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Newbie alert! Looking for studio lighting

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by Cleanmaxx Brian, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. Hi all,
    I am looking into getting some basic studio lighting for use in my home (not out doors) and I want to make a good decision. Currently I have a D200, SB800 flash with a Gary Fong -Clear Lightsphere II, Stroboframe Pro RL and a Nikon SC-29. What ever I buy will NOT get used all that much...shots around the holidays and family portraits now and then. I just want professional looking shots!

    Now I am thinking of a 2 or 3 light set up... and there are sooo many options.
    I would prefer to NOT do constant lights as they get real hot. So now I am looking at strobes like Alien Bees or one of those cheaper systems on ebay that seem to include everything http://cgi.ebay.com/2-Strobe-Flash-240WS-Pro-Lighting-Studio-Kit-Brand-New_W0QQitemZ160141382336QQihZ006QQcategoryZ30087QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    or...just buying a few more sb800's and stands with umbrellas. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/425220-REG/Impact_DFUMK_Digital_Flash_Umbrella_Mount.html

    How do our SB800's compare to the big strobes?
    What is the difference between using a soft box and an umbrella? (how do you know when to use what?) I know soft boxes eat up a lot of light...

    *I am currently reading B&H Professional Lighting SourceBook...so any input YOU can provide is much appreciated!
  2. Hi Brian,

    The Alien Bees are a favorite around here. You can't go wrong there. The difference the amount of light from a strobe vs. a SB800 is fairly significant. You can do amazing work with just one and a reflector.

    Unless you are gifted, you may find that only pulling them out a couple times a year might be more frustrating then helpful....just like all of you equipment; it takes some practice to consistently get the results that you want.

    As far as light modifiers, (soft-box vs umbrella) to get studio looking shots either will do. Modifiers control how hard or soft the light is and the direction it follows or does not follow. These really come down to your vision for the shot. A couple of shoot through umbrellas and a reflector will probably do everything you want.

  3. Hi Brian,

    I used to shoot studio shots with my SB800s, but switched to AB800s. You'll find plenty of people here that get OUTSTANDING results with SB800s, but for me, I liked the setups of the AB800s.

    Here's what I would recommend you start with, if you go the AB route:

    1 AB800
    1 Foldable large octabox
    1 Heavy Duty light stand
    1 Sekonic L-358 light meter

    That's really all you need to get started. Set your D200 at ISO100, shutter speed 1/200, f11, manual mode. Connect the octabox to the AB800, put it at 45 degrees to your model. Connect the sync cord from the AB800 to the L-358 and do a test shot. Change the output of the AB until you get "11.0" to read on the light meter. Now put your subject where you were metering, and fire away!

    Once you start like this, you'll start to see where you need other stuff...fill light for one. Reflectors are the easiest. Hair lights are next...AB has a great boom arm with counterweight which will help you get started there...an AB400 will be plenty...

    Get ready for flash lust to begin...

    Have fun!
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