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?