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  1. #1
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    Flash vs constant light

    Since lighting is the key to a good photo Ive been checking out a lot of set ups online (mostly on Flickr). I noticed that While some people use a wired or wirless flash system others use spot lights and other kind of constant lighting. My questions is what sets the 2 apart is far as the kind of results you can achieve?
    Nikon D90, D40 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 | Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 | Nikkor 35mm f/1.8
    Vertical Grip, SB-600, SB-24, Sunpak 433D, Metz 40AF-4N, Alienbees CyberSync Triggers

    R3G Media | Flickr

    "You're pulling some awesome action shots with a cam and lens that are supposed to be rubbish ! " - Rooz

  2. #2
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    Hot lamps make the room hotter and the models hotter.
    I prefer cold lamps/strobes with umbrellas because they are smaller, more portable, and more customizable.

    I still own two Home Depot 1,000 WATT spot lamps, but use them outdoors only, and whenever I HAVE too.
    US Navy--Hooyah!

    Nikon D700/D300|17-35 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, Sigmalux, 80-200 f/2.8, 16 f/2.8 fisheye,

    Lots of flashes and Honl gear.

  3. #3
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    Interesting.. Any other opinions?
    Nikon D90, D40 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 | Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 | Nikkor 35mm f/1.8
    Vertical Grip, SB-600, SB-24, Sunpak 433D, Metz 40AF-4N, Alienbees CyberSync Triggers

    R3G Media | Flickr

    "You're pulling some awesome action shots with a cam and lens that are supposed to be rubbish ! " - Rooz

  4. #4
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    I'm hoping for the day I could offer this advice on some thread of experience.

    What little studio experience I have (very little) tells me that what you're trying to photo and what environment you have (completly controlled studio, on-site photography, portable studio, product photography, etc) could help make the right decision.

    I've seen inexpensive product boxes that are for taking shots of watches, jewelry etc that have simple lights with no fancy (or expensive) flash activation electronics and maybe a mount for the camera. Taking shots of live models such as children at school photos or a fashion show might dictate what's practical.

    At an event, I can have an assistant hold a diffused slave flash to the side as the keylight and bounce my on-camera master off a ceiling or wall to create some nice shadows and using Exposure Lock (or just judgement + chimping) to get very well exposed shots with interesting shadows, but I wouldn't want to hold constant lights over the subjects.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vich View Post
    I'm hoping for the day I could offer this advice on some thread of experience.

    What little studio experience I have (very little) tells me that what you're trying to photo and what environment you have (completly controlled studio, on-site photography, portable studio, product photography, etc) could help make the right decision.

    I've seen inexpensive product boxes that are for taking shots of watches, jewelry etc that have simple lights with no fancy (or expensive) flash activation electronics and maybe a mount for the camera. Taking shots of live models such as children at school photos or a fashion show might dictate what's practical.

    At an event, I can have an assistant hold a diffused slave flash to the side as the keylight and bounce my on-camera master off a ceiling or wall to create some nice shadows and using Exposure Lock (or just judgement + chimping) to get very well exposed shots with interesting shadows, but I wouldn't want to hold constant lights over the subjects.
    Vich, could you post some examples of your two flash set up? I've got a few events coming up that I will be trying that technique at. It would be nice to get a heads up on the type of settings I should try. I'm working on getting my hands on a 580 EX so I will have the 430 slaved off of that. I don't have an assistant but I've been thinking of buying a stand/umbrella kit.

    Do you think a set up like that would work for a larger group shot of about nine people?

    Thanks
    5D MK III, 50D, ELAN 7E, 17-40mm 4, Sigma 10mm 2.8 fisheye, 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 30mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 580 EX, 430 EX speedlight, Pocket wizard flex and mini.
    Canon G10

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickcanada View Post
    Vich, could you post some examples of your two flash set up? I've got a few events coming up that I will be trying that technique at. It would be nice to get a heads up on the type of settings I should try. I'm working on getting my hands on a 580 EX so I will have the 430 slaved off of that. I don't have an assistant but I've been thinking of buying a stand/umbrella kit.

    Do you think a set up like that would work for a larger group shot of about nine people?

    Thanks
    I have honestly not used an umbrella, but have used 580EX as master and 430EX slave.

    Are you asking for how to set the 580EX dials, what switch settings on both flashes, etc? The flash instructions are pretty clear and it's pretty self-intuitive. Just set the ratio on the Master (580) and the slave will follow. By "Slave is key" I mean it has the higher ratio (therefore the master is set down).

    It's a matter of preference and what you have to bounce off. My approach has been "it's better than simply on-camera flash" so I've not searched for ideal settings, just didn't want totally flat lighting.

    Here's an example of a shot outdoors, the 580EX on camera was at 45% angle with SToFen attached. The slave (580 EX with StoFen pointed straight) was held off to the right by an assistant. I recall it was 1 - 2 ratio.
    http://newportphotoworks.smugmug.com...691216-L-1.jpg

    Here; the assistant held it too high (over umbrella) and the bride was totally in the shade, but it's a good demonstration of the shadows ... and that flash-burn is a concern. An umbrella would help that aspect.

    The advantage is just that the shadows created on the faces creates a greater sense of depth. Nothing dramatic, and a LOT of shots had flash-burn on foreheads because the assistant was too close and (because of no umbrella) I needed higher intensity to create enough light.

    Flash / umbrella stand at an event? I would think it's too cumbersome to carry around, but for formals or a portrait station it would be nice as long as it's not windy.

    Again; it's not a huge difference, but it does improve things some. More experience I'm sure would pay off big.

    Here's an example of 1 light source off to one side (note: these were larger strobes, not 580EX ... approximating an umbrella I think).
    http://newportphotoworks.smugmug.com...041802-L-2.jpg

    And here, the key light to the left and 1/2 fill on the right.
    http://newportphotoworks.smugmug.com...048103-L-2.jpg
    Last edited by Vich; 09-16-2007 at 01:42 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the response Vich. Great examples of off camera flash. I agree they look much more dynamic then just on-camera flash.

    I was thinking of using the umbrella kit for formals and portraits. I'm sure with some practice I could come up with some other creative uses for them too.
    5D MK III, 50D, ELAN 7E, 17-40mm 4, Sigma 10mm 2.8 fisheye, 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 30mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 580 EX, 430 EX speedlight, Pocket wizard flex and mini.
    Canon G10

    Pentax P30, 50mm 2.0

  8. #8
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    So the main advantage of flash over lights is the heat factor?
    Nikon D90, D40 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 | Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 | Nikkor 35mm f/1.8
    Vertical Grip, SB-600, SB-24, Sunpak 433D, Metz 40AF-4N, Alienbees CyberSync Triggers

    R3G Media | Flickr

    "You're pulling some awesome action shots with a cam and lens that are supposed to be rubbish ! " - Rooz

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by r3g View Post
    So the main advantage of flash over lights is the heat factor?
    A flash takes about 1/10000th of a second. Not sure exactly, but VERY fast. So; the exposure takes place in that time. So you get the background blur and Ghosting because your subject gets stopped. Sort of cool, although here she was moving a bit fast for my 1.6 second exposure.


    You can also strobe the subject, so it overlays multiple shots showing motions.

    Also; it's a bit more subtle. Imagine bringing that much light somewhere in public.

    Also; there's the question of power. If you're on battery pack ... yikes.
    Last edited by Vich; 09-16-2007 at 09:20 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by r3g View Post
    Since lighting is the key to a good photo Ive been checking out a lot of set ups online (mostly on Flickr). I noticed that While some people use a wired or wirless flash system others use spot lights and other kind of constant lighting. My questions is what sets the 2 apart is far as the kind of results you can achieve?
    With "constant" ("hot" lighting), you see precisely where the light falls, the "stops" (lighting ratios) (if set-up manually) and for any "artistic" purposes, how the light "wraps" itself around the subject.
    You can also easily enough visualize the shot beforehand (which is why movies are shot with hot lights).
    You cannot hope see all that with strobes.

    With strobes, your shoots will be "blind": that is: each shot may of may not be as precisely exposed as the preceeding or fortieth/sixtieth shot afterwards.
    You also cannot work as fast with strobes as with continuous lighting.
    Continuous lighting lends itself to hand and color metering.

    Strobes use less energy and are usually not hot.

    Both require more than a passing knowledge of setting up full manual lighting shoots: such as setting up fill flash. Both demand more than a passing (cursory) knowledge of the behavior of light and how to modify your light for the specific chosen venue.

    (Quality) Strobes can be adjusted for f/stops more easily and generally are far more powerful per any given GN: most hot lights cannot shoot at f/22 for example while strobes do so with great ease.

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