Need some advise

Started Mar 13, 2013 | Discussions
anthonyhnj
Regular MemberPosts: 247
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Need some advise
Mar 13, 2013

Hi, I mostly shoot landscapes, macros, and some street.  recently i started getting into shooting portraits in a makeshift home studio.   I have question regarding speedlites/monolights.  Here is what i currently bought over the past week, some will go back when i decide what setup works best.

I purchased a canon 600ex-rt with the canon st-e3-rt this works very well but quite expensive and I don't really see the need for this unless i purchase another 600ex-rt. total cost for this 2 speedlite setup would be 1420.00

I also picked up 4 yn266c's rt and a canon 430ex ii, i would have to buy a second 430ex ii bringig the total cost for this setup to about 720.00

i can buy the yn560's for about 75.00 each and keep the yn266c's for a total cost about 350.00. All would have to be set in manual which um ok with.

What setup would you choose and why.

Is the 600 setup worh the money i could use ettl this way, but do you want to use ettl for this anyway.

anthony

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kgbruce01
Senior MemberPosts: 1,245
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Re: Need some advise
In reply to anthonyhnj, Mar 13, 2013

anthonyhnj wrote:

What setup would you choose and why.

I would stop buying lights, since you already have one, and concentrate on using and learning with it. Why? Because one light is more than enough to make great portraits. (it's actually one more light than you need to make great portraits) Good luck.

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sharpblur
Junior MemberPosts: 40Gear list
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Re: Need some advise
In reply to kgbruce01, Mar 13, 2013

I just started playing with lights and modifiers and this is what i bought:

1 x Einstein 640 with big octa, beauty dish and their cybersync.
1 x 430EX II and two Yongnuo YN-622C triggers
1 x 45" umbrella
1 x big 5 in 1 reflector

I'm having a lot of fun with this setup. I'll probably get a third light to widen my options.

As I said, I'm new to all this but I wouldn't spend that amount of money on Canon 600RT setup.

Hope this helps a bit.

Cheers

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Luke Kaven
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Re: Need some advise
In reply to anthonyhnj, Mar 13, 2013

The first thing I'd say is that it is very important to have an idea of exactly what you intend to do before you start buying up speedlights.  They have their uses, but there are limits to what they will do.  Your lighting should be serving a craft that you've developed, a craft that you know well enough to know which tools are the right ones for it.

For example, how much power does your technique require?  Do you need portable power?  How much, how many flashes, and at what refresh rate?  Do you really need TTL?

A pair of Flashpoint II monolights at 150 W/s each can sometimes be a good start where you need best value for the money.  A pair of those with umbrellas and stands and a couple of modifiers should only cost you $300.  The lights are solid and reliable, and you're not that far from NY it seems.

If you're buying into TTL flashes, then you should be sure that the 35 W/s you will get from them is going to be good enough for the job.  You'll get a certain number of flashes on a charge, and you won't be able to shoot more than a certain number of flashes at a time without running into thermal shutdown.  I would never use the Yongnuo's professionally.  A real speedlight setup is an expensive habit useful for quite specific purposes.

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Zee Char
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Re: Need some advise
In reply to anthonyhnj, Mar 13, 2013

I have the STE3 and 3 x 600EX-RT. Love the system. Flashes do ETTL for me when I am shooting on the go. When in a studio type situation and shooting portraits I am always on manual. I will choose manual over ETTL any day if I have time to set up.

If I had the space for a permanent studio I have strobes. Better yet I would have both, strobe set up and RT ETTL flashes but for what I do the flexibility is important. If you are just shooting portraits save your money and just get the YN560's, etc.

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Need some advise
In reply to anthonyhnj, Mar 14, 2013

Listen to Zee Char. He gave you excellent advice - use strobes in the studio, use hot-shoe flash in the field.

At this time the new Canon 600EX RT and the ST-E3-RT are orphan products. There aren't any other flash units or even RF receivers that will work with them. To me this means I wouldn't buy them unless I had a very specific need for several 600EX RTs because I was a professional who traveled to places where I knew that the flash units would have to hold up to heat, dust, humidity, and getting banged around a lot.

For an amateur I recommend starting with a lower cost hot-shoe flash and RF trigger system. It won't be as rugged as the Canon system, but then it is rare that the amateur needs that. Instead of a 600EX RT I would say buy a Yongnuo YN-565EX, or if you are know you are going to be using the flash in rough conditions get the Nissin Di866 II, which is near the Canon in quality and ruggedness but cheaper.

Speedlights.net | Yongnuo YN-565 EX Flash Review (Equiv 430EX II & ETTL-II on/off-camera)

Speedlights.net | Nissin Di866 II (Mark 2) | Speedlights.net

As a beginning studio photographer you should buy studio strobes, not hot-shoe flash units, for work in the studio. Photography is all about lighting, the highlights and shadows that give a flat image a 3-D appearance. Lighting is critical with portraiture. Studio strobes have modeling lights that will let you see the lighting before you ever press the shutter. With hot-shoe flash units you have to guess at the lighting, take a test shot, chimp the image, adjust the lighting, take a test shot, chimp, adjust, take a test shot, chimp, etc., etc., etc. You are waisting your time and the model's time.

My advice is that you plan on having two sets of equipment, hot-shoe based for field/location shooting and studio strobes for studio work.

Return the equipment you have except for the YN-622's. Buy one YN-565EX and later add a couple of YN-560 IIs for use in the field. You will be shooting in ETTL mode only when the flash, usually mounted on the camera, to subject distance is constantly changing. ETTL exposures are effected by skin color, clothing brightness, background brightness, and the ratio of subject to background. Plan on using Flash Exposure Compensation a lot a dn doing a lot of post processing exposure corrections when you use ETTL.

If you can shoot with off-camera flash you wan to shoot in manual flash power mode for consistent exposures. The YN-622s will give you the ability to adjust the off-camera flash power form the camera, a very nice thing to have.

You will want to have a sturdy but portable stand and a good light diffuser for the off-camera hot-shoe flash. I recommend the Photek Softlighter II. It is easily portable, opens and closes like an umbrella, and because of the front cover is less likely to blow over than a simple umbrella. Be sure to have someone hold the stand or sand bag if if possible. The smaller one is less likely to blow over, the larger one is useful for everything from a head shot to a standing portrait.

Photek SOFTLIGHTER II

For the studio I recommend you start with a single 300 Ws or 600 Ws strobe, stand, and 60" umbrella.

Impact Convertible 60" Umbrella UBBW60 B&H Photo Video

Please don't do what I did the first time and buy cheap low quality studio strobes. They were pretty much junk and quickly wound up in the trash. The next time I did my homework and picked out and bought quality equipment that has keep me very satisfied for almost three years. I wrote the following article to help others avoid my costly mistake.

Sailorblue - Digital Photography Review - Equipment Guide for Setting up a Small Home Portrait/Glamor Studio

Once you learn how to use one studio strobe then add a second and then third light for fill and background. You can use the YN-565EX or YN-560 IIs for hair and accent lights. My current recommendations are for the PCB AllienBees B800 and B1600, or if you want a bit better light then get the Einsteins. The Flashpoint DG600 from Adorama (their house brand) is my budget recommendation.

Paul C. Buff

Adorama Flashpoint DG600 300 w/s Monolight, Blue FP600DG

As you add more lights you can add more modifiers. When you can add a large softbox, 3'x5' is a nice size, then a smaller 24"x24" or 28"x28" one.

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anthonyhnj
Regular MemberPosts: 247
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Re: Need some advise
In reply to Sailor Blue, Mar 14, 2013

Wow, thanks so much for all of that info..i did return everything except for the yn622c's. i did order 2 yn560II's today. I kept my 430exii as well. I looked into the paul c buff stuff today.  I have a question regarding triggers for that setup, does every monolight need its own receiver or do i just need one and let the other light fire via optical?

anthony

Sailor Blue wrote:

Listen to Zee Char. He gave you excellent advice - use strobes in the studio, use hot-shoe flash in the field.

At this time the new Canon 600EX RT and the ST-E3-RT are orphan products. There aren't any other flash units or even RF receivers that will work with them. To me this means I wouldn't buy them unless I had a very specific need for several 600EX RTs because I was a professional who traveled to places where I knew that the flash units would have to hold up to heat, dust, humidity, and getting banged around a lot.

For an amateur I recommend starting with a lower cost hot-shoe flash and RF trigger system. It won't be as rugged as the Canon system, but then it is rare that the amateur needs that. Instead of a 600EX RT I would say buy a Yongnuo YN-565EX, or if you are know you are going to be using the flash in rough conditions get the Nissin Di866 II, which is near the Canon in quality and ruggedness but cheaper.

Speedlights.net | Yongnuo YN-565 EX Flash Review (Equiv 430EX II & ETTL-II on/off-camera)

Speedlights.net | Nissin Di866 II (Mark 2) | Speedlights.net

As a beginning studio photographer you should buy studio strobes, not hot-shoe flash units, for work in the studio. Photography is all about lighting, the highlights and shadows that give a flat image a 3-D appearance. Lighting is critical with portraiture. Studio strobes have modeling lights that will let you see the lighting before you ever press the shutter. With hot-shoe flash units you have to guess at the lighting, take a test shot, chimp the image, adjust the lighting, take a test shot, chimp, adjust, take a test shot, chimp, etc., etc., etc. You are waisting your time and the model's time.

My advice is that you plan on having two sets of equipment, hot-shoe based for field/location shooting and studio strobes for studio work.

Return the equipment you have except for the YN-622's. Buy one YN-565EX and later add a couple of YN-560 IIs for use in the field. You will be shooting in ETTL mode only when the flash, usually mounted on the camera, to subject distance is constantly changing. ETTL exposures are effected by skin color, clothing brightness, background brightness, and the ratio of subject to background. Plan on using Flash Exposure Compensation a lot a dn doing a lot of post processing exposure corrections when you use ETTL.

If you can shoot with off-camera flash you wan to shoot in manual flash power mode for consistent exposures. The YN-622s will give you the ability to adjust the off-camera flash power form the camera, a very nice thing to have.

You will want to have a sturdy but portable stand and a good light diffuser for the off-camera hot-shoe flash. I recommend the Photek Softlighter II. It is easily portable, opens and closes like an umbrella, and because of the front cover is less likely to blow over than a simple umbrella. Be sure to have someone hold the stand or sand bag if if possible. The smaller one is less likely to blow over, the larger one is useful for everything from a head shot to a standing portrait.

Photek SOFTLIGHTER II

For the studio I recommend you start with a single 300 Ws or 600 Ws strobe, stand, and 60" umbrella.

Impact Convertible 60" Umbrella UBBW60 B&H Photo Video

Please don't do what I did the first time and buy cheap low quality studio strobes. They were pretty much junk and quickly wound up in the trash. The next time I did my homework and picked out and bought quality equipment that has keep me very satisfied for almost three years. I wrote the following article to help others avoid my costly mistake.

Sailorblue - Digital Photography Review - Equipment Guide for Setting up a Small Home Portrait/Glamor Studio

Once you learn how to use one studio strobe then add a second and then third light for fill and background. You can use the YN-565EX or YN-560 IIs for hair and accent lights. My current recommendations are for the PCB AllienBees B800 and B1600, or if you want a bit better light then get the Einsteins. The Flashpoint DG600 from Adorama (their house brand) is my budget recommendation.

Paul C. Buff

Adorama Flashpoint DG600 300 w/s Monolight, Blue FP600DG

As you add more lights you can add more modifiers. When you can add a large softbox, 3'x5' is a nice size, then a smaller 24"x24" or 28"x28" one.

-- hide signature --

Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

-- hide signature --

Somewhere, Someday, I'll get it right
http://www.onedumbphoto.com

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rgibbons
Regular MemberPosts: 202
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Re: Need some advise
In reply to anthonyhnj, Apr 10, 2013

anthonyhnj wrote:

I looked into the paul c buff stuff today.  I have a question regarding triggers for that setup, does every monolight need its own receiver or do i just need one and let the other light fire via optical?

Paul Buff sell his packages (3 lights, with only one Tx and one Rx trigger); So you trigger the other 2 monolights from their optical slaves.

http://www.paulcbuff.com/pkg-busybee.php

If you are in your own indoor studio, optical slaves are OK.  If you are outdoors in bright sun, or indoors at a wedding where lots of other people are shooting their flashes, then Radio triggers on each light can provide more reliable triggering.

You can also add the extra fancy slaves to each light, that allow you to adjust the output of the lights from the camera (Buff's Cyber Commander, so you don't have to climb a stool to reach and adjust the hair light).

For my cheaper budget, I'm very happy with Cactus V5 radio flash triggers.  5 units (one for TX and 4 for RX) cost about $200.  This model has a rare feature that allow me to fire strobes individually or all at once, from the camera. (I individually check Main light, fill light, background light, hair light; then fire all 4 at once; Takes just a few seconds for each light, all done from behind my camera; When the Transmitter frequency is set to special channel-1 it fires receivers on Chan 2, 3, 4, 5 simultaneously; When TX is set to Chan 2, it only fires the RX set to Chan-2... thumb-wheel on the transmitter mounted to camera hotshoe allows quick selection of Channel 1-16).

Russ G.

wish list: more time to take pictures

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