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Don Kondra
05-30-2008, 01:12 PM
Greetings,

For those of you considering continuous lighting systems, this is my set up and their costs.

The two stands on the left are Cameron's with 10" aluminum reflectors, cost was $150 plus taxes purchased locally. The CF bulbs are $35 each from a lighting wholesaler. 65w - 4100k/200w equivalent.

The 32" white satin and removable black umbrella was $18.00 and the 33" white translucent umbrella was $10 from B & H. I bought two of each...

The two stands on the right are 16" four head kits by Casio from IGgHandhelditems purchased through Amazon.com for $190 including shipping. The far right stand has the included nylon diffuser installed. The lights are 26w - 5500k/~320w equivalent.

I performed a very scientific test with a digital cooking thermometer and after running for half an hour the lights were 150 degrees F. On the Casio unit the diffuser is almost toughing the bulbs but so far no smoke or discoloration, need to keep an eye on that though.

Now to get picky :D

The 65w bulbs are quality, the 26w on the other hand have no markings or model numbers aside from the wattage and k rating. I thought I had broken two of them by overtightening but they worked, sigh.... The actual screw in part is not firmly connected to the body of the bulb BUT they are advertised as being free with the kit. No doubt they will not last the 8000 hours the other bulb is rated for....

The Cameron stands have an attached 10.5' cord with an inline switch three feet from the head. Sounds silly but it's a PITA to bend over and grab the cord to operate it.. The Casio has a 9.5' cord that plugs into the back of the head, the switch is also on the back of the head. You pretty well need two hands to turn it on, one to operate the switch and one to hold the head so the stand doesn't fall over.....another PITA :rolleyes:

The switch glows red when turned on, as if you can't see the light cast by four bulbs in a really shiny reflector, he, he...

As you can see in the photo, the Cameron reflectors are removeable and the bracket accepts umbrellas, there is also about two inches of adjustment for the bulbs location in the reflector, ie. closer or farther from the bottom/back of the reflector. There are holes for installing barn doors.

The Casio head has no options for umbrellas or doors. The diffuser fits over the head and is secured with a bungee cord thingee..

Both stands expand to 80" high, the Cameron has flip locks, the Casio has knobs.

The Casio is extremely well packaged for shipping, all items are encased in form fitting styro.

For a total cost of ~$450 I could have probably bought two strobe stands but I am bound and determined to make continuous light work for me.

I also purchased some sheets of white foam board to act as reflectors, between that, two different light stands, two different umbrellas and the nylon diffuser I should have most situations covered.

Hope this helps..

Cheers, Don

Don Kondra
08-20-2008, 10:02 PM
Update -

Finally got around to trying a portrait, not something I had planned on doing with these lights but I need a new avatar :D

Seems to work okay but geeez, if you're going to do a test, haul out a bigger backdrop, sigh...

Used a three foot wide slide projector screen.

Mistake. Lazy, me bad. Just testing... :D

Two 65w CF lights with shoot through umbrellas, one camera left and the other camera right and forward. And a four bulb x 27w 5000k light stand camera right.

ZD 50mm, 1/125, iso 200

Cheers, Don

bilzmale
08-20-2008, 10:22 PM
Nice even lighting Don. I've just purchased a 2-strobe kit and have yet to get the hang of it all. At least with continuous lighting wysiwyg.

cifcap
08-21-2008, 12:21 PM
I'll eventually get a strobe set-up, but I'll keep my hot and flou lights. What f-stop was used for this shot?

JW

Don Kondra
08-21-2008, 02:40 PM
Just to be fair I reshot this morning with a real backdrop..

I was actually a little worried my 50mm f2 had a focusing problem. With last nights shots I could blow them up and see the stubble on my ears but my eyes and nose were soft :D

Discovered there was a camera firmware upgrade so did that.

And took a huge breath and cut my gray 9' backdrop into a 6' and 3'. Depending on the size of the object to be shot I now have three backdrop options, ie. white 9', gray 6' & 3'...

Shooting yourself has to be the hardest thing, you are so critical about the expression. Last night I took maybe thirty shots and there was a shadow here, a blown out ridge where there used to be hair, etc.

Nuff rambling, 50mm f2 again, set the exposure metering to center, focus to center, iso to 200, timer to 2 seconds, continuous auto focus, 1/125 and used my remote shutter release.

All other settings at 0 and with the raw I changed to vivid, +2 sharpen, noise filter to low. Converted to jpeg, cropped just a little, -1 sharpen, +2 brightness, -1 contrast. Resize to 700x...

I did cheat a little, it is a cloudy day and I covered the window camera right with cardboard but there are two windows behind the backdrop I did not cover. For a paid shoot I would "bother" :p

Here's the results. Oh, and removed two small highlights on my eyes with Adobe Photo Shop LE 5, hence no embedded exif data.

Cheers, Don

PS. Please feel free to offer any suggestions, I can use the help, he, he..

Bojan Volcansek
08-21-2008, 07:52 PM
n

PS. Please feel free to offer any suggestions, I can use the help, he, he..

Dear Don,
for great lighting tips and tricks, check:
http://www.doorhof.nl/blog/index.php
and his photos at:
http://www.doorhof.nl/models/

Frank is great guy and wonderful photograph.

Hope you will have great time visiting his sites.

Yours Bojan

Don Kondra
08-21-2008, 08:03 PM
Thanks for that Bojan, I'll check it out...

Decided to try a few variations, this is just with the shoot through umbrellas on the 65w light stands.

I didn't remove the eye highlights....

Don Kondra
08-21-2008, 08:05 PM
And this is with the satin and black lining umbrellas reflecting the light back...

To be clear, these last two shots did not use the main camera right light stand...

Cheers, Don

MetilHed
08-21-2008, 11:31 PM
I was actually a little worried my 50mm f2 had a focusing problem.

Glad that wasn't an issue :):):) !

Jeff

Don Kondra
08-22-2008, 09:49 PM
Glad that wasn't an issue :):):) !

Jeff

LOL Jeff, I was wondering if you would catch that :p

FYI the inside joke is I bought the lens from Jeff....

A few more tests tonight trying f 3.5 through to f 8.

I may be influenced by my expression but the best of the bunch is this one.... ears and right shoulder are a bit soft. But I do see why this lens is sometimes considered a bit too sharp for portraits :rolleyes:

1/15, f 4.5, iso 200, contrast -1, sharpness -1, color temp adjusted to 4500k. The 65 w light stands on the sides and 1 main 27w x 4 bulbs stand camera right...

cifcap
08-23-2008, 11:57 AM
Just to be fair I reshot this morning with a real backdrop..

I was actually a little worried my 50mm f2 had a focusing problem. With last nights shots I could blow them up and see the stubble on my ears but my eyes and nose were soft :D

Discovered there was a camera firmware upgrade so did that.

And took a huge breath and cut my gray 9' backdrop into a 6' and 3'. Depending on the size of the object to be shot I now have three backdrop options, ie. white 9', gray 6' & 3'...

Shooting yourself has to be the hardest thing, you are so critical about the expression. Last night I took maybe thirty shots and there was a shadow here, a blown out ridge where there used to be hair, etc.

Nuff rambling, 50mm f2 again, set the exposure metering to center, focus to center, iso to 200, timer to 2 seconds, continuous auto focus, 1/125 and used my remote shutter release.

All other settings at 0 and with the raw I changed to vivid, +2 sharpen, noise filter to low. Converted to jpeg, cropped just a little, -1 sharpen, +2 brightness, -1 contrast. Resize to 700x...

I did cheat a little, it is a cloudy day and I covered the window camera right with cardboard but there are two windows behind the backdrop I did not cover. For a paid shoot I would "bother" :p

Here's the results. Oh, and removed two small highlights on my eyes with Adobe Photo Shop LE 5, hence no embedded exif data.

Cheers, Don

PS. Please feel free to offer any suggestions, I can use the help, he, he..
Thanks for sharing the shot of the lighting set-up.

JW

Don Kondra
08-23-2008, 12:17 PM
My pleasure JW. Hope this helps at least save someone some time setting up their shots...

I really wasn't pleased with my chubby cheeks, denial you know :D

Perhaps the 50mm f 2 should be saved for younger subjects ?

So I tried a shot with the 18-180mm at 86mm, 1/6, f 8, iso 200...

About as good as it will get, I guess, sigh.... :rolleyes:

Once again, just for testing purposes the back windows are not covered. This was shot just before noon and I did cover enough of the windows so the backdrop was in effect ten feet wide but the studio still is not as dark as it should be...

I can see a whole umbrella reflected in my right eye, will keep that in mind in the future or PP it out... maybe smooth some of the wrinkles too, and I don't mean the ones in the shirt, he, he...