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Studio lighting & Light meters.

10479 Views 72 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Yaamon
Hey gang, any one here use Elinchrom studio lighting?
I am considering the Elinchrom D-Lite 4 "To Go Set" and just looking for some personal input. I know the D-lites are on the lower consumer end, but the specs seem to match what I need.

I changed the thread title to Studio Lighting & Light meters from Elinchrom studio lighting.
All studio lighting, DIY lighting, light meters talk welcomed.
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I don't know about Elinchrom but I've heard good things about Alien Bees.
I have a couple of Alien Bees and highly recommend them... When I did my research a few years ago they were the best bang for the buck, I remember considering the D-Lite's as well. AB has the best customer service I have ever seen. Oh and their stuff is manufactured right in the US... Actually you buy direct from the manufacturer.
How do you guys trigger your strobes? Radio? Photocell? Sync cable?
I use both radio (bought the cheap one from AB, works fine) and the sync cable. When I use my light meter a lot I use the sync cable more than the radio because it's a pain to move the transmitter off the flash shoe and on the flash meter all the time. If I'm not using my tripod I'll tend to use the radio more to have more freedom of movement.

The strobes have a photocell that they use when you put them in slave mode. I'm sure the D-Lite has it too.
I am looking at radio poppers. If I get one transmitter and one receiver hooked up to the 40D and one of the D-lites the other D-lite can be fired optically.
Seems it would be the easiest and best bang for the buck.
Those will work fine... Again if you plan on using a light meter to measure direct light you might want to consider an additional transmitter for the meter.
Hmm I see that the Elinchrom BX 500Ri has radio receivers built in. Interesting. That could make things a little easier.
I know that 400ws vs 500ws is only 1/4stop more light and rather negligible but the other upgrades might just be worth the extra $
I'm not a professional by any stretch of the imagination but I picked-up the D-Lite2 To-Go set from Vistek in the Spring and think they are a fantastic set of strobes. The 200ws is more than powerful enough for the space I'm using them in.

I use the included sync cable with my Nikon D300 to one of them, the other fires optically. I went with them because if my needs grow Elinchrom has a vast amount of accessories to grow with.

As for triggers, RadioPoppers seem to have a adequate reputation and seem to be quite a bit less expensive than Pocket Wizards and Elinchrom's own Skyports.

If you went the BX 500Ri route you also need to go with the Skyports to trigger them wirelessly.

I can't recommend enough a flash meter for use with strobes so make sure you include that in your budget. I got the Sekonic L-358 Flash Master. It's a good all around flash and incident light meter that's not too expensive. You can even buy a transmitter module that will fire Pocket Wizards wirelessly.
Gino Cerullo, what kind of set up do you have? Are you able to post some photos?

You'll love the control you get with the computer software Elinchrom supplies for these.
From Elinchroms website
BX 500 Ri does not offer the computer remote function.
I have been thinking about a light meter, will do some research on them next.

Im rather new to the whole studio lighting game, always just done natural light or mounted flash with a BBC
Sorry, you're correct, the BX doesn't support the software.

The lights are packed up right now and I've never taken a shot of the set up so sorry.

I originally bought them to shoot fabric samples for a client's e-commerce web site but have since also done a portable musical keyboard on a stand with a portable bench for another client.

The 200ws lights were plenty powerful enough for the set up. The space I was shooting in, a corner of my basement about 12' x 12' x 7'-2" high was very tight. But I got the job done.

I don't know what your subject matter is but you may also need to consider getting something to hold a back drop of some sort, muslin or no-seam. I went with the Manfrotto 314B because it has a telescopic cross bar. More flexible in a tight space. Photek makes a stronger, bigger system, also heavier, for a little less cost but the cross bars are of a fixed length so it was difficult for me to use in the tight space I was dealing with. Two cross bars where too short, three were too long.
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I have been thinking about a light meter, will do some research on them next.
Here's another vote for the light meter. With digital you can get by by trial and error looking at the histogram but if you want to get into light ratios a light meter is almost essential. I also have the Sekonic 358 and it works really well.
Ive always just read the light my self, I do not even really know how to use a light meter, rather embarrassing for a photographer to admit.
You guys care to share a bit on how they work / how to use them. Will be educational for me and others.
If we get some good talk going ill turn it into its own thread.
I mostly do portraits, family, baby shots and thought it was high time for some proper lighting since most have been outside or with some 580EXs
I'll do one better. Here's a link to a bunch of videos on how to use a flash meter.
Awesome. Thanks.
Now to just figure out exactly what I want.
I like to research things to death so I am happy with what I get. I researched my current camera gear and lenses for months, but hope to have the studio set up my Christmas.
Opus H50088

When I was at the photo show a few weeks ago I used a dual opus H250ws lighting system they had and liked the results.

Since I like to play around I thought this would be a good starter kit to get to play around with indoor portrait. I ordered the kit last week from the store I deal with. The kit also comes with a wireless transmitter and receiver too.

They called yesterday to say its in will go pick it up some time this afternoon.

My wife said where am I going to set that up I said in the living room :D

I want to experiment with one light and a reflector first.

Looking to buy a sekonic L358 light/flash meter. I see it on the us for $259 may mail order it to the hotel and get it on the us Thanksgiving weekend.
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Cool stuff Yaamon, when you have had some time to play with them post your thoughts and some results.
A quick one umbrella shoot

I picked up the kit yesterday and decide to open and give it a quick try tonight. Will play around with it more this weekend and experiment with as a shoot through and using the softbox as a dual light. Sure wish I had a flash meter on hand.

I will be buying sekonic L358 meter shortly.

The instructions is not that clear on how far you should stick the umbrella on to the flash head so Im not sure how close the head should be from the umbrella.

I had to eye the flash output manually and was too lazy to use the desktop and used the macbook pro transfer the pictures.

For some reason I could not get the wireless transmitter to trigger the flash with the wireless receiver. By pressing the test button on the transmitter it would fire but connected to the hot shoe it would not. I ended up using the flash pc cable to the transmitter on the hot shoe to trigger the flash.

Will go get the transmitter exchanged tomorrow. The wireless transmitter and receiver feels cheap. Should have gotten the kits without the transmitter and buy the alien bees that are cheaper and looks better.

I cropped this picture heavy, hope the exposure came out ok. Did no additional exposure adjustment in post processing.

Got only to take a few of my daughter as she busy doing home work. This was with one umbrella.

Opss I jusyed check the file on my calibrated monitor at work and it looks slightly under exposed and white balance seems off. Should have used the my home desktop calibrated monitors.

By the way the kit comes in a nice carrying bag the size of a medium duffle bag.
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Much better model or subject now :)

This afternoon I tested the wireless transmitter and receiver at the store I bought it and it did not work on any canon camera or the nikon D700.

It worked on the D90. The person suggested to try the pocket wizzard($$) an dof course it works. There was also another brand for $300 and that worked. There was another off brand from China that did not work on my camera or the other canon he had on display.

Seems as through the center pin was not making contact with the center pin on the hot shoe?

The person called the owner of the company Nadel(Opus) and arrange that I take the unit over there with my camera.

He already had 2 new kits on the table for me to try. Tried the both units and damm my camera fired the flash??

He then put mine on my 5D II and oh no it fired the flash. That is so weird. Anyway the owner was very nice and said any other problems please feel to come back as he would be interested in any problems.

The wife and kids just went out and I found the perfect model or subject to shoot.

Can shoot this subject as much as I like and there is no complaining. I can position the subject as much as I like with no comments are you done yet.

I realise why the white balance was off in my first post, the camera white balance is set to auto and I forgot to set the white balance to 5500'k in processing.

I adjusted the power output a bit more on the flash to almost 80%. ISO200 and F8 @125th.

@F5.6 focused on right eye of doggie.

Since I shoot raw I adjusted the exposure on my desktop calibrated monitor and the color temp.
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I use the Elinchrom 500 BXRi set and thnk they work great. The remote firing is a bonus as well as the built in fans if you are shooting for a while.
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