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06-06-2010, 10:22 PM   #1
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Possibly buying used studio lights, backdrop

I would like to be able to take more professional looking shots of my friends and family, though new lamps and flashguns are way out of my budget. I found this craig's list ad, for some smith-victor lights and a backdrop, and I'm checking it all out this Tuesday. This seems to be a very affordable way for me to get my feet wet with studio-ish photography (amateur here, K-x w/kit lens, all that good stuff ). I know the description isn't very specific at all, but are there any specific things I should look out for with the equipment? They are from the 80s, but I figured a light is a light, right?

Thanks for the help!

06-07-2010, 05:36 AM   #2
Ari
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I doubt that it is a very good deal. If they are what I think they are, those Smith Victor lights are just large reflectors. You can get similar ones at Home Depot for less money. And I doubt a thirty - year old backdrop is going to be in great shape (and I'm assuming you don't want the k1000). Check out www.diyphotography.net for some good, budget - minded home lighting ideas.
You should also look at www.bhphotovideo.com for some inexpensive backdrop ideas, or go to your local wholesale fabric store and see what muslin costs by the yard.

Last edited by Ari; 06-07-2010 at 05:38 AM. Reason: grammar, expanded response
06-07-2010, 07:54 AM   #3
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I had some old SV lights of about the same vintage as those, and they can take regular bulbs, but lighting bulbs are preferred. They have a lifespan measured in hours, and they get very hot, and pull a lot of electricity. The set I had had a couple 600W bulbs.

Make sure that the set comes with spare bulbs, and stands.
06-07-2010, 09:25 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tomzee93 Quote
I would like to be able to take more professional looking shots of my friends and family, though new lamps and flashguns are way out of my budget. I found this craig's list ad, for some smith-victor lights and a backdrop, and I'm checking it all out this Tuesday. This seems to be a very affordable way for me to get my feet wet with studio-ish photography (amateur here, K-x w/kit lens, all that good stuff ). I know the description isn't very specific at all, but are there any specific things I should look out for with the equipment? They are from the 80s, but I figured a light is a light, right?

Thanks for the help!
I aalmost went that route.

IMO, you'd be better served picking up a set of new home studio strobes such as the Interfit, Calumet Photo, Fotodiox and a couple of others.

06-07-2010, 10:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ed n Georgia Quote
IMO, you'd be better served picking up a set of new home studio strobes such as the Interfit, Calumet Photo, Fotodiox and a couple of others.
I'm having a hard time with the different types of equipment and terms, could you link me to something you were thinking about? Thank you
06-07-2010, 10:49 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tomzee93 Quote
I'm having a hard time with the different types of equipment and terms, could you link me to something you were thinking about? Thank you
OK, here.

INT182 Interfit Photographic EX150 MKII Kit with Two 150 watt Second Monolight Flashes, with Umbrella, Softbox, Bulbs and Stands

Fotodiox

SystemPRO Basic 2 Light Studio Lighting Kit - Promaster - Helix Camera & Video

Take a look at those. Do some Amazon.com searches and ebay.com searches and I'll bet you can find just what you need for a home studio

You can find backdrops and backdrop supports very inexpensively on ebay.com

BTW, I grew up in Knoxville. Graduated from West High in..... Well, a long time ago.

Last edited by Ed n Georgia; 06-07-2010 at 10:55 AM.
06-07-2010, 08:14 PM   #7
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Thank you, Ed n Georgia!

QuoteOriginally posted by Ari Quote
If they are what I think they are, those Smith Victor lights are just large reflectors.
If that's the case, would I potentially be able to just buy additional umbrellas or something else to diffuse the light, or do you need something other than reflectors for that?

They all come with stands too, so if the backdrop and k1000 are in good condition and that umbrella idea is possible, do you think it'd be a good buy then?

Thanks!
06-07-2010, 08:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tomzee93 Quote
Thank you, Ed n Georgia!



If that's the case, would I potentially be able to just buy additional umbrellas or something else to diffuse the light, or do you need something other than reflectors for that?

They all come with stands too, so if the backdrop and k1000 are in good condition and that umbrella idea is possible, do you think it'd be a good buy then?

Thanks!
You could buy some additional umbrellas, both reflective and shoot - through. If it is the old fashioned ball joint mounts on the SV lights, you won't be able to mount an umbrella with them (I used to use alligator clips on a stand and slide the umbrella through the joint on the clip joints).
I still think you are better served looking at some economy strobes. You have a wonderfully versatile camera; it deserves some good off-camera lighting And you will quickly grow into a basic strobe kit (then quickly outgrow it. The joys of photography! But that's why there's a marketplace on the forum )

06-08-2010, 05:23 PM   #9
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If you're serious about getting into studio photography, I'd invest in some decent gear from the beginning, i.e. AlienBees which are a Nashville based company. It'll save you money in the long run. If you end up losing interest in off camera lighting, you shouldn't have a problem selling them at nearly the same price you bought them. Unlike other budget minded lighting gear, AlienBees units keep their value. Their package deal start at under $300.

AlienBees: Illuminating the Galaxy with Professional Photographic Lighting Equipment
06-08-2010, 10:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by donelly duck eclair Quote
If you're serious about getting into studio photography, I'd invest in some decent gear from the beginning, i.e. AlienBees which are a Nashville based company. It'll save you money in the long run. If you end up losing interest in off camera lighting, you shouldn't have a problem selling them at nearly the same price you bought them. Unlike other budget minded lighting gear, AlienBees units keep their value. Their package deal start at under $300.

AlienBees: Illuminating the Galaxy with Professional Photographic Lighting Equipment
Gonna have to wholeheartedly agree with this. Alien Bees is good stuff, well priced, well built and will grow with you. If only the logo was a little smaller on their gear Looks a little goofy.........
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