Good Entry Level Flash

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by stephen_hayes|1, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. I've been taking pictures for a few years now, but have never gotten serious about lighting. Now I want to start taking
    some snowboarding/skateboarding pictures, some portraits, and just improving my overall photography by learning
    and using artificial light. I don't have a huge amount of money to spend, but I really want to buy a decent lighting set.
    I don't want to buy some cheap equipment, and a couple months down the road when I'm getting into it, realize that I
    bought junk. Which pieces do I need to start? A pack and head, obviously. Also boxes, umbrellas, reflectors? What
    are some quality brands that are realistically priced? I really appreciate any help you can give a young photographer
    like me, even if all you have for me is a link. Thanks in advance!
  2. Since all modern flashes are specific to a certain family of cameras, you should name the camera(s) that you are searching a flash for.
  3. Stephen: Are you thinking of working with beefier studio-grade lighting, or hot-shoe type speedlights? If you're planning on using monolights or a pack/head rig, are you expecting to work where AC power is available, or should you be thinking about portable power?
    Once you answer Rainer's question about which camera system you're using, you'll get some more insight into the various triggering methods that will apply to your planning. You might want to visit and plan to spend a couple of hours soaking in his intro material - it will give you a lot to think about.
  4. Are you really going to need a power pack and flash head to do the type of images you described? Are you really thinking of lugging all that equipment and corresponding stands and accessories out onto the ski slope or skateboarding park? Why not start with a simple speedlight either mounted to your hotshoe or off camera with a bracket? That would be MUCH more simple and you can always use something like a small stand and pocket wizards to fire it if you want a little more flexibility. Portraits are also possible with these setups and you can visit Strobist to get more ideas for that. As for price, my advice would be to go used. There is a ton of this stuff floating out there on the used market and I am sure you can find something specific to your camera system.
  5. I'm pretty dumb about this whole lighting thing. Up until now, I've never looked into lighting other than a camera mounted flash. Now I'm trying to figure out how lighting even works. Obviously I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about when I say I need a pack and a head for snowboarding photography. I didn't realize what that entailed.

    I'm working with a Pentax K20D. I only have one flash that mounts to the hotshoe on my camera, other than that I'm starting at square one. I don't even know what my lighting options are. Is it pretty much a big pack and head setup which needs AC power, or speedlights which use portable power? Are those the two basic types of lighting setups? Or is there more?

    In most cases I won't have available power, so I'm going to need portable power. Someone recommended a couple of Vivitar 285HV's and CyberSync transmitters and receivers from alien bees.

    I'll visit and get a better idea of what I need. I'm just looking for resources to research what I need, and looking for recommendations from other photographers.


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