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Author Topic: cheap but not disposable strobe  (Read 3332 times)

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« on: April 27, 2014, 11:01 »
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I sometimes do isolations and would like a cheap small strobe to light up  backgrounds at distances of a couple of feet.   I've used a dinky Nikon SB400 speedlight but it doesn't quite have enough power and relies on batteries.  A small AC-powered strobe with hot shoe sync and variable output is probably all I need.  I don't want [email protected] that just falls apart, but it will get light use and I won't be carrying it anywhere so 'amateur' quality is fine.

For starters, I looked at the cheap strobes from Cowboy Studio.  They are really rock-bottom products - you can't even replace the bulb.  I'm thinking maybe I need to go up one notch, but no more than that...



« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2014, 11:09 »
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« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 21:46 by tickstock »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2014, 11:11 »
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This guy does fantastic Creative Live sessions and has produced these manual flashes:
http://scottrobertla.com/scott-robert-studio/srs-strobie-130
I haven't used them, but they're worth considering. He was using one or more (surprisingly often just one) all the time in his lessons.


« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2014, 11:49 »
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I probably wasn't totally clear - I want a remote, AC powered strobe, not an on-camera flash.   Cable sync would be ok, I don't really need wireless or 'slave' operation.  I'll only use it to light up a plain white background.

AlienBee and Elinchrom are often recommended - are they as cheap as it gets for something that won't just fall apart in my hands?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 11:59 by stockastic »

« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2014, 12:05 »
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« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 21:46 by tickstock »

« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 12:47 by stockastic »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2014, 12:46 »
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I probably wasn't totally clear - I want a remote, AC powered strobe, not an on-camera flash.   Cable sync would be ok, I don't really need wireless or 'slave' operation.  I'll only use it to light up a plain white background.
The Strobies can be used with a cable sync, wireless or (IIRC) slave.
Lighting a white background was one of the things the bloke was demonstrating on CreativeLive.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 12:49 by ShadySue »

« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2014, 12:49 »
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I probably wasn't totally clear - I want a remote, AC powered strobe, not an on-camera flash.   Cable sync would be ok, I don't really need wireless or 'slave' operation.  I'll only use it to light up a plain white background.
The Strobies can be used with a cable sync, wireless or (IIRC) slave.
Lighting a white background was one of the things the bloke was demonstrating on CreativeLive.

Seems to need batteries though.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2014, 12:52 »
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I probably wasn't totally clear - I want a remote, AC powered strobe, not an on-camera flash.   Cable sync would be ok, I don't really need wireless or 'slave' operation.  I'll only use it to light up a plain white background.
The Strobies can be used with a cable sync, wireless or (IIRC) slave.
Lighting a white background was one of the things the bloke was demonstrating on CreativeLive.

Seems to need batteries though.

True, sorry. My eyes saw AC, but my brain filtered it out.
As you were.

Ed

« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2014, 14:40 »
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Paul C. Buff Einsteins work well.  If you want to go on the cheap, then pick up some Vivitar 285 strobes.  You can get AC adapters for them.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/61441-REG/Vivitar_233965_285HV_Flash.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/638035-REG/Pearstone_239404_SB_4_AC_Adapter.html

add a cheap light stand and you have a whole kit brand new for about $100 USD

I've used two of these strobes to light a white paper backdrop with an Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed onsite.  No issues.

I've heard Elinchrom are less expensive overseas, but here in the U.S., I would not recommend them for the price.  There is a better value from Paul C. Buff strobes.

« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2014, 14:45 »
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I've been happy with my Elinchom kit but I've also seen a number of people on the SS forums recommend the Adorama Flashpoint brand.  Lots of options at reasonable prices. I noticed a kit for about $200 that included two 160w stobes, stands and umbrellas.  That might work for you, or look at some of the options with more power if your budget is a little higher .

« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2014, 22:10 »
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If you're really looking to save some money, I've had a few of these for years and they just keep on going.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/360388779752

« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2014, 09:17 »
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If you're really looking to save some money, I've had a few of these for years and they just keep on going.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/360388779752


I think it's cool that "China" is now essentially a brand name.  :-)

« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2014, 09:20 »
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« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 21:46 by tickstock »

w7lwi

  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2014, 13:07 »
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I think the real term he is looking for is inexpensive, not cheap.  The term cheap has some negative connotations associated with it.

Anyway I have been using Flashpoint monolights from Adorama for several years now.  Couldn't be more pleased.  They've got a pretty extensive selection to chose from, all at reasonable prices.

« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2014, 20:33 »
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Can you replace the bulb, add modifiers like softboxes, is there a warranty, any resale value, etc...?  I would still go with Alienbees if you want something cheap.

  • You can replace the bulb
  • I have softboxes for mine
  • Not sure about warranty as I've never needed to use it
  • Why would you worry about resale value on a $65 item?

« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2014, 21:20 »
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Any of these inexpensive units would probably do the job for me.  First I guess I should experiment with my SB400 and get an idea of how much power I actually need, to push a sufficiently big white background to at least 2 stops over my subject.


 

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