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  1. #1
    drumminor2nd's Avatar
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    Need some new lights

    Hi, all. I've been doing a little bit of portrait work (as in in front of a backdrop, sitting, top half or head and shoulders, mostly on d*****l, but also on film for some people), and I've been making due with some, shall we say, less than professional equipment (unemployed, low budget, etc.). It's pretty much some cheap Home Depot-type lights and reflectors. My new backdrop is in the dryer right now (some muslin to get dyed tomorrow morning), and I'll be getting the flash adapter for my Gossen Luna-Pro SBC, so I'll have a good flash meter.

    Even though my clients have been ecstatic with my work, I've decided the No. 1 thing I need is some better light.

    There are three set-ups I'm looking at now:
    --A trio of Nikon SB-24's or Vivitar 285HV's.
    --A trio of old White Lightnings (a combo of WL 10,000 and a WL 5,000... not sure of which to get two).
    --A trio of Flashpoint Budget 160ws strobes.

    These set-ups will be paired with umbrellas and home-made snoots as necessary.

    The advantage of the hot shoe flashes seems to be size, but I'm taking a rolling bag full of gear, and I won't be in a rush, so the size isn't all that important. They also require batteries and separate triggers. They also take longer to recycle, and I won't use them as on-camera flashes.

    The White Lightnings are known to be reliable (I don't think the photographer on Picture Day at school ever had anything else around here) and have a household bulb for a modelling light, but are aging. The Flashpoints have a 5-stop range and are new, but are of unknown (to me) quality and future parts may be a question. They both have built-in slaves, which is one less thing to buy.

    Overall, what do you guys and gals think would be the best bet?

  2. #2
    Two23's Avatar
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    My preference in order:

    1. Used White Lightnings. You will likely get your money back when you resell, and the customer service on them is outstanding.

    2. Nikon SB-24 flash. Portable, but fairly low powered for film work.

    3. The cheap monolights. You'll lose at resale, customer service is questionable, probably no better than the White Lightnings.


    Kent in SD

  3. #3
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    My preference in order:

    1. Used White Lightnings. You will likely get your money back when you resell, and the customer service on them is outstanding.

    2. Nikon SB-24 flash. Portable, but fairly low powered for film work.

    3. The cheap monolights. You'll lose at resale, customer service is questionable, probably no better than the White Lightnings.


    Kent in SD
    I agree. Of your choices, the WL would be best.
    —Eric

  4. #4
    jp498's Avatar
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    I have white lightnings 10000 and 5000 and the sb-24 and have owned the 285hv.

    The WL10000 would be my first choice on your list. It's got a lot more power than the 5000 and that is helpful when you are lighting groups of people, especially outdoors, or are using the lights in inefficient ways indoors, or using LF. I use a cool-tinted bulb for the modeling light for one of the flashes and can see how the lights work together by the change in color. It won't show in the photo, because it's the modeling light, not the flash tube. These have built in optical slave triggers as well, as long as the sync cable is unplugged on the slaves. The 5000 is OK as a second or third light, but don't expect a walloping of light out of it.

    The sb-24 and 285hv are tremendous values for battery powered flashes, but I think you will like having modeling lights and quicker recharge times. The 285hv will recharge real fast if you power it off a 6v UPS battery instead of AA's though.

  5. #5
    drumminor2nd's Avatar
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    Well, looks like the WL's are the way to go. Thanks all for your help! I'm going to get a 10k for a main light and a 5k for a fill for now, with more as money is available.

    Oh, and thanks for the idea of different-tint modelling light bulb. That sounds helpful.

  6. #6
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    My preference in order:

    3. The cheap monolights. You'll lose at resale, customer service is questionable, probably no better than the White Lightnings.


    Kent in SD
    No better than WL? I have yet to have any not repaired for pretty cheap (or need repaired at all). THey arn't glamourous but they work and work and work..
    Look around my web-site. www.vincentseye.com

  7. #7

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    I love cinema lighting as it is constant and you know exactly what you are doing.
    And fluorescent day balanced thats is could for my models and also at the native white balance of film.



 

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