Recommendations on budget studio lights

Started Oct 20, 2009 | Discussions thread
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DRode
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Recommendations on budget studio lights
Oct 20, 2009

I'm looking to acquire a budget studio light kit. Any advice would be greatly appreciated especially if you've bought and used the lights. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/459069-REG/Impact_VSD300_2KIII_VSD300_Two_Monolight_Softbox.html is the leading candidate right now. I would probably buy a 3rd light w/ a boom at a later date.

My budget is $450-$650. I really want to stay close to $500. I want to be able to do individual and small group portraits. I intend to use my existing set of 3 SB600s for hair and background lights. I have a pair of "poverty wizards" hot shoe triggers as well and could get a 3rd receiver.

I want to shoot at ISO 400 or lower and f/4-f/8 in a dark studio.

My minimum requirements, I think are
2 lights @ 300 w each w/ basic light stands
Optically triggered (this is a must)
This should be (just barely) enough to make the shots I need.

Preferred
2 400 w lights (or 1 400 w+ 1 300 w) makes small group shots much easier.
Included softboxe(s) - I need them regardless. 24x32 is a good size IMO.

Bonus - like to have
3rd 100-200 w light for rim/hair/background
boom stand
audible recycle beep
Modeling lights are nice to have but not mandatory
Auto-dump

Don't care about
Included umbrellas - umbrellas are cheap and I have a set
Carry cases + portability

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