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Studio lighting kit recommendations?

 
 
Randall Ainsworth
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      01-23-2004
Their stuff is cheap and built to stay that way.
 
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Lisa Horton
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      01-24-2004


Clicky wrote:
>
> I'm itching to buy a light kit. I'm sitting here, hot credit card in hand,
> ready to buy a Novatron's 240 Fun Kit, but first I want someone to share
> their own experience with Novatron. As I wrote before, I found Novatron's
> low-end flash meter to be stinko. Is the rest of their stuff worthwhile?


I haven't used their stuff, but I've heard a lot about them over the
years. Overall, they're what you might call entry level pro or advance
amateur gear. The power isn't real high, and their durability isn't
well regarded. Perhaps best suited to light duty use.

>
> The 240 uses a single power supply for two (or I think maybe up to three)
> lights, instead of using independant monolights. Is that good or bad?


Both pack/head systems and monolights have their own advantages.
Starting out, Monolights are conceptually simpler, simpler and easier to
set up, and have fewer cables running around. A monolight kit is also
easier to upgrade piece by piece over time.

>
> The set-up looks powerful to me, but Novatron describes it as suitable for
> classroom photographs or passport photos. Can't it do more than headshots?


Those phrases are a tip off that this kit has low output power. I would
suggest at least checking out Alien Bees, the economy line from White
Lightning. They are very popular with advanced amateurs and well liked.

Lisa
 
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Clicky
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      01-24-2004
Lisa, thank you for your recommendations.

I've looked at Alien Bees strobe heads, but the cost so much! Economy
priced or not, they're out of my price range at the moment.

So I guess I have to decide if I can get by with lower-end units like
Novatrons. For now I have only two old Vivitar flash units, mounted on
optical slaves.

I've been photographing small musical bands on stage, but I'd like to offer
off-stage portrature too. That means photographing groups of four, maybe
five people, and for that I have to look into studio lighting of some sort.

This is non-professional work, but I hope to turn my hobby into part-time
paid work someday.


 
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KBob
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      01-24-2004
On Fri, 23 Jan 2004 16:00:49 -0800, Lisa Horton <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>
>
>Clicky wrote:
>>
>> I'm itching to buy a light kit. I'm sitting here, hot credit card in hand,
>> ready to buy a Novatron's 240 Fun Kit, but first I want someone to share
>> their own experience with Novatron. As I wrote before, I found Novatron's
>> low-end flash meter to be stinko. Is the rest of their stuff worthwhile?

>
>I haven't used their stuff, but I've heard a lot about them over the
>years. Overall, they're what you might call entry level pro or advance
>amateur gear. The power isn't real high, and their durability isn't
>well regarded. Perhaps best suited to light duty use.
>
>>
>> The 240 uses a single power supply for two (or I think maybe up to three)
>> lights, instead of using independant monolights. Is that good or bad?

>
>Both pack/head systems and monolights have their own advantages.
>Starting out, Monolights are conceptually simpler, simpler and easier to
>set up, and have fewer cables running around. A monolight kit is also
>easier to upgrade piece by piece over time.
>
>>
>> The set-up looks powerful to me, but Novatron describes it as suitable for
>> classroom photographs or passport photos. Can't it do more than headshots?

>
>Those phrases are a tip off that this kit has low output power. I would
>suggest at least checking out Alien Bees, the economy line from White
>Lightning. They are very popular with advanced amateurs and well liked.
>
>Lisa


If you are looking for heavy-duty pro lights, you're best off
considering the Speedotron Black Line or Elinchrom units. The latter
makes the finest monolights I know of, excellent build quality and
dependable. They are all I use anymore, especially with digital where
you may need to control the flash down to a very low level in some
cases.
 
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Charlie Self
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      01-24-2004
Clicky writes:

>I've looked at Alien Bees strobe heads, but the cost so much! Economy
>priced or not, they're out of my price range at the moment.
>
>So I guess I have to decide if I can get by with lower-end units like
>Novatrons. For now I have only two old Vivitar flash units, mounted on
>optical slaves.
>


Huh? Novatron 2 head power pack kits are about $775 for their 240 WS "fun kit".
A couple small Alien Bees, at $225 each, plus umbrellas and stands, will run
about $100 LESS than that and give more light.

Charlie Self
"Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine

http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/m.../business.html
 
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Clicky
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      01-24-2004
Charlie Self wrote: "Novatron 2 head power pack kits are about $775 for
their 240 WS 'fun kit'."

Ouch! Shop around! I've found the Novotron 240 Fun Kit for $580.

But I will take another look at the Alen Bees.

Is it true that monolight set ups require fewer wires than powerpack set ups
do? I've assumed not, since each of the monolights need mains current for
the modeling lights. I figure that with a power strip for the monolights,
the number of wires in a monolight set up would be just the same as in a
powerpack set up.


 
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B. Peg
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      01-24-2004
One big problem with the powerpack units is that their connecting cords are
proprietary. If you need location placement beyond what they provide, it is
difficult, costly, or won't work due to cable length.

Okay, make it two problems: If the power pack fails, the whole system is
down. That would be bad.

Didn't know the Alien Bees were designed by Paul Buff. Must be very good
units. His White Lightning Ultra heads look like a truck could run over
them and not break them. They have a heavy extruded aluminum chassis.

BP~


 
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Neil Gould
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      01-24-2004
Recently, Clicky <(E-Mail Removed)> posted:

> Is it true that monolight set ups require fewer wires than powerpack
> set ups do? I've assumed not, since each of the monolights need
> mains current for the modeling lights. I figure that with a power
> strip for the monolights, the number of wires in a monolight set up
> would be just the same as in a powerpack set up.
>

I prefer monolight setups, because they're easily scalable and you don't
have to lug around the external power pack. Another benefit is that you
don't ever have to replace the rather expensive pack-to-light cables.
Around 25 years ago, the power pack approach made sense, because there
weren't many high-powered transistor circuits available. Today's
monolights are as powerful (500 Ws is not uncommon) and a heck of a lot
more portable.

Neil




 
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Charlie Self
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      01-24-2004
Clicky asks:

>
>Is it true that monolight set ups require fewer wires than powerpack set ups
>do? I've assumed not, since each of the monolights need mains current for
>the modeling lights. I figure that with a power strip for the monolights,
>the number of wires in a monolight set up would be just the same as in a
>powerpack set up.
>


One wire per monolight, but I use a power bar with my usual two or three lights
run into that.

You then either run a PC cord from camera to one mono, use a flash on the
camera to fire the monos, or use infrared to fire the monos. You do not have a
power pack sitting in the middle of the mess with wires running to the pack
from each light, though I guess my power bar might seem the same. Without that
power pack, you essentially find the monos easier to move and relocate, and
they have the option of being plugged into ANY room outlet, instead of into the
power bar, so it's possible to keep the wires mostly out from underfoot.

Charlie Self
"Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine

http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/m.../business.html
 
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Charlie Self
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      01-24-2004
Neil Gould writes:

>I prefer monolight setups, because they're easily scalable and you don't
>have to lug around the external power pack. Another benefit is that you
>don't ever have to replace the rather expensive pack-to-light cables.
>Around 25 years ago, the power pack approach made sense, because there
>weren't many high-powered transistor circuits available. Today's
>monolights are as powerful (500 Ws is not uncommon) and a heck of a lot
>more portable.


Alien Bee's 640 WS top of the line model is an example, and sells for $360. The
X3200 White Lightning has 800 WS, but costs about $660. That is aimed at the
full-time, busy pro, though.



Charlie Self
"Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine

http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/m.../business.html
 
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