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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Can you have too much light power?
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03/09/2011 08:29:45 PM · #1
I'm looking to get my first set of studio lights & the price isn't that much different for a Elinchrom BXRi 250/250 Set & a Elinchrom BXRi 500/500 Set

Ive only a small double garage space, are the 500's going to dial down enough? I am perusing other studio space options but might be in the current space for a while.

Also do you think that a mix of these lights & SB800's will work, perhaps the SB's for hair light etc

Any thoughts

Steven
03/09/2011 08:37:48 PM · #2
I'm at about the same "point in time" as you. I have two SBs and just got two softboxes to use with them. I also have a AB400 on the way. I chose the 400 (lowest power) b/c like you, I'll be in a small area for awhile and the big boy would likely have been "wasted".

Originally posted by Shadowi6:

I'm looking to get my first set of studio lights & the price isn't that much different for a Elinchrom BXRi 250/250 Set & a Elinchrom BXRi 500/500 Set

Ive only a small double garage space, are the 500's going to dial down enough? I am perusing other studio space options but might be in the current space for a while.

Also do you think that a mix of these lights & SB800's will work, perhaps the SB's for hair light etc

Any thoughts

Steven
03/09/2011 08:46:06 PM · #3
I'm not familiar with those lights, so can't be specific based on experience with them.

In general, it depends on a number of factors:

What modifiers do you plan to use on them? Shoot thru umbrellas and softboxes "eat" more light than reflectors, bounce umbrellas, for example.

What will your subject matter be? People or still life. If people, mainly head/shoulder sorts of portraits, or full length? Individuals, couples, or groups of people?

IF you can compare these lights' specs to Alien Bees, I can share my AB experience, and you can see where these lights land in the AB range.

AB 1600, 800, and 400 are each 1 stop offset from the next. So the 1600's upper AND Lower limits are both 1 stop higher than the 800, etc. A 400 is two stops lower on both high and low end than the 1600. In my experience, I seldom used a 1600 in-studio, except to fill a big softbox that had to be fairly far away from the subject. Used them preferentially OUTdoors, though.

If you like to shoot shallow dof portraits, and you like the softbox just out of frame, lower output levels are more important than higher. While 400's would probably suit just fine for portrait work, I would probably go for 800's in this situation, especially if you might be shooting couples or families, where you need more dof, and lights will be further back from the subjects. Full disclosure: I used 400, 800, and 1600 ABs at a studio for over a year. When it came time to buy my own lights, I got the Einstein's instead: one light covers the full range of all three ABs, along with a lot of other improvements and higher end quality.
03/09/2011 09:06:48 PM · #4
If the specs are accurate, the 500 at lowest power fires at approximately the same as an SB800 at half power. Make your determination from that.
Since the AB's were brought up... this is one of the reasons the Einstein is so attractive... it has the power of a 1600 and still goes down to 2.5 w/s, having 9 stop adjustment.
03/09/2011 11:48:16 PM · #5
To Answer your question Yes you can. I stobed a gym with AB1600's because that is what I needed. When I tried to use them in my home studio, even turned way down with double diffusers in my softboxes I couldn't turn them down far enough. I now use a combination of sb900's and AB800s.
03/10/2011 02:01:07 AM · #6
RE: Can you have too much light power?

Undoubtedly.

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03/10/2011 02:13:24 AM · #7
for me, if you can afford more for almost the same money, why not? my 500's dial down plenty low enough
03/11/2011 10:39:44 PM · #8
thanks for the thoughts guys, Im not too sure it helped thou :)

Ive found a middle ground thou which should really suit me. A friend is selling his 300w lights and is selling them cheaply so I can afford to get them for now in my smaller space & upgrade when I shift to bigger digs. Then I'll have both
03/16/2011 04:17:34 AM · #9
I totally forgot to throw this link out... good info for you
Strobist: Bleeding power from big lights with big mods
03/16/2011 05:27:52 AM · #10
Harold "Doc" Egerton the so-called father of flash photography, used a strobe so powerful for
night time aerial photography that it could cause news print to burst into flame at a distance
of ten feet. So it is possible to h ave too much light power. LOL
03/16/2011 09:21:52 AM · #11
I tend to shoot open (wide aperture) in the studio, so I may not need as much power as some. I have all AB400s and haven't run into a situation where I even needed full power. In many case I still end up at 1/60 f/8 (ISO 100) because one of the flashes is on it's minimal power setting. Do Nikon's still have a minim ISO of 200? If so, you are already going to be 1 stop faster than my canon. Part of the reason I went with matched power on all the strobes is that I can put the highest power modeling lamp in each and they will at least resemble the balance I will get when the strobe fires. I think the AB400s also cycle faster. Of course, your mileage may vary.
03/16/2011 12:44:29 PM · #12
If you can't get the power down enough, crank up the aperture. Use reflectors for fill. Bounce the light instead of using it directly. Many ways to tone down. Always easier to get less power than to get more.

Edit for stupidity

Message edited by author 2011-03-16 12:45:11.
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