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Studio kit..

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stephenscott
24 Sep 2009 - 10:47 AM

Hi iam wanting to buy a studio kit to do a bit of portrait photography and bits and bobs along the line.. Iam new to all this i dont exactly know what i need..

Can any one suggest a reasonable good kit?? And prices..

steve..

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24 Sep 2009 - 10:47 AM

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toneb75
toneb75  4187 forum posts England
24 Sep 2009 - 11:03 AM

Obviously depends on what you want to spend but personally I would take a look at the Elemental Kits. They are resonably priced and are a great company to deal with. Danny James, the owner, is a member on here. I recently bought their G Series 2 Head Kit and am very impressed with it, and like you I am new to studio lighting.

I am sure others will have their own recommendations but I have not heard a bad word against Elemental. Not sure I am allowed to post a link so would just suggest googling Elemental to find their web site.

minicooper
24 Sep 2009 - 11:53 AM

Before you spend x amount on lighting kit why not do a lighting course then you will see the kit you may want to use and how to use it. Many studios do workshops I myself did one with ark studios but there are others as well. It could save you money in the long run.

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade  1014728 forum posts England216 Constructive Critique Points
24 Sep 2009 - 12:06 PM

I started out with some cheapo heads, stands, softbox and brolly all for £180 from EBAY.

It was sufficient for everything I needed as a hobbyist and I still use it now.

Luckily I had Dave Hirst (yorkshireterrier) around most times I used it, he's used lights lots and I got tips from him. But so long as you have time and someone willing to shoot, you just need to experiment and maybe look online for ligh positioning ideas.

One "standard" is to have the lights facing each other with the subject in the middle - think of the person as the center of the clock face and the lights as the hands.

I quite like 10 past 8, gets nice shadows
10 past 6 is ok though flatter - maybe more flattering.,

Also vary the height of the lights, you can have them high so the light appears to be coming from the sky, like Rembrandt paintings, or low so you have light coming from below etc.

it's ace,especially on these dark winter nights

cameracat
cameracat  108578 forum posts Norfolk Island61 Constructive Critique Points
24 Sep 2009 - 12:32 PM


Quote: why not do a lighting course then you will see the kit

Great idea from Dennis, Another similar way is joining a local camera club, Quite often clubs have thier own lights, They also have studio sessions, Where you can learn a lot, Before you splash the cash.....Wink

eggplant
eggplant  5142 forum posts United Kingdom
24 Sep 2009 - 5:00 PM

There are also a lot of good videos on youtube - also some pretty bad ones !
I was in 2 minds when I bought mine, ended up buying used off ebay and its worked out well for me.

stephenscott
24 Sep 2009 - 5:49 PM

Ive had a look on ebay but ind seem to find much.. What did you search for??

Thanks..

Chrism8
Chrism8  7743 forum posts England13 Constructive Critique Points
24 Sep 2009 - 6:03 PM


Quote: Ive had a look on ebay but ind seem to find much.. What did you search for?? Thanks..

Try this

I've had a similar kit from these guys for 18 months or so, gets fairly regular use, proved to be pretty good, certainly good value for the money and imho is ideal for a cost consious starter.

Chris

eggplant
eggplant  5142 forum posts United Kingdom
24 Sep 2009 - 6:25 PM

Not sure if I'd trust a none brand name but thats just me.
It took me a while, I searched for bowens and elinchrom (seperately of course!!)
Picked up a dlite 2 kit with softboxes etc for a very good price, also got a cpl of old bowens prolights for £60 each - cant really go wrong at that. I've since had a couple of bowens geminis for under 1/2 list price.
I made a boo boo by getting elinchroms and bowens since they are a different fit but I was experimenting (bit like you just now) and didnt want to spend a fortune. Works ok for me though but looking back I would have gone for bowens only (as I said, the elinchroms came up at a decent price at the right time) as there are many cheaper accessories.
Theres not a great lot on ebay at the moment but they come and go.


This guy is great, he has quite a lot of vids on youtube, this is part one of 2 covering basic equipment, light modifers and what they all do.
link
watch some of his other ones too, such as his one light protrait and quality of light.

JackAllTog
JackAllTog e2 Member 53535 forum postsJackAllTog vcard United Kingdom58 Constructive Critique Points
24 Sep 2009 - 7:40 PM

As ade_mcfade says a cheap 2*150w ebay set from china is where i'm at, i added a few small 65W slave flash bulbs. personally i think the light output at 150 W is a bit limiting especially for high key work.
Also as minicooper says, i went to a local club for one of their studio nights - the guys were great and very helpful and the models really nice too.
Next i'll add a few higher power lights, maybe brand names with snoot fittings as my modified snoot is a bit wobbly. I quicky found a wireless trigger was a good addition - again a cheap ebay one 1st.
I did have one bad experiance with a cheap ebay slave light that litrally burnt & melted. so keep an eye on the cheaper imported ones during your 1st few shoots.

twodoctors
25 Sep 2009 - 1:32 AM

You might have seen my posts a few weeks back asking the same question...

I ended up going with Elemental. And I'll tell you why...

I too was worried by the quality of non-branded ones on ebay. Interfit... well, unless you get the Stellar or higher, the attachments are non-standard. Elinchrome is just expensive, and so are their attachments. Bowen is even more expensive then Elinchrome.

This leaves Lencarta and Elemental. I went for Elemental because their stuff is actually a bit cheaper than Lencarta. For example, the Lencarta 300W kit (2 lights, softbox and umbrella) cost around £470 while similar kit from Elemental cost £430.

I ordered the G series (250W) kit with 2x background and two large softbox (90 and 120cm) for £470. They are out of stock currently so Danny at Elemental has loaned me the M series kit (300W) while I wait.

I've only had the kit for a few days but I can tell you this: you need more than 150W for portrait, and when you get your kit, get everything at the same time. I tried taking photo of myself using silver umbrella with the light about 2 metres away from me, you still need more than 1/2 power = 150W to get decent exposure on f8 1/250 ISO200. Other light modifier may be more efficient but if you had gone cheap and got the interfit EX150 (150W, custom modifier fitting) then you will need the light virtually next to the subject to light properly. If you had gone for the Elemental G series or Lencarta SmartFlash, you should be ok. For larger group shots you will need more powerful lights (or larger aperture, slower shutter speed, or higher ISO).

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/review-elemental-ultra-g3-kit_topic51270.html is a link to a pretty good review of the Elemental G series. Not back in stock till possibly Nov however. Alternatively look at the M series. It's got more features than the G series but obviously more expensive...

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade  1014728 forum posts England216 Constructive Critique Points
25 Sep 2009 - 10:35 AM

lots to go on there

over to you - it's mainly down to what budget have you got

I'm sure we'd all spend £2000 on a few powerful heads and all the accessories if money wasn't a problem Smile

stephenscott
25 Sep 2009 - 12:20 PM


Quote: You might have seen my posts a few weeks back asking the same question...

I ended up going with Elemental. And I'll tell you why...

I too was worried by the quality of non-branded ones on ebay. Interfit... well, unless you get the Stellar or higher, the attachments are non-standard. Elinchrome is just expensive, and so are their attachments. Bowen is even more expensive then Elinchrome.

This leaves Lencarta and Elemental. I went for Elemental because their stuff is actually a bit cheaper than Lencarta. For example, the Lencarta 300W kit (2 lights, softbox and umbrella) cost around £470 while similar kit from Elemental cost £430.

I ordered the G series (250W) kit with 2x background and two large softbox (90 and 120cm) for £470. They are out of stock currently so Danny at Elemental has loaned me the M series kit (300W) while I wait.

I've only had the kit for a few days but I can tell you this: you need more than 150W for portrait, and when you get your kit, get everything at the same time. I tried taking photo of myself using silver umbrella with the light about 2 metres away from me, you still need more than 1/2 power = 150W to get decent exposure on f8 1/250 ISO200. Other light modifier may be more efficient but if you had gone cheap and got the interfit EX150 (150W, custom modifier fitting) then you will need the light virtually next to the subject to light properly. If you had gone for the Elemental G series or Lencarta SmartFlash, you should be ok. For larger group shots you will need more powerful lights (or larger aperture, slower shutter speed, or higher ISO).

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/review-elemental-ultra-g3-kit_topic51270.html is a link to a pretty good review of the Elemental G series. Not back in stock till possibly Nov however. Alternatively look at the M series. It's got more features than the G series but obviously more expensive...

Thanks for your answers to my quistion.. You have all been very helpful.Ive decided to go with the elemental M series kit which was £499..Cant wait for this kit to come so i can test it all out i,ll be putting some photos in my portfolio from using this kit.. Iam all new to portrait photography so i will be a challenge. However i taken advice and ive booked a session at a local studio to see how things work.. Thanks all ... steve..

digicammad
digicammad  1121988 forum posts United Kingdom37 Constructive Critique Points
25 Sep 2009 - 12:28 PM

If you haven't already ordered, take a look at Pro-Line lighting. It is very good value for money, I bought some for Robbie a couple of years ago and it even impressed Ade Crook (Horse) - who knows a little about studio lighting.

Ian

rictac2
rictac2  9150 forum posts England
26 Sep 2009 - 12:15 PM

Stephen, I would strongly agree with comments about avoiding underpowered units and units that do not have standard fittings - S bayonet being the fitting with the widest range of modifiers at reasonable prices.
Perhaps you or others in a similar position might like to look at Ian Andrew's ePz review of the PhotoSkill PS4099V VC-300 studio flash. I can supply pdf for full details and images.

A 2 light kit containing similar items to the ones mentioned but with overall better specification would be around the same price. You also have technical and online photographic technique support of a trained, working photographer (me!) .

You will also find links to my photography site and PhotoSkill products in our ePz directory listing - products which I use myself or have at least personally checked out and selected.

PM, phone or Skype if you like for information.

Richard ePz rictac2

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