Lighting purchase suggestions
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Old 06-08-2007   #1
dgs
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Default Lighting purchase suggestions

I have been reading this forum and the Strobist Lighting 101 website, and have decided to get a flash and umbrella.

I am an amateurand am just doing this as a hobby, so money is a big issue, but I don't want to buy anything that will not be flexible and expensive to upgrade latter. Right now I have a Nikon D40, and a SB400, poor choice of flash I now know for working with the Nikon creative lighting, and the D40 does not work well with the creative lighting system, but it was in my price range.

I am thinking about getting a Nikon flash and using the creative lighting system, but since the D40 does not work as a master, I am not sure if I should get an SB800, and a SB600, or a SU800, and a SB600. If I do get the SB800, can you use it to just signal the flash on the second unit, and not fire itself?

Also, how do you position the SB600 to flash in the umbrella, can you point the light backwards, and have it facing the subject, or just point and face it to the umbrella?

The reason that I am not thinking about getting the Starving Student No PC Kit (SN1) from Midwest Photo Exchange, I can see where there would be times that a normal fill flash would be great outside, and I think it would be easier with the Nikon SB600 flash on the camera.

All opinions would be helpful, and I think this website is wonderful, it is a GREAT learning tool.

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Old 06-08-2007   #2
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Default Re: Lighting purchase suggestions

Welcome to the Camel; come to the Nikon section if you need help with anything Nikon-specific.

Quote:
If I do get the SB800, can you use it to just signal the flash on the second unit, and not fire itself?
Yes; access the custom functions by holding down the OK button. The pull-out bounce card in the top of the flash (which likes to break off along with the built-in diffusing screen) has an illustration with instructions on how to do this, as well as how to lock the flash's settings and how to reset all settings.

Quote:
how do you position the SB600 to flash in the umbrella, can you point the light backwards, and have it facing the subject, or just point and face it to the umbrella?
I assume the flash head can swivel around to face backwards if you hold the button on the side.

---------------------------------------------------------

Nikon CLS alternates between impressing me greatly and causing me no end of grief. It works great indoors or at close range outside, but I'm starting to find the range and sensitivity to position annoying in most cases when I really want to get creative with my flash; I'm thinking of getting some Vivitars and Pocket Wizards and just calling it a day for outdoor use, and keeping my pair of SB-800's for impromptu grab-bag stuff and indoor use.
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Old 06-08-2007   #3
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Default Re: Lighting purchase suggestions

There are quite a few things to consider when determining what kind of lighting to purchase.

For pure portability, nothing beats the small, battery powered strobes and some, like the Nikon, have some nifty features like the CLS system.

You're going to want to have a portable strobe (shoe mounted) no matter what, but consider the options that are out there carefully. There are quite a few fans of the Thyristor type flash units and personally, I've become quite a fan of the Metz flash units recently.

Outdoors, umbrellas can be a problem in windy conditions so you need to anchor the stand down... and you'd need to also invest in a bracket mount and a light stand for the umbrella. B&H sells a kit and I think Uncle Frank was discussing that very kit in another thread a few days ago. I believe it was this one... Impact Digital Flash Umbrella Mount Kit

Another option is to look at studio type strobes like the Alien Bees or almost myriad of other brand strobes out there. You'd need a light meter but a one light kit is a good start and a good way to begin learning about studio lighting in general. The studio strobes are completely manual and as such you have pretty much complete control over the situation plus the added advantage of not needing to deal with flash obsolescence the next time your camera manufacturer decides to change the product line. Another added benefit is that you can add additional flash units at any time and they'd be, for the most part, the same units so there's no hidden traps to figure out or workarounds to deal with if the model has changed as they do from time to time with shoe mounted strobes.

Do some homework and don't just jump in. Ask lots of questions and think about your future wants, needs, or what you want to learn as far as lighting and photography going forward. Tough questions and things to consider... but well worth spending some time thinking and debating.

There are so many that purchase things time and again because they think something "will be good enough" or "for the time being".

Good luck.

Julio
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Old 06-09-2007   #4
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Default Re: Lighting purchase suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikonfreak View Post
You're going to want to have a portable strobe (shoe mounted) no matter what, but consider the options that are out there carefully. There are quite a few fans of the Thyristor type flash units and personally, I've become quite a fan of the Metz flash units recently.

Julio
I have noticed that there are a number of people that like the Metz flashes. What one do you use? The Metz 54AF-1 i-TTL looks interesting.

thanks,
Danny
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Old 06-10-2007   #5
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Default Re: Lighting purchase suggestions

I recently started using the Metz 45 CL-4 and like it very much. It's very powerful.

I also, literally, this week...after quite a bit of a frustrating weekend away with the family with the Nikon SB800, purchased the Metz 58 AF-1... I used it last night for the first time at an event... a Bat Mitzvah and should have some examples handy as I am transferring the images this morning from the memory cards. Ugh... It started at 3 for formals and went to Midnight...got home about 1...showered, and to bed by 2am.

I'm zonked.

Julio


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