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04-10-2011, 08:26 PM   #1
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K-7 or lighting?

Good evening everyone! I have a tough decision to make coming up. I recently sold some photo related items, and now have some money for more equipment. At this point I am just finishing my first year of photography classes in school, with another fun year coming up, then off to the university to get a bachelors in photo-media. I plan on making photography a career, so my excuse for buying equipment is that it is an "investment" Anyways, I was originally planning on using the money to upgrade from my K-x to a K-7 as there are several very desirable features that I see on the K-7 that will be useful with a higher skill level. However I just recently purchased my first monolight strobe, a Elinchrom D-lite4, and I am thinking it might be wise to get another, and most of all, I am seeing times where it would be very helpful to have some more mobility, with the use of a battery pack; specifically the Alien Bee Vegabond mini, which just came out, and from past research it sounds that Paul Buff puts out some quality products, maybe not the gangster status of ProPhoto, but decent. My question isn't necessarily about specific gear, rather, should I invest in increased lighting and mobility, being able to shoot on scene, or would the camera be better to upgrade? My curriculum dictates that the next year of photo classes will include at least 1 studio class each quarter, so I feel like there will be quite a bit of potential to use lighting. I want to make sure I buy wisely, aquring equipment that can be used for awhile, even if that means an increased expense. I appreciate your replies!

04-10-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
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I vote for lighting equipment. You can't make photos without light, and if you are interested in studio, then you will, eventually, buy studio lights.
Since you are destined to buy them anyway, you may as well buy them now.
04-10-2011, 10:10 PM   #3
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I think the mobile lighting is a smart idea... there are lots of great shots not in a studio that need lights... think mobile and lighting and get the K7 later... or maybe the K5... if a K3 or like has come out by than...
04-10-2011, 11:45 PM   #4
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^^^Very good idea, then hopefully get something newer than the k-7, I appreciate the input

04-11-2011, 08:01 AM   #5
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I'm not sure which features you'd prefer with the K-7 over the K-x, but in my opinion the lighting kit would be the better choice. With either camera, you're still going to have the same 1/180s flash sync limit, so regardless if you're shooting in the studio or on location, you'd still have the same constraints. The K-7 is superior in ergonomics, manual controls, and AF, but if you're dealing with posed shooting, the K-x is not at a disadvantage.

As for the lighting, I love Elinchrom products and recently bought myself a Ranger RX set. Have you considered the 500 BXRI versus the D-lite 4's? A single one is cheaper then a used K-7 and you can find used BXRI's for even less. They have a bit more power than the D-lites and have the skyport transmitters built in. I'm not sure if you can pair them with a Vagabond mini, but I recall seeing a video with someone doing just that. Good luck on getting the Vagabond mini too, they've been on backorder forever now
04-11-2011, 08:42 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by einstrigger Quote
I'm not sure which features you'd prefer with the K-7 over the K-x, but in my opinion the lighting kit would be the better choice. With either camera, you're still going to have the same 1/180s flash sync limit, so regardless if you're shooting in the studio or on location, you'd still have the same constraints. The K-7 is superior in ergonomics, manual controls, and AF, but if you're dealing with posed shooting, the K-x is not at a disadvantage.

As for the lighting, I love Elinchrom products and recently bought myself a Ranger RX set. Have you considered the 500 BXRI versus the D-lite 4's? A single one is cheaper then a used K-7 and you can find used BXRI's for even less. They have a bit more power than the D-lites and have the skyport transmitters built in. I'm not sure if you can pair them with a Vagabond mini, but I recall seeing a video with someone doing just that. Good luck on getting the Vagabond mini too, they've been on backorder forever now

The d-lites I have also have the built in skyport, which I love so far, no cords, and fires perfectly every time. The BXRI's have some more features though, definitely something to consider, plus those are actually swiss made Thanks for your input!
04-11-2011, 08:57 AM   #7
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Definitely lighting

The Kx is a very capable piece of equipment and unless you need the look of a professional setup for paid gigs i would say it's better to have lighting to play, improve and shoot as a madman day and night.
04-11-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
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I'd go for lighting, but I would recommend the Strobist way. Get a couple of older flashes (like the vivitar 285HV), Yongnuo radio transmitters, softboxes or umbrellas, and you'll be ready to shoot in most situations.

Studio work during your studies will probably be done at the school's studio, they can't expect you to purchase Bowen lamps, fancy umbrellas, triggers, and such. Lighting when on the move should be small, portable, and simple to set up.

If you go the Strobist way, you should have enough money to afford a K7, or why not a K5? Its high ISO performances should compensate somewhat for the lower light input

04-11-2011, 05:57 PM   #9
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One thing to keep in mind is where you will keep this potential lighting equipment once you are stuck in a dorm room in college.

Plus, many universities already offer lots of studio space with more than adequate equipment, reducing the need for your own personal set until after college.
04-11-2011, 06:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Every photographer I know who has gone the studio route has started with some combination of hot lights or portable flash units that have been Rub Goldberged to work with umbrellas, and every one of them, without exception has ended up buying real studio lights.
For myself, I would avoid the middleman and go right to the real deal. In the long run, it will save you money.
Agreed.

Mini Vag is supposed to be great, too. Ordering one and a few B1600s myself.


That said, here is what a couple lights and a Kx can do. You'll be fine with it. I loved the ergo and weight of the K7, but I felt better photos came out of the Kx past ISO 400.

04-11-2011, 07:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Every photographer I know who has gone the studio route has started with some combination of hot lights or portable flash units that have been Rub Goldberged to work with umbrellas, and every one of them, without exception has ended up buying real studio lights.
For myself, I would avoid the middleman and go right to the real deal. In the long run, it will save you money.
Exactly...I already have a Metz 48, and its great for putting on top of the camera and for really quick lightweight shooting. I have tried it in my "home" studio (aka my garage haha) and it doesn't have the power I see myself needing in the future. Those can be quite price too, although one doesn't need super expensive stuff for the strobist effect if manual adjustment is used, which worked well with a $10 sunpak I bough used ha. It gets it done, but so far I am loving the power of the Elinchrom. You all have definitely convinced me to go with lighting, and after viewing some videos of the vegabond mini, I am very excited to be able to do location shoots. It looks so easy with that, plus its only 4lbs! Thanks for all the advice everyone, I really appreciate it!
04-11-2011, 07:47 PM   #12
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The photo above ^^^ is fantastic!
04-11-2011, 08:41 PM   #13
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Thanks!

Don't forget to get modifiers depending what you're shooting. Using your light creatively can make the shot!
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