Studio Lights: What to get?!
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Old 02-25-2008   #1
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Post Studio Lights: What to get?!

I've been pondering this question for weeks now. Looking at various forums, reviews, etc and am still torn! I'm looking for comments on Power Packs and Flash Heads that folks on Photo Camel are having success with. I'm looking at Alien Bees (or WL), Bowens, Dynalites, Elincrom, Profoto and Speedotron (all in alphabetical order).

I'll be using these for portraits (individuals and families) along with tabletop type studio shots. I'll need to power these via battery pack (Vagabond looks good for all I think) for remote use too.

Any comments on what you're using and what you like/don't like would be Greatly appreciated. Also, if you've ever needed service how did that go? Thanks. Bob

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Old 02-25-2008   #2
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

You have to give more information, I'll explain.

1. How much money do you have?? If money is no object buy till you get the ones you like.
2. How often do you shoot and under what duress. (weekends? all day every day??)


I bought the cheapies from JTL, two lights, stands umbrellas for about $300 with a cool case. Since I was shooting with studio light one to three times a month and always had 110v power they were perfect. Down side, when one breaks you throw it away, no serviceable parts on a $120 light. (Ive had one die of the three I purchased three years ago) I use JTL Versalights now since I shoot a lot more and they work great for me.

Bottom line is if you're hard on the equipment, you need higher end lights but if you baby your gear you don't really need the extra rugged housings.

Buy the best you can afford, but spend any extra money on flash rating instead of brand name.

Being the cheap hobbiest that I am, I shoot remote with two sb600 speedlights.
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Old 02-25-2008   #3
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

Speedotron Black Line, Dynalites and ProFoto.

I've been using Speedotron Black packs and heads (3-4800ws, 3-800ws, 2-2400ws packs and 8 heads) for over 20 years. I've had two repairs over that time that were handled promptly and cost less than $100 each time. I've bought 3-flash tubes and 5 modeling lamps in the past 20+ years.

Because I use these lights commercially I've got probably close to 1 million pops on the 3-4800 and 2-2400ws packs. They're rock solid with consistent power and color.
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Old 02-25-2008   #4
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

Power Packs vs. Mono Lights:

I have Alien Bees at home and Speedotrons at the office. I prefer the bees because I have infinite control over the light output from each head. On the speedotrons, i have a choice of 3 power outputs... 400w, 800w, and 1600w and then a dial on top that controls the light from +3 to -3 stops. It seems that the only other option i have sometimes if I need to fine tune the power output is to cover the light in translucent material until i dim it enough.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old 02-25-2008   #5
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by d2creative View Post
Power Packs vs. Mono Lights:

I have Alien Bees at home and Speedotrons at the office. I prefer the bees because I have infinite control over the light output from each head. On the speedotrons, i have a choice of 3 power outputs... 400w, 800w, and 1600w and then a dial on top that controls the light from +3 to -3 stops. It seems that the only other option i have sometimes if I need to fine tune the power output is to cover the light in translucent material until i dim it enough.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
1600ws Brown Line power pack?

The reason I like Power packs, over monolights, is because it's easier to reach the controls on a power pack than on a monolight which might be 11' in the air on a stand or boom. Much of my work is commercial table-top and food and I would hate to have to move a light just to change its power.

Another reason for Speedotron Black line pack and heads system, compared to Alien Bees, is I can have more power. A lot more power. I don't know of an Alien Bee which puts out more than what ...600 some ws ? And I need a brighter 250 watt modeling lamp so I can SEE the light.

The answer to your question about wanting more adjustment and control over the power to each light is to have more than one power pack.
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Old 02-25-2008   #6
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

Yeah, I guess more than one power pack would be the way to go.

The pack we have is the 2403cx. And I made a typo.... 1200w is the highest.

The poor modeling light is the only thing I don't like about the bees. It's not very helpful in seeing what you are going to get.
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Old 02-25-2008   #7
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by d2creative View Post

The pack we have is the 2403cx. And I made a typo.... 1200w is the highest.
Wouldn't 2400ws be the highest power setting with all three channels combined into one head?
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Old 02-25-2008   #8
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks View Post
Wouldn't 2400ws be the highest power setting with all three channels combined into one head?
I was just saying that the pack has 3 power sections and I was listing the power designated for each. And each one of those has plugs for two heads.
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Old 02-25-2008   #9
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

My lights are admittedly low end. The better JTL lights have adjustable modeling lights. That seems to be something of value getting ratios right, am I correct? Does having an adjustable modeling light help? or do you never use it. ( BRIng, if you don't already know, you need a light meter)
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Old 02-25-2008   #10
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Default Re: Studio Lights: What to get?!

I have a light meter so I'm all set there. On another note the Speedotrons do have a fast flash on certain heads (the 105 I think) and I'm thinking that I might like a fast flash and it appears that the Dynalites & Elinchrom have this capability as well. Something to consider for studio work (like moving water, etc). Thanks.


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