Affordable flashunits with Bowens-Mount

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 14,731
Re: Affordable flashunits with Bowens-Mount

UnknownReader wrote:

Hello Everyone!

I am sharing a small 25qm studio with a few friends and we are curious which flash system you would recommend. We have used a very old, an almost dead Multiblitz Flashsystem in the past and "upgraded" to a portable Jinbei System about 2 years ago. This portable system literally went on fire and since then our trust in this china tech has suffered big time.

We dont need anything super fancy with super short recycle times or huge screens. But something more or less reliable would be nice! Because we already have all possible lightmodifiers and stands etc we are searching for flashheads exclusively. 200 or 300ws should be strong enough, maybe even a bit too strong? Hss would be lovely for the f1,8 shooters, but its not a must!

the idea was to buy 3 flash heads and one additional one as a backup/ or some spare parts. Our budget is 400-800€.

some solutions have caught our attention, but maybe there is more!

#1 Walimex Flashes VC 300 Link

I don't have any information about these.

i have used them once, and they seem to be fine. maybe a bit too strong

#2 Godox Sk300 II Link

wow are they cheap. can they be any good or good enough?

They seem to have a pretty good reputation with many happy users. The biggest drawback is that they only have a 4-stop power range (1/1 to 1/16).

The Godox MS300 is slowly starting to become available, typically for the same price as the SK300 II. It is smaller and has a 5-stop range (1/1 to 1/32).

#3 some used good old Bowens

i have rented one years ago. except of them beeing too strong, they seemed to be fine

At ISO 100 and 1/160sec I can shoot with my 5-stop range 300 Ws strobe in a 40" softbox from f/2.8 to f/16 by varying the power and the distance between the recommended 1 and 2 times the diagonal. I get approximately the same aperture range with a 43" white reflection/shoot through umbrella.

With my 24" softboxs, which are naturally closer to the subject, I can't get all the way to f/2.8 unless I simply attach one or two cheap pieces of white translucent nylon or Dacron to the front of the softbox with clothespins. Each piece of the fabric reduces the light throughput about 1-stop as measured with my ambient/flash meter.

If you have a meter, to find the right fabric take your meter with you to the fabric shop and take a reading with the dome extended then with a layer of fabric over the dome. The difference in readings will tell you how much light the fabric is absorbing. You want about 1-stop to 1.5-stops of difference.

If you want to use your camera instead of a meter. Put the lens in Manual mode and set it to ∞. Put the camera in Manual Exposure mode and with one layer of fabric over the lens take an exposure reading by half pressing the shutter button. Next take a reading with two layers of fabric. The difference in readings will tell you how much light the fabric is absorbing.

You said you thought 300Ws was too much power. I assume that means you are shooting lots of wide aperture portraits. This can cause several problems.

1. Ambient light can interfere. Always take a test shot at the intended exposure without any strobes and chimp the result. If you see more than a faint image your ambient lighting is too strong.

2. Focus problems. For wide aperture/shallow depth of field you have to be certain that the eye nearest to the camera is in focus.

I see way too many wide aperture/shallow depth of field portraits the photographer is proud off where it is the far eye, the tip of the nose, or the ear that are in focus, not the near eye.

My recommendation is to avoid the wide aperture/shallow depth of field portraits unless you have a very good reason for taking one. Shooting at f/5.6 to f/8 almost always gives you the maximum image quality in a portrait.

#4-10 no idea! any suggestions?

cheers!

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Living and loving it in Pattaya, Thailand. Canon 5DS R & 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

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