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Photographer
welschvideo
Posts: 97
La Crosse, Wisconsin, US


I am looking to slowly build my gear up, what is a solid decent piece of equipment to go with starting out? I have experience with continuous lighting, but not a lot of experience with strobes.

Any help is appreciated.
Apr 22 13 10:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 6,055
New York, New York, US


Speed lights, cheap triggers from china and some umbrellas and stands, all from ebay.  Good way to start on the cheap!... The stands and umbrellas can always be used with other types of strobes.

You will always find a need for speed lights. So it wouldn't be a waste.
Apr 22 13 10:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,060
Salem, Oregon, US


i love my alienbees. the only thing for me with that kind of strobe is that it can be hard to freeze motion unless you capture the model at the top of her jump kind of thing. buff has einsteins that i think are better at freezing motion.

i can get a lot done with umbrellas and 7" reflector bowls. gels are good along with barndoors and grids.

i use softboxes in different sizes. i have a 4' octabox i like to use for fill and right up against someone looking right into it (so it's a profile shot).

if you want to be mobile look for softboxes that operate like umbrellas for easier traveling.

giant parabolic umbrellas are popular (buff has one).

i like strip boxes for art nudes.

really it's good to have an assortment to play with. can't have too many toys. even white sheets and big foamcore can be used to bounce light or to shoot through.

i recently bought some calumet "quad" triggers and they are reliable in ways my pocketwizards never were. the only downside is now i sync at 1/160s instead of 1/200s with my 5D MK II.
Apr 22 13 10:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
welschvideo
Posts: 97
La Crosse, Wisconsin, US


Marin Photography wrote:
Speed lights, cheap triggers from china and some umbrellas and stands, all from ebay.  Good way to start on the cheap!... The stands and umbrellas can always be used with other types of strobes.

You will always find a need for speed lights. So it wouldn't be a waste.

Do you recommend any specific speedlite? Benefits of some over others? Are there mini softboxes or diffusers I should first purchase with one so it isn't such a harsh light?

Apr 22 13 10:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 6,055
New York, New York, US


welschvideo wrote:
Do you recommend any specific speedlite? Benefits of some over others? Are there mini softboxes or diffusers I should first purchase with one so it isn't such a harsh light?

Try used Canons I found them on there for 50 bucks 550Ex or you can get new YUONOS (not sure how to spell that) You can get them on Amazon.com for about 80bucks new. Yes, all types of modifiers for speed lights. I would start out with them to learn and as you get better then spend some more on mono lights etc. You will still need your speed lights for events, parties, fill light etc. Mono lights need lots of power and battery packs for the on the go set up. Not cheap! Alien Bees are awesome if you have the cash...I recommend crawling before you walk.....I use a sheer cloth and toss it over the speed light, works fine. haha

Apr 22 13 10:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dan Choy
Posts: 11
New York, New York, US


You can get softboxes rigged for speed lights pretty inexpensively.  Wescott has some inexpensive ones that seem like they will last.

Canon, Nikon, Metz all are good speedlights.

Inexpensive strobes, go alien.
Apr 22 13 10:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
welschvideo
Posts: 97
La Crosse, Wisconsin, US


Marin Photography wrote:

Try used Canons I found them on there for 50 bucks 550Ex or you can get new YUONOS (not sure how to spell that) You can get them on Amazon.com for about 80bucks new. Yes, all types of modifiers for speed lights. I would start out with them to learn and as you get better then spend some more on mono lights etc. You will still need your speed lights for events, parties, fill light etc. Mono lights need lots of power and battery packs for the on the go set up. Not cheap! Alien Bees are awesome if you have the cash...I recommend crawling before you walk.....I use a sheer cloth and toss it over the speed light, works fine. haha

Yongnuo-YN-560?

Amazon has it for $70! Pretty cheap, can it measure up to Canon 550Ex or 580Ex? I'm unsure of the major differences right off the bat, it seems like you could just buy 3-4 Yongnuo's if it isn't "as powerful" as a 580Ex...

Apr 22 13 11:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
mathieu drut
Posts: 404
San Jose, California, US


welschvideo wrote:
Yongnuo-YN-560?
Amazon has it for $70! Pretty cheap, can it measure up to Canon 550Ex or 580Ex? I'm unsure of the major differences right off the bat, it seems like you could just buy 3-4 Yongnuo's if it isn't "as powerful" as a 580Ex...

Same guide number as a Canon 580EX, it's just as powerful. For the light modifier, just get a shoot through umbrella to begin with. And read www.strobist.com smile (start with the 101: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html). Have fun.

Apr 23 13 12:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
OTSOG
Posts: 141
Benicia, California, US


welschvideo wrote:
Pretty cheap, can it measure up to Canon 550Ex or 580Ex? I'm unsure of the major differences right off the bat, it seems like you could just buy 3-4 Yongnuo's if it isn't "as powerful" as a 580Ex...

I strongly suggest reading strobist 101 (strobist.com) and joining the associated Flickr group. Your questions have been answered dozens of times, with specific and detailed reviews of all the major speedlights and triggers players. If you do join, please use the search function before asking -- some of the regulars get pretty cranky if it's a basic question.

Selecting speedlights: if you're going to use TTL or ETTL, and reliability is important, it's hard to beat Canon strobes. Yup, not cheap. Yongnuo supposedly makes some that will, but there have been durability issues, and warranty work is, I understand, spotty. There's a fake yongnuo store out, do beware. Some people swear by them, others at them.

If you don't need TTL or ETTL, there are a lot more choices in full manual strobes.

You'll want some modifiers. If your budget us small, you can do a lot with foamcore and tissue paper. If not, the sky's the limit. Be aware up front that if you'll be working outside, good stands and sandbags are almost mandatory: even a smallish umbrella becomes a sail when the wind picks up.

If you'll be working off camera flash, you'll need some way to trigger the flash. A $20 fleabay set will do the job, barely, but no TTL, remote power, groups, or specified sync speed (you might only get 1/60 without curtain banding.)

You can do a lot with a little well selected gear. Good luck!

Apr 23 13 12:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Phantasmal Images
Posts: 514
Boston, Massachusetts, US


welschvideo wrote:
I am looking to slowly build my gear up, what is a solid decent piece of equipment to go with starting out? I have experience with continuous lighting, but not a lot of experience with strobes.

Any help is appreciated.

Neewer 180ws strobe, under $40 each.
http://www.amazon.com/NEEWER%C2%AE-Prof … B0043H0GC8

43" umbrella soft box for $13.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ … dition=new

Yongnuo rf-603 triggers, two for $32
http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-RF-603-C1 … nuo+rf-603

Or instead of the Neewer strobes you could go with Yongnuo yn-560 speedlights for more portability, but at a higher price and less power.

Apr 23 13 01:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 348
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


Yongnou 560 ii, make sure to get the ii model, it's about the same price as the 560.

if you buy a $13 umbrella kit..
you get what you pay for
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPll2cBGGTc

like this guy, who was on his third one of that model.
Interestingly the steve Kaeser, whose name is on it, doesn't have the product on their site that I can find.
Yes, it's sold through Amazon, but if you go to the actual website, and search for it, I can't find it.
His 43" white shoot through (with no other options) is more than that on the site itself.
you're basically buying junk and wasting money on that.
If you want quality with options for starting out:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/6 … fuser.html

also comes with 2 warming inserts and the adapter.
You can get an 8' light stand for around $20.
This gives you a white shoot-through, black reflector, and soft-box as well as 2 inserts. Very versatile, and the quality is excellent.

as for triggers, there are many brands out there.
I'm a fan of aputure trigmaster plus transceivers work great in both directions, as a trigger/receiver for flash, but also as a remote shutter for your camera
http://www.amazon.com/Trigmaster-Transc … aster+plus

but just do your homework on them and read reviews before you pick the ones you want to get.
Apr 23 13 05:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Seniorbrucio
Posts: 104
Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


welschvideo wrote:
I am looking to slowly build my gear up, what is a solid decent piece of equipment to go with starting out? I have experience with continuous lighting, but not a lot of experience with strobes.

Any help is appreciated.

Obviously speedlights are a good start.

As for mods Id go with a Softlighter which triples as a shoot through, bounce umbrella and a softbox.

If beauty dish is an interest for you then go for the Chimera folding Octa 2 beauty dish which comes with diffusion panel to convert it into a small octabox. Its $300 for the BD and the flash bracket. A bit expensive but much more flexible than buying a softbox and metal (salad bowl) BD.

Apr 23 13 09:28 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mark Salo
Posts: 7,757
Olney, Maryland, US


Marin Photography wrote:
Speed lights, cheap triggers from china and some umbrellas and stands, all from ebay.  Good way to start on the cheap!... The stands and umbrellas can always be used with other types of strobes.

You will always find a need for speed lights. So it wouldn't be a waste.
welschvideo wrote:
Do you recommend any specific speedlite? Benefits of some over others? Are there mini softboxes or diffusers I should first purchase with one so it isn't such a harsh light?

Westcott Apollo is a line of soft boxes that open like an umbrella.  The speedlights go inside the box so cheap radio triggers and cheap manual flashes are the way to go.

I like Westcott umbrellas, shoot through with a removable black outer layer.  Speedlights are on the outside and so are visible to IR controllers.

Apr 23 13 09:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,477
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


Phantasmal Images wrote:
Neewer 180ws strobe, under $40 each.
http://www.amazon.com/NEEWER%C2%AE-Prof … B0043H0GC8

43" umbrella soft box for $13.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ … dition=new

Yongnuo rf-603 triggers, two for $32
http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-RF-603-C1 … nuo+rf-603

Or instead of the Neewer strobes you could go with Yongnuo yn-560 speedlights for more portability, but at a higher price and less power.

THIS.  it used to be a standard answer that you go for speedlights because useful strobes  cost too much more. Now strobes can be less expensive so you have a choice.  eventually most people end up getting both - strobes for the studio and for the choice of modifiers and speedlights for the location shoots where you cant plug in.

once you make that choice, your choices of modifiers can be made.  Other than umbrellas, your modifiers are made for a particular mount and are not interchangeable without work. BD for a strobe is different backing from a BD for a speedlight. etc etc.

Apr 23 13 09:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
welschvideo
Posts: 97
La Crosse, Wisconsin, US


Would I be better off getting two Neewer TT560's or one Yongnuo 560Ex II?

I'm still figuring out how speedlites work, do I need these little wireless switches? Currently trying to find the strobist's flickr.
Apr 23 13 01:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,060
Salem, Oregon, US


you need a way to trigger the speedlite if it's off-camera. there are numerous ways to accomplish that from using built-in technology to a cable to wireless triggers. it's actually a complex topic that warrants some research. for instance with triggers you can have manual-mode-only triggers and TTL triggers. you can also have TTL pass-thru on the trigger that sits on the camera (so you can have on-camera flash plus off-camera which is what i favor).

for studio work, keep in mind that speedlites don't come with modeling lights so if you black out your studio to kill ambient you may not be able to focus.

given a choice on location i'd much rather have a studio strobe with battery than a speedlite. speedlites can be a real pain, especially off camera. of course lugging studio gear around can be a pain, too.

where i like speedlites is on-camera or off-camera with an assistant holding the speedlite.

welschvideo wrote:
I'm still figuring out how speedlites work, do I need these little wireless switches?

Apr 23 13 01:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David Nelson Photograph
Posts: 339
Eau Claire, Wisconsin, US


welschvideo wrote:

Do you recommend any specific speedlite? Benefits of some over others? Are there mini softboxes or diffusers I should first purchase with one so it isn't such a harsh light?

If you're shooting Canon I would recommend the Canon 580 EX II, it can be used as a master to control other flashes as well, as for a softbox set up, I'd recommend the photoflex medium liteDome.  Just make sure you get the basic  connector and flash attachment in the package.  It folds up easily, is large enough that it gives you many options.

Apr 23 13 01:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,136
Duluth, Georgia, US


welschvideo wrote:
I am looking to slowly build my gear up, what is a solid decent piece of equipment to go with starting out? I have experience with continuous lighting, but not a lot of experience with strobes.

Any help is appreciated.

Get a Paul Buff's Einstein, an umbrella and stand. That's it.

Apr 23 13 02:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 348
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


speedlights are much more portable than studio lights despite the cost. if you plan on shooting outside on location you should start with a speedlight. you also have the benefit of putting it on camera and bouncing it off a ceiling or wall if you need to. 

you need a speedlight, a yongnuo is fine for starting.

a light stand

an umbrella

an umbrella bracket with cold shoe mount

some radio transmitters


that will get you started. spend a couple of extra bucks to get something quality that will stand up to your testing and learning.
Apr 23 13 05:36 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
-JAY-
Posts: 5,826
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


welschvideo wrote:
Would I be better off getting two Neewer TT560's or one Yongnuo 560Ex II?

TT560s are similar, but much slower recharge, and I've had two fail on me (have a dozen and a half yongnuos, mostly 560IIs - not exII, the ex line denotes their TTL flashes - I'd go with yongnuo before neewer/godox's tt520/560 flashes all day lon.

Apr 23 13 05:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Phantasmal Images
Posts: 514
Boston, Massachusetts, US


MC Seoul Photography wrote:
if you buy a $13 umbrella kit..
you get what you pay for
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPll2cBGGTc

like this guy, who was on his third one of that model.
Interestingly the steve Kaeser, whose name is on it, doesn't have the product on their site that I can find.
Yes, it's sold through Amazon, but if you go to the actual website, and search for it, I can't find it.
His 43" white shoot through (with no other options) is more than that on the site itself.
you're basically buying junk and wasting money on that.

I've been using two of them for almost a year now, and have had no problems at all. But I also take very good care of my gear.

Apr 24 13 05:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Seoul Photography
Posts: 348
Seoul, Seoul, Korea (South)


Phantasmal Images wrote:

I've been using two of them for almost a year now, and have had no problems at all. But I also take very good care of my gear.

From the sounds of it, that guy was receiving them broken, had nothing to do with how he treated them after he got them. I don't have much confidence in a product that I can find basically zero information on, even on the website of the name it carries. If you got 2 that seem to be okay, then good for you, but it sounds like a crapshoot.

Apr 25 13 01:33 am  Link  Quote 
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