Art and Photography

Continuous studio light vs Strobe for <$300?

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  • Dec 10th, 2014 6:22 pm
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[OP]
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Jun 29, 2009
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Continuous studio light vs Strobe for <$300?

So, my workplace offers x-mas gift for $300 after tax, which comes to about $260-ish before. I'd like to get a beginner studio flash setup, and I'm having some trouble deciding between continuous light and strobes.

I've very briefly worked with studio strobes before, doing photo-booth-like shots at events and some baby photos. Very basic stuff. Can't say I know my way around them, but I do notice certain pros and cons. The biggest problem is having no idea how the scene would look without actually taking a test shot first. Then there's the problem with sync speed - sometimes you just want more than 1/250s :o

I've read a bit on continuous light and how its colour spectrum isn't as desirable compared to strobes, but the technology has improved since then, right?

Anyway, I'm choosing between 2 Godox 300 SDI or a continuous lighting kit on Amazon.ca right now, but any input or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

What I have right now:
Canon 70D
Speedlight 430 EXII
Sigma DG-610 Super (very slow recycle rate and doesn't work with Cactus V5)
Cactus V5
AcidBomber wrote:
Jan 19th, 2012 8:09 pm
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Member
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Aug 8, 2008
397 posts
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Mississauga
Continuous light requires an AC power source, whereas for strobes you can have battery packs (although still heavy).

You have to learn to visualize how the light will look - many strobes have mode to allow you to visualize the output by firing very rapidly at a dim setting for a short period of time. However, your best friend will be a good light meter.

Haven't looked into it for a while but Alienbees were a good budget set up, but everything is proprietary. Vistek also sells a good brand, but the name escapes my head (it's available at B&H as well).
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2007
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Or perhaps consider speedlight setup? Yongnuo recently introduced super convenient (and with very good reviews) manual speedlight system with radio control - YN560-III (or IV) flashes, should be as bright as Canon's 580EX, and radio-controller yn560-TX which allows you to operate remotely (trigger, change power and zoom) up to 6 groups of YN560-III/IV flashes. So there will be no wires in this setup (unless you use an external power source for the flashes, which is possible), and full control of your studio from the yn560-TX controller (which can sit on camera). The flashes can be found for 80 CAD all in, the controller - 40 CAD all in. You can find reasonable quality umbrellas, light stands and speedlight brackets on ebay for ~50$ per light. So a 2-light setup will cost you ~300$ all in.

I am upgrading my basment studio to all-YN560-III setup, with YN560-TX controller. (The studio currently has 5 speedlights, random brands and model, under cheap radio triggers). I am also upgrading my main light from 40" shoot-through umbrella to a proper softbox (60" octagon from Canadian Studio on amazon.ca; 93 CAD all in) + the Bowens speedring for speedlights ("PRO Godox S-Type Bracket Bowens Mount Holder for Speedlite", 22$ on ebay). I will have the following lights:

- Key light: 60" octagon softbox with YN560-III;
- Fill-in light: 40" shoot-through umbrella with YN560-III;
- Background light (for dark grey paper background): 36" reflecting umbrella with YN560-III + hundreds of different color gels;
- Background light (for white paper background - high key): two bare old Canon flashes with DIY manual power control and optical triggers;
- Hair light: DIY narrow softbox with YN560-III on a tall boom stand.

I think this setup will give me a lot of flexibility, and should be very convenient (for occasional use). For power users, one can consider attaching external battery to the speedlights (or go with monolights - but AFAIK there are no affordable monolight systems with full remote control, the way YN560-III works).
Sr. Member
Nov 12, 2012
568 posts
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Calgary
Keep in mind that despite your camera having a sync speed of 1/250 using the speedlite, certain strobe systems cannot sync to your camera at speeds higher than 1/180.
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2008
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Speedlight / strobe usually have modelling light feature so you can roughly see how the light would look
[OP]
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Jun 29, 2009
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pulsar123 wrote:
Dec 10th, 2014 3:33 pm
Or perhaps consider speedlight setup?
Well, the catch is that this gift can only be for a "single item" ordered by the company. So if there's no existing complete kit on the market, I can't maximize the value of my purchase. E.g. If I buy only a single flash for $100, then I can't use the $200 leftover for anything else.

As far as I can tell, strobe studio kits are more common than speedlight kits.
AcidBomber wrote:
Jan 19th, 2012 8:09 pm
Warning to all (trolls) - next person to post any flamebaits (religious, sexist, racial, etc) gets an automatic ban.

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