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Strobist: How much is enough?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Uncle Frank, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. My lighting-mania began when I bought an su800 infra-red commander. Since it can control 3 groups of flashes, it was obvious that I needed to have 3 flashes plus accessories. So now I have two sb800s, one sb600, three light stands, and three umbrellas. But I've only used all three flashes on a couple of occasions.... a few times when I first got the rig, to experiment with studio portraits...

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    ... and once for hummingbird pics.

    View attachment 100176

    But I'm not going to make my mark as a studio photographer or a birder. My primary interest is location work, strobist style, and I'm finding that one off-camera flash usually meets my needs, and on the rare occasion, I can profit by using two. Here's a single strobe shot, using ambient for fill.

    View attachment 100177

    I'm not posting this as a prelude to putting excess gear up for sale, but rather to let beginning strobists know that the price of admission isn't all that high. One flash, an umbrella, a bracket, and a lightstand will get you well into the game, and may be as much as you'll ever need!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2007
  2. very nice UF
  3. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    I agree, but a question

    It doesn't hurt to have a spare flash. That said, with 2 flashes, how valuable is the SU-800 in your opinion?
  4. Oh, it's still a keeper. It communicates more reliably with the flashes, and eliminates an annoying distraction by using infrared rather than white light signals. It's also feather light compared to using an sb800 for a commander. And on the occasions when I need to use my flash for indoor portraits in dim places, which is normally the case for wedding formals, I'll have the capability to control 3 groups.
  5. I have three SB800's, an SB600 and an SU800. I love them all. Controlling the strobes with the SU800 is really neat and I love being able to adjust the flash level from the camera position.

    Frank is right, there are many times when one flash works fine. I do like controlling that flash with the SU800 as it opens up all sorts of possibilities by getting the flash off camera.
  6. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I have the same as Gordon. Most of the time, one flash does suffice, but I like having the creative power that a couple of additional units affords. I use the others mainly for interesting background lighting with gels etc.
  7. Hi Frank,

    I've got 1 SU-800, 4 SB-800s with 3 stands and lots of umbrellas and modifiers that I often use for strobist type things, however I found most times I end up just carrying 2 of the SB-800s, 1-2 Stands, and a small single silver umbrella optimum for most things (of course with the SU-800).....Anything more than that I head for the studio strobes.

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