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Portable lighting set-up PLEASE HELP!

edsephiroth 11 169 9 United Kingdom
16 Jun 2011 4:26PM
Due to a weird set of circumstances that I won't bore you with, I'm in an odd situation where I have about £500 to spend on portable lighting equipment but need to select what I want by the end of this month!

I'm looking for kit which will allow me to have a portable set-up (indoors and outdoors ideally) for portraiture, band photography, modelling etc, obviously within that £500 limit, and would hugely appreciate anyone's suggestions and/or recommendations.

I know its quite annoying when people ask such "broad" and seemingly lazy questions expecting other people to do all the legwork, but although I will continue to do as much of my own research as I can, I have used EPZ for many years now and I'm asking this here because I respect people's helpful opinions on this site and don't have the luxury of taking much more time to do it.
I was supposed to be doing a studio lighting course this Saturday, after which I hoped to have a clearer idea of what I needed/wanted, but that has been cancelled and pushed-back unfortunately, so I suddenly have less than a fortnight to figure out what to order, without being able to test things out!

Many thanks for any constructive advice!

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ikett 7 545 England
16 Jun 2011 4:36PM
Hi, you could look at Elemental, EPZ have reviewed there kit a few times and give good ratings.

Hope this helps.
flash783 12 12 England
16 Jun 2011 5:15PM
Hi, depending on what camera you’re shooting on and trying not to be too vague in my response have you looked into using speedlites and the various lighting devices you can attach to these to achieve your desired result. Many systems will “talk” to each other remotely with your camera acting as the master allowing the flashguns to be 'off camera' and also with the shot to be taken using TTL metering to achieve the best results.

You may be able to pick up a couple of speedlites and attachments on the ‘bay of e’ for the budget you have mentioned.

Just something for you to think about and price up…

edsephiroth 11 169 9 United Kingdom
16 Jun 2011 5:34PM
Ok, thanks both, all useful.

I am using a Nikon D700 with which I can achieve exactly the results I want in other types of photography but am pretty green when it comes to studio shooting/lighting.

I also have a Nikon SB-600 which is obviously very nice and versatile but still can't achieve the results of decent lighting kit in a studio situation.
JackAllTog Plus
9 5.0k 58 United Kingdom
16 Jun 2011 5:40PM
"portraiture, band photography, modelling" £500. I reckon that's pretty tight.
I'd agree with the speed light option. For portraits i'd also consider ring flash as that's what i'm thinking of myself.
Have a look at Adrian's work great use of speed lites.
I'd be interested to know what you settle on.

Also quantum flash units might be a good starting direction they seem cool - http://www.flaghead.co.uk/pages/productqu_qflash.html

ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
16 Jun 2011 6:14PM
2 budget speedlites - manual only, ettl triggers are out of budget, so don't go for ettl flashes on a budget
2 recievers and one trigger - pixel doe good ones on ebay
2 light stands - from just £10 each
2 heads with holders for brollies and/or other light modifiers - again, quite cheap
shoot through brolly
reflector brolly
series of gels and velcro to fix them on - £10 on ebay
lots of AA batteries from 7 day shop

with that lot you can do an awful lot - it's down to your skill and imagination.
edsephiroth 11 169 9 United Kingdom
16 Jun 2011 6:24PM
Ok, thanks a lot guys, this is all very helpful!

This set-up (in the link) seems to be coming fairly close to that list Ade (doesn't have everything on the list but I can pick those up elsewhere), and is also a fairly local, fairly small business with good recommendations (including on here). It comes to £505 with the options selected for two silver brollys, trigger and reciever, and the 400W lamps - you can see what else is included.

Trinity Twin Head

I can only get one receiver on my current budget though.
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
16 Jun 2011 6:41PM
Ade has pretty much said it all, you don`t need loads of cash, just loads of imagination.

You don`t need the latest highest spec digital units, just medium to high powered units that have a manual setting and power or iso adjustments, the good old vivitar 283/285`s are popular but there`s loads of other makes available.
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
16 Jun 2011 6:50PM
is it me, or is there virtually no useful information on that trinity flash page?

how many watts?

is it mains or battery?

are batteries included ?

I use a 580EX2 and an ancient 430EZ in my speedlite kit - one's like £300+,the other about £50, both do the same kinda thing when in manual mode - 580's more powerful and goes down to 1/128th power, that's about it.

Quote:these flashes work a treat
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
16 Jun 2011 7:17PM

Quote:is it me, or is there virtually no useful information

Not just you Ade.....Grin

Though they go to great lengths to explain
Quote:it is also one of the most beautifully engineered and aesthetically stunning.

They are studio strobes, How stunning can that be....Sad Jeez! I don't buy stuff like that to sit there and be admired.....Smile

So long as it does the job.....And all that jazz.....Wink

A 2 head kit, Well in budget, With enough change for wireless triggers....!!!

Now all you need is some of the imagination as mentioned above.....Grin
Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
16 Jun 2011 7:21PM
The Trinity kit is mains powered so you'd need a generator to use on location
You'd be better with a battery powered kit if you need outside use. Elemental have a new kit they've just started selling, Paterson do one too. I recently reviewed a great Photoflex kit, - it's way over your budget but there are cheaper versions of this on eBay that will fit your budget.
boony 11 978 3 United Kingdom
16 Jun 2011 7:22PM
I've got a pile of old vivitar , miranda etc flashes that I use for this very purpose - all off ebay very cheap in most cases the slaves I attach to them and the batteries I put in them cost more than the guns themselves. They aren't very powerful but they are that cheap you can tape 2 / 3 / 4 / more together only slight (very slight at that) downside is the colour temperatures can vary slightly on very old gear. Full set up, main, fill, hair and background lights can be achieved for under 2 ton
Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
16 Jun 2011 7:40PM
Watch out if you go for the older Vivitars. They are not compatible with most eBay triggers. Ade pretty much nailed it.

The SB600 is great so you already have the start of a good system. Look at the sb900 Nissin flashes (822) I think are well specked and used by many pros.

The lighting stands as discussed by Ade. On a budget the Yongnuos flashes are pretty good ( manual only tho) I have the 460ii from yongnuos to spplement the SB900 and an old SB25. (yongnuo triggers/receivers RF602 are highly recommended- thee only time I've had a miss is when the batteries ran out)

Save part of the budget and get"hot shoe diaries" from Joe McNaaly it shows how to get professional results.

Check out:

Both excellent resources.

Nick_w Plus
10 4.3k 99 England
16 Jun 2011 8:05PM
Sorry my last post was full of typos (problem when using the phone to type!!)

To help summarize - and make sense of it.

From your previous post I see you are using Nikon.

To supplement your current SB-600, look at the Nikon SB-900 (also new SB-700) or the cheaper Nissin Di866 all are compatible with Nikons CLS (Creative lighting system) which uses iTTL and can be triggered by the pop up flash (the SB900 can also be used as a more powerful commander unit). Works great when the units can see the flash - if not you will need triggers. For your budget iTTL is out of the question. So you will be in manual (its not a problem - honest) get the cheap triggers -Yongnuo RF602, they can also be used to trigger studio flashes, and as a remote cable release.

Yongnuo also produce a good range of manual flashes (I use the 460ii to supplement the SB-900 and SB-25 which is pretty good).

I would re-iterate What I said above - get a copy of Hot Shoe Diaries From Joe McNally

Some good web resources to show what can be achieved with relatively inexpensive equipment:



edsephiroth 11 169 9 United Kingdom
16 Jun 2011 9:09PM
Ok, a wholehearted thanks to all!

A lot of this is really quite confusing to me I must admit, and I'm not even sure what all the things you're talking about actually mean!GrinBut I think I'm gradually getting a clearer picture and its certainly helping, so thanks again.
I'm not just strolling into photography hoping that the right kit will do things for me ( my page ) but the lighting thing really is all new to me, although I'm keen to get creative with it!

But I should probably explain that this isn't a case of trying to run before I can walk, or "all the clobber - what a knobber", rather that I have been unemployed for a while and received a business grant for this equipment (in order of course that I then sod-off and don't darken the Jobcentre's doors any more). The application was supposed to take about a month and a half, leaving me lots of time to be prepared and know what I needed to know. As it happens, here I am 7 months later having given up on it, only to find that it has been approved but the agency responsible is due to close in about 2 weeks (their funding has been pulled, surprise surprise) and expect me to decide what I need in less time than that! Hence willingly throwing the floor open to those who know better.

Pete - I take the point that my suggestion isn't going to help with portable power, but am now thinking that may be beyond my reach for now anyway?

I should also note that due to the nature of the funding, ebay, 2nd hand gear or waiting until I'm more sure/more experienced isn't an option, hence the relative urgency.
Oh, the humanity!Wink

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