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  1. #1

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    Umbrella or Light Box?

    I have a hard time choosing either umbrella or light box for my indoor studio. Just on the mechanical side of it:

    1. Do the light boxes require more lighting power? I see most umbrellas use just one bulb, but light boxes use multiple.
    2. Is is easy to set the umbrella than to set the light boxes? Also umbrella is easy to pack and transport.

    This is mainly for small portrait projects, not a permanent commercial studio. I need to set up the background and get two or three of the new lights. I also have two old lights that I plan to keep and replace the blue light bulbs with the new spiral type studio bulbs.

  2. #2
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Light boxes and umbrellas have different looking light. Umbrellas look softer than light boxes to me. Both just as portable, but softboxes require some assembly on location if you collapse them after use. Soft boxes are hard to use with hot lights because of cooling. You'll just have to experiment to see what look works for you.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  3. #3

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    The light system will only be used about a couple of times a week. So the umbrella and backdrops will be packed when not in used to avoid dust accumulation. So easy packing is clearly a major consideration.

    It seem umbrellas are the way to go. I'll look into a light kit with backdrop and 2-3 umbrella lights. There are plenty for sale now, many to choose.

    For general portraits, how large a bulb do I need, say for a 33" umbrella? Are 45mm photo spiral type bulbs large enough?

  4. #4
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Probably not the size of the bulb

    Quote Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
    For general portraits, how large a bulb do I need, say for a 33" umbrella? Are 45mm photo spiral type bulbs large enough?
    I would check on the wattage instead of how big it is.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  5. #5
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    Light boxes are what you view slides and negatives on, you mean soft box.
    Ben

  6. #6

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    Yes, soft box... lol
    A photo amateur
    Sinar P2/F2/Nikon F100/Bronica ETRSi/GS/Saunders 4550XLG/Jobo CPP2/CPE+/Colorline 7000

  7. #7
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    You can turn the umbrella around and shoot through it to get a bit more of a soft box look. You can adjust how close the umbrella is to the light shining through it.
    The good thing about a soft box is that you can keep the light off the background better.
    Of course with an umbrella you can always put a large card up on a stand to block the light from going to the background.
    I will often use a soft box to light the subject and an umbrella to light the background, but then you need to deal with the light spilling from the umbrella onto the subject.. which can also be used to your advantage.

  8. #8
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    You're correct Sir

    Quote Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
    Yes, soft box... lol
    I haven't used my Chimere softbox in years. I forgot what they're called. I did sharpen up my softbox setup skill by going camping this summer by setting up my tent.

    My product photography days are long over.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
    I have a hard time choosing either umbrella or light box for my indoor studio. Just on the mechanical side of it:

    1. Do the light boxes require more lighting power? I see most umbrellas use just one bulb, but light boxes use multiple.
    2. Is is easy to set the umbrella than to set the light boxes? Also umbrella is easy to pack and transport.

    This is mainly for small portrait projects, not a permanent commercial studio. I need to set up the background and get two or three of the new lights. I also have two old lights that I plan to keep and replace the blue light bulbs with the new spiral type studio bulbs.
    To help answer your question, may I ask what subjects you will be photographing?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpurdy View Post
    You can turn the umbrella around and shoot through it to get a bit more of a soft box look. You can adjust how close the umbrella is to the light shining through it.
    Only through a white bumbershoot, the silver/gold type are opaque.
    Some hot lights don't have a way of taking an umbrella so they have to be clamped onto a stand, other lamps may come with a bracket allowing you to align the lamp & light to be aligned.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

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