Best studio flash for budget

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by martin_alston, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. What would you guys recommend for strobes that would primarily be used for
    portraits? I need something with good bang for the buck since I don't have a
    fortune to spend.
  2. with a medium Chimera softbox.
  3. All depends on your requirements. Home portraits, or commercial studio? How many strobes are you planning to use, how big a space do you have, what kind of light modifiers, etc.

    Watch eBay. There was a 400 watt second Speedotron Brownline with 2 heads that went for about $110. Old unit but still quite serviceable, and good enough for home hobby use, or 2 light studio use. I almost bought that kit just for the heads. My home setup is a similar 400 WS pack + 2 heads.

    Although if commercial studio, the 400 WS pack is likely not enough. You should go up to 800+ WS, depends on your needs (number of heads).
  4. I'm leaning towards the Alien Bees 800 strobes. I'm thinking of starting with just one and using reflectors and eventually adding another and a 400 for hair highlight. I think anything would be better than the 2 500w hot lights I have now.
  5. I have a Hensel Studio Technik kit that I like quite a bit. It was $1100 new for two lights, each with their own power and built in light slaves, two umbrellas, a softbox and a couple different pans for the light heads. It's easy to use, cycles pretty quickly, and using my on-camera flash (pointed at the ceiling, often) to set them off gives me a lot of flexibility for camera position.
  6. I am very pleased with the Elinchrom D- Lite for casual use. The light is very precise and constant. You have electronic variation in 0.1 stop units.
    The build is sturdy but plastic so I'm not sure they would be appropriate for commercial use (the BX style would be more appropriate) but if you shoot half a day every week, as I do, it's excellent value for the price.
    What makes them particularly attractive is that they work with every Elinchrom accessory (including 3rd parties) so you have an upgrade path if you decide to go with more pro lights in the future.
    I discussed them in my podcast but the podcast is in French ;-)
  7. I couldn't find an American distributor for the new Elinchrom D-Lite
    2, so I ended up
    getting AlienBees. 2 x D-Lite2 or D-Lite4 seem to be a better kit
    though, especially given that the AlienBees B400 monolight is
    actually a 160Ws
  8. The two things I would want to know are 1) how much do you have to spend, and 2) how often would you use the system?

    For my small studio, I have used SP Excaliburs for years and really like them. They are consistent, accurate, nice controls, and always work. They've had the same great distributor in the USA for a long time also. Also on the lower end, I've used Alien Bees and White Lightening and liked them too.
  9. Michael, I have about $800-$1000 to spend. I won't be using these all that often. At least not right now. Maybe once a week. I'm mainly getting them in case I have brides or others who would like studio shots. I prefer doing location shots, but I need to be prepared for what the client wants.
  10. Martin,

    In that case....go ahead and get an B800 with a Medium Softbox and a B400 with a set of
    Honeycomb grids. Use a Reflector for Fill and the Honeycomb for Hairlight.

    A Boom stand for hairlight, a Straight stand for the softbox. A lightweight stand with a
    Superclamp to hold a Reflector or just use big sheets of Foamcore (bookends).

    You'll probably still be able to afford a cheap Flashmeter like a Sekonic 308

  11. I have used Speedotron Brownline and never had a problem with them. I didn't really "choose" it. My first outfit (which still works and I still have) was a D402 with two heads in a carrying case, found used for practically no money, and it worked well so I expanded from that. I think you have a more reasonable budget so you can consider different setups. However, if you plan to shoot through any sort of heavy diffuser like a softbox, you will probably want more power than the 400ws total that I had.

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