some questions on buying light.
Over the past few days I've been looking at the alternatives for buying some strobes in the near future. There are a few things that are important to me and maybe more things will get my attention later on so I hope some of you can mention some point I might not know yet.
One thing I wonder about is the output range and ajustabilety in output. I am currently bussy with a project that involves many locations with window light. So I am looking for a flash that can be a modest fill with a wide open lens shot, or one I can use as a main light with a closed lens. And preferable would be as many steps in between as possible to match all window light situations. So is their much difference between types and brands when it comes to range and ajustabilety?
Another thing is that I love to work with shadows and high contrasts, that means I probably need at least two lights for many pictures shot without natural light. So is it always possible to add more lights later on with all systems?
And finally is it an idea to buy a strong and a less strong strobe so it will cover my needs in the first point and I will still be able to make shots with two light sources in other settings?
Please visit a local studio. Studio equipment varies a great deal:
Obviously, a traveling journalist or 'in the field' photographer requires different gear than does a studio shooter. One who regularly lights a large set needs more light than does a wedding shooter who needs only light to augment available light in a small room. And one who shoots catalog work every day, or a museum who makes hundreds of images daily, places greater demands on equipment than does one who shoots once a week, or once a month.
Older professional equipment is often a good value. Visit local repairshops, to see what is easy to fix in your town. Many times, local customs are the most important factor. If your repairmen works with Bron but not Balcar, for instance, go with Bron.
The assumption is that the the basic unit must be sound, but things can break. If it is easy to obtain a flashtube or modeling light for one maker, in your town, but not another, your choice is made. The criteria are similar to buying a used car !
That said, the possibility of buying older Bron equipment, OR Balcar, OR Elinchrom with ready service available makes my eyes water. Or Godard. Or Bowens. The list is endless. Good luck.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
I wish I had found APUG before I bought my light system. The speedotron power pack I have has plugs for 4 lights and full/half/quarter power adjustments. There is also the symetrical and asymetrical settings. Symetrical lets you either give all lights the same power, or with asymetrical two plugs get more power then the other two. The distance (the inverse square law of light intensity) and neutral density filters can tone down the power of your lights. Corralling the light and keeping it subtle is my biggest challenge. I am sure others here have more experience and more to offer, but when I just need fill light I use my on camera flash and leave the powerpack at home. Richard