Hot lights vs. strobes???

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by stradibarrius, May 1, 2010.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    What are the pros and cons of each of these methods of lighting?
    Is there a generally accepted opinion that one is generally better than the other?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Strobes are fine for multiple images on a single frame, studio flash units are better for normal use. (Strobes are stroboscopes in English, used in discos etc). :D

    Studio flash units are a lot more practical, give out far higher light output allowing lenses to be stopped down further, higher shutter speeds/short flash duration.

    Ian
     
  3. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Kilowatts of hot lights are real nice in cold UK studios in the winter. :smile: Something you don't want in a studio in the southern US in the summer.
     
  4. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I have all but stopped using hot lights. Live subjects melt under the heat, products may overheat and if something like photographing a camera, may harm it. During the summer months, bugs like to die by landing on the bulb or reflector, which may leave a scorch mark you cannot remove. If shooting color, you have to filter to correct color.

    Burns from careless handling, and popping expensive bulbs if move while filament is hot. I only keep what I have in case I need to do movies or video.

    On the other hand, Studio strobes with modeling lights are color corrected, don't have the excessive heat, easier to modify the light, especially with homemade or improvised light set ups. No problems with suicide bugs.

    I am still using the original White Lighting cans, purchased 25 yrs ago. I have to make some of the accessories since they are out of date. The new stuff is better but I cannot justify replacing them. Maybe someday I will add a new unit or two.
     
  5. frotog

    frotog Member

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    I love me hmi's but then I like 'em strobes too. They don't have to be mutually exclusive and I can't say I prefer one to the other (although I find myself using a couple 1.2 k's for portraiture and still life and sometimes dragging along a genny on location); to do so is kind of like saying I prefer this screwdriver to this adjustable wrench.
     
  6. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    depends on what you're using them for. constant sources are much easier to shape/focus in most conditions.
    Kino Flo Parabeams and Vista Beams are quite versatile for some things (portraits/still life) and can be used as both daylight/tungsten sources. They use very little power but aren't cheap, by any means.
     
  7. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    One nice feature about using a constant light source is you can see the light patterns as you position them but with studio strobe lights most have what's called a modeling light to do the same.

    Here is a spot to check out product:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/browse/Lighting-Studio/ci/1161/N/4294551176

    If you are shooting with B&W film another thought is to use the fluorescent lights available as well as lights available at places like Home Depot. Some neat pics can be made with just a flashlight!
     
  8. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Strobe is English for a repeating flash, or American for electronic flash.

    Hot lights provide more light and produce more heat. You can see the effect of moving each light without making a test shot. 3200-3400 degrees is typical color temp so filtration is used for daylight film.

    Electronic flash doesn't compare directly in power to incandescent. When you see a rating of 500WS it only refers to the power produced by the power supply, not actual light. It is generally daylight color temp
    Without experience it's more difficult to set the lights up since you can't see what's actually happening as you go along. Electronic flash costs less to use, sorta kinda because you recharge a Capacitor & store the voltage incandescent is a constant power drain.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Some people like the theatric effect of fresnel spots, and usually those are hot lights, though there are a few options for fresnel strobes that produce the light quality of a Hollywood style fresnel, with the greater light output and lower heat and power usage of strobes. I have one of these (a Norman FS-10, which is a Bardwell & McCallister 10" focusable fresnel converted to flash), and it's my favorite light head.

    There are quite a few fluorescent continuous lighting units out now that can put out a lot of soft light. The light output is on the low side, so these are more directed at digital users, but under the right conditions (fast film, wide apertures, short DOF) they can be used with film as well. Sanders McNew uses a large panel of compact fluorescents.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2010
  10. JOSarff

    JOSarff Member

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    I started in TV in the early 70's and learned to light with hot lights, and love the look they give portraits. In the mid 90's a friend loaned me a set of 3 monolights (independant strobes) that are similar to hot lights for aiming and positioning.

    I still like the hotlights in the winter here in Santa Fe (as Bob-D659 suggested) and tend to use flash in the warm summer.

    I guess, if pushed, I prefer the hot lights
     
  11. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    The best move I ever made (lighting wise), was to junk all my hot lights and move to studio strobe lighting. Everything I could do with the hot lights, I can now do with studio strobes. That includes the theatrical follow spots and fresnels that I converted to strobes.

    Yes, studio strobes are a bigger initial expense, but well worth it!
     
  12. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    I started off using a flouro softbox for portraits. The light is continuous, but not hot, so subjects don't melt. The light is very soft and broad, since it's an array 9 flouro bulbs. Another thing I like is i can use a regular reflective spot meter to really dial in the light ratios, so I didn't have to learn to use a flash meter.

    It's an easy to use setup, but it doesn't quite give me enough light, however. I end up shooting around f5.6 at 30th using ASA 320 film. It is also not every portable. The array is bulky and heavy.

    I'm moving to a monolight (Alienbees) with a few small strobes as fill, and an umbrella that I've modified to give a softer light. I've learned to use a flash meter, though it doesn't give me the tight control that spot meter does.

    So flouro hotlight: good place to start, but you hit its limitations quickly. Want to buy one?
     
  13. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I like strobes because my models pupils stay large.
     
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  15. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    So your model's a teacher with overweight students? :0
     
  16. sidearm613

    sidearm613 Member

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    Hot lights have the advantage if your camera is incapable of syncing with a flash :smile:
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Not necessarily. If you have a way of holding the shutter open and firing the strobes, then you can use open flash technique, just like they did in the days of flash powder. I've done that with lenses that don't have a shutter. The strobes will be at least four or five stops brighter than ambient, so you don't even need to turn the lights off in the room to do this, and it's not hard to have a sync speed of 1/2 second or less just by removing and replacing the lens cap.
     
  18. superbass

    superbass Member

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    I have preferred strobes so far, but I believe it's easier to learn lighting techniques using hot lights because you can see everything when you make changes. But then again, modeling lights are available on studio strobes, so you have that option too.
     
  19. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hot lights are from the past today you use LEDs;--)))
     
  20. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I used strobes for years (flashes for those in the UK). I think I have five monolights and all the reflectors, softboxes, umbrella's, toys that you could want.

    About two years ago I bought five Smith Victor hot lights.... reflectors, barndoors, screens etc. My photography has improved with the switch. Although the strobes had modeling lights I just couldn't see exactly where the flash was going to go. With the hot lights I see exactly what I'm getting.

    For me switching to hot lights moved me from being another guy with flashes, to a photographer who could really light.

    Your mileage may vary.

    -Rob Skeoch
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i have monoblock and a battery pack light kit as well as a ton of lowel lights
    totas, omnis and the old L-(lowel) lights that take floods.

    i use the battery pack one on location when there are no plugs,
    and i would rather use the lowel-stuff than anything else ...
     
  22. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    I've found that when I photograph people, regardless of the format, then using strobes really helps 'freeze' them.

    albeit, if you have a 2k arri or redhead(M.R.), that gives a nice bit of light at any distance. But they do certainly live up to their name "hot" lights are definitely hot :wink:!

    if you're not shooting anything moving, go out to home depot or your neighborhood hardware store and buy some of the clamp-lights, get the 300w maximum ones. They don't have any control over where/how the light falls(unless you use some cinefoil to re-direct it), and you can't dim them without using nd gels, but they work very well as a "starter" light to get yourself going. And they're super cheap too :smile:!

    or, if you're careful, you can get some great deals on used Mole Richardson(or even Arri or Lowel) lights on ebay. Try renting them if you can before buying.

    personally, I'm a hot light guy(if I can choose, and subject permitting), but for color work, since there really isn't any tungsten film around anymore, and I don't feel like gelling lights or my lens, I use strobes(friend's profoto packs/heads).

    -Dan
     
  23. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Expanding on what Rob has said

    The studio ambient light levels can easily misguide you with just using the modelling lamps.

    To get close to what you get with the flash units (strobes) the studio needs to be in near darkness.

    There was a very good reason many photographers would shoot a series of Polaroids to check the lighting before shooting regular film.

    It can be difficult to assess the lighting ratio and particularly background shadows and illumination with just the modelling lights to guide you.

    It is possible to do it but you need a decent flash meter, a disciplined approach and plenty of time


    Martin
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2010
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I have never heard this before!

    "Strobe" is simply incorrect for electronic flash. It is slang. As long as English is being spoken, it has nothing to do with the nationality of the speaker.
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I like hot lamps for exactly the opposite reason. I'd rather see a smaller pupil and a larger iris than the opposite.

    Light is light. The main difference is in the way that the lamp housings and accessories have come to be made. It is the quality of the light that matters. The main difference in quality of light between the two comes largely from the way the lamps are housed and modified. The other main difference is the color of the light. Make those two things equal (housings/modifications and color), tell me you can tell the difference, and I will call you a liar...because you are! Even when these two things are not equal, the differences are there, but are not extreme. Make them equal, and there is no difference in quality of light between the two. If modern flashes came in all the Mole-Richardson housings, they'd be all I'd use.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2010
  26. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Another important difference is in the title of the thread. Hot lights are exactly that: hot.
    It may not show in a photo, but what it does to whatever will be in that photo will.

    Modeling lights in flash units generate a fair deal of heat too. But by far not as much as hot lights do.


    And yes, "strobes", "strobe light" or "stroboscopes" are devices used to produce (timed) series of flashes. Not slang. Correct English.