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01-10-2013, 09:15 PM   #1
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Suggestion for lighting equipment

I'm not very experienced in flash photography...I do mostly DIY stuff (with paper, rubber bands, tape, the usual cheap fixes), I have two AF540 (both of which I use in wireless), the IR blocking panel (to trigger without adding light to the exposure), a flashbender, and a black foam thing (got the idea from the tangents blog).

I travel quite a bit, the kit above has served me well...now, I'd like to have a more stationary kit that I can still travel around with (and also use at home), I'd like to have suggestions for the following equipment:

1) some sort of stand (preferably that uses less space than a tripod when folded)
2) some way to hold one or two AF540s (currently I use the little black plastic nikon flash stand that has 1/4 threads, I screw that to a tripod, which is not secure at all) I haven't found a secure way to hold 2 plastic shoe flashes without risking short circuit with the contacts.
3) some sort of large and versatile modifier that I can pack in to a small space (I think a double fold shoot through umbrella is the only option)
4) hardware to hold the above together (umbrella stand, speed mount, etc that can also accommodate speedlights)
5) some sort of clamp to install the flash on strange places (please, not the gorillapod)

I'd appreciate if one of you more experienced strobist can help me out with the above...preferably with decent & inexpensive alternatives. Thanks in advance.

01-10-2013, 09:22 PM   #2
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1 - just search amazon for the cheapest stands you can get, they'll do if you're only using smaller mods and speedlights
2 - get yourself a decent umbrella swivel, manfrotto makes a pretty solid one.
3 - umbrellas are your friend. I find a 43" umbrella to be the ideal size for when I want to travel light
4 - there are lightstand bags out there if you want to keep your stuff in 1 place. I've got a friend who uses a spare golfing bag he's got to store his heavier stands
5 - manfrotto super clamp and magic arm are the industry standard for such a use
01-11-2013, 07:26 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I'll add my version - adpo is right on with his suggestion.

1 - Amazon or Adorama - just look for the size/features you are looking for
2 - Agree with the Manfrotto umbrella bracket - stay away from the cheap $10 versions.

Amazon.com: Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tite Umbrella Adapter: Camera & Photo

I also got one of these flash holders - it has a 1/4" thread that will screw onto the stud of the umbrella bracket and also directly on to a tripod stud. I like this one because it is metal instead of plastic and has the positive screw type clamp:

Amazon.com: ePhoto SB800 Shoe mount Flash Adapter with 1/4-20 Thread: Camera & Photo

3 - I started out with a 43" convertible umbrella. I like it since you can use it for either shoot through or bounce. I am going to get a 30" version of the same since I mostly do small still life:

Amazon.com: Westcott Compact 43 inch White Satin Umbrella with Removable Black Cover - Collapsible: Electronics

Another option is a foldable softbox. I just got this one last week and is very nice for the price. Comes with all the hardware/brackets needed to install right on your light stand. It folds up easily and has its own nice carry case:

Flashpoint FSB40 16in x 16in Soft Box for Shoe Mount Flash FSB40

4 - the umbrella bracket is the key to put it all together along with the flexibility for angling your flash/modifier as you need it.

5 - I just did a bunch of research on a clamp. The Manfrotto Super Clamp is the standard

Manfrotto 035RL Super Clamp with Standard Stud (#2900) 035RL

Also in my research I found this clamp - not nearly as sturdy as the Super Clamp, but for $10 I might give it a try:

Flashpoint Clamp with Small Ball and Socket Head CP05

Also, here are a couple Adaorama TV videos on the clamps:

Flashpoint Clamps?AdoramaTV from Adorama Learning Center

Unusual Point of View: AdoramaTV from Adorama Learning Center
01-11-2013, 08:29 AM   #4
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Good list - some of these are on my wish lists for now, another two I already have. Thanks for the info!

01-11-2013, 09:00 AM   #5
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Here is the kit I put together for flash based umbrellas.

2 x Large Umbrella Softbox Soft Brolly Box Reflector $46 on ebay This provides the same diffused light as a shoot through umbrella with less light loss. These are fairly flimsy but work well indoors.

2X - 8 ft light stands $46 on ebay Very sturdy but I've only used them indoors

Umbrella Bracket 15.25 each @ Adorama The product reviews are accurate and I'm happy with my purchase.

After I received my "kit", I didn't like the way the umbrella interacted with my flash unit. My DIY solution can be found HERE.

Good luck.

Tim
01-11-2013, 09:09 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by atupdate Quote
Here is the kit I put together for flash based umbrellas.

2 x Large Umbrella Softbox Soft Brolly Box Reflector $46 on ebay This provides the same diffused light as a shoot through umbrella with less light loss. These are fairly flimsy but work well indoors.

2X - 8 ft light stands $46 on ebay Very sturdy but I've only used them indoors

Umbrella Bracket 15.25 each @ Adorama The product reviews are accurate and I'm happy with my purchase.

After I received my "kit", I didn't like the way the umbrella interacted with my flash unit. My DIY solution can be found HERE.

Good luck.

Tim
I really like your kit list. I've read that those umbrella softboxes work very nicely but I need something smaller - need to see if a 30" of so is available for what I need.

And I like your DIY flash holder - the next time I go to where a Lowe's or Home Depot is I am going to see if I can find that tee bracket - very nice!
01-11-2013, 09:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by HSV Quote

1) some sort of stand (preferably that uses less space than a tripod when folded)
2) some way to hold one or two AF540s (currently I use the little black plastic nikon flash stand that has 1/4 threads, I screw that to a tripod, which is not secure at all) I haven't found a secure way to hold 2 plastic shoe flashes without risking short circuit with the contacts.
3) some sort of large and versatile modifier that I can pack in to a small space (I think a double fold shoot through umbrella is the only option)
4) hardware to hold the above together (umbrella stand, speed mount, etc that can also accommodate speedlights)
5) some sort of clamp to install the flash on strange places (please, not the gorillapod)

I'd appreciate if one of you more experienced strobist can help me out with the above...preferably with decent & inexpensive alternatives. Thanks in advance.
1. Midwest Photo Exchange LumoPro LP605 7ft. Compact Light Stand
2. Use light stands, not tripods, and use umbrella adapters.
3. Interfit Strobies Folding Softbox (24 x 24") STR127 B&H. Here is my review of this softbox: Interfit Strobies Softbox Review - a set on Flickr
5. Buy an A-clamp at a hardware store. Try to find one with a hole in the handle that will accommodate a 1/4 inch bolt. (If not, you can drill a hole). Secure the bolt with a locking nut, and screw the flash onto the A-clamp. I made a couple of these. If I have time in the next day or two I'll post a picture of one on my flickr account and provide a link.
01-11-2013, 12:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
I really like your kit list. I've read that those umbrella softboxes work very nicely but I need something smaller - need to see if a 30" of so is available for what I need.
I know there is a 33" version on e-bay. The only downside is that the umbrella handle sticks out a bit when threaded through the bracket. If you do a lot of product type shots, they offer a reversed version (black reflective on the flat and white shoot through on the curved) that should have significanly less light loss than the standard shoot through umbrella.

Tim

01-11-2013, 12:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by atupdate Quote
I know there is a 33" version on e-bay. The only downside is that the umbrella handle sticks out a bit when threaded through the bracket. If you do a lot of product type shots, they offer a reversed version (black reflective on the flat and white shoot through on the curved) that should have significanly less light loss than the standard shoot through umbrella.

Tim
Thanks for the additional info Tim. I briefly looked at those 33" umbrellas and might be an option for me. Since I just got the 16" softbox, I am going to try that for a while to see what results I get. I may opt to get one of those umbrellas soon though so I have a secondary light source - the 43" is just too big for where I do my setup.
01-11-2013, 07:27 PM   #10
HSV
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Thanks everyone for the info!

That umbrella brolly is interesting, I've never seen one. Seems like one would get octobank type results without breaking the bank.
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