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Studio Kit - Are 2 heads enough??


shanew 11 3 United Kingdom
25 Sep 2009 11:12PM
I have convinced myself, and more importantly my wife, to push the budget to ~300 to get a decent kit (but the less I can spend the better).

I started looking at the b-series twin kit from Elemental having seen the 4/5 mag review. After I visited the site I really liked the G2 kit and thought the 100 was worth the extra power and standard fitments.

However, many of the tutorials and videos I've seen almost always have a setup of 3 heads to get best results. A background light, a front light (softbox/umbrella) and an extra for hair/rear/side.

Now that I have pushed the budget I could in theory afford the b-series 3-head kit instead of the 2-head g-series kit which is where my conundrum lies... I'd obviously prefer to get the better model, and i'm tending towards that if I can wait for them to come into stock, but will 2 heads be enough?

Some questions:

* The background light - although gives very effective results seems almost a waste of an expensive studio-light - am I mistaken or can I get something much cheaper for this job or make do without?
* The hair/fill-in light - will a reflector be good enough in most situations?

My usage will be mainly of my daughter (now 10 months), but likely some of her with my wife too. To be taken with my Canon 40D.
cameracat 17 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
25 Sep 2009 11:39PM
Bottom line.

There is loads you can do with 1 Strobe and a reflector.

Assuming you want something that does not shout strobe lighting.

2 strobes are more than enough for the subjects you mention, You can always add another, When you have mastered the 1 and or 2 techniques.

On the other hand, If the deal that offers 3, Makes the purchace of a single strobe look expensive, And if it fits your budget, That might be the way to go.
ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
25 Sep 2009 11:51PM
2 heads are fine - if you can live with black backgrounds, get down the market and get some black velvet, that works a treat and negates any need for a 3rd light.

I've got radio triggers for my 2 lights - luckily the radio triggers for my strobes (speedlites) use the same frequencies so I can have a 5 light set up all triggered at the same time. Never used all 5, but have done 4 a few times... it's a space issue though!
twodoctors 11 21 United Kingdom
26 Sep 2009 12:14AM
Get the G series... read my post in "studio kit" thread. The B series is underpowered for anything except head shots in my opinion. Also note that the B series doesn't use Bowen S fit. On the other hand, the G series is out of stock til possibly November...

I have got a loan M series kit in the mean time. A bit more power, a lot more expensive. I don't think I need that power to be honest. I am still experiementing with them. Again, see my thread "Pure white background with muslin". I have got two hotshoe flash (Sigma EF430) off ebay for around 25 each. I have just worked out (with the help of my fellow forumners) how to use them to light my background. I totally agree that it's a bit of a waste using one of your monobloc to light the background. You can get away with using a flashgun... just need to work out how to trigger it! You'll definitely need two if you plan to light background for full length shot. For head shots, one should be adequate.
miked70 12 225 3 South Africa
26 Sep 2009 6:22AM
if you have a speedlight for your camera that is all you need if it is only your kid you are taking pic of at the moment if you need to take pics of people full length then you may need more there is a pro in the states who uses only one flash onboard and bounces light for weddings and studio work i am studying his way so i can sell my studio lights i have 3 and he can produce same to better than me with one so rather get best cannon flash and some good reflectors of different sizes and learn about light.
cameracat 17 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
26 Sep 2009 11:14AM
I Think " miked70 " is reffering to " Planet Neil " ....Smile

Check it out here , Its quite interesting, Certainly food for thought, Might keep you busy, Whilst your making the final decision....Wink

Never rush into anything.....!

Applied correctly, Speedlights have many advantages to offer.
Coleslaw 15 13.4k 28 Wales
26 Sep 2009 11:18AM
Why not get the G series 2 lights first? Get the most powerful you can afford.
You can always add another light when you play enough with 2 lights.
toneb75 11 187 England
26 Sep 2009 11:50AM
Like you, I was torn between the 2 head G Series or the 3 head B Series and in the end I went for the 2 head G Series.

As twodocters states, th G series comes with the Bowen S fit which allows further modifiers to be sourced easily and you can always add a further light should you ever need it later down the line.

Take a look at my PF, and you will see some photos (my dogs on black background) I took on my first attempt at using these, in fact my first attempt using any kind of studio flash so they are not great....these were taken just with one light using the softbox. I only use these in my front room at home and to be honest I think 3 lights would be difficult to use with the space I have available in any case so I am glad to have bought the better lights albeit 2 instead of 3.

Tony
shanew 11 3 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2009 9:26AM
Thanks for your advice and comments.

It sounds like I was on the right track to prefer the G2 kit but it is a good point on space requirements and I'm now worried it will be too tight with just 2 heads! I suppose I can ditch my idea of converting the spare room and instead setup in the conservatory/lounge when needed.

I can also see the advantages of speedlites, and there have been several occasions that I could have used one away from home too. However, I want a setup that will give *great* results since we won't be going to a highstreet studio having spent so much money on camera/lights. I'm sure I will still get a speedlight at some point - I can then possibly use it to light the background.

I'll let you know how I get on - hopefully the queue for the G2 isn't too long...
twodoctors 11 21 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2009 12:47AM
I retract my advice on using the strobes on background. They are ok if you are only after 1/2 body shot... but they are difficult to control if you want to get full length shots. You will either need a very big room so you can seperate your background light with your subject, or botch some kind of light modifier so you don't get light spill onto your subject.

I've finally cracked the highkey techique with 2 lights. As mentioned before I'm waiting for the G series too so I have taken great care not to set the lights to full power (using M series currently). See my one and only pic in my portfolio. Background light set at 1/2 power, around 1 metre away from the background and to the left. Light pointing at the centre of background. Using the standard reflector. Confirmed that the light fall-off is minimal. Key light using 120cm octagon softbox, above and left of my daughter. Silver reflector to her left for fill light. The flooring is white ready-painted hardboard (Homebase, 15 for a 8x4ft sheet, cut into 3 pieces for easy transport in the car!). Joint between the board with white packing tape (Wilkinson, 1.99). White muslin background, held taut using safety pins (Wilkinson, 1?) A bit of photoshop (less than 5min) to make it look like I have a warehouse for a studio (in fact, my studio is my lounge, about 4x7 metres). So it CAN be done with 2 lights. Of course if you have a larger group you'll need another light.

link
User_Removed 14 1.5k 1
28 Sep 2009 1:02AM
The less lights you use the more you learn. I am confined to a small space for all my studio work so am limited to the amount of lights i can use due to space limitations. I have 4 studio lights but find that 2 lights is enough to create anything i want. Also, you may find that you can contol light by using very cheap diy items. I personally use tin foil wrapped round my flash head to create a hair light and have a car sun shade that is silver in colour that is used as a reflecter that i purchased out the pound shop for 1. there are many portrait photographers on here that are creating breath taking work with very basic setups.
miked70 12 225 3 South Africa
28 Sep 2009 6:39AM
I have just got the sb900 i think i will not be getting any more studio lights what a jump from my sb800 as said i have studio lights but the sb is so good at what it does. in studio i now almost only use a beauty dish am looking at selling my other lights and just keeping the one and using the sb's to do the rest,outdoor the bigest problem to use ttl is to pay a mad price for pocket wizards will go with non ttl remotes.
DannyLenihan 13 213 19 England
13 Oct 2009 2:53PM
Two more powerful lights is always going to be better than three underpowered lights. The G Series is waaaaay better.
miked70 12 225 3 South Africa
13 Oct 2009 7:38PM
The big thing is what you want to photograph large crouds,trucks buildings then you will need lots of power,baby,kids single person or two you can use one or two,power is not the main thing it is what you do with the light ,i can use a 2.7 meter para with a sb800 and get great results for fashion and portrait,studio lights are like lens,different size and fstop ,so if you have a 200mm f 8 you will need a lot of power compared to a 200mm f2 using the same iso.
i shoot portrait and use a 50mm f1.8 no problem in a studio 6 by 8 meters white wall and one sb800 or 300 watt studio light at 1/4 power.so more is all ways better only if you can control the light.
SurreyHillsMan 13 27 2 England
14 Oct 2009 10:05AM
I've just bought the interfit 150 2 light set up, (softbox & brolly).. a bargain at 189.. It is my first foray into studio lights and I'm more than pleased with the system, (check out my Frank Alex & Me in my pf), I bought it mainly for head & shoulder work and pets & nippers

Jon

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