Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

Studio flash brands ? I'm 30 years out of date

CambsWriter Avatar
4 Jun 2019 3:53PM
Ok, I'm back into photography after about 30 years out of the game and am in the middle of investing in Canon EOS 5D MK3 based kit with L glass.

I want to get a three or four head studio flash kit together but am lacking in knowledge as to what the best and most reliable brands are these days.

Back in the day (late 80s) there was really only Bowens, Elinchrom and Broncolour. Back then (I should know as I used to work in the Flash Centre Hire Department in London) Elinchrom were totally unreliable, their heads used to pack up almost on a daily basis, the poor repair guys out back were inundated with blown heads. Bowens were more reliable and I had no knowledge of Broncolour back then.

So can any of you knowledgeable studio flash light chaps bring me up to speed on what makes/models I should be looking at.

Appart from heads, I'll need soft-boxes, snoots and the usual accessories for 3-point lighting set up.

This will be for a small studio doing portrait shoots, head and shoulders and full-length.

Thanks all.
JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2019 4:42PM
Hi there,

Bowens is now owned by Wex and is in the process of releasing new model studio heads to enhance the brand.

Everything seems to have got more reliable now, and even the previously unreliable chinese imports seem to happily stand their ground.

For a quick look at other brands the now, unfortunately, Silent "Lighting rumours" site will give you a wild list of alternatives - e.g.

Personally i always liked the bowens S mount as it had many cheap clone fitting on ebay.

Of course now you also have LED modelling lights which last much longer.
Many flash units now also have built in TTL controllers too.

I'm not an expert in this area at all but used to keep a keen interest in the cheaper end products i used.

p.s. - you say " middle of investing in Canon EOS 5D MK3" did you consider the EOS-R?
thewilliam2 Avatar
thewilliam2 6 1.7k United Kingdom
4 Jun 2019 6:54PM
I've used Broncolor since the early 1980s and it seems to last forever, although we had to upgrade the power packs when we went digital and some years back, my wife demanded that we retire all the blue heads.

The current kit is awesome but the downside is that it's very expensive indeed. You can get good kit off Fleabay but you need to be careful.

When my wife started with studio photography, she liked the WYSIWYG of the broncolor light-shapers because it gave her total control.
KevinEllison Avatar
4 Jun 2019 9:29PM
Are we not rapidly heading into continuous light, LED panels now..? unless flash is needed to “freeze” fast motion..?

I already have 3 studio “strobes” etc.. I’d consider the above if starting again...but maybe they’re more costly...not really checked...Smile
CambsWriter Avatar
4 Jun 2019 10:18PM
Jack, yes, 5D MK3 all the way. Would not consider R, don't like mirrorless.
Philh04 Avatar
Philh04 18 2.3k United Kingdom
5 Jun 2019 8:17AM
You won't go far wrong by looking at the Lencarta web site, they sell the Godox range that is rapidly becoming the go to for photographers, the ecosystem is by far the most comprehensive of any... I use and can highly recommend Godox from 600 w/s studio heads to compact AD200's and TT685 speed lights, these all talk to each other with built in receivers and a single transmitter (only the transmitter is camera model specific) plus the speed lights have a built in transmitter...


saltireblue Avatar
saltireblue Plus
13 14.5k 89 Norway
5 Jun 2019 9:23AM
I endorse what Phil has said about Godox. I have 2 685’s and have used the AD200, all with Godox’s pro trigger.
Dmihela Avatar
Dmihela 4 2
12 Jun 2019 10:02PM
My advice would be to rent before you buy, who knows you might end up with leds. Profoto is the standard and is available in most rental houses here in the US. I rent from lensrentals and have them ship the item ups.
rhody Avatar
rhody 20 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
4 Aug 2019 5:24PM
Another vote for the Godox brand from me. The AD600 Pro is available with both a mains adapter and a battery pack to shoot outdoors too, which makes it very versatile. Highly recommended.
Paul Morgan Avatar
Paul Morgan 22 19.9k 6 England
6 Aug 2019 9:08PM
For indoor use I still use the old fashioned heads but only because they still work.

Today there are far more options, many heads are compact and take lithium batteries, a pair of these are quite mobile, good for both indoors and on the move,

Profoto , Goddox, Bowens etc are all leaping into this market.


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