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TP: advice on a Studio Lighting setup

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LTTay View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LTTay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2007 at 05:36
Matt, I've watched those several times, but never took the plunge. I too would be interested to hear how you like them. I'm about to splurge on a set myself as my previous set is down to one light. So, I've been OK with one person portraits using just one light and reflector, but I gotta get another strobe here soon in case I have to do some family shots.
Good luck with those.
Lionel
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jaje Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2007 at 05:50
Originally posted by sooten sooten wrote:

I have been looking at the Alien Bees for a while. They look like a good product. My first question is how do watt seconds translate to guide numbers? In other words, how does the 400ws Alien Bee compare in light output to the Sony 36/56? I have a Sony 56 that I use wirelessly into an umbrella. It seems to work OK, but sometimes I think I might need a little more power...then again, I might not be managing things properly either.

To ask another question, what do you think would be sufficient for shooting individuals up to small groups of 10-12 people? 2 400s, 2 800s?

Thanks in advance!
Scott


Hey Scott,

I tested the light output on my Sony 56 vs my alien bee b800's. At full power, the bee was 6 stops more light than the Sony --> that's 64 times more light output. A b400 would be 5 stops more light than the Sony. Here is the thread where I posted my test.

The alien bees have a great reputation for reliability and efficiency. Their main drawback, I think, is longer recycle times than the higher end elinchroms, profotos, ....

Some people prefer 400's over 800's --> if you are shooting at larger apertures, the 800's can be too powerful, even at their lowest setting. With a 400, you can open your aperture 1 stop wider.


Matt,
I think you'll be happy with those lights. They are far more useful than hotlights for portraits. I used to shoot with three 500 watt photofloods behind a diffusion panel and it still required ISO 400+ to get 1/60th -1/125th shutter speeds. Do the modelling lamps on those strobes track with the power output of the strobes?


Jay
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Post Options Post Options   Quote H20boy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2007 at 07:05
Jay, great thread that you linked. Makes me think that the Abees may have been too much power for what I was trying to do. I think the package that i am getting soon will be pretty decent. From the description, the stepless output power knob controls the strobe intensity and the modelling light together. pretty cool.

The seller has been selling that same package for a couple months, and when I went back into his feedbacks, there were many positive comments, not just about the transaction, but how well the lighting kit worked. Not one bad comment that I could find about it.

I'm sure I can get my nieces to be my first 'participans' and I'll post a small review of the setup with some sample pictures in a week or so. If it is as good as it appears, you can't beat the price of the package. I'll be sure to pay attention to the output used, shutter speed, etc to expose the photos at different f-stops. Wish me luck!

Edited by H20boy - 27 April 2007 at 07:06
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LTTay View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LTTay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2007 at 15:56
Hey Thanks Jay for that link, I knew I'd seen that thread somewhere here, but couldn't find it. Thanks for sharing that.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nigelbrooks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2007 at 16:06
I found this useful little guide (linky) from Elinchrom which I hope will help fellow Dyxumers.

Went searching for something as result of my son picking up 3 Elinchrom EL500's, umbrellas, soft lift stands, softboxes, IR triggers all cased and bagged for L200/$400. Came from a photostore closing down and the only fault we can find is that one of the protective covers has been very slightly heat damaged - presumably from being put back before the modelling lamps cooled sufficiently.

Anyway, hope the little guide is of use.

Edited by nigelbrooks - 27 April 2007 at 16:08
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Post Options Post Options   Quote H20boy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2007 at 16:38
Nigel, thanks for that link! That is going to be GREAT reference for me in the upcoming weeks! Now, off to print...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LTTay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2007 at 18:07
Same Thanks from me Nigel, that is very helpful!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nigelbrooks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2007 at 20:07
Gentlemen, my pleasure.

They're selling the same pamphlet on ebay for $6.00 :-).
No copying issues, Elinchrom have it as a free download.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sooten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2007 at 17:26
Thanks Jaje for the info. That is exteremly useful. And I add my thank to Nigel for the link to the lighting booklet. Thanks!

Scott
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Post Options Post Options   Quote H20boy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2007 at 18:56
My lighting kit mentioned above is arriving today. I hope to have it setup this weekend and can take some pictures to test it's limit...otherwise it won't be for another week until I can comment on whether it is a good value or not. hopefully it will be. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mudslinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2007 at 19:34
Hey Matt...thanks for posting the information on your soon to arrive lighting kit. Looking forward to reading your review of the kit and seeing some of your pics.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pirate Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2009 at 10:11
Post deleted. Started separate thread.

Edited by Pirate - 27 October 2009 at 10:16
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Alanbrowne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 April 2010 at 20:55
Originally posted by jaje jaje wrote:


I tested the light output on my Sony 56 vs my alien bee b800's. At full power, the bee was 6 stops more light than the Sony --> that's 64 times more light output. A b400 would be 5 stops more light than the Sony.

Jay


No. You've made some measurement error there - I have no idea what.

A properly controlled test between the 56 (or 58 for that matter) against the AB800 'bees shows at most 2 stops more power from the bees.

Don't forget that you have to set the "zoom" of the flash head to illuminate an area similar to the bees before making the measurement. Further, you have to set the flash to manual and 1/1 (full power) (same for the 'bees) and of course shoot over the same distance.

With the 5600 set at 35mm zoom I get (2 minutes ago in the studio).

AB800 (1/1):      f/10.2
5600HS (1/1):      f/ 5.0

About 2 stops less from the 5600 (about 1 less than the AB400).



Edited by Alanbrowne - 14 April 2010 at 20:57
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Post Options Post Options   Quote flyingscot4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2010 at 05:47
First, what is the studio set-up to be used for? Is it solely for studio work or is going to be used on location, or both. Each has a separate solution. For studio work, you can get by with less power, but you need higher-quality strobes because the time between exposures is less and you need modeling lights in the strobe heads. Whether you use mono-lights or power pack units is up to you, but make sure that the units have cooling fans (or wait a full 30+ seconds between exposures). As far as I am concerned, a four light system is best - Main (key) light, fill light, background light, and hair light. Most people who use a three light system just eliminate the hair light, which I think is a mistake. Personally, I would use a reflector to replace the fill light because you have lots of different things that you can do with that hair light (personal choice).

Just for definition sake, the main light creates the illusion of a third dimension (depth), but most importantly, it creates the lighting ratio; the fill light (reflector) softens the shadows created by the main light and is the basis for the exposure; the background light provides separation between the background and the subject, besides illuminating the background; the hair light adds further separation and highlights the hair (it can also be used as a kick light when using split light or other more dramatic lighting.

Location lighting requires power. You really can't get by without it. Studios typically have ten or twelve foot white ceilings. Light is bouncing all over the place. Locations with lots a room eat light; it's hard to get enough. My minimum would be 1600WS in 3 or 4 heads for location settings (if you want to photograph a car or something large in a big location, you can easily triple that).

I have used primarily Photogenic Machine lights in my studio, but I have also used Norman Enterprises and Balcar lights as well. They're all great it you own a couple of oil wells. My portrait set-up today uses a lot of PVC pipe and about 14 Vivitar 283 and 285 strobes. That is only because I collected all those strobes (they are workhorses) through the years and didn't really know how many I had until I retired. I use Quantum 1 and 1+ power packs which are also excellent. The system works for me, but I think that if I were starting today I would look at the Alien Bee monolight units. They have good designs and are very adaptable. They also have good modeling lights and allow for moderately fast shooting. Good luck.

(Criticism is welcome)
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