Flash against Hot-Lights - where to find Info?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Peter, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. Peter

    Peter Guest

    As a beginner to Studio Work i would like to do some reading about the
    advantages and disadvantages of Flash versus Hot-lights! Any idea where to
    look - or any Input from you?

    Peter, Sep 8, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Peter

    Charlie Self Guest

    Peter asks:
    Hot lights are easier to work with. You see exactly what you've got at all
    times, and the meter reading is right there on your camera.

    That said, hot lights are just that, hot. Not too bad in winter, if you don't
    burn yourself, but an extra load on the AC in summer (and murderous without
    AC). Standard hot lights are somewhat less expensive than standard studio
    flash, too. They are basically non-portable. I find them harder to set up to
    diffuse the light. You have to make sure everything is melt-proof, and
    sometimes even that isn't enough. I've had at least two high temp diffusers
    melt at the edges, the place you'd really least expect it to happen.

    Studio flash is easier to use when you have a flashmeter, though digital can
    help you get away from that. Test shots are still needed for best results,
    though. Cool, except for the modeling lights, some of which are large, bright
    and hot. It's easier to insert flash into softboxes and similar enclosures
    because of the lower heat levels, too. More varieties of studio flash available
    than hot lights, or my old eyes are deceiving me. Cost is not much higher in
    the long run (you've never felt as badly messed up as when three or four hot
    light bulbs go at once...of course, flash tubes are relatively expensive, but
    good for thousands of flashes for most units). And it is easy to make
    monolights portable. As an example, White Lightning sells a portable power pack
    that will fire up to 20 (might be 10, so check the site) of their flash units
    simultaneously, using battery power. It has its own charger, and costs about
    $350. A unit with a double battery costs $500, and a car charger costs $30. The
    number of flashes possible depends on the number of units and the duration and
    power of the flashes. I haven't looked, but I guess other companies offer
    something similar (my lights are WL and Alien Bee, a cheaper unit from the same
    basic company: I've had good luck with the lights and with the company).

    Of course, the lights and stands, no matter what kind, are just the starting
    point. After that comes umbrellas, softboxes, barn doors, snoots, honeycombs,
    you name it.

    Charlie Self
    "Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and
    hurry off as if nothing happened." Sir Winston Churchill
    Charlie Self, Sep 8, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. If you are here then we can assume you are now shooting digital? That makes
    a difference...but not much. You see....it used to be that people used hot
    lights if the model and budget would allow it. The benefits were that you
    could see the effect of the lights and meter directly. These lights get very

    But, with digital you can proof as you go. Set up flash....take a
    shot....see how it looks....and less heat.
    Gene Palmiter, Sep 8, 2004
  4. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Yes I shoot digital and thanks a lot for y opinion!

    Peter, Sep 8, 2004
  5. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Thanks for y fast and complete reply - sounds like there is a lot of
    know-how behind this!

    Peter, Sep 8, 2004
  6. Unless you use something like the Bowens Trilite, but then if you are going to
    spend that kind of money, you might as well buy studio strobes:

    Note also with digital prosumers, but not as much with digital SLRs, you get a
    bigger depth of field (ie, if your lights are only bright enough for f/4, you
    might have enough depth of field for your object, wheras with SLR you might
    need f/8 or so, and not have enough light without bumping up the ISO).
    Michael Meissner, Sep 8, 2004
  7. Peter

    Hunt Guest


    First you need to decide what types of shots you will be producing, i.e.
    models, architectural, table-tops, copy work, action sports, etc. While there
    is a great deal of overlap between tungsten and strobe, certain subjects and
    treatments are better with one v the other.

    Charlie Self gave you a good run down of the +'s and -'s of the two, from a
    purely equipment point, but you need to be specific with yourself, as to what
    you want to do.

    As one, who has tons of both, I tailor my equipment choice 100% based on
    subject and treatment. Some things I'd almost never try with tungsten, and the
    same with strobe.

    Hunt, Sep 8, 2004
  8. Peter

    Crownfield Guest

    for ideas,



    hot lights take amps of current,
    and generate kilowatts of heat,
    as long as they are turned on.

    to get 1/125 at f16 you will cook and sunburn.

    strobes generate far less heat,
    and generate far more light,
    but they do it in a short time.

    f16 at 1/125 of a second with no effort.

    the alien bees will adjust power by 5 stops,
    the bigger white lightning by 7 stops.

    the x32 will overpower sunlight at full power,
    at 1/125 of a second will give better than f16,
    and will give 1.4 at the lowest setting.

    I measured the x32 with the 11 inch reflector
    at a guide at asa 100 of 450 (feet).

    very flexible.
    7 inch reflectors, barndoors, filters,
    11 inch, 22 inch reflectors,
    30" shoot through umbrellas, softboxes

    alien bees and white lightning parts interchange.

    white lightning speed rings for softboxes are about $29,
    and are the same as balcar. they fit my photoflex box.

    their wheels for light stands fit manfrotto stands
    and are better than the manfrotto castors.
    Crownfield, Sep 9, 2004
  9. Peter

    Gadgets Guest

    + cool temp, short duration, short exposure time (less reciprocity
    correction required), close to daylight colour
    - hard to visualise (modelling lights aren't the same), need a flash meter,
    need Polaroid/check digi to preview result, blinds people and animals!, some
    fluorescence if a UV absorbing filter isn't used over light (colours of some
    objects will change), bulky power packs.

    Some flashes have an intense UV/IR output - I used a Balcar 3000W one once
    which we had fun blasting holes thru rubbish bags at 30cm! People had some
    decent sunburn from only a few flashes too! If you need really short
    duration (water drops etc), it's worth checking out different flash types
    and gases, some have a slow fallof and will give trails, others will be a
    sharp burst, quick falloff. Generally you'll want to make sure you have
    variable output, so that you can use low intensity/quick flashes or high
    intensity/slow flashes as required.

    QI heat affects several things - I had a friend melt a Nikon F4 with one
    from a close light, over ~30 mins! My only troubles were wilting some
    lettuce... Have to be careful with tracing paper/gels close to the lights
    too. Exposure times for decent depth of field can be quite long, and when
    shooting tranny, I always had to calc reciprocity and be careful not to
    knock the setup over the long exposure.

    Depends on your budget and subjects really...

    Cheers, Jason (remove ... to reply)
    Video & Gaming: http://gadgetaus.com
    Gadgets, Sep 9, 2004
  10. Peter

    Hunt Guest


    Just to address the heat v tracing paper issue. Yes, hot lights are hot, and
    that heat will cook most things, as the F4 instance proves. However, Rosco
    offers a complete line of cine lighting products for diffusion, light control
    - all aspects from color to output. When used in the appropriate frame, the
    appropriate distance from the instrument, they last a very long time. I've
    found that wooden (or PVC) frames, with "Herculene" drafting film works very
    well as a diffusion panel. BD Products also sells (or sold, as I haven't
    bought from them in some years) many diffusion media, that are very heat

    You are right-on with your assessment, the job and the budget will dictate
    what type of lighting is best.

    Hunt, Sep 9, 2004
  11. is there a website which explains all these buzzwords? iow, I have been out of
    studio work since the early 60s and have never heard of most of these.


    The new Canon DSLR elist. no trolls, etc

    schuetzen - RKBA!, Sep 9, 2004
  12. Peter

    Hunt Guest

    I don't know about a specific Web site, but you might want to look for Lowell
    (hot lights) or Speedotron (strobe), as both offer a ton of light modifying
    items. There are many more mfgrs, who do the same, but these are two that I
    use and own. The printed catalogs for both mfgrs have most of the items talked

    Hunt, Sep 9, 2004
  13. Peter

    Charlie Self Guest

    Hunt notes:
    As I emailed the original poster, those who want to know can try:

    Watch the wrap!

    Another spot is http://www.photoquack.de/tutorials/diylights.htm

    And another http://www.ephotozine.com/techniques/viewtechnique.cfm?recid=195

    Charlie Self
    "Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and
    hurry off as if nothing happened." Sir Winston Churchill
    Charlie Self, Sep 9, 2004
  14. Peter

    Crownfield Guest

    they can light fires in the white paper,
    and it takes precious seconds before the flame is visible in the bright
    Crownfield, Sep 10, 2004
  15. Peter

    Crownfield Guest


    look under products and under glossary.
    Crownfield, Sep 10, 2004
  16. Sure, with pro-grade light-modifiers, no problem (I worked with film
    industry lighting one summer, it was really nice to know that nothing
    in the truck could light anything else in the truck on fire, short of
    a short-circuit).

    But hot lights sure get hot!

    I remember one of the few actually interesting articles in Popular
    Photography, several decades ago now, about how studio flash had
    revolutionized the field of ice-cream photography. Boy, I could
    believe it!
    David Dyer-Bennet, Sep 10, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.