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Author Topic: I need some flash advice...  (Read 3614 times)

CharlieB

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I need some flash advice...
« on: September 05, 2013, 09:53:07 PM »
I do mostly "event" photography - just did DragonCon in Atlanta, and I do Daytona Bikeweek and Biketoberfest, Leesburg Bikefest, Sturgis, Laconia, maybe a few other 'Cons if folks ask me.  I only do DragonCon regularly.

In the past, I've shot a lot film at these events, shooting Hasselblad 500c/m and Leica M's.  Hasselblad sort of dropped by the wayside, as set-up posed shooting was becoming less of what I did, and candids were more the norm.  So, I kept plugging away with my trusy M4's and M6's

Flash equipment - I'd keep one M4 set up with a flash rig - basically two 283's in 16x24 Chimera box on a frame.  That was the vast part of my shooting, and yes, changing film became damn near performance art in itself.

This year, I said, hey, what the heck, I wont like the quality of the light, but lets shoot with the 7D and a 28/1.8, and I'd augment that with a trusty M

Not happy at all....

So here's where my thinking goes -

I can get a Quantum light for the Canon EOS's - but that will run me about $1300 or so, or a bit more.  It will go well in the Chimera rig though.  Plus side there is the use of a parabolic reflector and bare bulb.   Bare bulb is fantastic for some conditions.  I've shot entire weddings with bare bulb and HP-5 film (in the old days...) and it was just fantastic with a 1940's look to the result. 

Or, I can maybe just begin to get my feet wet with a Yongnuo YN565ex, or even two of those.  My thoughts there are I can also use those in the Chimera rig, and... later on they can be radio slaves.   I'd rather do the 565 since I really need a battery pack - screwin' with batteries is one thing I'd rather not have to deal with while shooting, and the quick recycle is a plus.

Or, I can just use the two low voltage shoe 283's in the rig as they are, shoot manually and forget E-TTL.  Cheap option, but... I always shoot color negative film, and of course that is forgiving with exposure.  I'd generally tend to slightly over expose on purpose when shooting negative film.   I can see a lot of testing, and fewer keepers going with the present flash rig.

Gimme some thoughts, shoot me down... I'm up for it so long as I can get pointed in some logical direction.  I've got an arsenal of 283's, all low voltage...all been re-capped and adjusted.  They work well too with Quantum batteries.   Got two of those Chimera rigs - the otheris a box I had cut square on special order so its 18x18 (I think?).  Doesn't matter, you can use it on square or 1:1.5 aspect ratio, same great results.

I'm really stuck on carring the box... I just love the effect of a soft broad fill.  Its very forgiving when mixed with ambient light, even strong and contrasty ambient light. 

And finally, maybe there's options I've missed.   Not too fond of Canon lights, seems there are better bang for the buck out there.

The Yongnuo's ... I wonder how they'll hold up.  You hear about infant mortality with those, but seemingly if they last past a month or so, they're good to go?  Dunno.   Last weekend, I shot 50 rolls of Ektar with the M4 and oh... 5000 shots with the 7D.   So I'd need something that will hold together ok.  I'm actually surprised that the 7D's tiny flash held up actually.

So, thats my story (and I'm stickin' to it!)


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I need some flash advice...
« on: September 05, 2013, 09:53:07 PM »

privatebydesign

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2013, 10:06:23 PM »
A man of your experience, using a softbox setup (so fairly constant subject distances) shooting vastly different toned costumed "characters" will not benefit from ETTL, I'd forget it.

If you really want to try the ETTL then get the best bang for the buck out there, a couple of second hand 550EX's will run you less than $300, and will be worth $300 when you sell them.

Work backwards, what iso and aperture do you need, figure out what flash power that entails and then realise the best bang for the buck with big lights is an Einstein and a Lithium Vagabond.
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CharlieB

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2013, 10:51:09 AM »
Experience yah... and jeeze the costumes (or lack there of!).  Its mostly biker events - a jillion variations on the same costume.  How many different ways can you wear a vest, black tee, dirty jeans and boots?   But I keep shooting.....

Fixed distance is not something I get the luxury of.   The box is on the camera.   I'm using a Stroboframe ... forget the number... something 66 as I think of it.  The box is effectively over the lens - folks think its some sort of movie/vid screen!

Distance varies quite a lot actually.  I may do a group of 10-12 Imperial Stormtroopers, then do a close up of some Manga-gal.  So, it varies a lot.  Mostly... its couples and threesomes.

I like the looks of that Einstein unit, but its weighty.  The power is nice, but I think I can do with one of those Alien Bee things - a lot less weight.  IF I was to go that route.  I've got five of ultras... the older ones, built like tanks.

Damn near pulled the trigger on a Quantum.  I still may.  They have the basic unit, TTL with pack for under $1000.  I'd need a remote cord for that... from camera to box, I guess.

And the thing holding me back, is the whole TTL with the box scenario.  Dunno why I feel that I need to get my feet wet a little, and test the waters before dunking in for a grand's worth.

Still open to suggestion!

CharlieB

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 01:10:36 PM »
After a bit of pondering, I went ahead and got the YN568EX-ii.

This will not be the end all of my flash needs, but here's the thought process (and I'm still open to other suggestions).

Thoughts went like this.   I would really like a batter pack to help with the flash's power supply.  I shoot enough at one time, in one setting, that it would be a great help.   I want to test and see how my softbox setup will work with TTL flash.   I could have cheaped out and gotten a YN565 model.....and a pack.    That would have been a short term solution to an upcoming problem - maybe.  I say maybe, because it might not work like I want, and I'm back looking at a Quantum unit.  On the other hand, the YN568 has a few more features that I might actually use without the softbox - high speed synch being one of 'em.   So , I opted for a battery change fest, and more features that might come in handly later.

Guess we'll see how it goes.  I guess simplicity matters too.   Still looking for that elegant solution.... what I've done now is a stop-gap at best.

distant.star

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2013, 02:58:13 PM »
.
Since I don't even know half of what you're talking about, I can't help at all with the light question.

The pictures sound interesting -- do you put them someplace they can be viewed? Also, is somebody buying these pictures?

Just curious. Thanks.
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captainkanji

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 03:59:46 PM »
It's all a bit advanced for me. I like to shoot scifi/anime conventions and have been using my 430ex on camera with a Lightsphere. This has worked ok in small rooms, but in convention centers it's not good. I'm going to try to shoot off camera handholding the flash with a ttl cable and a flashbender. I'll prob just keep the camera on my monopod. We will see how it works out. I'm still quite the amateur.
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CharlieB

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 09:18:28 PM »
I'll take a picture of the set up, once the flash comes in.

First attempt at shooting digitally... not up to snuff.   However, we get something looking decent at Biketoberfest, they'll be on my photobucket account.

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 09:18:28 PM »

sanj

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 01:04:46 AM »
Pls post photos that you take. Pls post photos of your 'set up'. I would love to learn.

CharlieB

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2013, 10:28:01 PM »
Yongnuo orders should be in tomorrow... gimme an evening to futz with it, and I'll have some pictures of the box rig posted Saturday sometime

drjlo

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Re: I need flash advice...
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 12:21:05 AM »
Yongnuo orders should be in tomorrow... gimme an evening to futz with it, and I'll have some pictures of the box rig posted Saturday sometime


I have a 568EX (same as Mk II except no Master), and while great for the money, it would be difficult to cover events with one 568EX, which tests to have less output than something like Canon 580EX II.  E-TTL works great, though, and I would feel comfortable using one 580EX II and one 568EX (or two 568EX) in many situations, although light modifiers will decrease output further.  Sometimes one simply needs things like Jinbei, Godox, etc.

http://www.lightingrumours.com/jinbei-freelander-fl-ii-500-location-lighting-system-review-3208

http://www.lightingrumours.com/godox-witstro-barebulb-flashguns-hands-on-preview-3185

ocabj

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 02:02:18 PM »
I've actually seen a few people something similar to this (note: not my photo):


strobist man by Joits, on Flickr

I actually had a pic of my friend using a Roundflash (http://roundflash.com/), but can't seem to remember where I posted it. But he actually has good results with the Roundflash at conventions.

CharlieB

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2013, 12:09:34 AM »
Yikes, and I thought I was a bit radical... that is just over the top (literally!).

Got the YN568EX-II today, along with the YN622C units.

First thing I noticed was really REALLY fast recycle in full manual.  I've done some reading .. some folks complain about low power and fast full power manual recyling.   I decided that it was acting more like unformed flash capacitor than anything else and I was right.  After about fifteen full power flashes, with maybe four or five minutes between flashes... Recycle times settled down into the 3 second or so range.  I put fresh AA's in, and the recycle remained the same, so I think I was correct in thinking the flash capacitor needed forming.

Set up the 622's and flash without reading the book.  For my own purposes - just a remote TTL flash - there's not much to set.   Everything worked as it ought to.   Really like the focusing aid on the 622 also.

Just got in from a board of directos meeting (ugh) and didn't have a lot of time to play with things.  I'll dig out one of the frames and a box tomorrow and play with it a bit.... get a picture of the setup too.

I think that two YN568's will work work fine.   If I can shoot at 5.6 or so at a medium ISO, I'll be happy with it.

verysimplejason

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 08:34:16 AM »
I've actually seen a few people something similar to this (note: not my photo):


strobist man by Joits, on Flickr

I actually had a pic of my friend using a Roundflash (http://roundflash.com/), but can't seem to remember where I posted it. But he actually has good results with the Roundflash at conventions.


Awesome!!! All in the name of photography.  :D  That's the spirit!

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 08:34:16 AM »

surapon

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 12:00:46 PM »
Dear Sir.
Past many yeas, For my traveling Portrait and Wedding Job, I use my DIY Multi-Flashes  System--That I make the Side Light  = Flash + Graslon 4100F,  And Catch Light/ Top of Camera for Indirected Light with Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce-With Aluminum Reflected Tape on the Back of Sto-Fen----Yes, This My DIY is work  for me Perfected Portrait Photos in every Times---Yes  I use One of the Best E-TTL  Wireless Controler too---For Fast walk around shooting  with out thinking--Yes, Lazy/ Stupid Me = I set up my Canon Cameras in PROGRAM MODE and Get 99% good/ Great Photos---With out use my brain and my hands setting the camera for 1000  + photos on the wedding job/ Party Job.
Just My Crazy Ideas for this DIY, and hope that you might like this DIY.
Enjoy
Surapon

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/0304434791/accessory-review-phottix-odin-ttl-flash-trigger-for-canon-
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 02:42:28 PM by surapon »

surapon

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 12:06:41 PM »
A= MONO-POD
B= CUSTOM BRACKET FOLDING " T"
C= RPS STUDIO, MODEL RS-03102 MULTI-FLASHES HOLDER.
D= HARDWARE CRAMP.
E= DETACHABLE BASE AND HOTSHOE MOUNTED.
F= CANON FLASH 580 EX II
G= GRASLON 4100F, FLASH MODIFIER--MAIN LIGHT = BIG SOFT LIGHT WITH MINIMUM SHADE AND SHADOW.
H= PHOTTIX ODIN, TTL + TTL ii FLASH CONTROLER/ WIRELESS TRANSMITTER FOR 3 GROUPS 12 FLASHES.
I= PHOTTIX ODIN- TTL + TTL-ii FLASHES RECEIVERS.
J= CANON FLASH 580 EX.
K= STO-FEN OMNI-BOUNCE( diy MODIFY) FOR CATCH LIGHT AT EYES OF MODELS.
L= CANON 5D MK II AND CANON LENS EF 24-70 MM. F/ 2.8 L USM.
M= CANON OFF-CAMERA SHOE CORD TO LINK CAMERA AND PHOTTIX ODIN TRANSMITTER

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/0304434791/accessory-review-phottix-odin-ttl-flash-trigger-for-canon-
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 02:41:45 PM by surapon »

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Re: I need some flash advice...
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 12:06:41 PM »