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 Post subject: Continuous lighting kit?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:00 pm 
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Location: UK
Maybe it's the long winter nights, even if they're getting shorter, but I'm thinking of getting indoor continuous lighting. Why not flash units? For my uses I need a bright continuous sources. Main areas will be still life and macro. Particularly for high magnification macro, I need all the light I can get to even set up the shot. The table lights I've used don't really cut it.

To keep things simple to start with, I'd ideally like a starter kit including at least light(s), stands, and the option of using it directly or diffuse.

Perhaps something like this? Open to suggestions of anything better.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:10 am 
That looks like a good starter kit. Since you're not photographing people, I see no reason why a set of continuous lights is a bad thing.

Thing to keep in mind is that strobes tend to have more power output than continuous lights since they do not have to worry about heat as much.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Ordered via cameralabs amazon affiliate link :)

I had a search around some more and couldn't find anything else better or cheaper. There was a very interesting kit including barn doors and snoots and things, but that had strobes not continuous so was ruled out for now, but might be one for future.

Think the power will be enough of an upgrade in quantity and quality over the cheap and nasty desk lamps I currently use. I can always stick a flash into the mix if I need more later, and worry about colour matching then.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:44 pm 
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Arrived today. Just set up one of them for a quick play. Full review will follow on weekend I think.

Impressions are it will do the job. The stands are adequate. Feet aren't adjustable so needs a flat surface. The main shaft has two extendible parts to adjust height.

Light output doesn't feel as bright as I thought, although it is hard to quantify exactly how much relatively it is putting out. I'll have to use my camera as a light meter later. Compared to my house lighting, it feels similar in level but different in colour. I use mostly "energy saving" types, whatever is cheapest available at the time. The house lighting is warmer in colour, with these lights at 5400k seeming cooler in comparison. I will have to use one or the other to save on balance nightmares.

On brightness, if I turn one of these on in addition to house lighting, it doesn't seem to do much. If I turn off the house lighting, everything is a different colour (my eye wb setting is slow to react it seems) but it is similar in level allowing for directionality. If I then put the room lights back on and turn this off, it feels much darker. I think the colour balance might add to the brightness perception somehow.

I suspect the light level might not be as much as hoped for two reasons: the bulb is an energy saver type, and the incandescent equivalent rating always seems far too optimistic. Also there are two layers of diffusing in the light box, so that probably has an impact on usable level too. That's something else to test (with and without diffusers).

I need to get the 2nd one set up now. Should have a pair of new subjects tomorrow to test it on :)

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:26 pm 
I had picked up a westcott 3 light kit 3 24" soft boxes and a warming light. It came with a 500 Watt incandescent light for the softboxes. Long story short, seems most people upgrade to the fluorescent lights, so I did with a 4 in 1 adapter and I got 4 45 watt flashpoint bulbs rated to 220 watt equivalent for each box from adorama. I let them both warm up for a few min and put them at equal distance from a white sheet, put on Aperture mode and tuned one off and looked at the Shutter speed, then the same to the other.

Results: 500watt incandescent, was 1/800 and 4 45watt fluorescent was 1/500.

After some short use with the 500watt bulbs, I decided I didn't like the kit light output. I would have to upgrade to a crazy 75 watt bulbs to get what I would want out of them. So I ended up returning them all. Kit and bulbs.
I'm looking into strobes in the future. I just really love using 100 ISO and its just not going to happen with average F numbers. and no freezing action speeds for sure.

I did like the quality of the kit. It was decent for the price. I kinda still wish I had it for some extra video light, but oh well, maybe way down the road.

Just thought I'd give you some info on my experience with the upgraded bulbs.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:56 pm 
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The kit I got is 2x85W. Even with the lights at short range I'm not finding it bright enough for hand held ISO100 shooting, again probably due to the diffusion process. Just checking some recent shots, I've been typically using 1/60 f/8 ISO250 or higher. Of course better if I open up the aperture but I wanted DoF in this case. I have yet to do a detailed test on it.

I definitely don't want to run 500W incandescents. They used to use them in a confined space at work, and I hated it for two reasons. One, they blow more often than I like and it was a pain to replace them all the time. The other is the massive heat output. I got them to replace it with cooler types. Now it's definitely dimmer, but I don't melt under them any more.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:33 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
I didn't really expect the hotlights to be very powerful, but 85 watts is kind of dissapointing. I assume it's halolux/halogen lights?

Consider this:

Hotlight: 85 watts = 85 joule in one second
Strobe: 85 watts = 85 joule in 1/500th second.

Most strobes also come in a lot higher powered varieties, WITH hotlight function. My GN300AD is 300 w/s, and has a 150 watt hotlight. I'm mostly around F/8 or higher at the lowest power setting (1/32) with a softbox moderately close, just to give you an idea.

If you want, I can do some tests for just the hotlights?

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I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:54 pm 
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It uses these... I put the household bulb next to it for size comparison.

Image

The 85W is the nominal rating, but being of the energy saving type they claim it is equivalent to 500W filament bulbs, although I've always found them rather optimistic.

As mentioned before, I still need to play about reducing the quantity of diffusing as I suspect that's contributing to quite a bit of loss.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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