flash power and 8x10
DO you need a lot of fill flash with an 8x10 camera for portraits? Probably a silly question but I want to know.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
The early photographers using 8x10 and larger in the studio worked with sky light and reflectors. A well to do studio photographer might have an adjustable sheer curtain to help controll the light, but reflectors were the fill lights of the day.
I read "flash powder", and was going to warn you to stay a l-o-n-g way from that stuff...
However: The films are the same, the apertures the same, so you need no more flash power with 8x10" than you would with 35mm. As long as you remember the bellows compensation, that is.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
I would say you are right in principle, Ole, but when I do a portrait with 8x10, Iím using a 360mm lens, which requires me to stop down to at least f32 to get what I would call acceptable depth of field. In 35mm I would never use f32. Plus you have the bellows factor. Presently, Iím using available light, so I canít answer the question with authority, but I know others who use in excess of 5000ws for 8x10 portraiture
You could always improve the guide number of your flash with ASA 400 film. The guide number doubles at ASA 400 compared to 100.
Do the math: for full flash illumination of the subject, divide the guide number by the aperture, and you get the distance. For fill-in purposes, it should work at greater distance than that.
Or divide guide number by distance to get the aperture.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I use White Lightning X3200s as my mains. Enough output to maintain a reasonable aperture selection, even with modifiers.
You could get by with less, of course, if you use "The Galli Style" and shoot wide open with a Pretzval.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
I have 4800ws of Speedotron Black Line power, and hardly ever use all of it for a waist up shot on 8x10, but probably would feel like I didn't have enough with a 2400ws pack. Probably depends on how many lights you're thinking, too. With a one light set-up in a softbox or umbrella, which I prefer, you might get away with 2400. If you're doing Hurrell-style multi lights (a hair light, a background light, a main, a fill, etc), you'll probably need considerably more total power to work at the small f-stops you desire.
I tried to do some work with a 200B on location as fill for some (backlit with sun) photos, and the 200B didn't have enough power to help much at the 10 feet or so I was working with.
5000wsec is a good start...
A 5000wsec power pack with 3 heads - each head variable - is a good way to go for doing commercial 8x10 portraiture...
You can purchase heads that are "set" in hot light headfixtures giving you a similar look as hot lights - without the weight and the heat...
You can do 8X10 portraiture with a single lightbulb and plenty of daylight too...
- different look and different feel...
It really all depends on your style. I like short DOF, so I'm okay with a Norman 2000 W-s pack, and maybe an extra 200 W-s portable head or two as a fill or highlight. If I'm shooting Hollywood style with a fresnel head as the main light, then that's really a lot of power. If you're using softboxes, though, you probably want at least twice that, since they'll eat up two stops.
I've just been starting to dabble in 8x10 portraiture and I can tell you that my Alien Bees 1600 just barely got me to wide open on a Nikkor-M 450/9. I'm starting to wish for one of those Speedotron 4800ws packs.