Is this lighting system good?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Graytown, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. Graytown

    Graytown Guest

    Graytown, Aug 11, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Graytown

    dadiOH Guest

    Graytown wrote:
    > Hi guys,
    >
    > I have seen this system on Ebay that I'm keen on buying.
    >
    > But will this serve my interests well if I were to use it for
    > tabletop photography or shooting say a hotel room?


    I'm not familiar with the brand but offer some general comments...

    1. Watt seconds is a poor measurement of light emitting capability but - for
    "studio" strobes - it is very low. Keep in mind that soft boxes/umbrellas
    will also decrease the effectiveness of raw light output by a couple of
    stops.

    When I was in the biz - mostly portrait - I used Balcar stuff. Had 4 -
    1200ws power packs, total of 4800ws. Mostly used 400 ws per light and shot
    at f 8 with ISO 160 Vericolor, main light with umbrella/softbox maybe 5-6
    feet from subject.

    2. A 50 watt modeling light would be useable if the room you are shooting in
    has no other light; otherwise, you might as well turn it off. My Balcar
    heads had 150w quartz bulbs and I always turned off all room lights to see
    effectively with them.

    3. I see no mention of reflectors other than the softboxes. Nor of other
    available light modifying accessories such as grids, barn doors, diffusers,
    gels, etc. Umbrella/softboxes are extremely useful; however, their
    popularity over the last 25-30 years means that many photographers do not
    know about nor how to use "hard" reflectors and light modifiers. A real
    shame because their use not only helps create striking photograps but also
    teaches one about how to *use* light.

    4. Portability. That aspect seems good. If schlepping a bunch of stuff
    around can ever be considered "good". I had a couple of small, similar AC
    units and one AC/DC unit for "away" work though I often used the Balcars
    too.

    5. Price. Lord knows they are cheap enough. Lord also knows that there is
    no free lunch, that one gets what one pays for. Not saying that these are
    bad because I don't know but if I were going to set up shop again (no way,
    50 years was plenty) I would seriously consider White Lighning
    equipment...good, reliable, useable stuff and decent prices. No where near
    as inexpensive as the eBay lights but inexpensive for pro grade equipment.
    http://www.white-lightning.com/

    --
    dadiOH
    _____________________________

    dadiOH's dandies v3.0...
    ....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
    LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
    Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
    ____________________________
     
    dadiOH, Aug 11, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. > When I was in the biz - mostly portrait - I used Balcar stuff. Had 4 -
    > 1200ws power packs, total of 4800ws. Mostly used 400 ws per light and shot
    > at f 8 with ISO 160 Vericolor, main light with umbrella/softbox maybe 5-6
    > feet from subject.


    Jeez! You don't need to blast 'em with that much light. I used to do
    it with maybe 100W on the main light at the most.
     
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 11, 2004
    #3
  4. Looks like a decent place to start. You are going to make mistakes the same
    as you did with your first camera. Not that its bad...just that it won't be
    good enough. But until you buy something and find out what works and what
    doesn't how will you know what you like? I have a couple of cheap
    strobes...and I need more. My next ones will be better but I will still find
    uses for my older ones.

    "Graytown" <> wrote in message
    news:%XmSc.2122$...
    > Hi guys,
    >
    > I have seen this system on Ebay that I'm keen on buying.
    >
    > But will this serve my interests well if I were to use it for tabletop
    > photography or shooting say a hotel room?
    >
    > http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/ebayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3831242709
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    > Rohit
    >
    >
     
    Gene Palmiter, Aug 11, 2004
    #4
  5. Graytown

    RonFrank Guest

    For this price, IMO purchase one Alien Bee monolight, or a White Lightning
    monolight with stand and umbrella and softbox.

    There is an old saying measure twice, cut once. In this case I suggest
    making a purchase that you will not have to duplicate.

    The kit you are looking at is rather junky, and the lighting included lacks
    some of the most basic features found in most all lightinig, even low end.
    I would suggest purchasing one monolight at a time if money is the issue
    rather than buying a VERY low end kit.

    Thes units do not offer evan the basic ability to alter the light output. So
    you can not achieve even the most basic of lighting ratios without having to
    move the lights away from the subject.

    Ron


    "Graytown" <> wrote in message
    news:%XmSc.2122$...
    > Hi guys,
    >
    > I have seen this system on Ebay that I'm keen on buying.
    >
    > But will this serve my interests well if I were to use it for tabletop
    > photography or shooting say a hotel room?
    >
    > http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/ebayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3831242709
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    > Rohit
    >
    >
     
    RonFrank, Aug 11, 2004
    #5
  6. Graytown

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Those cheap heads sell for well under 100 dollars new (the small one goes
    for about 25 bucks) and last a few months. You can get a better price off
    the ads in Shutterbug.
    White the heads areey are junk of the lowest order. I can't comment on
    the stands or softboxes as everyone I've known who wasted money on that
    junk - which is available under several brand names - has not had them last
    long enough to accessorize - but in general cheap lights come with very
    flimsy stands.
    Instead of doing it the dumb way (ie picking out a POS and then asking
    everyone about it), why don't you get smart, do some research and then see
    if anyone is selling something worth having on ebay. Or better yet buy from
    Paul Buff and forget about the junk.

    --
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com
    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/links/mlinks00.html
    A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/writ/hait/hatitl.html
    "Graytown" <> wrote in message
    news:%XmSc.2122$...
    > Hi guys,
    >
    > I have seen this system on Ebay that I'm keen on buying.
    >
    > But will this serve my interests well if I were to use it for tabletop
    >
     
    Tony Spadaro, Aug 11, 2004
    #6
  7. Graytown

    Graytown Guest

    Thanks a ton for all the good advice.

    Here's what I think so far....

    1. One gets what one pays for. So obviously I'm not getting top quality
    stuff at this price.
    2. As would be evident, I'm just starting out using lights and this would be
    my first purchase. That's why I asked around as I didn't even have a
    starting point to begin with on what's "good" or "acceptable". And so, I
    will learn more as I go along with "any" first set - and more after I make a
    few mistakes.
    3. I would tend to go with Ron's advice about purchasing something basic
    (but half decent) and working my way up. Ron, any suggestions on a reliable
    source to buy these from? Considering I'm in Canada, it would need to be an
    online source.
    4. DadiOH, thanks for the terific advice.

    Clearly, considering that I was totally clueless about this 24 hrs back,
    thanks for giving me a starting point.

    Rohit


    --
    http://www.graytown.ca
    Design - Photography - Hospitality Marketing Solutions


    "dadiOH" <> wrote in message
    news:rgpSc.5411$...
    > Graytown wrote:
    > > Hi guys,
    > >
    > > I have seen this system on Ebay that I'm keen on buying.
    > >
    > > But will this serve my interests well if I were to use it for
    > > tabletop photography or shooting say a hotel room?

    >
    > I'm not familiar with the brand but offer some general comments...
    >
    > 1. Watt seconds is a poor measurement of light emitting capability but -

    for
    > "studio" strobes - it is very low. Keep in mind that soft boxes/umbrellas
    > will also decrease the effectiveness of raw light output by a couple of
    > stops.
    >
    > When I was in the biz - mostly portrait - I used Balcar stuff. Had 4 -
    > 1200ws power packs, total of 4800ws. Mostly used 400 ws per light and

    shot
    > at f 8 with ISO 160 Vericolor, main light with umbrella/softbox maybe 5-6
    > feet from subject.
    >
    > 2. A 50 watt modeling light would be useable if the room you are shooting

    in
    > has no other light; otherwise, you might as well turn it off. My Balcar
    > heads had 150w quartz bulbs and I always turned off all room lights to see
    > effectively with them.
    >
    > 3. I see no mention of reflectors other than the softboxes. Nor of other
    > available light modifying accessories such as grids, barn doors,

    diffusers,
    > gels, etc. Umbrella/softboxes are extremely useful; however, their
    > popularity over the last 25-30 years means that many photographers do not
    > know about nor how to use "hard" reflectors and light modifiers. A real
    > shame because their use not only helps create striking photograps but also
    > teaches one about how to *use* light.
    >
    > 4. Portability. That aspect seems good. If schlepping a bunch of stuff
    > around can ever be considered "good". I had a couple of small, similar AC
    > units and one AC/DC unit for "away" work though I often used the Balcars
    > too.
    >
    > 5. Price. Lord knows they are cheap enough. Lord also knows that there

    is
    > no free lunch, that one gets what one pays for. Not saying that these are
    > bad because I don't know but if I were going to set up shop again (no way,
    > 50 years was plenty) I would seriously consider White Lighning
    > equipment...good, reliable, useable stuff and decent prices. No where

    near
    > as inexpensive as the eBay lights but inexpensive for pro grade equipment.
    > http://www.white-lightning.com/
    >
    > --
    > dadiOH
    > _____________________________
    >
    > dadiOH's dandies v3.0...
    > ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
    > LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
    > Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
    > ____________________________
    >
    >
     
    Graytown, Aug 11, 2004
    #7
  8. Graytown

    Crownfield Guest

    Graytown wrote:
    >
    > Thanks a ton for all the good advice.
    >
    > Here's what I think so far....
    >
    > 1. One gets what one pays for. So obviously I'm not getting top quality
    > stuff at this price.
    > 2. As would be evident, I'm just starting out using lights and this would be
    > my first purchase. That's why I asked around as I didn't even have a
    > starting point to begin with on what's "good" or "acceptable". And so, I
    > will learn more as I go along with "any" first set - and more after I make a
    > few mistakes.
    > 3. I would tend to go with Ron's advice about purchasing something basic
    > (but half decent) and working my way up. Ron, any suggestions on a reliable
    > source to buy these from? Considering I'm in Canada, it would need to be an
    > online source.
    > 4. DadiOH, thanks for the terific advice.
    >
    > Clearly, considering that I was totally clueless about this 24 hrs back,
    > thanks for giving me a starting point.


    http://www.white-lightning.com/
    http://www.alienbees.com/



    >
    > Rohit
    >
    > --
    > http://www.graytown.ca
    > Design - Photography - Hospitality Marketing Solutions
    >
    > "dadiOH" <> wrote in message
    > news:rgpSc.5411$...
    > > Graytown wrote:
    > > > Hi guys,
    > > >
    > > > I have seen this system on Ebay that I'm keen on buying.
    > > >
    > > > But will this serve my interests well if I were to use it for
    > > > tabletop photography or shooting say a hotel room?

    > >
    > > I'm not familiar with the brand but offer some general comments...
    > >
    > > 1. Watt seconds is a poor measurement of light emitting capability but -

    > for
    > > "studio" strobes - it is very low. Keep in mind that soft boxes/umbrellas
    > > will also decrease the effectiveness of raw light output by a couple of
    > > stops.
    > >
    > > When I was in the biz - mostly portrait - I used Balcar stuff. Had 4 -
    > > 1200ws power packs, total of 4800ws. Mostly used 400 ws per light and

    > shot
    > > at f 8 with ISO 160 Vericolor, main light with umbrella/softbox maybe 5-6
    > > feet from subject.
    > >
    > > 2. A 50 watt modeling light would be useable if the room you are shooting

    > in
    > > has no other light; otherwise, you might as well turn it off. My Balcar
    > > heads had 150w quartz bulbs and I always turned off all room lights to see
    > > effectively with them.
    > >
    > > 3. I see no mention of reflectors other than the softboxes. Nor of other
    > > available light modifying accessories such as grids, barn doors,

    > diffusers,
    > > gels, etc. Umbrella/softboxes are extremely useful; however, their
    > > popularity over the last 25-30 years means that many photographers do not
    > > know about nor how to use "hard" reflectors and light modifiers. A real
    > > shame because their use not only helps create striking photograps but also
    > > teaches one about how to *use* light.
    > >
    > > 4. Portability. That aspect seems good. If schlepping a bunch of stuff
    > > around can ever be considered "good". I had a couple of small, similar AC
    > > units and one AC/DC unit for "away" work though I often used the Balcars
    > > too.
    > >
    > > 5. Price. Lord knows they are cheap enough. Lord also knows that there

    > is
    > > no free lunch, that one gets what one pays for. Not saying that these are
    > > bad because I don't know but if I were going to set up shop again (no way,
    > > 50 years was plenty) I would seriously consider White Lighning
    > > equipment...good, reliable, useable stuff and decent prices. No where

    > near
    > > as inexpensive as the eBay lights but inexpensive for pro grade equipment.
    > > http://www.white-lightning.com/
    > >
    > > --
    > > dadiOH
    > > _____________________________
    > >
    > > dadiOH's dandies v3.0...
    > > ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
    > > LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
    > > Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
    > > ____________________________
    > >
    > >
     
    Crownfield, Aug 12, 2004
    #8
  9. Graytown

    Charlie Self Guest

    Graytown asks:

    >Thanks a ton for all the good advice.
    >
    >Here's what I think so far....
    >
    >1. One gets what one pays for. So obviously I'm not getting top quality
    >stuff at this price.
    >2. As would be evident, I'm just starting out using lights and this would be
    >my first purchase. That's why I asked around as I didn't even have a
    >starting point to begin with on what's "good" or "acceptable". And so, I
    >will learn more as I go along with "any" first set - and more after I make a
    >few mistakes.
    >3. I would tend to go with Ron's advice about purchasing something basic
    >(but half decent) and working my way up. Ron, any suggestions on a reliable
    >source to buy these from? Considering I'm in Canada, it would need to be an
    >online source.
    >4. DadiOH, thanks for the terific advice.
    >
    >Clearly, considering that I was totally clueless about this 24 hrs back,
    >thanks for giving me a starting point.


    Go to www.alienbees.com and check out their Busy Bees package. $599, two B400
    units, two light stands, two umbrellae.

    I've got one White Lightning, old style, and a new B800 Alien Bee light.
    Excellent products at better than excellent costs. Reputable company that has
    been around a while--I bought my first WL back in '84 or '85.

    Charlie Self
    "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories -
    those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell
    Baker
     
    Charlie Self, Aug 12, 2004
    #9
  10. Graytown

    leo Guest

    "Graytown" <> wrote in message
    news:%XmSc.2122$...
    > Hi guys,
    >
    > I have seen this system on Ebay that I'm keen on buying.
    >
    > But will this serve my interests well if I were to use it for tabletop
    > photography or shooting say a hotel room?
    >
    > http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/ebayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3831242709
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    > Rohit



    Why do you choose Strobe over Continuous lighting? The places you describe
    would have power sockets.
     
    leo, Aug 12, 2004
    #10
  11. Graytown

    Charlie Self Guest

    leo writes:

    >Why do you choose Strobe over Continuous lighting? The places you describe
    >would have power sockets.


    Continuous lighting is much easier to use, but...unless you go with the
    fluorescent type, it is much, much, much hotter, which in summer isn't handy,
    even with AC. It is difficult, and more costly, to get softboxes and other
    diffusion devices. You need to make sure you're on more than one circuit if
    you're using more than two lights.

    And the damned reflectors WILL burn you if you're careless.

    I've got both. I only use hot lights when it is absolutely essential. Strobes
    are so easy with digital that I prefer those 977 times out of 1000. I just shot
    a couple rolls of slide film with strobes, using the digital camera as a
    meter...batteries are dead in my hardly ever used flash meter. Got one roll
    back this morning and they are close to perfection...I did bracket, as usual,
    because without being able to immediately see the results, I turned chicken.

    Charlie Self
    "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories -
    those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell
    Baker
     
    Charlie Self, Aug 12, 2004
    #11
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