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  1. #1
    Ilmarin's Avatar
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    Entry level lighting for home studio, newbie question

    Hello All!

    Here is my situation: my wife, and I done some portrait work in the studio at the college, and now we are thinking about getting entry level light for home.
    Recently, I came across this lot on eBay. Does anybody know if it's good for our purposes ?
    With best regards,
    Vladimir S. Fonov ~ foto at ilmarin.info

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilmarin
    Hello All!

    Here is my situation: my wife, and I done some portrait work in the studio at the college, and now we are thinking about getting entry level light for home.
    Recently, I came across this lot on eBay. Does anybody know if it's good for our purposes ?
    If you want to light up relatively small areas, the kit on eBay looks good enough. But if you go beyond that, you need bigger lights. It depends on how much space you have in your home studio.

    First of all, check the maximum wattage on each lamp (I'm assuming it's a tungsten type) as well as your house outlet capacity. And make sure when you use all the lights at home, you don't overload anything.

    Check the wires and the outlets, etc if your building is old and has not really renovated. And watch out the bill for electricity if you are planning to run your photo sessions very frequently.

    The alternative is using flourescent lights (Kino) which is softer but takes far less power and doesn't heat up the room as much as the tungsten. You can even use the ones from DIY stores, and they are cheap.

    The only disadvantage of using a flourescent lamp is that you can't use a dimmer. But the tungstern lamps, you can. So there are a few things you might want to think about before jumping on to the conclusion.

    Good Luck.

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    Hi Vladmir,

    When I started getting serious about photography I was in the same situation I think you are in (good and cheap) and looked at everything, using Vivtar 285s (didn't work very well), as well as hot lights. I rented some hot lights and found that non-professionals (the people you will take portraits of) tend to get stunned by the bright light. I think the ebay setup is best for catalog photography of objects not people. Also, you have to use a fairly wide slow shutter (like 1/60)! to get enough light at 5.6 with ISO 100 film, and that is with 500Watt bulbs! I always worried about fire hazard. There are some 800 Watt brown line speedotron setups that would be not that much more expensive than the hot lights in the auction. Another thing is because you guys like to use gels and shoot color it is a lot easier with strobes because the gels won't get as hot.

    I ended up with Dynalite 500 and some 2040 heads I bought used.

    -Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker
    The alternative is using flourescent lights (Kino) which is softer but takes far less power and doesn't heat up the room as much as the tungsten. You can even use the ones from DIY stores, and they are cheap.

    The only disadvantage of using a flourescent lamp is that you can't use a dimmer. But the tungstern lamps, you can.
    Firecracker,

    You can dim fluorescent lights but you need an electronic ballast.

    regards,
    Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason314159
    Firecracker,

    You can dim fluorescent lights but you need an electronic ballast.

    regards,
    Jason
    Right. I have not tried that though. Does it work well for the lamps in all sizes?

  6. #6
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    These lights aren't great for portrait work mainly because you will probably want to modify them (soften them etc) and in doing so you will cut their output considerably.

    Personally I would purchase a monolight (strobe 600ws minimum) of some kind ( I use Photogenics) and there are relatively cheap ones out there. Buy a softbox and get a reflector of some sort for fill (fomecore works) and then build from there.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

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    For "our purpose" picture, just use a 250W bulb and bounce it off a piece of foamcore. Or maybe flourescent lights with diffusion (opal) set near the person does the similar job.

    One more thought: Chinese paper lantern with a small bulb could also work.

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    Ilmarin's Avatar
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    Thank you everybody!

    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker
    For "our purpose" picture, just use a 250W bulb and bounce it off a piece of foamcore. Or maybe flourescent lights with diffusion (opal) set near the person does the similar job.

    One more thought: Chinese paper lantern with a small bulb could also work.
    Yes, actually I was using a pair of cheap clamp-on-lamps from wallmart for this shot.
    With best regards,
    Vladimir S. Fonov ~ foto at ilmarin.info

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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    These lights aren't great for portrait work mainly because you will probably want to modify them (soften them etc) and in doing so you will cut their output considerably.

    Personally I would purchase a monolight (strobe 600ws minimum) of some kind ( I use Photogenics) and there are relatively cheap ones out there. Buy a softbox and get a reflector of some sort for fill (fomecore works) and then build from there.


    Michael
    Follow Michael's advice about 600 WS minimum. I was shooting a rose this morning. The key light was a 300WS strobe into a large silvered umbrella, 1 1/2 stop for bellows extention and I was at F-6.3 for 100 ISO film. If your going to do portraits you WILL be using soft light and it will suck up a couple of stops. I recommend an 1800 WS strobe so that you will be able to use less than full power for durability. Just ain't no way to do it right on the cheap.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by vet173
    Follow Michael's advice about 600 WS minimum. I was shooting a rose this morning. The key light was a 300WS strobe into a large silvered umbrella, 1 1/2 stop for bellows extention and I was at F-6.3 for 100 ISO film. If your going to do portraits you WILL be using soft light and it will suck up a couple of stops. I recommend an 1800 WS strobe so that you will be able to use less than full power for durability. Just ain't no way to do it right on the cheap.
    I never knew what is difference between European (220V) and North America (110V) volt/output. With 160Ws monoblocks, bounced off silver 85 cm umbrella, I get aperture f8 on 1 meter distance.

    I use cheap Chinese origin monoblocks, selled by Czech seller. I have two monoblocks of 160 Ws, and I plane for two more of 320 Ws and one of 640 Ws with accessories (softboxes, stands, etc... and whole packadge for 5 monoblocks would cost me less that 2000 USD all new).

    Just for information, I payed for (all new not secondhand) 2x160Ws monoblocks, 2x85cm silver umbrella, 2xumbrella reflector, 2xpilot lamp, 2xstand, including shipment, about 500USD all together...

    I am saying this only to show you can get for (relatively) small money let say decent starting lightning. And let that starting lightning to earn you money for "serious" lights...

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