I'm not trying to be alarmist here, but I just looked more closely at the specific light kit mentioned. A word of warning, that kilowatt main light should never be pointed open-faced at anyone, nor should the 600W units. Always use a protective wire mesh screen over them. I can't tell of one is provided from the photos. The last thing you want is hot shards of glass exploding into your kids' eyes, and these quartz lamps do sometimes explode. But even if that's a rare occurrence, you don't want to take that risk.
A kilowatt of quartz light in the face from a few feet will definitely bring on the squints from your subjects and give them a sunburn in a few minutes. It's like a tanning booth, especially at just a few feet. Bounce it or scrim it. Quartz halogen is about 3.5% efficient, so as much light as it's putting out, it's putting out more than 25 times that much heat and other energy, including IR and UV.
Also never touch the bulbs bare-handed. The oils from your skin will stick to the glass, and can sometimes cause differential heat build up in the glass where the oils are that causes the bulb to explode. Use gloves or a lintless cloth or the plastic wrap that the bulb comes in to handle the bulb.
The upside of quartz is that the lamps have a sort of self-cleaning action that prevents tungsten build up on the interior glass of the lamp. The cheaper tungsten photofloods have this problem, and a resulting usable life of only a few hours before going off in color balance.
Good point. That's one of the questions I'd ask. B&W, or color? You can shoot color under tungsten light and balance in printing, but it's not recommended for good color, with film. I've even seen some recommendations to use color balancing filters with digital, but that's definitely not my area. An 80A filter that loses about 1.25 stops is needed to correct the 3200K of these lights to 5500K daylight color film. Or Rosco or Lee gels with a similar light loss and a designation of full CTB (color temperature blue) placed over the lights would work for daylight color film.
Originally Posted by hpulley
B&W isn't a problem with tungsten, and that's what I was assuming.
Good points Lee,
Originally Posted by Lee L
I will have to double check on the main light. I am concerned about the heat these tungsten lights generate. Being I use only B&W film, currently Neopan 400 in MF and eventually Acros, is florescent lighting or other non high heat generating light sources options? I would prefer continuous lighting rather than flash or strobe. Being portable is not important as I would just keep in in the house.
If you intend to use incandescent continuous lights, you can purchase "daylight" bulbs for better colours.
If it were me, I would look more toward this kit as a starting point:
I prefer flash to continuous, especially if the lights (like these) have modelling lights.
The kit I've linked to is, however, very low powered! I'd definitely be looking to use 400 ISO film with it. And if you find you want to do more of this work, you probably will soon be looking to upgrading it.
That being said, I still use a set of 40+ year old Bowens monolights for similar purposes.
One point of clarification. All of these sorts of flashes tend to be described using Watt/Second ratings. Those ratings only give a rough, relative indication of light output (which is highly dependant on reflectors).
“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
there are ways to make portraits with a simple flash, nothing fancy.
i used to work for a newspaper and was sent on assignment all the time ..
with only a camera and a flash ... it is a matter of knowing how to bounce the flash
whether it is on the camera or off with a pc cord.
you can use reflectors ( they are cheap ! ) or foam core ( cheaper ) ...
i used a lumedyne 244 flash for all that sort of work at first, then later on
when i started to use a more "electronic" camera i began to just use a on camera
flash ( nikon speed flash i think it is called ) ...
sometimes less is more and a lot easier than trying to figure out how to set up 3 or 4 lights
( hot or flash ) ...
most of the portraits i do nowadays are using a pair of 30 + year old softboxes and the modeling light
on my monoblocks,
Last edited by jnanian; 01-06-2011 at 05:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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kids will get used to the flash. The novelty and bright pop wears more and more normal with time. You use a dslr to get the kids acclimated and test your lighting if you want.
Have you looked at the Home Depot type utility lighting? There is a lot you can do with very cheap lights, especially if you're going to be bouncing them off walls, cards or shooting them through diffusion. Personally I find the cheaper lighting kits hard to work with because they are so delicate, and their handling the light itself is not much better than what you have around the house anyway. I just started working with the larger CFL lamps from the hardware store. They keep the wattage and heat down while providing quite a bit of soft light, just the thing for portraits. Get some black and white foamcore cards to bounce and block light, they'll give you a lot of control for very little money.
I was looking for this earlier today to reference in this thread, and just found it. Kirk Tuck is a pro who reviewed some LED panels in a blog post I read a couple of months ago. LEDs are the up and coming continuous lighting source, and he gives enough info in his review and links to specific products that aren't that expensive. A 500 LED (500W incandescent 'equivalent') for $200, and a 1000 LED (1kW 'equivalent) for $480, available from Amazon. They run off 12VDC or 110VAC and the LEDs throw a 30 degree cone of 5500K light that you can diffuse. Worth at least reading the article.
With something like this you can do very professional work.
Originally Posted by ymc226
Actually very nice quality and there customer service is great.
Any brand reflector will work.
A flash meter isn't an option IMO.
More lights give you more options, I have 4, but one light and a reflector can probably do 80-90% of the normal stuff.
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
Thank You Lee,
Originally Posted by Lee L
I think the LED idea is very interesting and affordable given the "newish" technology. It is definitely a consideration.