suit and tie on a hot summer day and carrying that up a couple flights of stairs to a reception soon gave me a different perspective about the case. LOL. I've spent more than a little time trying to get cords out of the way in the studio. A system with four heads certainly will work and you CAN keep the cords out of the way. For me, I like an independent system where I can keep cords -- and tripping over them (me or my subjects) from being just one more thing to deal with in a studio environment. Early strobe systems were locked in with the power output. for example (and this is variable with the system), one head gets 400 watt seconds of power (fortunately there is usually more these days) with one head. The second head splits the power and gets 200 ws each, and so on. Most of the newer systems have a slider to provide infinite adjustments to lighting in tenths of an f-stop instead of whole stops at a time. In a small studio this becomes an important issue. Most units have more than enough power for MOST subjects, we always want more sometimes but frequently we need to cut it back and have less to create the light we want. Hope this helps.
Bruce


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3/18/2008 5:35:49 AM

 
Amanda R. Milam   Hey guys! I went and had my taxes done today and I have decided to purchase a light kit. I have a few questions first though. If I were to purchase this light kit. Here's the ones that I'm looking at:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/517789-REG/Novatron_LSK15D_4_D1500_Studio_Four_Head.html

or

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/311774-REG/Novatron_LSK15D_4FC_1500_W_S_4_Light.html

I've seen studios use a small black box with a small antenna on the hotshoe to set the lights off. This allowed them to hand hold the camera while taking portraits. What is this device called and will it work with these lights and the camera that I have? Can someone explain the difference in these 2 kits to me and do you think one would be easier to use than the other? I really appreciate all the help and advice from the people here at Better Photo. Thanks again.



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3/31/2008 4:48:15 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Amanda,
In the more expensive kit you have more control over the power of each light. In the inexpensive kit you have only one head with variable power. I think this is an important feature. The thing you are talking about is a radio slave. You can get an inexpensive one on EBay, by searching radio slave. Quantum makes better ones called Pocket Wizards, this is probably what you saw. Good Luck! Thanks, John Siskin


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3/31/2008 5:16:57 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Good day,
If you are going to spend that type of money, why not look at the Photogenic kits as well.
I know for a fact that Photogenic make a Long lasting ,sturdy Product well known through out this industry.
My first studio kit is still operating today and I sold it at 35 years old.
I shoot now with the 2500D/1250Dr/300
Power Lights.

here is a really nice kit ( adding a fourth light can be done anytime,but this comes with your built in remote system):

Photogenic Powerlight 3 Light Remote Standard Studio 1125 W/S Kit - Includes: 2- 1250DR, 1- 300DR Monolight, Infrared Remote Control Transmitter, 2 Receivers, Umbrellas, Sync Cord, Light Stands, Case (120V AC)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/301894-REG/Photogenic_917031_Powerlight_3_Light_Remote.html


Or if you really want to do on site work, Photogenic has AC/DC kits available as well.

Just a thought,
Debby Tabb


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4/1/2008 9:07:08 AM

 
Bruce A. Dart   Hi Amanda,
Debby's thoughts on the Photogenic are good. I have used them for years. One of the lights I bought used and it is still going strong.
Bruce


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4/1/2008 9:24:18 AM

 
Amanda R. Milam   Here's another kit that I found while I was looking at the kit that Debby suggested:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/301692-REG/Photogenic_958201_Powerlight_Solair_4_Light.html

Which one would be the better kit? I'm mostly going to use it for portraits and maybe weddings if I decide to do weddings in the future. Will both of these kits (The Novatron and the Photogenic kits) be okay for family portraits of 5+ people or wedding parties? Thanks Everyone for all the help!


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4/1/2008 5:50:30 PM

 
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