LF (ULF?) and ligthning.

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by bherg, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. bherg

    bherg Member

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    When shooting portraits with 11x14 cameras how powerfull will the flashes have to be?

    Will there be enough power in those portable flash systems where the flash and power pack is in the same unit.

    Would it be ok too use this with softboxes or is more power needed? The application will be mostly portraits in enviromental portraits mixed with other lamps that are on location.


    Cheers Johannes
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Depends on your lenses and film stocks. A basic pro system with soft boxes would have no problem giving you an f9 or even better @100asa at portrait proximity. Most manufactures have guides. They are a little optimistic at times, but not usually totally out of whack.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That depends on the aperture you want to use...

    DoF is (far) less with (U)LF than with MF. So you may want to stop down more.

    (U)LF lenses tend to have smaller max. apertures than MF lenses do, so you may have to shoot at a smaller stop.

    Tight portraits with ULF are in the macro range (!) where bellows compensation comes into play, so you might have to use a smaller effective aperture than you'd like.

    On the other hand there are few MF systems that beat a 5x7" camera with a 14" f:3.5 Petzval lens for portrait photography...
     
  4. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    A friend of mine (currently on the road - maybe he can weigh in here when he lands ) has for several years now, worked on an ongoing project of 11 x 14 portraits- head size 1:1.

    The bellows is of course "pulled" to longer than the lens focal length at infinity to facilitate the image desired and the aperture stopped down to increase needed depth of field.

    He uses two 3200 white lightning strobes in a large soft box with the front diffusion screen off. He is also considering using Sports reflectors @ 50 degrees or so beam throw...All negs are processed for platinum prints. Hope this helps. Ilford film....FP4 and HP5..
     
  5. bherg

    bherg Member

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    the lens im aming for as the first lens would be a 450 nikkor-m and thats a f9.
    Maybe i should plan on a faster lens?

    The film i plan to give a shoot is ilfords ofcourse when the light is low i would use the faster one, push it if needed.


    Ole, the DOF could be a problem. But i think it would be worth the hassle when the well executed negative is there. Btw, how was the gathering at Ted this summer, if you attended.

    I have talked to him on the phone regarding 11x14 and his enlarger. :smile:


    Dave, i dont think those systems i have looked at come close to 3200w that i guess he is using? It would be great talking to him about this matter, i would like to use them for make it abit lighter, some sort of mix of the avlible light and softboxes on the face to make it lighter, if the light arent strong enough for reflectors with the avalible light.

    hehe, i dont know if it works like this. havent used lights that much at all but i would like to learn.
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I don't think getting enough power is the big issue. It's getting enough light to focus with.

    My 1000ws monolight can put out a scary amount of light at full power. I think the factory claims a GN of 550 or so with the reflector. Cut that number down with a softbox but use something faster then 100ISO film you'll get back some speed.

    That's just 1000ws. They make packs with 4800 ws that can feed one head full power. I can't imagine what they would be like for the victim.
     
  7. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    Then there's the Meggaflash PF330 for when you really need light!

    Lachlan
     
  8. bherg

    bherg Member

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    The ones i have checked had halogen light adjustments, i asume that it switches so it isnt completly dark when focusing and doing other stuff like loading the camera and so on.

    would 300 or 600 w monolights be to little?

    Cheers Johannes






     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    For 11x14? 600ws is just starting to scratch the surface. You´ll be hard pressed to find anything that covers 11x14 that is much faster than the Nikkor 450. They exist, but then you´re talking collectible Petzvals here. Serious $$$$. As has been mentioned, the problem is not so much enough light from the strobes as it is light to focus with. Most strobe systems have no brighter than a 250 w halogen lamp for focusing. You may want to have a separate 500w+ flood lamp around just for focus and composition. You can switch it off when you´re ready to shoot, as it will cook your subject something fierce.
     
  10. bherg

    bherg Member

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    lets say there is no problem with focusing, if i found out some system for that. That problem can always be worked out with a construction light or something.


    The thing im intressted in is just the power needed for exposure, i understand that there is more than one answer too this. Im just probing too see what is necessary in terms of watts.

    Cheers Johannes
     
  11. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    A friend of mine who is running a part-time photography business has a couple of Alien Bees lights. He had to turn them up quite a bit for me to take some 8x10 portraits on Provia 100F, with an f/11 19 in. Apochromat Artar, but I was able to get some reasonably exposed shots. I was shooting at f/11 @ 1/60. Sorry, I don't recall what specific model of lights he has beyond that brand name.
     
  12. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    That sounds about right Diane, I think the most powerful Alien Bee is around 600....pretty anemic when you need to stop down to 64 and more....of course if you are shooting wide open and not so concerned about DOF it is less of a problem
     
  13. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Yes, he had just purchased the lights and was trying to get the hang of using them prior to using them with paying customers. I thought it might be fun and it was, though it was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to set it up for those conditions. I also shot some Tri-X, which gave a little more leeway for exposure. Since it was a studio setting with a black background, I wasn't too worried about the background. However, I failed to notice the lighting support (boom?) in the top left corner until we were almost done. :rolleyes:
     
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  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It depends on the look you want. If you want a fairly conventional sharp portrait with umbrellas or softboxes, you probably want something in the ballpark of 3000 Watt-seconds or more in total (bearing in mind that Watt-seconds are not a measure of light output, which depends on the efficiency of the head, reflectors or diffusers in place). If you like short DOF and selective focus, you can get by with considerably less.
     
  16. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I got to try an old brass lens at a workshop recently and it gave some interesting results. I was going to post some pics last weekend and never got around to it.
     
  17. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you all are talking about strobes and not hot lights. Am I right in thinking that with b/w the type of light isn't important, rather it's the amount?

    I'd really like to further explore shooting portraits but I mostly shoot with brass lenses and packard shutters. I think I might find some sort of balance with hot lights in a cold garage...
     
  18. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Multiply the watt numbers mentioned for strobes by something like 10X. The advantage you have with hot lights is you can go for longer exposures. But how long are you willing to go? Of course you could clamp the person down
     
  19. bherg

    bherg Member

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    So a 300 w strobe would have the power of 3000 w hot lights?

    Whats the diffrence between a flash and a strobe? Im a complete novice at this.

    Cheers Johannes




     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There is no difference between a "flash" and a "strobe." They are the same thing. Some people tend to think of studio flash units as "strobes" but really they are used interchangeably.
     
  21. bherg

    bherg Member

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    Ohh ok, Would it take 3000 watts of strobe power ? That seems like alot, maybe 11x14 is hard for portraits, i would really like to have the ability to take sharp portraits to.

    In my ignorance i tought that some portable small flashes would be enough to make it abit lighter, to use the strobes as some kind of "reflector" and use mainly the avalible light.


    Does anyone of you with alot of knowledge have msn feel free to add me
    aus_der_welt@msn.com i would like to have some with alot of knowhow to talk with.

    Cheers Johannes



     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    3000 W-s is a general guideline. For a really sharp, relatively close portrait (say about head-and-shoulders, more than a really tight headshot), if you want a very sharp look, you need about f:45-64. If you use umbrellas or softboxes, they'll eat about two stops, so you need a lot of light, if this is your goal.

    If you are just interested in getting the eyes and nose in focus, and it's okay if the ear is not, then maybe f:32, and if you don't mind the nose out of focus, f:16 or wider should work.

    Alternately, if you're shooting Hollywood style with fresnel strobes, these will concentrate light output rather than diffuse it like a softbox, or if you use plain reflectors for a harder look than an umbrella, you can get by with less power.

    More power gives you more options.
     
  23. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    What David has written above is right on. Also to your previous question as to using strobe for fill etc. Yes you can to that, remember you will probably in that situation (outdoor in shade, or reflected light etc) be using a very slow shutter speed, in that case your fill strobe would register and your shutter would remain open recording the ambient light.

    Look at Avedon's "IN THE AMERICAN WEST" these are 8 x 10 portaits taken outside in the shade without strobe. The photographs are sharp throughout.

    The subject is about 4 to 5 feet from the lens, as is the photographer...

    To quote Avedon...."I use an 8 x 10 camera on a tripod....I stand next to the camera, not behind it, several inches to the left of the lens and about four feet from the subject"

    ..."I photograph my subject against a sheet of white paper about nine feet wide by seven feet long that is secured to a wall, buidling, sometimes the side of a trailer..I work in the shade because sunshine creates shadows,highlights, accents on a surface that seem to tell you where to look. I want the source of light to be invisible so as to neutralize its role in the appearance of things".
     
  24. bherg

    bherg Member

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    Thanks David and Dave.


    Im going to see if i can find some examples, saw one in a magazine i need to scan that and put it online, that look is very sharp, but probably shoot with something smaller or d*****l. But i have seen portable a system with 2x1200 w, so its getting me closer.

    Would i need to sync the flash to "rear curtain" if i have ambient light and need to go for a slower speed than the strobes can handle? Or is it ok to sync in on the front one?

    Cheers Johannes
     
  25. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    for large format i.e 8 x 10 and larger .. no curtain and your shutters are synched at every speed....as the flash is faster than the shutter, your shutter is still open after the flash stops and can expose ambient light....if you want...
     
  26. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Dave's description of the sync is accurate. It is possible with a Pocket Wizard, I believe, to make the flash sync at the end of the exposure with a long exposure and leaf shutter, but it's kind of a special effect for recording flash and motion together. Most people don't need this.

    Note that Avedon's portraits are usually three-quarter or full-length, so he can get the whole subject in focus on 8x10" with a wider aperture. If you're interested in full-length portraits (bellows factor will be about 1/2 stop on 11x14"), you won't need as much light as you would for a head-and-shoulders portrait (bellows factor about 1.5 stops on 11x14").