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Author Topic: Minimal power for softboxes  (Read 6761 times)

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« on: March 30, 2009, 11:11 »
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Planning to buy a studio set with softboxes for quite some time, I just discovered both the Linkstar 750 and 600 w/s sets (2 strobes, 1 softbox, 1 umbrella) are out of stock. The only one available is the 500 w/s set. Since I need it within days (will travel), I will have to decide soon to settle for 500 w/s, or browse for other brands. The advantage of the Linkstar is that I worked with it before.

The set will be used in studio to shoot 1-2 persons on a white background, intended to isolate. I'd like to use it on the lowest ISO, and at least F11 for the DOF with 2 models or poses that don't have the hand perfectly in the plane of the eyes. Canon 5DMKII and occasionally D200 Nikon.

To all those marvelous studio gurus out here, my question is if 500 w/s is really enough for this kind of work, and if there is that much difference between 500 (guide number 70 at 100 ISO) and 750 w/s (guide number 85 at 100 ISO).

Thanks!


« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 11:31 by FlemishDreams »


RT


« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2009, 12:31 »
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Firstly you'll struggle to do isolated people on a white background with just two strobes anyway, you really need three at least, but in answer to your question then I don't think that a two strobe 500W set up will be enough if you want F11 for the subject, at bare minimum you'll need F16 for the background light preferably a bit more, don't forget the diffusers on the softbox will take the main light down a stop or two.

It's not impossible but I'd imagine you're going to spend a fair bit of time post processing.

« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2009, 12:38 »
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It's not impossible but I'd imagine you're going to spend a fair bit of time post processing.

Thanks for your input. I was afraid of that too. Yes my main purpose is to reduce postprocessing time. I did some shoots with just 2 lightboxes and it was a mess to isolate fast. About the separate background light for overexposure, well, I'm limited to 20kgs for checked luggage, so I will have to live with that.

« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2009, 12:42 »
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Why would anyone shoot an isolation on white at f11 unless they were shooting a massive group of people or macro for depth. I agree one more light is a good idea. I would shoot people at f2.8-5.6 depending on if it is a close up or a full length unless they are holding something out towards the camera then I might go to F8 at the very most, rarely. Remember lens is sharpest two stops from wide open, general rule. F22 is softer across the entire image than f 5.6. And don't use a soft box to light the background you will lose tons of power over a hard light properly placed. Check out the Strobist sometime he has good advice on this subject.

« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 12:50 »
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I've had no experience with this brand, but recently purchased Elinchrom D-light 400

I use the D-light as key and have a 430 ex in a softbox for fill, and overexpose the 9 foot paper background with canon speedlights and a sunpack slaved optically. the studio is 15 feet by 30 feet with 12 foot ceiling, painted white, the ceiling is gabled and provides excellent bounce

typically subject is 5 - 6 feet from backdrop and key and fill lights are 3 - 7 feet from subject and camera is 5 feet from subject - so its a tight studio but works well with these low wat strobes

so if your set up is similar I would assume a 500 set will work just fine to light the  subject or the background (but not both if you want perfect seamless white isolation) I often shoot at 100 f18 - 22 at iso 100 - when im using my canon efs-18-55, when i use the sigma 55 - 200 ill stop up to 8 - 11

but ideally you want a set of something to light the back ground independently of the subject


this is a really good example of the set up im trying to describe. http://www.zarias.com/?p=71

hope that helps




« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2009, 12:51 »
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4 lights with total of around 1500 WS

« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 13:16 »
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http://www.zarias.com/?p=71    That is the same tutorial we used to set up our studio and works well because we have a very small space.  Good luck to you.

RT


« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 14:14 »
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Why would anyone shoot an isolation on white at f11...............


Umm maybe he wants to use f11 because it's the most widely recognised recommended aperture for portrait photography used the world over by professional portrait photographers.

Of course a lot depends on how much DOF you want and the amount of detail you want to capture, as you pointed out he could compromise and use a lower aperture but I'm a firm believer in if you're going to do something try and do it the best you can.

Here's a recent one I shot at f16, the main light is a 1000w with a large octobox incorporating two diffusers, the strawberry and the eyes are well in focus but then it drops of a bit towards the back of her head, shooting the same shot at f8 or even lower wouldn't have looked as good IMO.






« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 14:22 by RT »

« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 15:41 »
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 Check your stats. Don't know where you heard pros use f11. I know many Pros and none use F11 unless they want to carry more depth for a particular reason. Do some research if you are curious. Lenses are their sharpest two stops from wide open. If you have a 2.8 lens then 5.6 is going to be your sharpest aperture. F11 is way over kill for most work when using an SLR. 4x5 or 8x10 now thats another subject, larger the area of coverage the less depth of field you have.

vonkara

« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2009, 15:54 »
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Look at his image magnification. For this particular shot it could need f/11.. he was pretty close. Though I agree for anything at more than 3-5 meters (10-15 feet's), you don't necessary need more than f/8








RT


« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2009, 16:46 »
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Check your stats. Don't know where you heard pros use f11. I know many Pros and none use F11 unless they want to carry more depth for a particular reason. Do some research if you are curious. Lenses are their sharpest two stops from wide open. If you have a 2.8 lens then 5.6 is going to be your sharpest aperture. F11 is way over kill for most work when using an SLR. 4x5 or 8x10 now thats another subject, larger the area of coverage the less depth of field you have.

Are you kidding me, it's common knowledge that f11 is a standard aperture for portrait photography. I think you're confusing yourself with the sharpness thing, the reason people use f11 isn't just for the sharpness which incidentally can be obtained at most apertures if you know what you're doing, do some reading or practice a bit if you can and you'll find out for yourself, or if you do a bit of research on the internet or some books on portrait photography you'll be able to get some valuable information.

As for the sharpest aperture being two stops from wide open, I appreciate you may have read a lens review in which this was mentioned but try to understand that doesn't apply to every lens, each lens is different, there are many sites that go into great details on individual lenses and their sharpest aperture, there is also a simple test you can carry out yourself that will help you to get an understanding of how sharpness varies depending on the aperture for your particular lens. There are other factors involved which include the quality of the lens itself not just the focal length, when you get some of the higher end lenses you'll find the quality is far superior than the kit lenses you get with your SLR, play around and experiment it's the best learning curve by far - good luck.

Xalanx

« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2009, 16:47 »
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it depends on how shallow you want the DOF to be. For this particular shot of RT's f/11 - f/16 is normal. However, f/16 would be the limit, beyond that the lens sharpness falls to less competitive levels. And I'm talking about a full frame camera here plus a very good lens, with a APS-C there's no sense in going to f/16, except for macro work, if you own a MP-E 65.

I'm using f/8 - f/11 for indoor shots, with 2 strobes and a half ;) and quite some post-processing...  :'(  not enough cash for decent lights right now.


 

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