I've been looking for a studio set-up for at my house. I'm budgeting $1000 for a kit. The one that really stands out to me is the FJ Westcott 3 light educational set. I've also considered an Alien Bees set as well. I've never had a studio set-up at my house, so I think the educational part of the Westcott kit would help. I'm just looking for something basic for doing portraits on the rainy days. Right now all the portraits I've done have been outdoor and rely on the mercy of the weather. So the question is what would be the best bang for my buck to get that ball rolling? Thanks for your input!
#1. "RE: Type of flash to buy?" In response to Reply # 0
From what I can find on the Wescott Strobes, they can only be dialed down to 1/4 (3-stop range) power where the Alien Bees can be dialed down to 1/32 (6-stop range) power which will give you significantly more control over the light. In addition the customer service at Paul C. Buff, Inc. is second to none. The Alien Bee Strobes are very well built and an outstanding value. I recommend them. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#2. "RE: Type of flash to buy?" In response to Reply # 1
I'm glad you mentioned the ability to dial in the power. That thought wasn't even crossing my mind. I talked to a friend today who has used the Alien Bees and he recommended as well. He said the thing he didn't like about the Westcott lights were the "ready beeps". He found the beeping very annoying and sent his kit back because of it. If I go with a kit from Paul Buff how are the light stands that come with the kit? Should I opt for the air coushined instead of general purpose?
#3. "RE: Type of flash to buy?" In response to Reply # 2 Fri 07-Sep-12 12:50 PM by mklass
I use Alien Bees and recommend them. They are close to bullet-proof and an excellent value,. And, as mentioned, Paul Buff Inc is a great company to do business with. The accessory selection for their lights are also top-notch.
I have some of the Buff light stands as well as some Impact stands from B&H. The quality is about the same. The Air cushioned stands are nice in that they won't just collapse immediately. It will protect your lights, and also your fingers. For the very minor price difference, I'd go for them.
#4. "RE: Type of flash to buy?" In response to Reply # 3
Port Charlotte, US
I second the "Bees". I have B800's and love them. Good quality for the money and decent modifiers such as beauty dishes, grids, etc. The new Vagabond Mini battery for remote and outside work is also awesome.
"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right ....and which is an illusion"
#5. "RE: Type of flash to buy?" In response to Reply # 2
The PCB stands are well built. So are the light modifiers (Softboxes, Umbrellas, etc...). Definetly get the Air Cushioned stands. You won't regret it. It will save your fingers and your strobes. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#6. "RE: Type of flash to buy?" In response to Reply # 5 Mon 10-Sep-12 12:30 AM by DinoCardelli
Another vote for da BEES...
Just picked up the 800's and softboxes...
One note of caution, the PCB Softboxes are large and heavy...do not think your average lightstands can handle the weight...PCB stands are designed for them and are about $100 each....
The vagabond is a definately a nice to have..but, runs $230 +, so, you are pushing over $1k with the 2 bees and below listed...
Two 800's, and 24x36 SB, and med size Octabox, and a beauty dish and you are pretty much set up..
On Amazon, there is a pretty good boom by Linco for about 150 that has enough ummph to hold them up..
Don't forge the triggers for the Bees..
One great thing, the New Pocketwizards TT1 and TT5 system for Nikon now integrates to the Bees via a AC6 adapter..so, you can basically set up a competely digital control wih the TT1 system as you progress...
As well, with this type of system, you can fire regular strobes (SB's) in combo with the bees...this gives me the flexibility to fire 4 strobes with the one controller...check out PW.
Dont' forget to pick up some sandbags on Amazon for the stands..
#7. "RE: Type of flash to buy?" In response to Reply # 0
Another vote for PCB. I finally purchased studio strobes a few months ago and I went with 2xEinsteins and 1xAB800. I also bought the Vagabond mini, PCB light stands, 2 large PLM's, strip box, beauty dish , cyber commander and cyber syncs. I dropped $2500 on all of this and it's worth every penny. I love the cyber commander, you can adjust each light individually right from the trigger, which is great for weddings and events where you can't always get to the light to change power, and it even has a built in light meter. The vagabond mini is nothing short of perfect! It's light, small and easily attaches to the light stand. I bought a extra battery for the Vagabond but haven't had to use it yet, I've got 800+ shots from a single charge, using 1 Einstein light, and still had a green light.
The first time I took a Einstein out into the field, I lost the little thumb screw that secures the umbrella shaft. I called PCB and told them that I had lost it and it was my fault and asked if I could purchase another one. The lady told me that they don't actually sell this part and sent me 2 free ones in the mail. It's this sort of service that confirmed that I had made the right decision buying these lights.