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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #62476
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Subject: "studio setup help needed" Previous topic | Next topic
ChrisPrattPD Registered since 20th Oct 2013Tue 19-Nov-13 11:43 AM
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"studio setup help needed"


US
          

Looking to setup a simple studio in a large unused room in my house. I'm pretty new to flash photography so am looking for some guidance on a decent starter style kit.
I will not be doing these for money at this point...rather for me to master the craft.

I am also on a pretty tight budget

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
luckyphoto Gold Member
19th Nov 2013
1
Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
ChrisPrattPD
19th Nov 2013
2
     Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
MEMcD Moderator
19th Nov 2013
3
          Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
ChrisPrattPD
19th Nov 2013
4
               Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
MEMcD Moderator
20th Nov 2013
5
               Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
ChrisPrattPD
20th Nov 2013
6
                    Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
ChrisPrattPD
20th Nov 2013
7
                    Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
MEMcD Moderator
21st Nov 2013
13
                         Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
MEMcD Moderator
21st Nov 2013
14
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ChrisPrattPD
21st Nov 2013
11
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benveniste Moderator
20th Nov 2013
8
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ChrisPrattPD
20th Nov 2013
9
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benveniste Moderator
21st Nov 2013
12
Reply message RE: studio setup help needed
jherrel Silver Member
21st Nov 2013
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bens0472
27th Nov 2013
15

luckyphoto Gold Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Tue 19-Nov-13 01:03 PM
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#1. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 0


Port Charlotte, US
          

Not sure what you mean by simple, but I'll assume you mean simple portrait (head shots). For that you typically need three light sources; two main lights in front and a hair light behind and above the subject. You could start with one light and two reflectors as an alternative, but you'll need at least three stands for the lights or reflectors. Make sure the stands extend high enough to be useful.

One or two softboxes or umbrellas for the main lights are generally used depending on the look that's desired.

You'll also need a method of triggering multiple lights, if that's the direction you take. Look into Nikon's Creative Lighting System that triggers some of Nikon speedlights.

You should also have one light and one dark background. If you use a solid white background (like particle board, etc.) you can change colors using a light with a colored gel pointing at the background. Some people prefer a more neutral grey, etc.

That should get you started.

Good luck.

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ChrisPrattPD Registered since 20th Oct 2013Tue 19-Nov-13 02:33 PM
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#2. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

I'm not looking to spend thousands of dollars right now...

have any of you tried the kits on ebay

something like this as a starter

http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Flash-Lighting-Studio-Photo-Strobe-Photography-Softbox-Kit-/290963051872

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Tue 19-Nov-13 07:48 PM
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#3. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Hi Chris,

The link lists the kits total power of 1000Ws however each head is rated at 120Ws for a total of 360Ws. Well short of 1000Ws.
Reviewing the features it appears that the strobes are limited to a 3-Stop range (Full, 1/2, and 1/4 Power) and can only be adjusted in full stops.
While the price is very Cheap, it appears that you will get what you pay for.
It is much cheaper in the long run to buy quality gear that you won't have to upgrade as soon as you find the limitations of the cheap gear.

Keep in mind that you can use Speedlights (Background lights, Hair Lights, Fill lights, etc...) together with Strobes. You can also use reflectors for fill. In other words you can do a lot with a single strobe. This approach will allow you to get good gear while keeping the costs down to a minimum.

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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ChrisPrattPD Registered since 20th Oct 2013Tue 19-Nov-13 08:09 PM
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#4. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

Good advice...thank you

how about a setup like this below

Novatron 500 flash kit
*Power Pack
*3 Strobes
*1 Spotlight
*4 Stands
*2 Umbrellas
*2 Umbrella stands
*Light Meter
*We in Hot Shoe Safe Sync


all used but working for less than 200 bucks.

would I need anything else to get setup with my d7000

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Wed 20-Nov-13 04:14 AM
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#5. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

Hi Chris,

It probably has a few limitations.

I suspect it is an older power pack with a very high sync voltage.
If it has a high sync voltage NEVER connect your DSLR directly to the power pack because it will fry the flash sync circuit and likely destroy all of the circuits in the camera.
You will have to use the Wien Safe-Sync to connect the power pack to your camera via a PC cord, assuming the sync voltage is less than 400v. If the unit has a sync voltage higher than 400v, the Wein Safe-Sync won't be much use since it is limited to a maximum of 400v.
The alternative is to use an RF (Radio Frequency) trigger on your camera and receiver connected to the Power Pack. That way the camera will never have to be connected to the power pack.

I also suspect that the pack does not allow asymmetric power distribution (All of the flash heads connected to the pack will fire symmetrically at the same power level.

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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ChrisPrattPD Registered since 20th Oct 2013Wed 20-Nov-13 06:20 AM
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#6. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 5


US
          

Thanks for the reply..it does come with one of those cables for that purpose.
is it something that worth the money to get me started.
again in looking to use these to learn not really for.professional.use.

would this be better than one of those eBay kits I posted about earlier?

  

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ChrisPrattPD Registered since 20th Oct 2013Wed 20-Nov-13 06:52 PM
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#7. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

Anyone?

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Thu 21-Nov-13 10:41 PM
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#13. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 6
Thu 21-Nov-13 11:29 PM by MEMcD

US
          

Hi Chris,

I think you will be dissappointed with either kit.
Both the Novatron (Symetrical power distribution) and the Flea-Bay strobes (3-stop range limited to full stop incraments) have serious limitations with regard to controlling the light output.

As Michael suggested below you would be better served by getting a single strobe like an Alien Bee B400 ($224.95 New), Light Stand ($20.00-$200.00+ depending on brand), Umbrella ($12.00-$100.00 depending on size and brand), and maybe a Reflector that you can buy or make yourself. If you already have a Speedlight, you can use it (them) for fill and/or a hair light.

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Thu 21-Nov-13 10:52 PM
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#14. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 13


US
          

Btw: I would recommend paying the extra for Air-Cushioned Light Stands.
With non-Air-Cushioned stands it is only a matter of time before you get pinched or worse by one. It is also not good when the strobe and Modifier abruptly stops (crashes) when you lower the stand without a very firm grip on the upper section of the stand.

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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ChrisPrattPD Registered since 20th Oct 2013Thu 21-Nov-13 02:06 PM
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#11. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

>Good advice...thank you
>
>how about a setup like this below
>
>Novatron 500 flash kit
> *Power Pack
> *3 Strobes
> *1 Spotlight
> *4 Stands
> *2 Umbrellas
> *2 Umbrella stands
> *Light Meter
> *We in Hot Shoe Safe Sync
>
>
>all used but working for less than 200 bucks.



I guess what I'm asking is should I buy a used set like this to learn on?
>would I need anything else to get setup with my d7000

  

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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Wed 20-Nov-13 08:56 PM
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#8. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 0


Boston Area, US
          

Please consider filling in your profile. It would help if we knew what gear you already owned.

Personally, I would avoid the bottom-end strobes, be they from eBay or not. The most notable short comings are:
-- Flimsy light stands
-- Small umbrellas/softboxes
-- Long recycle time (2-3 seconds)
-- Weak modeling lights (75-100w)
-- Not enough control over output levels. Often such lights will only offer 1/4, 1/2, and full power. I found that even 1/8th power was too much at times for a secondary light.
-- "Always on" optical slaves. So an errant flash (or even someone turning on a light in the room) can trigger the strobes even if you are trying to use a sync cord or radio slave.

My recommendation is to start with fewer lights of better quality. You can do a lot with a single light kit such as the Paul Buff "Beginner Bee" kit, especially if you're willing to use simple reflectors made of things like foam core or can use existing "shoe" flashes remotely.

Unfortunately, this advice comes from experience. My first studio lights were a Smith Victor "kit." While it was a step above the eBay kits offered at that time, it wasn't enough of one. Even worse, when one of the lights in that kit failed, it did so in a way that gave me a nasty electrical shock. When looking to replace it, I fell into a deal on an excellent Hensel set, but that may be a bit above your budget.

"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck

  

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ChrisPrattPD Registered since 20th Oct 2013Wed 20-Nov-13 08:59 PM
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#9. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 8


US
          

Thanks for the response...do you or does anyone have experience with the used kit I mentioned earlier

  

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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Thu 21-Nov-13 06:26 PM
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#12. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 9


Boston Area, US
          

I'm sorry, I don't have experience with that particular kit. From your description, though it appears that it's a "pack and heads" kit rather than a set of monolights. (An older 500 VR kit, perhaps?) Here's a quick link describing the advantages and disadvantages of the two different types:

http://www.paulcbuff.com/sfe-monovspack.php

With the higher ISO speeds available with a dSLR, I would expect a 500 watt-second pack and head kit to be okay for individual portraits and small family groups. You may find it a little more difficult to find accessories for the Novatron, though.

Still, given that a flash meter and Wein safe-sync can easily cost $100 or more, at under a couple of hundred dollars, it's an interesting option.

"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck

  

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jherrel Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007Thu 21-Nov-13 12:53 PM
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#10. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 0


Elgin, US
          

I'd suggest that you look at the Paul Buff lighting products for your studio needs.

John Herrel
Nikonian from South Carolina
See the light, capture the essence!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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bens0472 Basic MemberWed 27-Nov-13 07:26 PM
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#15. "RE: studio setup help needed"
In response to Reply # 0


Roswell, US
          

Chris,

This is all you need:

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101-traveling-light.html

Since you're new to flash photography, you have a lot to learn. Get any more than one light to start with and you'll find yourself struggling on the learning curve. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Get this kit, then add lights as you become more familiar.

Oh - also read the rest of David Hobby's Lighting 101 archive at that same link. It's worth every minute of the time you'll spend doing it.

Cheers,
Ben

Ben

  

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