1. skiking

    skiking

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    Hi All – Bit of a wild ask here but I’d like to tap into your knowledge and experience about lighting. About 25-30 years ago I dabbled with still life and a bit or portraiture/fashion which I quite enjoyed. I hired, on a few occasions, a set of flash heads from Leeds camera outlet (can’t remember its full name it was that long ago but I think they went on to be Calumet, now Wex?). I couldn’t afford to buy a realistic setup outright nor could I justify the time to get the most out of it. Hopefully, this has now changed.

    Anyway, I am looking into whether I can afford to buy a setup – probably second hand. I don’t have a budget in mind as I would like to get a set that is technically unrestrictive enough to keep me interested. What I mean by that is that I want something controllable/powerful enough to make lighting a subject consistent. By that, I would probably rule out going really cheap or using speedlights. I’m aware of Elinchrom, Profoto, Broncolor, Bowens and Lencarta (I’m sure there are more). I’ve been well away from this area of photography (not that I was close to it years ago but I did get acceptable results) so I am asking for your input.

    I’ll probably concentrate more on table top still life initially. I don’t have a massive space to do fashion but I could cope with portraiture once I am comfortable with what I am doing. I’m probably OK with mains powered as I don’t expect to go outside, recycle time isn’t important for still life. I’m only concerned with the head as I’ll buy soft boxes, brollies, snoots etc as and when the lighting requirement requires.

    So, what I am interested in is advice on what I should be looking out for in my purchasing criteria, any recommendations on individual items or set. Is there any new technology out there worth investigating i.e LED ? Finally, good and honest reading material (there is lots from manufacturers buy I cannot separate the spin/BS)
     
  2. simonbarker

    simonbarker

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    What's your budget?
     
  3. skiking

    skiking

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    That's is my point, I don't have a budget in mind. I want to hit my criteria based on the forums experience of lighting and understand the cost. Then I can decide whether I can afford it, whether I need to go 2nd hand or whether I need to save.
     
  4. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Phil
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    I’d recommend a couple of Godox heads as a start point.

    The basis of a very comprehensive system and inexpensive. All Bowen’s mount and and a great controller system.

    Depending on budget, you can start with a s/h kit, buy cheap Godox brand via ebay, or look at new from Lencarta or essential photo who both rebrand Godox mains powered products.
    Don’t cheap out on stands, and if you’re packing away often, look at pop up type soft boxes,

    There’s no reason to spend fortunes on Bron or profoto unless you are really looking to pay a premium for a brand, and Elinchrom offer nothing over Godox for the extra money (probably worse for more money in truth)
     
    HoppyUK, soeren and sk66 like this.
  5. skiking

    skiking

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    Thanks Phil....gives me a place to start looking/reviewing.
     
  6. Garry Edwards

    Garry Edwards

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    Forget LED, it's improved massively during the last few years but the affordable ones are still nowhere near as accurate as flash when it comes to colour rendition, despite what some sellers may say. . .
    I agree with Phil, Godox currently offers the best and most affordable technology. Note from my signature that I used to be involved with Lencarta, but I recommend them, partly because of the quality of advice (speak with Alex), then there's the after sales service and the fact that they are successful and financially stable, which becomes important if repairs are needed in the future.
    Lencarta sells Godox but also has its own heads, made by Godox but which are NOT rebrands, and the one to go for here is the SmartFlash 4.

    I say this because, for your current needs at least, it would be a waste of money to go for IGBT technology - which gives lightening fast recycling and incredibly short flash durations at low power settings - and the SmartFlash will do everything you need it to.
    Get it with at least one Honeycomb reflector (another unique product), you will then be able to use it with honeycombs, which are far better than snoots. In fact, you can fit any two honeycombs at a time, partially rotate them as required and get very, very tight honeycomb effects if you want to.
    Lighting stands - yes, Phil is right on this too, get the standard 2.6 m one and also at least one low level / combination stand. You will also need a boom arm for your type of work.

    Prices will be a pleasant surprise, and so will the quality. Things have improved beyond recognition during the last 5 years, never mind during the 30 years since you hired flash:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
    Scooter, Graham W, HoppyUK and 2 others like this.
  7. skiking

    skiking

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    Thanks Garry for your input. I'll have a look at the Bowens/Godox and I think I pop into the Lencarta store over the Christmas period as I'm not a million miles from the place.

    Thanks again and to all who have contributed.
     
  8. gremlin16

    gremlin16

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    Another vote her for godox. Great system, quality kit.
     
  9. newbie1

    newbie1

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    Name:
    Tim
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    +1 for godox
     

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