do you have to worry about your quartz lights overheating and burning up your soft box cover ?
i know some are rated for heat, and some aren't ...
i've got some quartz lights ( lowel totas + omnis ) and have always been leery about anything too close to them
seeing they are "hot" lights ...
i'd love to get rid of all my lights &c and just get a handful of smith victor hot lights barn doors and scrims ...
but, unfortunately im old light rich and money poor ...
I keep the cover about 12" in front of the lamps and check it often. If it starts to feel too hot I shut down foor a bit, plus I don't run them for a very long time to begin with, the room gets hot as hell if I do.
Bill, for your application, the florescents would be just fine. You will need 8 four footers in each fixture, though. Have separate switches so you have two banks of four tubes so you can control the brightness some.
Also, if you use a florescent grid screen on the front you can create a directional light that controls the spillage.
Do be aware that they do produce heat, so your fixture will need some form of venting.
I have worked with these new high power CF bulbs with umbrellas. Not too shabby.
I'm a fan of constant lighting, it's Tota and Omni Lights for me. Tota lights are also the same as halogen flood work lights, which I also have as backup lighting for larger events, use to use them all the time for lighting stages at beauty pageants (now I use Tota Lights).
PVC frames work great too! Had to buy some PVC just the other week to make a huge scrim to cover a huge window on a shoot (I always carry some painter's canvas with me to stretch over it.)
Try these folks for some inexpensive lighting:
I have a couple of their CFL lights with umbrellas and stands, very cheap.
I have a pair of Mole-Richardson BIAX's and they are amazing. 4 tubes in each (in two banks that are switchable), they don't flicker, they don't put out much heat and they're dimmable too. Barndoors, eggcrates and filter scrims are easily installed or removed and I can use either daylight or tungsten balanced tubes. They consume 250 watts apiece at max output so there's plenty of light without much strain on the house's electrical system (or the power bill).
I have used KinoFlos as well but I'm not a fan. They have a separate ballast (makes for a system that requires proprietary power cabling) and are nearly 100% coroplast construction, very light, but very delicate.
I suppose one could construct a DIY rig, but I doubt they'd be as flexible or durable in the long run.
I've been giving that approach a thought. Do you use it for color or b&w?
What sort of output are you getting -- what exposures are you able to obtain?
My low-end lighting solution is 2 Sunpak 611 flashes (GN 160 @ ISO100) coupled with a Larson outfit for mounting them into reflectors. At times, when I don't want that much light softness (ie, more contrast), I just tape some lens cleaning tissue over the front of the flash.
So far I've been using it only for B&W with my 4x5. My exposure times are all over the place depending on subject and set-up. Mostly on portrait work my exposures are in the 1/15-1/30 sec. and f-11 on iso 100 film. I need to get to those times on iso 25 film though, so I'll be adding light when I can afford it.
Originally Posted by CollinB
The OP mentioned he wanted this for doing wet plate. That rules out virtually all the strobe recommendations made to date, because most strobes have uv-blocking coatings on the flash tubes. If you have cash to burn, I know Bowens and Hensel both have uncoated flash tubes available for their high-power pack-and-head kits. I have one myself for my Calumet Elite setup when I was thinking I would do wet plate more, but never got around to trying it out. The Kino-Flo lights previously mentioned are awesome, but they'll also set you back some serious cash (something to the tune of $800-$1K per 4 bulb fixture with bulbs). I know several wet plate shooters who use them in their studios. If you are looking to get this done on a budget, Fotodiox sells fixtures for around $200 each that have sixteen sockets arranged in multiple circuits so you can do full, half and quarter power with CF bulbs. One of those rigs will get you in the neighborhood of 8 seconds at f8 for wet plate exposures. You can buy the bulbs in bulk at 1000bulbs.com to get ones that are daylight balanced and therefore richer in UV. The downside of the Fotodiox units is that compared to the Kino-Flos they're more of a point light source (16" square vs 4' x 18"), and they don't take any other real accessories aside from a small-ish (24" square or so) softbox. But, as they say, you get what you pay for. The Fotodiox heads are probably the best bang for the buck until you exhaust their capabilities and decide you need something more.