Buyer's Guide: 10 Home Studio Lighting Kits
1 Buyer's Guide: 10 Home Studio Lighting Kits
|Investing in a studio lighting kit can open up a range of creative possibilities and help take your photographic skills to the next level.|
There was a time when the studio environment - with flash heads, diffusers, sync cables and power packs - was largely the domain of the professional photographer. Today, however, with a wide range of pre-packaged kits on the market, enthusiasts are finding it easier than ever before to obtain the gear and accessories necessary for creating a complete home studio.
When it comes to studio lighting kits, the general rule is ‘you get what you pay for’. You can pick up a basic package very cheaply that will allow you to dabble in the art of studio-based photography. Or you can shell out thousands of dollars to buy a dazzlingly sophisticated and powerful set-up. There are options available for every level of experience and budget.
Your very first choice will be to decide between two main options: continuous or strobe (flash) lighting. The former comes in two flavors - tungsten or fluorescent - and the choice is largely a matter of personal taste. Both can give great results.
The chief benefit of continuous light sources is that they provide instant feedback on how your lighting will look in the exposed image, allowing you to adjust the angle and intensity of the lighting quickly and visualize the shot more easily. They can also do double duty as video lights.
|Continuous lights allow you to view the light output as it will appear in the photograph.||Strobe lights can be used to freeze fact action and can snyc with the camera at high shutter speeds.|
These types of lights do, however, have a tendency to get very warm during use (although ‘cool’ fluorescent varieties offer improvement in this aspect), which can make long portrait sessions an uncomfortable experience for your subject. Neither is a continuous light source the best option when photographing moving subjects, as its output (measured in watts) is less efficient than that of an identically rated strobe, resulting in slower shutter speeds that make it difficult to freeze fast motion. As a consequence, continuous lights are more typically used in still life and product photography.
Strobe lighting is a highly popular choice that offers a great degree of control and flexibility. The ability to precisely adjust the intensity of the light as well as the option to sync at faster shutter speeds makes this type of lighting system far more suitable for capturing subjects in motion, although you’ll need to check the specifications of the kits that you shortlist to make sure they meet your requirements. Cheaper kits generally tend to be slower and/or less powerful than their pricier counterparts.
While technology varies greatly between products, you will find that many entry-level kits benefit from some of of the features found in more expensive models of the same brand. As such, it’s perfectly possible to pick up a beginner-friendly kit that’s still packed with features, for a modest price.
The goal of this buyer's guide is not to list every kit on the market. Rather, it's designed to give you a taste of the features and performance available at varying price points. For this particular round-up we're concentrating on complete kits rather than individual heads, however we couldn't look at studio lighting without mentioning the superbly-named manufacturer, Alien Bees. They produce quirky self-contained flash heads in five bold colors, starting at $224.95 (via Paul C. Buff Inc.) offering excellent value-for-money. They may look like fun on the outside, but each Alien Bees product incorporates some serious specs, making them worthy of consideration whatever your level of skill or budget. The company does offer pre-packaged kits on its US site, but not via its international distributors.
The kits that follow are arranged by price in ascending order and you’ll find direct links to each manufacturer’s page where you can glean more information. ‘Buy Now’ links will take you to the item's product page on Amazon.com, unless indicated otherwise.
As always, if you have any recommendations of your own to share with fellow readers, feel free to add them in the comments section below.
Here's our selection:
- CowboyStudio 220 Watt Photo Studio Monolight Strobe Kit
- Calumet Genesis 200 2-Light Kit
- Lastolite Two Head 500 Watt Tungsten Kit
- Interfit EXD400 Softbox Umbrella Kit
- Westcott Photo Basics Strobelite Educational 2-Light Kit
- Bowens Gemini 400/400 Umbrella Studio Kit
- Elinchrom D-Lite-it 4 To Go
- Elinchrom BXRi 250/250 Studio To Go
- Westcott Spiderlite TD6 Perfect Portrait 2-Light Kit Deluxe
- Profoto D1 Studio 250/250 Air
Dec 2, 2014
Dec 2, 2014
Dec 2, 2014
Dec 16, 2014
|Montréal Dépaneur Out of Business DP by MarioSS|
from Your City - Out of Business
|Wish You Were Here by Dutch Newchurch|
from Street musician playing
|Flight of a Puffin by cjf2|
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.
Photographer Josselin Cornou tells the breathtaking story behind two beautiful photos captured while snorkeling with humpback whales in Tonga.
The Sony RX10 IV is a fixed lens camera with a 1"-type sensor and 24-600mm equivalent lens that can shoot 4K video or stills at 24 fps, but that's not what we think is interesting about it. The addition of phase detection autofocus is pivotal to all those features.
The announcement date is set! Google will reveal their next generation Pixel phones—their response to Apple's shiny new iPhone X—on October 4th. Let the smartphone camera wars begin.
Sony just debuted three palm-style 4K camcorders that steal a bit of speedy phase detect autofocus technology from the company's RX10 IV. In fact, they kind of improve on it.
Earlier today, NASA's Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn's atmosphere, ending a 20 year long mission. Here are 21 of our favorite photographs captured by this incredible machine and its makers.
Fans of film photography should keep an eye out for the widespread theatrical release of Kodachrome, a movie staring Jason Sudeikis about the final days of the iconic film stock.
Photographer Manny Ortiz breaks down the pros and cons of shooting natural light vs off-camera flash, and explains why he chooses to shoot one, the other, or both in any given situation.
A leaked product page and a bunch of leaked photos shows Profoto is preparing to release its first ever speedlight: the Profoto A1 Air TTL
The Yashica camera brand disappeared in 2003, but a new teaser video and website hint at a comeback. Excited?
Western Digital just debuted a new, higher capacity WD Gold internal hard drive. The new drive offers 12TB of storage and class-leading reliability to the tune of a 550TB/year workload rating.