pancakes

MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: How many Ws is needed? Thinking about buying Strobes  (Read 7005 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: April 18, 2013, 12:17 »
0
Hi Everyone,

At the moment i am thinking about buying strobes and the question about how many Ws are needed came up.

Until now i have been using 2 Flashes. A Canon 430EX and a Yongnuo 560. They have been very helpful in learning about lightning, but i have the feeling that they are limiting me. I also find the hassle with charging batteries etc. very annoying.

I was thinking about buying a set of Bowens Gemini 400's, something like this (http://www.calumetphoto.de/eng/product/bowens_gemini_400_400_studio_kit/bowbw4717)

But i am unsure if i even need 400Ws.

Would you guys think that two 200Ws strobes would be enough? The Bowens Gemini 200 for example?
I would like to buy a large Softbox, something around 150cm and a Beauty Dish and maybe a Set of Strip Lights. Obviously all these accessories also suck a bit of light.

Would 200Ws be enough for stock photos. Mostly portraits with 1-3 people etc.?

Which strobes do you use?

I found the Bowens Gemini interesting, because they also offer a travel pack.

Unluckily it is very difficult to get the Paul C. Buff Strobes here in Austria. Otherwise those would be my first choice, since they are quite cheap and also offer the option with the Vagabond Battery Pack (which is also way cheaper than the Bowens version).

Would be happy to hear some opinions!!

Kind regards!


« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 12:43 »
0
But i am unsure if i even need 400Ws.

Would you guys think that two 200Ws strobes would be enough? The Bowens Gemini 200 for example?
I would like to buy a large Softbox, something around 150cm and a Beauty Dish and maybe a Set of Strip Lights. Obviously all these accessories also suck a bit of light.

Would 200Ws be enough for stock photos. Mostly portraits with 1-3 people etc.?

I used to shoot with 2 x 200 Ws when I started. It's perfectly fine for objects, for fill lights and accents. But don't try to use them as main light for people. Not even for one, don't start talking about groups.

We currently shoot with 3 x 600 Ws - one for main light, two for the background - and 1 x 300 Ws for accent light. Excellent for one or two people, borderline for three, not enough to light large enough for more people.

In my opinion, you could go for 400 Ws for the background light but I would certainly get something stronger for main light if you want to shoot groups.

PS: What I describe is for shooting on white background. You might need less for background if want to shoot in real scenery and just need fill light for the surroundings. Still you want the main light to be strong, especially if you want to shoot more than one or two people.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 12:50 by MichaelJayFoto »

« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 13:19 »
0
But i am unsure if i even need 400Ws.

Would you guys think that two 200Ws strobes would be enough? The Bowens Gemini 200 for example?
I would like to buy a large Softbox, something around 150cm and a Beauty Dish and maybe a Set of Strip Lights. Obviously all these accessories also suck a bit of light.

Would 200Ws be enough for stock photos. Mostly portraits with 1-3 people etc.?

I used to shoot with 2 x 200 Ws when I started. It's perfectly fine for objects, for fill lights and accents. But don't try to use them as main light for people. Not even for one, don't start talking about groups.

We currently shoot with 3 x 600 Ws - one for main light, two for the background - and 1 x 300 Ws for accent light. Excellent for one or two people, borderline for three, not enough to light large enough for more people.

In my opinion, you could go for 400 Ws for the background light but I would certainly get something stronger for main light if you want to shoot groups.

PS: What I describe is for shooting on white background. You might need less for background if want to shoot in real scenery and just need fill light for the surroundings. Still you want the main light to be strong, especially if you want to shoot more than one or two people.

Thank you for the info. Guess 200 Ws is way to little.

Which make of strobes do you use?

PS: I have really been enjoying your blog. Great stuff!!

tab62

« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 13:26 »
0
I have 6 lp160 speedlites working with v4 cactus and one photo strobe 200w thus plenty of lighting. The speedlights allow me to be mobile. I have one 16 bank battery charger thus easy to recharge.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 13:32 »
0
I work in a small space, Danteman, shooting food, flowers and objects and went with the Alien Bees.  I have a 400 and a 1600.  A softbox on the 1600 and umbrella on the 400.  I also added snoot and barn doors.
The 1600 may be overkill but I got it used from my neighbor. 
If I had a larger space, I would go for another 400.  Even now, when I move into the kitchen -- for more space -- I would like to have a third light.


« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2013, 13:36 »
0
If you like to shoot images using big apertures, you should buy strobes that are adjustable to small effects. Those Bowens 400Ws go down 5 stops (25Ws....400Ws). The 200Ws version goes down to 12Ws. 25Ws is a plenty, propably like a speedlight on 1/4 or 1/2 effect.

There is some difference between different brands and models. For example Elinchrom 300RX is 9Ws...300Ws and 600RX is 18Ws...600Ws. Cheaper Elinchroms are not as versatile.
Profoto D1 500 goes from 7.8Ws to 500Ws, I'd like that :)

You can always fake a smaller power setting by setting some ND filter gel in front of the flashes, but It's not as convenient as having a smaller power setting available.

200Ws is a plenty if you are used to small battery flashes and are using large-ish apertures and/or in a small room. But if you need to bounce light from the ceilings, use ISO 100 and f/16, then you need as much effect as possible, in worst cases thousands of wattseconds.

I don't think you can go very wrong with either (Bowens 200Ws or 400Ws), just buy a set and you'll soon learn if your next strobes need to be smaller or bigger, you'll need to buy more strobes anyway soon :)
(I have 12 units :D)
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 13:41 by Perry »

« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2013, 13:46 »
0
I used to shoot with 2 x 200 Ws when I started. It's perfectly fine for objects, for fill lights and accents. But don't try to use them as main light for people. Not even for one,

You mean 200Ws isn't enough for shooting one person? I have to disagree with you on this one. Of course it all depends on light modificator and distances, but I'd say you can shoot a person using a 1 meter softbox 2 meters away with 200Ws and 100 ISO and about f/8... disagree?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 13:48 by Perry »

« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2013, 13:55 »
0
Thanks for all the info!!!!

This really is a great forum  :D

Anyways...still can't make up my mind :)

I guess for me it would be best to have one strobe with 400 Ws as a main light and another with 200Ws as a second light.

If i need more power i can always add a third one. But as a student i also need to look at the fincancial side and at the moment i would love to have the best of the best, but i will need to save up a bit :)

I used to shoot with 2 x 200 Ws when I started. It's perfectly fine for objects, for fill lights and accents. But don't try to use them as main light for people. Not even for one,

You mean 200Ws isn't enough for shooting one person? I have to disagree with you on this one. Of course it all depends on light modificator and distances, but I'd say you can shoot a person using a 1 meter softbox 2 meters away with 200Ws and 100 ISO and about f/8... disagree?

I agree with you. I have shot my whole portfolio with Speedlights and even that worked somehow. If i calculated correctly, a 200Ws Strobe should be around 4x as strong as an average Speedlight. is that round about right??? ???

« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2013, 14:22 »
0
If i calculated correctly, a 200Ws Strobe should be around 4x as strong as an average Speedlight. is that round about right??? ???

It's about right. Speedlights and studio strobes aren't directly comparable, all depends on reflectors and light beam angles and such, but I'd say speedlights are in the 50Ws... 80Ws area, depending on make and model. But using speedlights at full effects is quite painful with long recycling times and battery consumption, while the same done with mains operated strobes are very easy :)

Maybe a combination of one 200Ws unit and one 400Ws unit would be a perfect start?

Just remember that when you are buying strobes, you are buying a "system", remember to choose wisely. Bowens has a decent range of accessories, and there is also a big market of 3rd party accessories. Don't buy strobes of an unknown brand, you will be sorry later.

Have you looked at used gear? Well kept 5...10 year old units are completely usable but will cost only a fraction of the price of new ones.


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
8 Replies
5031 Views
Last post December 19, 2006, 23:19
by yingyang0
9 Replies
4426 Views
Last post June 15, 2008, 13:57
by chumley
24 Replies
4976 Views
Last post April 29, 2009, 08:05
by astrocady
6 Replies
4643 Views
Last post May 03, 2009, 10:55
by WarrenPrice
7 Replies
2524 Views
Last post March 19, 2012, 16:29
by gwhitton

Sponsors

Microstock Poll Results