Easy Mark 8:45pm, 18 November 2012
Hey there, Everyone:

How much power in WS or lumen seconds or (whatever your favorite form of measurement) would YOU need for an outdoor shoot, imagining a worst case scenario?

Middle of the day, bright sun, wide angle shot that is too wide for reflectors to be useful. Maybe you need a Neutral Density filter to bring the shutter speed down.

what would you pack?

(I know there are lots of variables, so I am asking for your more common situations.)
I generally pack 4 Profoto Compacts and four batteries for them.

I wish I had about 2000 WS head that I could then dial down... even 1600WS would be good.

I am talking about in a box, though - not unmodified.

Ideally I would have 3 2000WS heads with batteries.

Ideally I would live somewhere that I could use the set up.

Ideally I would not get fat if I ate only ice cream.

Ideally... heh
kenkyee 6 years ago
don't forget the assistant to carry the 2000WS packs, Don ;-)
Easy Mark 6 years ago


"I generally pack 4 Profoto Compacts..."

Thanks for the note. I am having a hard time looking them up online... I think they are discontinued (but could be wrong).

do you know how many watt seconds they are?

Thanks in advance.
Zeroneg1 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Zeroneg1 (member) 6 years ago
Nothing can probably beat this shot by Joe McNally as worse case scenario:



www.joemcnally.com/blog/category/on-location/page/3/

~30K watt secs exposure!
thorsten198 6 years ago
Whenever you have to light a Boing in flight or a super Yacht from a Helicopter - try this ;-)

www.axstalphoto.com/
Middle of the day, bright sun, wide angle shot that is too wide for reflectors to be useful. Maybe you need a Neutral Density filter to bring the shutter speed down.


Little use would an ND be, it would affect both flash and ambient equally - so no advantage there.

I regularly pack 4x400Ws and 2x160Ws. They all sync up to 1/8000s keeping the ratio I can achieve at 1/250s if needed and I rarely need more.

I have a couple of battery powered 800Ws in addition, which are a supplemental kit, but barely required. When it is, generally only one of the heads gets used. In addition, theres another 4x400Ws battery pack/heads too. I have a choice from a studio full of 1K, 1.5K, 3k and 6K power packs/heads which do get taken on location too, but not as a general rule. If I thought it necessary it would be taken.

Most common situations.. 2x400Ws and 2x160Ws... I take the other stuff if I think there might be a possibility that its needed.
Easy Mark 6 years ago
Thanks for the link, Zeroneg1.

Now THAT, is what I call flash...
Easy Mark 6 years ago


Commercial Photographer: Thanks for the detailed answer!!!
www.nickgiron.com 6 years ago
Kinda gotta go with Don.
More in the 2000ws range.

Depending on the flash to subject distance, and what I was trying to accomplish with the light.

You can always back power off, you have a hard time creating it.

You can also get in really tight with smaller units and edit them out.

You are really just trying to better f16.
Rangefindergeneral 6 years ago
"Middle of the day, bright sun, wide angle shot that is too wide for reflectors to be useful."
I'd wait a couple of hours or find some open shade. With overpowering the sun comes much madness and emptying of wallets to no great effect..
MOD
Nionyn_ PRO 6 years ago
With overpowering the sun comes much madness and emptying of wallets to no great effect..
Yep, that and what sometimes feels like an ever-increasing stream of threads in this group...
;-)
Tim Kamppinen Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Tim Kamppinen (member) 6 years ago
A single Einstein with a VML has been more than enough for me... 640 Ws. Even with a 60" softlighter (eats a lot of light) I have used it many times in bright sunlight, with neutral density filters, and it's been perfect.

However, that's using the sun as a rim light rather than completely overpowering it. So basically just matching it or overpowering by one or two stops. If you want to stand out in direct sun and completely eliminate the ambient then you'd need more power (if you want to use soft modifiers). However, using the sun as a rim I have been able to light small family groups with no problems. For larger groups (like wedding parties) where I need the light farther back I'll use a silver beauty dish (the one I have has a very wide spread without the grid and it's very efficient). A silver reflector would probably be about the same at those distances.

When it comes to just one or two people, though, I can use the softlighter and still have power left to spare, even for full length shots with the light out of the frame.

A lot of this question is what kind of shot you want. I'm shooting senior portraits, families, and weddings, so when I'm outdoors I usually only use one light and want to be able to move from spot to spot fairly easily and quickly. If you were doing more complex shoots where you needed to have control over all the light in a large scene, etc. then you would probably need more/higher power lights than what I need.
Easy Mark 6 years ago
Thank you and and
Easy Mark 6 years ago
Hah... just found the link to the strobist blogspot post about shooting in the desert with Joe McNally;

strobist.blogspot.com/2008/05/joe-mcnally-desert-shoot.html

Looks like seven SB-800s should do just about fine...
Not even seven.

If you read Joe's account of it all..
So, all in all, fun in the desert. Over the top in certain ways, to be sure. 7 SB800 units is pretty wacky, I’ll be the first to admit. But the high speed sync is enabled with these guys, and that is helpful.

FP mode enabled.. lose 2.6 stops = 1 SB800 without FP mode.

Maybe think about that for a moment?

That may be the right place for your ND filter, after all, you will be gaining nothing more using another 6 speedlights!
camcleat Posted 6 years ago. Edited by camcleat (member) 6 years ago
Seems like a fun place for an LSM reference:

"What lighting equipment do I need?

...we offer this two-part answer:

1. No photographer has enough lighting equipment to do every assignment as well as possible.

2. Most photographers have enough equipment to do almost every assignment well."

I routinely use a single SB-600 in noon-ish "Sunny 16" conditions. I have rider-on-horse full shots, so I'm not talking about all close-ups, either. And, these are cross lit, not just using the flash as a general fill, but flash as key with sun as rim/background.

Is that ideal? No way. I do need more portable light. But, it can be done, and I think at the end of the day, it's about what you do with what you have available.

With that in mind, I don't think I can put a number on how much power I "need." I think I would use what I have available. On my list to get, hopefully sooner rather than later, is an SB-800, an Einstein and Vagabond Mini (I have two other studio strobes that could potentially be used with the Mini, also).
jeffegg2 PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by jeffegg2 (member) 6 years ago
The higher your sync speed, the less WS you need to overpower the sun. Using my Nikon D40 I can use my little speedlights.

This was done outdoors on a sunny day with one Vivitar 285HV! I can turn Day into night!!

High speed sync on Nikon D40
AtlantaTerry Posted 6 years ago. Edited by AtlantaTerry (member) 6 years ago
I'm surprised no one mentioned to use a camera that offers an extremely high flash synch speed.

Cameras in that area would be large format with leaf shutters in the lens that will give you 1/500th synch speed or higher. Other cameras would be Hasselblad or Mamiya RB-67/RZ-67. Then in the field of DSLRs there are Nikon D70/D70S cameras that will synch flash at speeds to 1/4000.

By using a camera with high synch speed you have more control of the ambient light.

Remember the old rule: shutter controls ambient / flash controls aperture.

And, don't tell me you don't own such a camera as that would make you guilty of "my only tool is a hammer so all my problems are nails". If the job is important enough you will rent what you need to do it properly and professionally.
jeffegg2 PRO 6 years ago
Sorry, beat you to it.
Easy Mark 6 years ago


Commercial Photographer:

Again, thanks for the advice. I admit that I read ONLY the account on the strobist site.

"That may be the right place for your ND filter, after all, you will be gaining nothing more using another 6 speedlights!"

Yes, exactly.



I like your answer, but I have to admit that I do not know what "LSM" refers to.



Thanks for pointing that out, and thanks for posting your shot here.



Yup, Hassies and double M's are a bit out of my price range, but I think a Yashica-Mat might be on the Christmas wish list. (pretty sure they have a leaf shutter lens!?!?!?!)
camcleat 6 years ago
Oops. Sorry about that.

LSM = ' Light-Science and Magic' by Hunter, Biver and Fuqua.
Easy Mark 6 years ago
^^ Thanks, camcleat. Will look into it.
epatsellis Posted 6 years ago. Edited by epatsellis (member) 6 years ago
Unmodified, or lightly modified (scrim or very efficient umbrella or Apollo), Lumedyne 400 w/s is (barely) enough. For "real" shoots, a trunk full of Bron 304 1600 w/s packs and heads usually gets the job done. The extension cords or generator is a bitch though.

Granted, I shoot with either Hassy or RB67 (or if I'm a real glutton for punishment, 4x5 or 8x10) and sync speed is never an issue.
Easy Mark 6 years ago


Hi there, epatsellis;

"For "real" shoots, a trunk full of Bron 304 1600 w/s packs and heads usually gets the job done. The extension cords or generator is a bitch though."

Do you have an example where you needed this much light? If so, would love to see it.

It may be that your lighting requirements are far more serious than I would need???

seen an image where you used this much light would help me figure it out.

Thanks in advance!!!
Paulo Noronha 6 years ago
Tim Kamppinen 6 years ago
And, don't tell me you don't own such a camera as that would make you guilty of "my only tool is a hammer so all my problems are nails". If the job is important enough you will rent what you need to do it properly and professionally.

There are ways of doing this that make a lot more sense than renting a medium format camera (which only gains you one or two stops of relative power... big deal, you just went from f/16 to f/11 or f/8... didn't gain much in terms of shallow depth of field and you still need a powerful light if you want to use a softbox) or using an ancient 6mp relic that sucks majorly in every way except the sync speed.
rjptn 6 years ago
I don't know if this could work for you, but it's one line of thought. You have to read this to the end:
strobist.blogspot.com/2009/12/canon-g11-review-one-month-...
ShutterCraze (NUEL) 5 years ago
For my portraiture I carry 2 Bowens 500Ws monolights with the Bowens TravelPak battery, and a Speedlight. I do use ND filters and I'm around the f8-f11 range. I usually have a beauty dish or modified strip box on my key light but if I need more light I switch light modifiers to my Bowens 12 1/2" High-Performance Reflector.
Easy Mark 5 years ago
Thank you , and , and , and

@ Tim Kamppinen

"There are ways of doing this that make a lot more sense than renting a medium format camera..."

What are the ways that you suggest?

Thanks in advance.
Let's see...

1/500 second flash sync on a Hasselblad is one stop difference from a 1/250 on a Canon or Nikon.

One stop.

CSI Rental : about $200 a day for camera and 3 lenses.

A 1000 WS power pack is one stop brighter than a 500 WS power pack.

You would simply have to decide whether you go with a rental price that is not terribly expensive, or purchase/rent a bigger light.

I think that there are different ways to look at this.

I think a Dynalite 1600WS pack/head is next for my purchase. I am doing more and more outside, and I need to be able to use the bigger boxes and modifiers in larger areas.

Or possible a Bowens Gemini 1000Pro Monolight... under a grand, lots of power, and will run on batteries that I use.

That is indeed a lot of light.
Bobby350Z 5 years ago
Have EInsteins which are 640ws. Wish I had atleast 1200ws or more like 2000ws if I wanted to bring down the ambient. Some folks say they do it with Einstein in Nevada high noon sun. I dodn't know how. Maybe CA sun is different.:)
Easy Mark 5 years ago


"Maybe CA sun is different.:)"

Yes, the light has to pass through more smog here in California...
Tim Kamppinen 5 years ago
What are the ways that you suggest?

More powerful lights. Use a ND filter if you need shallow depth of field. It's not complicated. I already explained my own setup and others have given theirs. Throwing a totally different camera system into the mix which only gives you an extra stop of shutter speed does very little to solve the problem and will certainly create new ones (like "how do I work this camera that I've never used before?" not to mention having to rent lenses as well as the body).
Easy Mark 5 years ago


Thank you again for the possibilities.

PS: Just discovered your blogspot blog (slow learner hear, please be patient) and am loving it.
Old Nikon User
Blogspot blog is not really in use.
Try my other blog for more timely info.
Easy Mark 5 years ago


"Try my other blog for more timely info."

Is that the lighting essentials blog???
Old Nikon User:

Yes.
wow...if I was just starting out and read this thread I'd think I'd have to go out and get a couple mono lights if I ever wanted to work in the sun. Unless I missed it, I didn't see anyone mention speed lights. Not sure why, I beat the sun all the time with a single bare (cheap) speed light. Is it easier with more power and a higher sync speed...sure...but it can be done and done just fine with speed lights (even at 1/250). It gets even easier of course, if it's earlier in the day or toward the evening but I've done it many times in mid day South Florida Summer sun.
Tim Kamppinen 5 years ago
Depends on what kind of light you want. Soft light for portraits is a necessity for me (not that I always use soft light, but I always want to have the option) so speedlights don't cut it once I go outside in the daylight.
camcleat 5 years ago
"Unless I missed it, I didn't see anyone mention speed lights."

You did miss it. There were several posts about using speedlights.

The OP's question was about what folks think they NEED...which I took to me what they need to get the kinds of pictures they want to be taking, not about what CAN be done.
I cannot believe how many photographers think one size fits all.

Sure you can beat the sun with a speedlight.

As long as it is close enough to match the realities of light and shutter speed. As long as the subject fits the small parameters available to the speedlight... and, BTW, they aren't all that much bigger for big lights.

But not all photographs can be made with a speedlight in close enough to deliver f-16 or f-22 at normal sync speeds in the sun.

You shoot your way, and that is fine. But that is not how EVERYONE shoots. Some people need more room, bigger lights, softer fall from a distance and quite a bit more.

Photography is not a religion, it is a craft.

It would be like me saying... well, I have a two door car, why doesn't everyone have a two door. Those people with mini-vans don't need them. I get everything done in my two door car.
Commercial Photographer Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Commercial Photographer (member) 5 years ago
The OP asked "How Much Power Do YOU Need?" not, think need. Theres loads of examples where multiple speedlights are mounted together where its totally unnecessary, making you 'think' you need it... like shooting surfing.. or like in the desert:

7 speedlights, FP mode enabled.. lose 2.6 stops = 1 SB800 without FP mode.

How much do you 'think' you need? Thats a different question altogether...
goodness...relax. I wasn't saying that you SHOULD use a speed light...I was just making a comment that I didn't see them mentioned much or at all in this thread...that's it. Nothing against whatever anyone prefers...I don't really care what one person uses or what I use. That wasn't my point.
Jerry P. H. 5 years ago
For me, the answer to how much power is needed is based on 2 things...

1 - what are the current conditions... is it F/5.6 at 1/250th or F/16 at 1/250th, both at ISO 100 or 200.

2 - What do I need to shoot, a head/shoulders shot or a bridal group of 20 or more?

With a single speedlight, one can get a surprising amount done, but of course it cannot do it all. I've done tests where I learned that with a single speedlight I can overpower the sun nicely under specific conditions:

jerryphpics.blogspot.ca/2012/05/sunny-16-and-pws-hypersyn...

and...

jerryphpics.blogspot.ca/2012/06/hypersync-basic-how-to.html

Of course, when one speedlight cannot do it, that is when I pull out the big 1,000 W/s studio head on a portable power supply to get it done.

jerryphpics.blogspot.ca/2012/02/overpowering-sun.html

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, but the fact is that it is no one tool does it all, and having a choice is going to get you the results you need.
Rangefindergeneral 5 years ago
I find overpowering the sun with a single speed light at 1/8 power at 12 foot in an octabox easy and very simple, I just close the studio doors..!
Jerry P. H. Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Jerry P. H. (member) 5 years ago
Huh? I am sure youn were making a joke... lol

When one speaks of ovpowering the sun, it generally means that your light source is stronger than that loose standard of the sunny 16 "rule" of F/16 at ISO 100 and 1/125th, taken from the old film days.

This means speedlights at full power, no modifiers and fairly close, like no more than 10-12 feet. For more power, closer and higher flash head zoom levels are the answer.

As to what I would pack, if I did not want to lug around a studio head and large portable battery pack, 2 to 6 speedlights would do the trick for me 90% of the time. That last 10% are the most brutal of conditions, and that big studio head comes along for those times. Using speedlights and ControlTL units also would give me iTTL and enough power to make HSS easily another usable tool as well a few other options.
Easy Mark 5 years ago


Thanks for sharing the experience and for the links to your blog post.



Thanks for the laughs.
Just some cheap speed light examples (for anyone who is interested and perhaps don't own mono lights) and want to see that yes, you can overpower the sun just fine with a single speed light without it being on full and without it being 3 feet from model/person

This one shot in VERY hot, bright mid-day South Florida Summer sun with one bare speed light to front on 1/2 and one off to left behind also on 1/2
www.flickr.com/photos/ihanaaika/7558383552/in/set-7215761...

And here's one with a single bare cheapo Sunpak 383 bare and at least 45 min from sunset...still VERY light outside
www.flickr.com/photos/ihanaaika/6876495048/in/set-7215761...

And in both these examples the flash was at least 7-10 feet away.
again...not saying everyone should use single speed lights OR that there aren't cases/situations with large groups where a mono light would be needed...I'm not arguing for one over the other, just sharing the speed light side of things for those who can't afford a head and power supply or just don't have one. Just trying to round out the conversation a bit with alternatives. Not sure why people get so defensive
Nikon Neil 5 years ago
I have bought into the Hobby mantra of the Nikon D70S. I purchased a used one for 170.00 on Ebay. I tested it and it will synch with my flashes at 1/1000. I have yet to get it out for a duel with the sun and my SB-26s.
Easy Mark 5 years ago


Hi there, Kaunis:

Thanks so much for the shots and for sharing your thoughts.

I do value the diversity of opinion that other people bring, even though a lot of the Elinchrom or profoto sets that people mentioned are WAY out of my budget right now.

I think it is helpful though, because when buying a strobe, you are (often - but not always) buying into a system; do you go the power packs and heads route? Do you go the monlight and portable battery route?

It helps me kind of figure out what a "final destination" might look like. One I know what the final destination is, I can take smaller steps (i.e., buy individual components) one at a time that will (eventually) get me to that final destination.

Right now I am pretty happy with my three YongNuo flash guns (two YN-560, One YN-467), and an old cnaon 380EX, and I have built a couple of multi brackets that will hold two or three flash guns together AND get them closer to the center of the umbrella or softbox.

Next purchase will PROBABLY be a Vagabond Mini Battery pack so I can take my OLD white lightning coffee can strobes out on location too. But we will see.

Thanks again.
Easy Mark 5 years ago


"I have bought into the Hobby mantra of the Nikon D70S."

How is the image quality on the D70S??? I am afraid of getting worse image quality. Also, does the D70S have wireless flash capabilities?

I know that he has mentioned some of the Canon compact cameras (like the G series) in the past as well., since there is a way to apparently "trick" the camera into giving higher sync speeds.
camcleat 5 years ago
Yeah, I was trying to emphasize the "YOU need" part of the OP's question.

My point was that he was not asking, "What do you think *I* should buy."

Bottom line is, obviously, we all have different needs and flexibility to meet those needs. Also, needs change. What's needed for this shoot vs that one? How permanent is an immediate need?

"RIght on" to all the replies that essentially say it's not a 'one size fits all' topic.

All this is why I did not want to put a number on "MY need." I just don't know. I consider a single bare, underpowered speedlight the absolute minimum tool for "off camera lighting." Obviously, that won't suit every situation.

Thanks for the discussion...this is good stuff to think about from time to time. At least for me, it helps keep me focused on "paths."
Easy Mark 5 years ago


"Yeah, I was trying to emphasize the "YOU need" part of the OP's question."

Yup, exactly. Different horse for different courses.

I was hoping people would post a few more examples about what they have been able to accomplish with their different light setups.

There are some people who bring a lot of lights, and would be good for someone like me to see what they can do with that amount of light they couldn't do with, say, one monolight and a couple of flash guns (o JUST a couple of flash guns).
Jerry P. H. Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Jerry P. H. (member) 5 years ago
Samples? Ok, here are a couple.

Strobist Info: Strobist Info: Nikon D4, Sigma 50mm, single Nikon sb-80dx at 1/1 power, ISO 50, 50mm, F/1.4 1/4000th via HyperSync. Bare flash about 12 feet back and camera left.

BeaverLake-57

Lightsource to subject distance is about 12 feet away, in the middle of an all white field on a day that metered to F/16 at ISO 100 and 1/250th.

Using the Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter, I brought F/16 down to F/4, and then then further underexposed the background by just 1 stop and increased my studio strobe power to 1/2 (500 W/s), and then shot straight into the sun... lens flare and all is quite rampant, but done on purpose... I wanted the sun behind them.

BDandND-3


What can you do with one lens/camera, a 64"
PLM and a Photogenic PL2500-DR (1,000 W/s) at full power? How about totally kill ambient right at the brightest conditions!

Settings were ISO 100, F/22, 1/4000th and that little blip to the right of the subject's head is indeed the sun... or what was left of it.

Ausable_Chasm-172
Easy Mark 5 years ago


Thanks for the samples!!!

They really DO help out. Much easier to "put a face to a name" as it were (or in this case, put a quality of light to an f/stop setting.)

Thanks again.
Easy Mark 5 years ago
Oh... can I just say one more thing...

HOLY CARP!!! $340 FOR A NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTER!!!
Rangefindergeneral Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Rangefindergeneral (member) 5 years ago
Without wanting to pick nits the samples above aren't really overpowering the sun not in my book anyway.. Sure they are close some more than others, but the sun is more than just fill in all of them or its not a F16 day..
to over power the sun, as asked about by the OP, the strobe needs to give you F16 or better metered at the subject at 100ISO at your cameras highest sync speed, eg over 1/125sec. (EV15 @ISO 100)
Jerry you are closest with your shot, ISO 50, 50mm, F/1.4 1/4000th, but this is still only on the money and very few cameras go to 50ISO.

And isn't there a formula that works this all out I seem to remember working it out once for 10 foot from the subject with a soft box needed 600WS plus..
Easy Mark 5 years ago
Thanks for pointing that out, .

it was something I was going to mention, since it does seem that a few people brought up "balancing" the sun, as opposed to overpowering it.

that is probably my fault. i should have been more specific (such as say something like, "underexpose the sunlight by 3 or 4 f/stops" or something like that... I am the King of Vague).
Tim Kamppinen 5 years ago
The way I look at it is this... if you're going to totally obliterate any and all ambient sunlight so that it looks like you took your photo in a dark studio with a single light source and no fill... then why are you shooting outdoors in the first place? If you're eliminating the ambient but then lighting up an outdoor scene with powerful lights, then that's one thing, but if you end up with something that could have been done more easily indoors with the exact same result, then it's just a pretty pointless technical exercise.

Here are some shots with the single Einstein setup (also using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter to allow for a wide aperture):









camcleat 5 years ago
Thanks. I was thinking the exact same thing.

Nice shots, by the way.

When outdoors, I WANT the ambient in the frame. It's a second light (background, rim, whatever, however) and the whole purpose of being outdoors is the scenery. Or in some cases, that's where the subject lives. ;)

What a shame to lose the background:

Crosslighting on Atlantic Beach by camcleat


Beehive Basin Trail by camcleat



When I hear "overpower the sun," I think in the practical terms of having enough juice to CONTROL the ambient:added light ratio, not turn the background "black."

Was beginning to wonder if that was just me.
Easy Mark 5 years ago


Wow!!! Beautiful portraits!!!
ah misunderstood...if we're not talking about overpowering the sun but 'balancing' the ambient with the light....I have samples like that too.

kianna

sage

four friends: strobist info...shot with 2 bare speed lights (383 Sunpak and a 430ex) both bare and both on 1/4 to camera right and left. See info below for settings
Easy Mark 5 years ago
Beautiful work, Kaunis!!!

Sorry I was not clear in my original post about overpowering versus balancing. But I did want to get sort of a diversity of opinions.

But your shots are pretty much what I am trying to do (personally). It looks like you are underexposing the sun by about one to three stops in the above photos.

Also, it looks like you are possibly using a polarizer in the first and third shots to deepen the sky a bit???

Thanks again.
Leo @ IM 5 years ago
Beauty dishes help quite a bit... with a dish 600Ws is generally enough for me. These are substantially more efficient and directional making them very useful outdoors.
Easy Mark 5 years ago


Thanks for the tip.

Darn... my strobes are too big (about 7.5 inches across) to put on a beauty dish. will have to find something to go with my flash guns... Or use the silver bounce umbrella I ordered.
Leo @ IM 5 years ago
What strobes did you buy? If they have a Bowens / Elinchrom or similar mounting system you should be able to mount a beauty dish...
Mr. Speedlight 5 years ago
Is 2,000 W-S enough?

I wanna see it painted black, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun, blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

Yeah

--Jagger, Richards
Kartofelinder 5 years ago
2000Ws is enough to lit up a subject with 5 foot octa. If you use a beauty dish, you might be happy even with 300Ws.

Here I used my Quantuum R+ 300 Dual Power.

[https://www.flickr.com/photos/kartofelinder/8186861548/in/set-72157632013063782]
Easy Mark 5 years ago


"What strobes did you buy?"

My Old PCB white Lightning Coffee Can Strobes: Had them since 1995... :-D



the lip on the front measures 7-1/2 inches across while the outer diameter measures 7 inches (so, the lip is a quarter inch thick around the front).

Hard to find a universal speed ring that big... If anyone knows where to find a universal speed ring that fits over 7-1/2 inches, let me know.

Even Paul C Buff, the maker of this strobe, doesn't have a beauty dish for it.
Jerry P. H. Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Jerry P. H. (member) 5 years ago
I think that with my examples I went from mild to wild. Each photo was well within the sunny 16 rule. Let's clear something up... balancing the light with the ambient means that your flash lights you subject to the same light levels that ambient is at, but because they are perhaps backlit, they are covered in shadows, the reason for the flash is to get ride of those shadows.

When the light source is stronger than the sun, even if it is by 1/3rd of a stop, you are overpowering the sun... You may not see it, but on all technical levels this is what is happening. Now, you can ovpower the sun by 1/3rd of a stop or more, this is the choice of the photographer and what they want and need.

As far as needing to totally blot out the sun, you need a lot of power, lot of shutter speed, a lot of apertures and a very low ISO or a LOT of ND filter, or some combination thereof, either does the job and turns day into night.

That said, making a nice background totally black outside IMHO makes a pretty boring shot. The only reason I did it was to see if I could. Now that I know that I can, I highly doubt that I will ever need that tool again to that extreme, but do use that technique almost a,ways when shooting outside and my preferences range somewhere around 1-3 stops over ambient at most, and most if those are right smack around the 2stop range just to give my sky that deep blue or reds/oranges that just make that shot pop.

Anything more just starts to detract from the quality of my shot.

I use both a Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter and HyperSync. They each have advantages and disadvantages and having both offers me the choice of using the best tool that a job requires.

My 2 cents about that. :-)
Easy Mark 5 years ago


Thanks so much for the note, Jerry!!!

"That said, making a nice background totally black outside IMHO makes a pretty boring shot."

Agreed!!!

"...when shooting outside and my preferences range somewhere around 1-3 stops over ambient at most..."

Agreed again. I would say what I NEED in most situations is going to be from 1 stop to 2-and-1/3 stops drop in Ambient.

"Anything more just starts to detract from the quality of my shot."

"...and most if those are right smack around the 2stop range just to give my sky that deep blue or reds/oranges that just make that shot pop."

Thank you again for being able to "quantify" the effect. That is primarily what I will be looking for; either darken the sky a bit to add some pop, or darken the ambient light in general to make the model pop against the background (say, in an urban environment or in a park / woods where you won't see the sky directly).

So realistically, two stops is what I am looking for.
Mr. Speedlight Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Mr. Speedlight (member) 5 years ago
One more who doubts that totally blacking out the sky is anything more than a technical exercise for most, specifically a test to see if one can do it. I'll allow that some one might want to do this for an esthetic purpose and maybe they are using something natural as a prop, something they can't carry indoors. It did often happen with macro photography and Kodachrome II and later 25 but that's a different type of flash photography with the flash extremely close to the subject.

Dave

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I wonder what it would take to use a Norman P2000X on location? Were would one go to find a suitable inverter? How many deep cycle batteries would be required? Probably one would use a power source in a car or truck and long extension cords.

I used to own an ASCOR QC-4. I gave it to a school because I hadn't used in it years. Now I'd be using it as the Norman's lowest power is 200 W-S into 4 lamps and still too much for table top. The ASCOR offered 400 down to 50 I think, two stops less, and would be a reasonable weight to take on location.
Chris Pursell 5 years ago
I guess im quite lucky, as i live in England on the two days a year we have sun, I want to be enjoying it, rather than overpowering it.
Jerry P. H. 5 years ago
Dave, the Photogenic PL-2500DR goes from 31 W/s to 1000 W/s.

As far as what to use to power any studio head outside, the standard answer would be something like a Vagabond II, Tronics Explorer or something similar in a DIY solution. Prophoto makes the BatPack, but it is of course Prophoto priced.
Easy Mark 5 years ago


"...the standard answer would be something like a Vagabond II, Tronics Explorer or something similar in a DIY solution."

Jerry,

With the Vagabond II being discontinued by PCB in favor of the Vagabond Lithium Mini (VLM), will the VLM be a suitable substitute in your opinion?
Mr. Speedlight Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Mr. Speedlight (member) 5 years ago
Thanks Jerry,

I didn't realize the Vagabond II had the guts to power such a large system as the Norman P2000X (2000 down to 200 W-S) and 250-1000 watts modeling lights. I doubt that I'd use more than 1 or 2 lamps. I gather from reading threads that modeling lights aren't used much with a portable power supply like this.

I've downloaded a user's manual for the Vagabond II and I'm reading it. I wonder when the replacement will be available. Probably when the current model is sold out.

Dave
Mr. Speedlight 5 years ago
Is the Vagabond II not being replaced with a lithium model with similar capacity?

Vagabond Lithium Mini doesn't seem to me to be suitable for large systems. It seem more suited to 1 per monolight.

Dave
Tim Kamppinen Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Tim Kamppinen (member) 5 years ago
You can run more than one on it, and it has two outlets built in, but the more you add the longer recycle times will become and the faster it will be drained. There are charts on Buff's website that give recycle times and battery life for various light setups. It would make more sense to go with one dedicated VML for each light if you were doing multiple strobe setups on a regular basis. You would then also be free of cords running all over the place to trip on and get in your shot. Of course, the downside is that it's more expensive.

As for modeling lights... as soon as you go outside they're hard if not impossible to see, depending on the ambient levels. Also, with the Vagabond II you could leave the modeling light on, but it would drain the battery much faster. With the VML, it's only rated for 50 watts continuous, so you shouldn't use it at all really.

I've had a few situations where I was shooting outside and the sun had gone down, so it was dark. I didn't need the power of the Einstein, of course, but I used it anyway and just turned the modeling light down to 50 watts, in order to not overwork the VML. This was useful so that I could a) use the modeling light to set up the shot more quickly than with a speedlight, and b) actually have some light on the subject that would allow me to focus. It works ok like this in a pinch, but again, it will drain the battery a lot faster.
Tim Kamppinen Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Tim Kamppinen (member) 5 years ago
VML specs from Buff's website:

Powering Capacity one to four Paul C. Buff™ flash units (the more lights connected, the longer the recycle time)

Recycle Time recycles 160 Ws in approx. 0.75 seconds
recycles 320 Ws in approx. 1.5 seconds
recycles 640 Ws in approx. 3 seconds
recycles 1280 Ws in approx. 7 seconds

Battery Life typically 400 to 500 shots per charge with 640 total Ws connected
typically 200 to 250 shots per charge with 1280 total Ws connected

battery can be fully discharged and recharged approximately 500 times before losing 30% of its capacity (even longer life when recharged before it is completely discharge)


With the Ws ratings, remember that that is the actual draw which depends on the power levels. So one Einstein at full power is 640 Ws, two of them would be 1280 Ws. However, if you had two that were only firing at half power it would only be 640 Ws total.
Jerry P. H. Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Jerry P. H. (member) 5 years ago
Old Nikon User said:
Jerry,

With the Vagabond II being discontinued by PCB in favor of the Vagabond Lithium Mini (VLM), will the VLM be a suitable substitute in your opinion?
=============================================

It will have a lower number maximum number of pops per charge, but it should work fine
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Mr. Speedlight said:
I didn't realize the Vagabond II had the guts to power such a large system as the Norman P2000X (2000 down to 200 W-S) and 250-1000 watts modeling lights.
============================================

On any and all 12 volt power sources, you are encouraged to not use the modeling lamps. For me, I've gotten over 400 pops with the 1,000 W/s head and two 300W/s heads all at full power out of a VBII and still not completely draining it, but my battery is kept in good condition, even though it is close to 3 years old now. (edit, I made a typo here and corrected it). Tim's chart proved pretty accurate, at full power, the 1000 W/s and two 300 watters averaged out about 5 seconds but extended to around 8 seconds by the end of the day

As for using many BIG power heads at remote sites, well, the price IMHO to pay would be to use multiple battery packs, and I would shy away from the PCM VB lithiums.

Worst case scenario, we know that the DIY solutions work well and are not any more expensive than PCB prices. Now just use stronger pure sine wave inverters and larger batteries and problem should be solved.

I once connected a car battery to the VBII inverter (the alligator clips come with the unit) and I got over 900 full power pops out of it in one full day and then the battery was still strong enough to start a 454 big block chevy... lol. I cannot see needing anything more for my needs.
Leo @ IM 5 years ago
For large flashes the Innovatronix Explorer range offers much faster recycle times and larger inverters that will power upto 2400Ws of flash.

The Explorer Mini's inverter has roughly 3x the maximum current throughput of the Vagabond Mini. Larger units have more capacity again.
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