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  1. #1
    BuddhaBelly's Avatar
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    Bought some studio lights (my first) they are 200 watt.

    Bought some studio lights (my first) they are 200 watt. Now i see 300 watt and 400 watt ones advertised a bit more frequently than the 200 watt. Will two 200 watt studio lights be sufficient to light a room?

  2. #2

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    200WS ( watt second ) lights depending on how you use them ( bare bulb, straight up! )
    can put off a fair amount of light ... not TONS ...
    i have lumedyne lights and its bulb is a 200WS bulb
    bare + straight up they say can light a 8' x8'x8' room

    it's not enough to light up a stadium, but enough for portraits and product work, and fill light &c ...


    have fun with your new lights !
    john

  3. #3
    BuddhaBelly's Avatar
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    thanks mate so you mean if i used them with umbrellas they wouldn't be all that powerful? forgive me i am a bit of a newbie to studio lights.

  4. #4

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    i think it all depends on what you want to do with them ...
    what size room is it ? do you want the whole room lit up like a xmas tree or
    a light here, and a light there, to accent the light already there / available ?

    ... with umbrellas you will get some light but you still will not light up a whole room
    an idea might be to extend your light stands and lights all the way up, use umbrellas
    and then without them and see how the light looks ... ( how many do you have ? )

    you might to get a basic book on architectural and portrait lighting .. it will give you better ideas
    than i can suggest from 3000 miles away and an internet connection

    john

  5. #5
    ChristopherCoy's Avatar
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    For the record... when we were buying studio lights we bought two 160W/S strobes, one 320W/S, and a 640W/S. Of the four, we use the 160w/s lights the most.

    And we use a 4x6 softbox on them with an internal diffuser regularly for portraits.

  6. #6
    polyglot's Avatar
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    wait wait wait. Are they strobes or are they continuous lights? The power is measured quite differently in the two cases.

    Continuous light (actually, the electrical power into the light) is measured in watts (which is joules per second, i.e. rate of energy flow), whereas power of strobes (being instantaneous) is measured in watt-seconds, i.e. joules. So with a strobe, 200W-s means 200J, which is the total energy going into a single pulse. If you were using a 200W continuous light with the same efficiency as the strobe, it would take 1s of illumination to get the same amount of light. Say you had a 400W-s strobe, it would take 2s for the 200W continuous light to produce the same illumination*.

    The next issue is efficiency. If they're continuous lights, the efficiency varies hugely between technologies: tungsten, HID/CMH, fluorescent. You get more light from a 150W fluorescent than from a 500W tungsten, so just quoting the electrical power consumption is not sufficient unless you know what sort of light is involved. The technologies also differ in their colour temperature (orange/blue ratio) as well as their colour quality (CRI), i.e. ability to accurately render different hues.

    Oh how I wish light vendors would start selling their lights with luminous-flux numbers as the primary measurement!

    Edit: to answer the question... it depends. If they're continuous lights and you have stationary subjects (not people), you can just expose as long as necessary. If they're people, 200W fluorescents are probably fine as long as you're not expecting to shoot at f/16 1/250. If they're strobes, 200Ws is enough to get about f/16-f/22 from a small (60x60cm) softbox at a metre, so good enough for single-person portraits probably, depending on how you like to shoot and how big/slow your film is.

    *
    Power(W) = Energy(J) / Time(s)
    Energy(J) = Power(W) * Time(s)
    hence people quoting strobe energy in "watt-seconds". A physicist would slap you if he heard such a term.

    Given that a strobe's duration is typically about 1ms and say it had 400J=400W-s of energy, the power from the flash is actually 400/0.001 = 400 kilowatts. But the energy is still only 400J, and it's the total energy hitting the film that matters, not (ignoring reciprocity-failure issues) not how fast it hits the film.

  7. #7
    BuddhaBelly's Avatar
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    Thanks all of you. They are just basic budget (strobe) lights made by a company called Quantuum, here:

    http://www.quantuum.pl/detal.php?lan...=1361&curr=PLN

    So what can i do with them?!

    Ideally i could take portraits (with umbrellas) and enable the background to not be too dark too.

    Or maybe i need to get different lights :-s

  8. #8
    BuddhaBelly's Avatar
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    In an average sized room... not massive... not tiny...

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddhaBelly View Post
    Thanks all of you. They are just basic budget (strobe) lights made by a company called Quantuum, here:

    http://www.quantuum.pl/detal.php?lan...=1361&curr=PLN

    So what can i do with them?!

    Ideally i could take portraits (with umbrellas) and enable the background to not be too dark too.

    Or maybe i need to get different lights :-s
    Do you have a flash meter?

    If you do, you can do some test measurements to see what you will get from the combination of the film speed, the light output of these flashes and the reflectors or other light modifiers you will be using.

    My guess is that you will find that an ISO 400 film will be more usable than 100 or 125 - 200 watt-seconds into basic reflectors means at best moderate amounts of light when normal portrait distances are involved.

    For close-up and still life, they may provide more than enough power. To do a studio portrait of an extended family - most likely they will be stretched.

    Strictly speaking, the watt-second measurement is merely a measurement of electrical power. Better flashes may make more efficient use of that power, and therefore produce more light from each watt-second of power, but these are probably at least usable.

    You may find having just two moderate power flashes limits you a bit. Lighting backgrounds or hair works better if you have another light source available, although small portable flashes can be used in conjunction with these studio units to good effect.

    These are probably good to learn with, so don't dismiss them out of hand. If you find yourself bitten by the studio lighting bug, you will soon find yourself wanting more .

    One caution - be very careful about anything you see that recommends using a digital camera as a flash meter. The differences you will encounter between a good flash meter and a digital camera when it comes to measuring light are sufficient to make it inadvisable to use the digital camera for that purpose.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #10

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    These should be absolutely capable for portrait work. Just start experimenting, with classic lightning schemes. You get the idea quickly. Ah, yes, the flash meter is of a tremendous help.

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