What kind of studio lights should I buy?

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    I took the exact same photo, with the exact same camera settings, with every single one of my lights. I wanted to do a comparison to see the differences between the power output of each light. I tested each light on its highest power setting and then again on the lowest power setting. The light is exactly 9 feet away, upper left with a white shoot through umbrella. My camera is a 5D Mark II, with a 24-105mm lens set to f/5.0, 1/160 sec, ISO 100. Camera is set to manual focus and I'm triggering the camera with a remote. I took each photo first with the highest power output the light could go, then the lowest power output the light could go. Lights I tested are:
    ARRI 300w Continuous Video Light.
    Alienbee B800
    300DI 300w eBay light knock off
    75w ebay knock off, non-variable
    Canon Speedlite 580ex II
    Canon Speedlite 430ex II
    Yongnuo YN467

    Since I was taking the time to compare each light, I also did a complete write up on a common question I get from people. What kind of lights should I buy? Check out my blog post for my very detailed write-up of starting out in off camera lighting.

    Entire write-up here: www.louish.com/2011/02/What_kind_of_studio_photography_li...

    gematogen1983, Yon Pol, photo208cam, and 19 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Louish Pixel 91 months ago | reply

      Behind the scenes: I did an entire write up on all my different kinds of lights, and how they compare to eachother:

      Also, check out my latest photo on flickr:

    2. red knowledge [deleted] 91 months ago | reply

      excellent idea... I might just do that with my two lights.... and the on camera flash

      Why didn't you lower the aperture for the low light situation. I think that 5.0 will not allow too much light in. Maybe next time use 3.5 or 4.0

    3. Louish Pixel 91 months ago | reply

      Red Knowledge Im usually using at least a 2 light setup. With two lights, at mid power, I usually can't go smaller than f/6.3. Because I started with the brightest lights, I wanted to make sure to capture the entire range from full power to lowest power. Which ever setting I was on to acomplish that (which in this case was 5.0), I had to keep the setting the same in order for the review of all the lights to be accurate. I could of easily made each light result in a properly exposed photo at any power setting, but the review was to compare the power output of each light, all with the same setting. If I would of opened up to 3.5 or 4, the Alienbees and 300DI at full power would of been way too over exposed.

    4. first whistle [deleted] 91 months ago | reply

      Nice work! How long did it take you to do all the shots?

    5. Louish Pixel 91 months ago | reply

      [https://www.flickr.com/photos/oshynlover] The shots didn't take long.. switching the lights on the lightstand was probably the most time consuming part of taking the photos, but it only took maybe an hour for all the picture taking and switching the lights around. Its the blog post write up that took all night!

    6. first whistle [deleted] 91 months ago | reply

      Louish Pixel And its much appreciated!!!! :)

    7. J. Kaldin 89 months ago | reply

      Thanks for writing up the tutorials on your site!

    8. robin_24 82 months ago | reply

      This is what I've been looking for a while now. This is the first comparison I've seen of Alienbees and "ebay-strobes". In addition you put in a few speedlites!! Great work and thanks for the info.

    9. WeosPhotography 82 months ago | reply

      excellent photo comparison! pity I did not see before you buy one of them! I just received the 300DI, only it only 120w! I am satisfied, at least that much to begin with! yours is gorgeous and full of ideas!

    10. Britgal* 80 months ago | reply

      I too received the 300DI...with 75w bulbs...how can i replace them with brighter ones? ;)

    11. Louish Pixel 80 months ago | reply

      Britgal* William Montabord I think you guys are referring to the Modeling Lamps. There is an on off switch for the modeling lamp on the back of the strobe. If you can turn on and off the light you are referring to, then its definitly the modeling lamp. This light is just to help show where where the light will be when the big 300w light goes off. You need to hook your camera up to one of the lights some how (cable, wireless flash trigger, etc), the other flashes/strobes need to be in slave mode (they will go off automatically when it "sees" light.). When the strobe goes off, this low wattage modeling lamp shuts off, the bigger 300w light flashes bright, then shuts off, and the modeling light turns back on again. You're not actually using the 75w light for taking the photo. Does that make sense?

    12. Britgal* 80 months ago | reply

      Completely!! Thank you so much...having a ton of fun playing with them now!! ;)

    13. ~shrewd~ 59 months ago | reply

      super!
      thanks for sharing.

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