Starter studio lighting set, Elinchrom or Walimex?

Started Sep 1, 2013 | Discussions
Dimitris Servis
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Starter studio lighting set, Elinchrom or Walimex?
Sep 1, 2013

I am looking at purchasing my first lighting set for a small attic studio I am setting up. I am considering this Elichrom set with 2 200Ws flashes and two softboxes

http://www.profotshop.ch/shop/USER_ARTIKEL_HANDLING_AUFRUF.php?Kategorie_ID=8387&Ziel_ID=19572

There is also a 200Ws+400Ws set but with umbrellas, and I could get 3d party softboxes, as the Elinchrom ones look a little overpriced.

On the other hand, I see this set at roughly the same price:

http://walimex.nuna.ch/product_info.php?products_id=1838&XTCsid=3ervkjgsk8j55mqp0sh62qhcu4

I like the remote control capabilities of the Elinchrom but the Walimex seems to offer more, also it tems of specs as it goes up to 400Ws and 1/32. Any ideas to get me unstuck? Mainly it would be helpful to know whether Walimex flashes are comparably dependable as the Elinchroms and whether the quality of light is different.

P.S.: forgive me if my questions are silly, I am new in this area

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Starter studio lighting set, Elinchrom or Walimex?
In reply to Dimitris Servis, Sep 2, 2013

I have seen lots of comments about problems with the Elinchrom D-Lite RF trigger system and with very poor service from Elinchrom. If I had to buy Elinchrom I would look at there better quality, and unfortunately higher priced, lights.

I can't comment on the Walimex since I'm not familiar with them.

Have you considered Bowens lights? They have a set of beginner lights in the same price range as those from Elinchrom and I haven't seen the number of bad reports on their lights as I have on the Elinchrom D-Lites.

200Ws is a bit low in power for studio work. It means using ISO 200 at a minimum to get f/8 with a medium sized modifier. I recommend 300-400Ws with a minimum of 5 stops of power control. A wide power range is necessary so you can shoot at f/8 or f/11 and also open up the aperture for a small depth of field.

Whatever you buy be sure to buy good quality. Don't make the mistake I did the first time of buying low quality because of low price. The lights quickly wound up in the trash, a total waste of my money. 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

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Boomanbb
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Re: Starter studio lighting set, Elinchrom or Walimex?
In reply to Sailor Blue, Sep 2, 2013

I've got a D-Lite 4 IT and I can't speak for the factory service because I have never needed it. I use it indoors and out with a Vagabond Mini Lithium and it has never failed to fire. Recycle time is fast. Triggered by Pixel Kings on my Canon 7D.

Ben

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Dimitris Servis
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Re: Starter studio lighting set, Elinchrom or Walimex?
In reply to Sailor Blue, Sep 2, 2013

Hi Sailor Blue

thanks for the answer. Unfortunately Bowens have a lousy distribution in Europe at least. The Swiss distributor is also the same distributor as for Elinchrom. Bowens does not even feature on their website... Other brands are also difficult to find, especially in Switzerland where I live, as a result of strict controls to imports, duties and in general market distortions. I am also not surprised that service is bad, in Switzerland anyone with less than a 7 figure bank account is irrelevant. I am surprised about the Skyport though, I;ve read good things about it and is actually the main competitive advantage for me.

Regarding power, I thought that for a 3mx4m area, lights standing outside, 200Ws and 1/1-1/16 would give me more options for portraits (maybe not full scale) than the 400Ws that might be too much. Maybe I am wrong, I am not sure. That's why I thought the Walimex 1/1-1/32 is a good alternative.

Regarding quality: you just cannot know. Maybe Walimex's are good enough, maybe not. All reviews that I find for all kinds of flashes seem biased and/or paid to me. If I had the chance I would buy AlienBees as they seem to be the most honest proposal. But no such luck in Europe....

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Dimitris Servis
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Re: Starter studio lighting set, Elinchrom or Walimex?
In reply to Sailor Blue, Sep 2, 2013

Btw Bowens' Gemini 200Rx has a GN of a 400Ws flash from other makers.... quite an outlier in specs?

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Starter studio lighting set, Elinchrom or Walimex?
In reply to Dimitris Servis, Sep 3, 2013

Dimitris Servis wrote:

Hi Sailor Blue

I am surprised about the Skyport though, I;ve read good things about it and is actually the main competitive advantage for me.

The problems I have seen reported have to do with the receiver or light overheating so that the RF trigger becomes unreliable.  Apparently it is the receiver overheating and quiting since you can still trigger the flash manually.

Regarding power, I thought that for a 3mx4m area, lights standing outside, 200Ws and 1/1-1/16 would give me more options for portraits (maybe not full scale) than the 400Ws that might be too much. Maybe I am wrong, I am not sure. That's why I thought the Walimex 1/1-1/32 is a good alternative.

With 300Ws I can just reach f/11 at ISO 100 with a 40"x40" softbox at about 6'-7' from the subject.  To use a 4'x6' softbox I would want 600 Ws of power.  150Ws-200Ws is generally enough for accent/hair lights or background lights but the added cost of 300Ws isn't much so it is simply better to buy all the same lights so you have backups should one of your main or fill lights fail.

If you like to shoot with small diffusers, like a 24"x24" softbox, with a narrow depth of field portraits, or small products then you want to be sure you can lower the power enough.  That is why a minimum of 5 stops of power adjustment is necessary.  If you do this all the time then 150Ws to 200Ws lights are sufficient.

Regarding quality: you just cannot know. Maybe Walimex's are good enough, maybe not. All reviews that I find for all kinds of flashes seem biased and/or paid to me. If I had the chance I would buy AlienBees as they seem to be the most honest proposal. But no such luck in Europe....

Knowing quality is always a problem and even with the best quality sometimes a bad unit will slip past the checks.  That is why customer service and product service is important.  In the US Elinchrom doesn't have a very good reputation but I have no idea of what their reputation is in Europe.

Whatever you wind up buying I hope you will be satisfied and enjoy using your lights.

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