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
|DSC_9643 by NOWHITELENS|
from Best Photo of the Week
|Thailand Sunrise by ozziebadger|
from Ships and Boats
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #9 spot we have the Fujifilm GFX 50S, a medium-format camera that took CP+ 2017 by storm.
Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you follow hashtags in addition to people, making it possible to keep track of your favorite #landscapes or #portraits without leaving your home feed.
Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence, it seems there is still a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex from the 1960s, but with a Nikon F mount.
The Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod straps an instant printer directly to your Moto Z smartphone, so you can print your photos as soon as you've captured them.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is being relaunched in 7 different mounts, including: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L. Got an extra three grand lying around?
In January, Kodak announced it would bring back the beloved slide film Ektachrome. The timeline has been pushed back a bit, but Kodak says you can expect to purchase Ektachrome again in 2018.
Instagram popularity is threatening some of the most beautiful landscapes in the US, as hordes of 'nature lovers' trample over the same spots over and over again in search of the same exact shot.