07-10-2014 01:39 PM
07-10-2014 06:05 PM
No problem. Always enjoy talking lighting. Here's what I'd recommend:
(2) Yongnuo 560III - $140
(1) Yongnuo RF-603II - $30
(2) Manfrotto Nano Stand - $100
(2) Manfrotto Umbrella Adapter - $70 (don’t skimp on cheap plastic umbrella holders)
(2) Umbrella softboxes - $60
(1) Gorillapod (basic) - $20
(1) 16 pack of Eneloop AA rechargables - $40
(1) Large 5-in-1 reflector, round or oval, Generic (Neewer is good) - $20
(2) Stroboframe cold shoe (don’t skimp, get Stroboframe). Mounts 560III to stands. - $15
Total - $495
It’s a pretty good starter kit, IMHO, for less than the cost of a 600ex-RT. You can go cheaper, but this will give you a decent 3 light kit (you mentioned you have a Canon flash), plus a reflector/scrim/flag. You don’t need 3 lights, but it’s a standard portraiture setup (2 plus reflector is very doable). Set up two lights in a softbox, the third on a Gorillapod with the extra RF-603 to trigger. Or use the reflector for fill and you have an extra light for hair light or rim lighting.
Umbrellas are cheap modifiers, but they spill light everywhere. The generic umbrella softboxes cost just a few bucks more but allows much more control of light and fold down almost as small. Two small problems with them, you have to pull off the white diffuser to change your settings, and it can be troublesome to tilt too far forward or back due to hitting the stand. I frequently just shoot without the white diffuser like a bounce umbrella.
A shoot through softbox fixes this problem. And also means you don’t have to buy an umbrella holder. Only problem is that they are difficult to setup and take down. If you have space to keep them assembled, they’re totally worth it. This one is rock solid for $50. They have various sizes:
The Gorillapod is optional. You can just use the little feet that comes with the flashes. But I find them very handy for holding strobes when not using modifiers.
07-10-2014 09:00 PM
07-11-2014 10:35 AM - edited 07-11-2014 10:38 AM
That is awesome, thanks again! So, if I understand what I read on the 560III, it has a receiver built in? And the 603II would control that. Would I be able to control that Canon 430exII with the 603II as well? A while back a bought a set of PBL softboxes. They are just fluorescent and I haven'[t had much luck with them. Wish I could convert them to use with speedlights. But, that package you put together is very affordable.
Yes, the 560III has the receiver built in, and it can communitcate directly with either a 603 (I or II) tranceiver or a 602 transmitter. The Canon 430exII flash will need to have a receiver on it, which is why I recommended getting a pair of 603II tranceivers. One goes on your camera as a transmitter to send out the signal, and the other goes on the 430exII to receive; the 560III will use their internal receiver. So, you have (1) 430exII, (2) 560III, and a pair of RF-603II, and you can have 3 off-camera flashes.
If you already have those PBL softboxes then you shouldn't need stands and potentially softboxes & umbrella holders. I can't see what mechanism it uses to hold the softbox, so I'd assume the light screws into the stand and the softbox on the light? If that's the case, then getting proper rigging for speedlights will cost just about as much as getting umbrella holders and new boxes. But I'm sure you could McGyver something to get it to work. One note though, with speedlights those softboxes won't really function as a softbox, it would be more of a scrim. Speedlights shoot straight forward, so it's just going to shoot into that white baffle. Sure some of the light will reflect back, hit the walls of the softbox, and then back through the baffle again. But the light isn't going to be as soft as a standard softbox, you'll probably have a hot spot in the center. If you want to use those PBL softboxes with speedlights I would recommend getting a small piece of translucent white fabric and attaching it in the middle of the box, to all four spines. That way the light has to go through at least two pieces of fabric before hitting your subject.
07-11-2014 11:32 AM
07-11-2014 11:51 AM
Yes, in fact the second softbox I linked does exactly that. You can see on the first picture on Amazon, that it has an internal baffle in the middle of the box, then a second one (i guess it'd technically be a diffuser?) covering the rim of the softbox.
The first softbox that I listed is an internal lit softbox. The flash sits inside the softbox and faces backwards, shooting into the walls of the softbox then bouncing out, through the white baffle/diffuser on the rim. In essence, this softbox is just a square shaped brolly box.
07-11-2014 11:56 AM
07-11-2014 12:31 PM - edited 07-11-2014 12:43 PM
The second one (Fotodiox) is far better, in terms of construction. It's actually rather impressive considering the price. And the price is pretty much the same for both options, since you don't need the umbrella holders for the Fotodiox. Just keep in mind that disassembling and reassembling it is very time consuming. I have never broken mine back down, it took long enough to put together. The first one just unfolds like an umbrella, it's up and running in two seconds.
If you have studio space for two big softboxes, and don't plan on taking them 'on location' then absolutely get the Fotodiox boxes. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I really like the 24x36 rectangle shape of my umbrella softbox. If I was to get two Fotodiox boxes I'd probably get one rectangle and one square. Actually, I'd probably get both rectangle. Or maybe an Octa. choices, choices...
Here's the spectral highlight that the Fotodiox (square) makes. You can see that even with the double baffle there's still a bit of a hotspot in the center. Not enough to bother most, and you can just photoshop it if it bothers you. But just so you can see a real world example:
And here's the highlight from the 24x36" umbrella box I listed (first one). It's not really a fair comparison, but I didn't have a closeup of the rectangle box handy. Still, you can see that the spectral highlight is more consistent, less hot spots. I also like the rectangle shape for eyes - not to mention I think it's a better shape for lighting people (even little ones).
07-12-2014 09:36 PM
07-14-2014 11:56 AM - edited 07-14-2014 12:03 PM
I see what you mean about the shape and I agree. I was looking at the different shapes Photdiox has to offer. I put the 48" octobox in my wish list. I was also looking at this strip light. What do you think? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008CBDOXO/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=AG1FKBNAQKSKJ
Another thing I wanted to ask you about.....Most decent strobes come with a modeling light. How do you compensate for that using speedlights?
Your twins? Cute. Blue eyes and brown eyes. Very cool.
I can't speak to the strip light from experience; never used one. Space is a premium where I live, so I mostly use collapsible modifiers – with the exception of my one Fotodiox 24” box that stays assembled. If I had more space, I would absolutely have that strip box, and probably the Octa too. Who am I kidding, I’d have a room full of softboxes (including one of those 72” monsters!) if I had the space. That said, even a 48” box is sizeable, and I would recommend having a smaller box or two just for normal stuff.
The one thing that would give me pause with lighting a strip bank with a speed light, is the quality of the diffused light. I would think that a speedlight would struggle to light that wide of a space evenly. At 56” I would be surprised if the ends had 1/4 the power of the center. But who knows, with a decent inner baffle I guess the light could bounce around enough. Even the 48” Octa will probably be hotter in the center, but for that one I’d probably just put two speedlights in it and let ‘er rip.
As for modeling lights: I’ve never had studio strobes, so I never got used to using modeling lights. Probably one of those things that I don’t miss because I’ve never experienced how helpful it is. I set up one light at a time, testing both the power level and the falloff by taking a photo and looking at it (I usually use a tethered laptop for this purpose); I try to build the lighting, leaving lights I've already adjusted on and setting a new one so I can see how they interact. But for complicated lighting I usually have to turn all other off to fine tune a single light's falloff. Then a final fine tune with all on. I've gotten quite quick at it, using a remote shutter release and usually either myself or a stuffed animal for my kids as a test subject. I have a lot of terrible photos of myself and stuffed animals, but they're easily deleted. Even with modeling lights you still need to rattle off some test shots to adjust your levels, so I just look at falloff at the same time. It may not be as precise as modeling lights, but models never sit perfectly still anyway, so I never saw the need to fine tune it to that level.