studio strobe for 8x10

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by TheFlyingCamera, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Anyone have a good recommendation for strobes to use with 8x10? I currently have a set of Calumet Travelite 750s, which I suspect won't have enough oomph to get me the depth of field I need, especially when using 30x40" softboxes. I'm shooting an old Calumet C-1 with a 14" Commercial Ektar as my main lens. I'm saving up my pennies for a longer (18-24" range) lens for doing head/shoulders portraits, which will limit dof even more. Are there decent monolights out there that will serve me better, or do I need to go up to a power pack and heads? Should I stick to the Calumet Elite, the Bowens QuadX, or go with something like a Profoto?
     
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Do these lenses have a flash sync? If not then maybe hot lights?
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Wouldn't it take ALOT of power for hot lights big enough? I've got some 1000 watt work lights I doubt they're powerfull enough for medium format. Even with fast film it's going to take some serious hot lights for 8x10.
     
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    That's true, didn't think about that fact, ack! May melt the sitter :smile:
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    So far, all the 8x10 lenses I have are equipped with strobe sync - the 14" CE has a bipost sync (I've got a bipost-PC adapter on it) and my 240mm Nikkor has PC sync (Copal #3 shutter).

    Yes, hotlights strong enough to give you sub- 1/2 second exposure times would have me better off running a tanning salon than doing portraits. OTOH, if I could get my hands on some 8x10 Kodak HIE..... :D
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Depends on your style, the light modifiers you use, and such. Usually the Comm. Ektars are in Ilex shutters with bipole sync, so that shouldn't be a problem.

    Since you say you like big softboxes, you want to err on the side of more light--a pack system with about 3000 W-s or more (W-s are a measure of energy input, not light output, but it gives you a ballpark idea of what the system can do).

    I don't own any large softboxes (I do use umbrellas and other kinds of diffusers), sometimes I use a fresnel strobe that increases light output, and I usually like selective focus, so I manage pretty well with a Norman P-2000D, and Normans are less efficient than more modern lights, but I like the quality of the light they put out, and they're real workhorses and are fairly affordable.

    Also, do you enlarge or contact print? If you contact print or if you don't print that big, faster film can save some money on lights until you can afford something bigger.

    For static subjects, when you don't have enough power, multiple pops are also an option.
     
  7. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Scott-

    Where can I get a bipost-PC adapter for my ancient 12" Dagor?

    BTW, my Calumet 750s are ok for use with my 19" Artar, but I only use the softbox on the fill light. I can get down to about f/32 using TMax 400 if the main light uses a 7" reflector. That yields enough depth of field for portraits.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Paramount makes cords with bipost connectors. I think you can order them from their website.
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    What kind of F/stop do you like ? The good news is that ISO 400 is VERY good with 8x10 portraiture, and you get the vital choice of curve shapes. TMY is a GREAT choice.

    Look for Speedotron black line. Simple, and lots of raw power. If you have zillion bucks, why not Bron ? But Speedo is industrial strength, easy to fix if you need it, and there are tons of it available used.

    You CAN get by with 1200 ws. 2400 is better. 4800 ws are kind of profligate, but handy. The cool thing about a 4800 ws pack is that you can run 4 heads, and that gives you 1000w of modeling light. You don't need it all the time, and you usually will turn down the modeling lights, but if you want to see at f/32, it's handy.

    The big demand on strobes is banging out pictures on a motor drive, roll after roll all day long. In the Kodachrome Era, a 1/3 stop fluctuation was frustrating and a 1/2 was fatal. But B&W sheets, every minute or so, makes the load on a pack pretty low. You can shoot for years with 8x10 and the flash will never know you're there.

    Check with your local pro repair house, and see whose gear they fix. That's the important thing.


    Don

    "This suspense is terrible. I hope it lasts."
     
  10. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    I have had excellent luck with Norman and Photogenic for many years. I believe the trend today is more and more light, I am more concerned with what is done with what light I have rather than how much. Most images we see today are not carefully illuminated, but show more of the flood effect.

    The placement of the highlights are everybit as important as the places you allow the shadow to fall. Regardless of format I like to work in the range of f8 to f11 for people, and save the smaller stops for product illustration. For product work you can get by with a lot less light, meaning "mutiple pops".
    I call it "making time exposures with strobes".
     
  11. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Don hit the nail on the head - your choice of film and required f/stop is important to know before you make a purchase decision. David also makes an important point when he asked about your choice of light modifiers. If you're into using soft boxes, the reflective quality of the internal fabric and the degree of diffusion of the face panel will make a difference in getting to your desired f/stop.
     
  12. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    At the moment, I have Photoflex softboxes (which may get replaced sooner rather than later because the insides are yellowing... I understand this is a common complaint with these, but at the time I was getting them, they were not known for doing this... yet). I'm thinking I will need F16-F32 depending on where I'm placing my models and/or how tight I'm shooting. Since I am relatively new to 8x10, my film choice is not settled yet. I've got a box of HP5+, which I'm going to give a try. I usually process my film in PMK Pyro, so I'll rate the HP5 at 200. That still gives me a whole lotta speed over my other film choice, FP4+, which I normally rate at 64.
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you want f:16-32 and you use large softboxes, then the more light the better.
     
  14. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Yes, I realize that. My original question was did anyone have any particular experience with the aforementioned brands, and which did they recommend?
     
  15. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

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    Shooting 10 x 8 w flash.

    There are still many variables to consider, eg how reflective are the walls in your "studio"? What type of pictures do you wish to take?

    I shoot 10 x 8 with flash from time to time with a "Strobex swimming pool" (approx 5ft x 4ft softbox - no longer manufactured and a UK product...I suspect Speedtron may be the closest comparison). I usually use 5000j but, by doubling up the power packs, I can get 10,000j.

    Factors affecting output include the size of the softbox, proximity to subject, absorption characteristics of diffuser materials etc etc. For instance a bare light source from 3ft will require less power than a diffused one from the same distance....Not knowing exactly how you intend to manipulate the light makes it difficult to predict what you require.

    From a personal perspective, I'd suggest that you need at least 5000j as a starting off point, otherwise your choice of apertures will be too limited - this will limit the products available to choose from ; as another contributor said Bron are good but expensive, I've been impressed by Profoto on the occasions I've used it - but any 5000j pack should serve, they've been designed to pump out a lot of energy and it would be difficult to build a bad one...they'd probably self destruct!

    Please bear in mind that you're handling (many times) the lethal dose of electricity at these levels - be sure to get appropriate training.

    Best Wishes
    Jerry Lebens
     
  16. George Losse

    George Losse Member

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    Just about any manufacturers light source will work as long as it has enough power. I usually use a two light set-up of White Lighting Ultras for my studio figure work. With asa 320 type films (tri-x or 400 asa cut down) I regularly shoot with f-stops of f32-f45. I use a bounce reflector umbrella instead of the softboxes.
     
  17. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    When I first read this I thought you said "May melt the shutter." That really scared me. The sitter is one thing, but the shutter, no way we can risk that!
     
  18. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    :D