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...


    ... 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.