Good starter Kit..

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by mrtac2man, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. mrtac2man


    Jun 3, 2005
    would this be a good starter kit.. or should I look for something else. don;t want to spend much over 300us and would like to keep it below that.. thanks in advance for any ideas.


    Kit Details:

    Two 12" Reflectors
    One 5" Reflector
    Three Socket & Cordsets with Stand Mounts
    Two 33" White Umbrellas
    Two UM-4 Umbrella Mounts
    Three Raven RS8 8' Aluminum Stands
    Three 3/8" Light Mount Studs
    One MB110 Mini-Boom
    Two ECT 500-Watt Photoflood Lamps
    One ECA 250-Watt Photoflood Lamp
    One Light Cart on Wheels
    One Lighting Guide: Imaging with Light
  2. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    If you are just starting out, I strongly suggest you get just one studio strobe -not a continuous (hot) light - and a reflector.

    My recommendation would be that you get an Alien Bee 400 ($225) or 800 ($280). The Alien Bee 13' HD light stand is another $70, their 4' umbrella is $30. White foam core board will serve nicely as a reflector. A nice little starter kit that (more importantly) can grow with you and all for very close to your budget.
  3. mrtac2man


    Jun 3, 2005
    thanks Francis. will look into it.. also looking at this kit.. maybe a better idea?

    Smith-Victor KF-3U Thrifty Flash Kit - Includes: 3 Flash Units, Brackets, Light Stands, 2 Umbrellas, Lighting Guide, Storage Case

    3 x 45i Slave flashes with sync cords and test buttons
    • 2 x 33" Black backed white umbrellas
    • 3 x Umbrella/light swivel mounts
    • 3 x S8 8' Aluminum light stands
    • Corrugated storage case
    • Lighting Guide: Imaging with Light
    • 1 Year Manufacturer's Warranty
  4. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    My feeling is that if you are getting all that for $300, the quality will reflect it. There is a reason why I and several others on the Cafe recommend AB lights. They are solidly built, they are reliable, they are part of a huge system that will allow to to grow without ditching all the stuff you first purchased, and their customer service is first rate. They have a Beginner's Package that contains the following for around $360.

    1 AlienBees B800 Flash Unit
    1 CB1 Single Light Carrying Bag
    1 LS3050 10-foot General Purpose Light Stand
    1 U48SW 48-inch Silver/White Reversible Bounce Umbrella

    Personally, I would upgrade the stand to the heavy duty model and you could have a few $$ by going with the less powerful AB400 (which is plenty for portraits). As you grow, this light will serve you well as a hair light.
  5. mrtac2man


    Jun 3, 2005
    thanks again John.. looking at the ab sets right now.. they have both sets with the b800 and the b400.. will they give me enought light with a darker background??? and is 1 light enought to cut shadows.. or do you really need 2/??
  6. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    For portraits, one light is certainly enough. Remember, we only have one sun . . . You will use it as your key (main) light and fill in shadows with a reflector. Like I said, this can be white foam core, or you can drop another $50-70 or so and get a 'proper' reflector. AB do a 5 in 1 that will do everything you need, but will require a helper or another stand to hold it in position.

    You didn't mention backgrounds, but if you keep your subject several feet away from them, they should remain fairly dark compared to the subject. Background stands and backdrops can be obtained at very reasonable prices on eBay and are pretty well essential if you want to do 'studio' portraiture.
  7. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I should have mentioned, I have 4 AB strobes - 3 x AB800 and 1 x AB400. Much of the time I only use one AB800 in a softbox. If I am shooting high key type stuff on a white background, I will use 2 additional AB800's just to light the background evenly. The AB400 is on a boom and used as hair light.
  8. Tim,

    jfrancis is giving you good advice. Get an AB400, 13" HD stand, Giant Octobox and a white reflector. Single-light portraiture will teach you more about lighting than any seminar or library of books. You learn lighting by learning to "see" it.

    Once you get tired of a single light, get another AB light for a hairlight.

    If you follow our advice you'll have gear that you will never outgrow.
  9. mrtac2man


    Jun 3, 2005
    thanks getting ready to make the purchase and yes its going to be AB's
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