Good quality studio flash?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Dave Dawson, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. Dave Dawson

    Dave Dawson Member

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    Hi, I am about to spend some well earned pennies:surprised: on some second hand studio flash units but am wondering what you guys reckon is best value for money ?

    The options seem to be Elinchrom, Bowens, Broncolor etc.

    Any advice appreciated Cheers Dave

    ps...The flash will be used for fairly small still life shots using 5x4
     
  2. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    I have a Bowens 3KA generator and 3 heads. Works great, is dependable.
    The generator is a-symentrical so I have plenty of options in power-settings.

    Broncolor has a verry good reputation, but the prices are higher than the Bowens.

    Elinchrome I have no experience with, so no comments.

    Peter
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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  4. tequilabong

    tequilabong Member

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    best bang for the buck, White Lightning. Might not be as sexy as dyna, bowens, etc......but they work, and the resale values are great. And some of the best customer service people in the industry.....
     
  5. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Oh I don't know about best bang for the buck, I bought 4 broncolor packs (3-304, 1-404), 8 heads (including 1 bitube head), reflectors, snoots, barn doors and such for less than $1000.00 Granted these are the older blue (Universal Lampholder) style heads, but they are the ones that built Broncolors reputation in regards to consistent light temp, output, etc. Other than needing 12mm stand adapters, I can't complain about anything, especially for the money.
     
  6. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I think the best value in used equipment is Speedotron Black line, followed closely by Dynalite.

    If you are buying new, I hear the Alien Bees are a great value, or their big siblings, White Lightning.
     
  7. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Dynalite.
     
  8. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I'd vote for DynaLite as well. Easily the most powerful, compact, lightest and most reliable I've used.
    While others seem to have a tendency towards optimism as far as their power, I have the opposite problem ... I can't remember a set up (MX 1000 Packs) where I haven't had to reduce their power, through the varitor, or whatever.

    Add stock UV correction, user replaceable tubes and lamps, DEDICATED (three-prong) synch cables, arc-less connectors ... and I would not hesitate to buy them all over again.
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The OP is in the UK. It will cost a REAL chunk of change to ship a Speedotron unit over there. Broncolor, and Elinchrom are usually considered the most sophisticated and reliable.
    You could check with Calumet in Britain & see if they have any Monolights that would fit the bill.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Trouble is Dave is in London so Elinchrom, Bowens, Broncolor are the main choices.

    I've used both Elinchrom & Bowens, both are excellent. If you can find/afford a pack system get one, plenty of power for all occasions, otherwise the smaller heads are fine but as your shooting 5x4 you need a reasonable amount of power. Bowens kit generally sells for less second-hand, Look for the 400, 750, 800 Joule heads.

    Ian
     
  11. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Elinchrom, Bowens, Broncolor, Hensel and Multiblitz are popular brand names in the UK. I have considered buying a powerful flash with softbox for use with my 8x10 Camera for still-life, but like Dave, I am not sure what to look for in terms of light outut, accessories etc. Any suggestions?
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    For 10x8 work you really need the larger power packs, the 3K Bowens pack is ideal, so are the equivalent Elinchroms, they are the most common and and often come up for sale second-hand. You can also hire them at quite reasonable rates.

    Ian
     
  13. cmo

    cmo Member

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    For LF still life you need a lot of light. The old Broncolor stuff is a very good choice as you get raw power for a fraction of the price that you pay for new equipment. I own several of these, they are big, heavy, ugly but reliable.

    There is one company that is not only a very good address for repairs:
    Studioblitztechnik Max Stamm
    Melonensteig 24
    13591 Berlin
    Phone: +49 (0)30 - 7726002
    Fax: +49 (0) - 30343599
    blitzstudiotechnik@t-online.de


    It's a small company but the build their own small series of power packs, strobe heads, ring flashes etc. and sell some of them on eBay, but I know they have many more products:

    http://shop.ebay.de/merchant/blitzstudiotechnik

    The prices are very reasonable, there is no import tax to the UK, and they fit the connectors for many different makes like Multiblitz, Bron, Bowens, Elinchrom, Hensel and others.
     
  14. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Larger film formats do not need more light.
    So please stop this silly line of reasoning. :wink:
     
  15. Dave Dawson

    Dave Dawson Member

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    Well John and Ian are on the ball noticing that I'm in London! Most of the units suggested I have never heard of.

    I am plumbing for Elinchrome or Broncolor...Thanks all........Cheers Dave
     
  16. cmo

    cmo Member

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    A still-life at 50cm distance, 4x5" - is that more f 5.6 or f 64?
     
  17. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    "Larger film formats do not need more light.
    So please stop this silly line of reasoning. "

    They need more lights, because you have to stop down much more on a 8x10 for to get the same DOF!!!
    You are also very soon at 1:2 or 1:1 at 8x10 with a stillife, thats the 2 reason for more power!

    Cheers Armin
     
  18. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I was thinking of buying second-hand, a Bowens Prolite 120 (if I could find one) or equivalent with a 1m X 1m softbox. That with a light-stand and boom arm for overhead lighting of the subject similar to those for pack-shots. Would that be a good choice Ian? More power than this might be even more desirable.:confused:
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Keith, the Prolite 120 might just be OK if it's the 1000 joule one, that kind of power is fine for 35mm & medium format and some LF work, small still life sets etc. You can never have too much studio flash equipment, so you could add more later if you feel yo need more power.

    Remember a soft-box significantly drops the potential light output.

    Contrary to this posters comments larger formats require substantially more power to be able to stop the lenses down to obtain significant depth of field. While a 35mm camera might be fine at f8/f11, a medium format camera is often used at f11/f16 and a 5x4 at at f22/f32. Larger formats such as 10x8 cameras are often used at f32/f45.

    So the power requirements for studio flash work are very dependant on the format being used, as well as the size of the area being photographed.

    Ian
     
  20. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    It's not unusual for me to be using f32 on 8x10 in the studio, with bellows correction (between 1 and 2 stops, for most of my tabletop work) and filter factor, the effective aperture gets really small quickly. For me, the best solution has been a Bron pack on each head, I can use up to 6400 w/s on set easily, while still having control over each head, if I'm using a simple setup, the bi-tube head goes in the softbox. Maybe not ideal for everybody, but alot of flexibility for low cost.
     
  21. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Right. No matter whether it is an umbrella, a softbox or something similar it eats 1.5 to 3 f-stops.
     
  22. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    May be I should be thinking of an Espirit 1500 w/s instead. :smile:
     
  23. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    For still life (table top) photos you can place the lights close for more illumination. Also, placing the light heads close will give you more diffussed lighting, contrary to what some people believe. I use MF and do well with a Novatron 600 w/s powerpack and 3 heads kit (200w/s each head). Sometimes I use a fourth head for portraits to reduce the f-stop (150w/s each). I work in less than 10 ft from subject.

    For LF more power is better for sure. Look for fan cooled heads if you want to use soft boxes.
     
  24. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    You can also use multiple pops to aid with exposure with any of the systems.
    I just fart around with MF & a 300WS monolight. Want more light? that's what the test button's for.
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Multiple firing of flashes are fine for still life images, but try them when your working on a set with 3 models :D

    I have a strobe, not the US type :D I mean a stroboscpe not a flash unit, that's great for shots with dancers etc. It can be triggered by a camera or just used with an open shutter, and the frequency can be varied.

    Ian