Which studio lighting to get

Started Jan 19, 2013 | Discussions
Tung Chung
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Which studio lighting to get
Jan 19, 2013

I'm looking to start some studio photography and thinking of investing in some studio lighting. I'm looking for a set of light units, which can accomodate a variety of situations including fast action photography.

This is the main area/capability I want to look for in a unit. Essentially I found that the equipment with the highest flash duration produces the better freezing action.

I'm not looking to freeze a bullet with the flash units, but I mean freezing action, I'm looking at doing in some sports such as mountain biking, skateboarding and the odd jumping in the studio. On some occasions I may look to experiment with water effects (splashes & drops) when one is bored.

Which leads me to my question, I've been looking at the Paul C Buffs Einsteins, which seemed ideal. However, when I looked at the prices in the UK, I was put off by the mark up compared to US prices. It feels like daylight robbery especially when you include wireless units (over £1400 for 2 units and wireless triggers/recievers).

Therefore, could units such as Elinchromes BRX's 250 be able to freeze some/all of the above scenarios?

Hoping to not spend more than £1000.

Thanks in advance.

Tung

http://www.tungchung.co.uk

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Peter Berressem
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Re: Which studio lighting to get
In reply to Tung Chung, Jan 19, 2013

In the UK there are some IGBT controlled alternatives available. E.g. this one:

http://www.strobeam.eu/

www.viewfinderphotography.co.uk/products/Strobeam-EID-500-Dual-Power500w-Studio%7B47%7DLocation-Flash.html

www.lightingrumours.com/cononmark-nid500-524

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Omega_Leader
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Re: Which studio lighting to get
In reply to Tung Chung, Jan 21, 2013

Dynalite has some very nice high speed strobes.  They're a pack and head system, but very nice. Just don't use the variator knob or you will loose lots of speed.

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Which studio lighting to get
In reply to Tung Chung, Jan 22, 2013

The best way of stopping action in commonly available lighting comes from hot-shoe flash units. The trade off is that the lower the power the shorter the flash. You can overcome the low power by using multiple strobes but remember that you have to double the number of strobes for every stop. ! becomes 2, 2 becomes 4, 4 becomes 8, etc.

There are a couple of studio strobes that use the same kind of trigger as hot-shoe flash units. One of them is the Einstein from Paul C. Buff. Others are Photogenic Studio Max or Solair.

With all these studio strobes you get a shorter flash duration as you lower the power, just like with hot-shoe flash. The difference is that you are starting with a lot more power than with a hot-shoe flash.

The alternative is to use a flash with a long duration and stop action with a high shutter speed. This works, and the AllienBee lights are frequently used for this, but the shorter the shutter speed the less light since you are only using a small portion of the total flash. Since the shutter is a traveling slit you can also get motion artifacts that you don't get with flash or strobes.

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kenyee
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fast duration studio flashes
In reply to Tung Chung, Jan 22, 2013

Others you might want to look at are

- Bowens QuadX

- Elinchrom Ranger w/ A (action) head

- ditto speedlights when you can turn off all the ambient light

As for "daylight robbery", you have to realize that in the US, PCB sells the Einsteins direct from factory.  In the UK and other countries, there's an additional layer of distribution.  The distributors buy at a minimal discount (I think it's $30/head or something insanely low like that because there's not much margin in direct sales products).

Then you guys in the UK have much higher taxes, import duties, etc.  The distributor has to have space in a warehouse to store the stuff, hire phone/support personnel (aka overhead).

Just to keep things in perspective...

Come over to visit the US and buy a few Einstein heads to bring back..that's a cheap way to do it too...

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JerryG1
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Re: fast duration studio flashes
In reply to kenyee, Jan 27, 2013

kenyee wrote

...

As for "daylight robbery", you have to realize that in the US, PCB sells the Einsteins direct from factory. In the UK and other countries, there's an additional layer of distribution. The distributors buy at a minimal discount (I think it's $30/head or something insanely low like that because there's not much margin in direct sales products).

Then you guys in the UK have much higher taxes, import duties, etc. The distributor has to have space in a warehouse to store the stuff, hire phone/support personnel (aka overhead).

...

I'm a fan of ABs, but have spent too many years in marketing to buy the bunk that direct sales results in lower prices compared to selling through distributors.  The costs of marketing must be borne by whomever markets the product--manufacturer or distributor.

Those people who answer Buff's phones, who pack and ship product to customers, and who repair broken Bees are all in addition to the factory workers. Warehousing, promotion, advertising, and sales and service all add to the final selling price of any product, regardless of who is doing the Marketing.    In fact, an organization specializing in distribution can often operate at lower-cost than a manufacturer trying to operate a distribution facility.

I agree that taxes, duties, transportation, (and currency risk) are extra costs that must be borne by foreign buyers. Those vary from country to country.  Based on some (likely out-dated) numbers I recall, I would guess a 15-30% higher selling price in the UK and Europe for US made products.  Assembly in the EU might reduce that.

My point is that the price premium is not because of a distributor, it is mostly because of the costs of getting product into other countries.

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