Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Started Aug 25, 2013 | Questions
xobione Forum Member • Posts: 55
Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Good evening everyone,

I will like to please ask your advice on the brand of a Monolights kit for portraiture and fashion photography?

I´m trying to choose between these ones:

1)Bowens Gemini 500Pro 2 light Kit with Pulsar TX:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/875143-REG/Bowens_BW_8610TXUS_Gemini_500Pro_2_Light.html

2)Elinchrom BRX 500 2 Light to Go Kit:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906698-REG/elinchrom_el_20758kit_brx_500_500_to_go.html

3)Hensel Integra 500 PLus Freemask 2 Light Kit:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/841594-REG/Hensel_7048815FM_INTEGRA_PRO_FM_500ws.html

I need you please share your knowledge and experience to me to help me choose; in terms of light quality,reliability, time resistance.

I´m not considering Einsteins because I live in Madrid and here in Europe are expensive than USA.

Again thanks for your help and quick answer.

Kind Regards,

Xoán.

ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
DecibelPhoto Contributing Member • Posts: 791
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Personally, not a big fan of the Bowens, although I know many who like them.  I just don't like the control dial, and they feel cheap.  The Elinchrom's seem pretty nice, I know many who like them, although I have no personal experience.

I did own the Hensel's for about 8 years, and I never had a single problem.  They were great lights.  I sold them for some Einsteins, but I wish I hadn't.  That would be my personal recommendation, although I would also take a close look at the Elinchroms.

xobione wrote:

Good evening everyone,

I will like to please ask your advice on the brand of a Monolights kit for portraiture and fashion photography?

I´m trying to choose between these ones:

1)Bowens Gemini 500Pro 2 light Kit with Pulsar TX:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/875143-REG/Bowens_BW_8610TXUS_Gemini_500Pro_2_Light.html

2)Elinchrom BRX 500 2 Light to Go Kit:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906698-REG/elinchrom_el_20758kit_brx_500_500_to_go.html

3)Hensel Integra 500 PLus Freemask 2 Light Kit:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/841594-REG/Hensel_7048815FM_INTEGRA_PRO_FM_500ws.html

I need you please share your knowledge and experience to me to help me choose; in terms of light quality,reliability, time resistance.

I´m not considering Einsteins because I live in Madrid and here in Europe are expensive than USA.

Again thanks for your help and quick answer.

Kind Regards,

Xoán.

Fargonz
Fargonz Regular Member • Posts: 146
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

I had the older model Bowens prolights & found the very good.

I noticed the new Geminis have the dials on the side now- might be usefull in some situations, but I don't think it makes much diff.

One advantage with the bowens S fitting is you can get a wide range of acc without having to pay for ther brand version.

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OP xobione Forum Member • Posts: 55
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Thanks to both Fargonz and Decibel for your quick answer, still thinking.

Kind Regards,

Xoán.

Paul Jones
Paul Jones Senior Member • Posts: 2,395
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Hi Xoán.

Personally, I think any of those brands should suit your needs.  Personal preference has much to do with your final decision.

This blog post explains how I chose my lighting kit (Elinchrom).

http://www.pauljones.org/?p=578

Best regards
Paul
--
Paul Jones
http://www.pauljones.org

Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 4,825
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Paul Jones wrote:

Hi Xoán.

Personally, I think any of those brands should suit your needs. Personal preference has much to do with your final decision.

This blog post explains how I chose my lighting kit (Elinchrom).

http://www.pauljones.org/?p=578

Best regards
Paul
--
Paul Jones
http://www.pauljones.org

Hi Paul

Although I agree with most of what you have written, I think that a 400 Ws strobe is between 1/3 and 1/4 of a stop below 500 Ws. A full stop down would be 250 Ws.

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Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 4,825
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

I don't own or know any of the sets you have proposed, so I will share some general advice on using strobes for portraits.

Range of strobes is really important, especially for portrait photography. If you wish to use shallow DOF, you will have to be able to go very low in output. My strobes go down 8 stops from 300 Ws, and I rarely go over 75 Ws and often below 19.

As for continuous lighting, I think we are not even close yet. CRI is not nearly high enough and output is too low for most portrait use.

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Paul Jones
Paul Jones Senior Member • Posts: 2,395
Re: Thanks Klaus (NT)

Klaus dk wrote:

Hi Paul

Although I agree with most of what you have written, I think that a 400 Ws strobe is between 1/3 and 1/4 of a stop below 500 Ws. A full stop down would be 250 Ws.

Thanks Klaus. 

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OP xobione Forum Member • Posts: 55
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Hi Klaus,

I had proposed this:

I´m trying to choose between these ones:

1)Bowens Gemini 500Pro 2 light Kit with Pulsar TX:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/875143-REG/Bowens_BW_8610TXUS_Gemini_500Pro_2_Light.html

2)Elinchrom BRX 500 2 Light to Go Kit:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906698-REG/elinchrom_el_20758kit_brx_500_500_to_go.html

3)Hensel Integra 500 PLus Freemask 2 Light Kit:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/841594-REG/Hensel_7048815FM_INTEGRA_PRO_FM_500ws.html

Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

Kind Regards,

Xoan.

Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 4,825
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Took a look at the three. You'll be surprised at how much light you get at 15 Ws. For portrait use it's quite a lot. I shot some portraits recently at ISO 100, f/8 because I wanted depth of field. My main light in a 12"x48" strip box was at 75 Ws, the fill in a 6' octabox were around 50 Ws, it is situated behind me. The white background I lit with two 40" brolly-boxes at 60 Ws each to get a +1/3 stop above clipping.

Imagine how low I would have had to go if I wanted to use f/2.8?

Here is one of the pictures from that session:

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Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 12,551
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Klaus dk wrote:

I don't own or know any of the sets you have proposed, so I will share some general advice on using strobes for portraits.

Range of strobes is really important, especially for portrait photography. If you wish to use shallow DOF, you will have to be able to go very low in output. My strobes go down 8 stops from 300 Ws, and I rarely go over 75 Ws and often below 19.

As for continuous lighting, I think we are not even close yet. CRI is not nearly high enough and output is too low for most portrait use.

I really agree with Klaus that you want to make sure your lights have plenty of power variability.

I can shoot at about f/11 using a 300Ws light in a 40" softbox at 6' from the subject.  If I want to open my lens up for a shallow depth of field I can only go to about f/2.8 because I only have 5 stops of power control, 300Ws to about 19Ws.

I would never recommend studio strobes with less than 5 stops of power control.

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

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OP xobione Forum Member • Posts: 55
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

Thanks Sailor, any Brand and model you may recommend/endorse?

Kind Regards,

Xoán.

Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 12,551
Re: Flash Kit Brand Advice For Portraits

xobione wrote:

Thanks Sailor, any Brand and model you may recommend/endorse?

Kind Regards,

Xoán.

I have no personal experience with Elinchrome but I see lots of reports of problems with their RF trigger system and too many reports of poor service from them.

Both the Bowens and Hensel lights have 6 stops of power variability vs 5 stops for Elinchrom, and with 500Ws I would definitely want 6 stops of power variability so I could shoot shallow depth of field portraits.

Personally I would go with either the Bowens or Hensel lights. To decide which look at the price, quality, and availability of accessories that you might want - girds ranging from 10° to 40°, softboxes from 24"x24" to 4'x6' with grids, medium and large octoboxes with grids, strip softboxes with grids, and beauty dishes with a grid and a sock.

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