September 16, 2014, 05:36:17 PM

Author Topic: Small monolights vs speedlites  (Read 1139 times)

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Small monolights vs speedlites
« on: April 28, 2014, 05:26:42 PM »
Hi everyone,

As I want to start and practice off camera flash for portraits and still life, I recently posted about modifiers for speedlites and the answers by Neuro and private really got me thinking. I realized that as I would mostly be working inside and probably firing a lot while learning the lightning basics, I would just be burning through batteries and AC monolights started making sense.

I ended up looking around and found some Godox 300Ws monolights that are quite inexpensive (100$) and that could probably provide a stop or two more light than a single hot-shoe flash (assuming 60-80Ws for those). Considering they are cheaper than a speedlite and could potentially provide as much light as 2 to 4 of the latter, they seem like a much better option. They also allow for adjusting the power on  single light instead of on a multitude of speedlites, which seems convenient.

I'm going to start off with what I have but those seem tempting for the future. Am I missing something here? Would you stick to speedlites or try something like those? What alternatives would you suggest?

Here is a link to the product : http://www.godox.com/EN/Products_Studio_Flash_SMART_Series.html

Thanks.

P.S. I understand these are probably not suitable for a professional studio, but Profotos or Bowens are not in my price range...
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Small monolights vs speedlites
« on: April 28, 2014, 05:26:42 PM »

Dylan777

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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2014, 05:55:30 PM »
I have been doing quite a bit of homeworks on studio light Vs Speedlites. After getting ton of WONDERFULL advices & feedbacks from CR members, I decided to go with Speedlites.

I recently got this package for $1650:
1. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, QTY: 3
2. Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter, QTY:1
3. Some Westcott umbrellas & softboxes

I also bought this Westscott combo: Triple Threat Real Deal Review



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David_in_Seattle

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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2014, 07:04:50 PM »
I didn't see your other post asking about speedlites vs monolights, but to answer your questions on this post see below:

1) The Godox monolights you mentioned do seem like affordable studio lights, but from my experience with speedlites and monolights is that you essentially get what you pay for.  I recommend doing your research on this brand and see if there are other reviews online.  Key things I'd be paying attention to are issues with accurate color temperature, consistency in firing the flash for every shutter release, any issues with overheating, and the quality of the brackets for attaching them to a light stand.  If all checks out, then I'd say go for them.

2) Another thing to consider with any monolight brand is the cost of their accessories.  Some brands require a proprietary speed ring to attach proprietary light modifiers and reflectors.  Also check to see their pricing on umbrellas, softboxes, and other modifiers is reasonable.  Most of the big brands have speed rings that can fit standard light modifiers from other brands.

3) Once you've decided on what monolight you want to purchase, the next thing is to buy some decent light stands.  Some brands sell their lights in kits that include them, but the stands are usually low quality and are flimsy.  You're probably gonna ask what makes a good light stand?  IMO, one that can support 5 times the weight of the monolight and have the ability to be weighed down by sand bags to provided added stability.  Look for stands that can extend to at least 7 feet so they give you more flexibility on positioning the light on the subject.

Alternatives:

1) If you live in the US or Canada, then Paul C Buff's Alienbee monolights are great for beginners.  They're reasonably priced and their accessories are more affordable compared to big brands like Profoto, Broncolor and Westscott.  Only problem is they do charge a bit much for shipping.

2) Elinchrom's D-light Rx system is also relatively affordable.  You can find a kit with 2 400w/s monolights, stands and softboxes for around $850 from B&H or Adorama.
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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2014, 08:20:11 PM »
I have been doing quite a bit of homeworks on studio light Vs Speedlites. After getting ton of WONDERFULL advices & feedbacks from CR members, I decided to go with Speedlites.

I recently got this package for $1650:
1. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, QTY: 3
2. Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter, QTY:1
3. Some Westcott umbrellas & softboxes

I also bought this Westscott combo: Triple Threat Real Deal Review

Thanks Dylan,

Although it appears to be an interesting deal, I can't afford that kind of setup right now. The reason I considered the monolight was that it could provide as much power as three of the speedlites (unless I'm mistaken, in which case I'd like to be corrected) for a fraction of the cost and also saving on the batteries and the hassle of adjusting the power of multiple devices.

And for the umbrella, wow! I wish I had a place big enough to allow for using such diffusers...

Such a setup could be an option on the long term though.
What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2014, 08:50:58 PM »
I didn't see your other post asking about speedlites vs monolights, but to answer your questions on this post see below:

1) The Godox monolights you mentioned do seem like affordable studio lights, but from my experience with speedlites and monolights is that you essentially get what you pay for.  I recommend doing your research on this brand and see if there are other reviews online.  Key things I'd be paying attention to are issues with accurate color temperature, consistency in firing the flash for every shutter release, any issues with overheating, and the quality of the brackets for attaching them to a light stand.  If all checks out, then I'd say go for them.

2) Another thing to consider with any monolight brand is the cost of their accessories.  Some brands require a proprietary speed ring to attach proprietary light modifiers and reflectors.  Also check to see their pricing on umbrellas, softboxes, and other modifiers is reasonable.  Most of the big brands have speed rings that can fit standard light modifiers from other brands.

3) Once you've decided on what monolight you want to purchase, the next thing is to buy some decent light stands.  Some brands sell their lights in kits that include them, but the stands are usually low quality and are flimsy.  You're probably gonna ask what makes a good light stand?  IMO, one that can support 5 times the weight of the monolight and have the ability to be weighed down by sand bags to provided added stability.  Look for stands that can extend to at least 7 feet so they give you more flexibility on positioning the light on the subject.

Alternatives:

1) If you live in the US or Canada, then Paul C Buff's Alienbee monolights are great for beginners.  They're reasonably priced and their accessories are more affordable compared to big brands like Profoto, Broncolor and Westscott.  Only problem is they do charge a bit much for shipping.

2) Elinchrom's D-light Rx system is also relatively affordable.  You can find a kit with 2 400w/s monolights, stands and softboxes for around $850 from B&H or Adorama.

Thanks David, some very good points there.

Of course, I understand that paying more often gives you more, although I also find that this is clearly not a linear relationship. I find that for many things, you can often get 80-90% as good for a fraction of the price, but it requires patience and a lot of perspicacity while you shop.

From my understanding, Godox has a good reputation as an entry level photography equipment provider, but surely can't be on par with the big guys. I'm not that concerned about the color temperature or overheating. Since I'm only an amateur, I have the time to deal with color adjustments in PP and also plan on doing quite a bit of B&W. I also don't plan on doing very intensive use so unless there really is a design issue, I doubt I'd overheat the thing much (although there is no fan onboard). Power stability and robustness are my main concern and I can't find much reliable info on that model from the net. If that is worth anything, Adorama appears to use Godox lower end variant of the strobe as their 'Flashpoint Budget Studio 300' strobe. The main disadvantage I see is that there is no HSS possibility with lower end monolights.

From my understanding, they have universal head with adapters for major brands of modifiers.

Alien bees are quite interesting, but again, they are more than 2.5 times more expensive at similar ratings. They do get 1 more stop of power adjustment, a more powerful modelling light and some track record, but I've not heard only good things about ABs.

Sadly, Einsteins or Elinchroms are just too expensive for me right now...



What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

brad goda

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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 05:41:46 AM »
VS. is the question and for studio setting … for repeatability
moonlights are the right tool.
for one they have modeling lamps that will give you a fair preview of your strobing light.
adding lamps to speed lights for this is lame and like you said you still have to deal with batteries…AND the batteries slowing as your shoot goes on or power goes up…

recycle time is going to be very apparent as most mono lights will recycle fairly fast and WITH a recycle completion "BEEP"
only few battery powered units sound recycled power.

more important is what ever light you buy make sure you can use the modifiers you want to use… like speedlight set ups i own I've spent lots on adaptors and actually made a lot of my modifiers to work with chimera elenchrom and profoto products…  a cheap light in a great modifier will look good. too cool too warm ect… there are gels for it.
good luck.

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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2014, 05:18:36 PM »
Thanks everyone!

@brad, I can see an advantage in shorter recycle times, although the particular Godox mono light I linked appears to be on the slow side there. 2s for full power recycling is not 'lightning fast'...

Still open to comments and suggestions. You are welcome to post details of light you own that perform better than their price suggests.
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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2014, 05:18:36 PM »

Skirball

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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 06:44:45 PM »
Sorry, I can’t comment on those Godox lights either, and that really seems to be what you need.  I’d agree that at that price, if they provide as much power as they say and function as intended, it’d be a good route to go.  If you’re purely staying within your studio then monos will save you some hassle.  And the extra power and modeling lights are just icing on the cake.  That said, I’m happy with my speedlights and I don’t find juggling strobes and batteries to be all that bad.  If I was shooting 5+ days a week in a studio I’m sure I’d have a different opinion though.

If you’re still debating between the two (mono and speedlights),  I will point out that you can get into the game for much cheaper than the 600exRT setup that Dylan posted.  If you don’t need eTTL you can get third party manual flashes for cheaper than those Godox lights.  Well for lights and triggers, you’ll still need a pile of decent batteries.  The flashes aren’t going to be near as strong, but I very rarely bump up against the limits of my speedlights indoors.  And when you take them outside of the studio you don’t have to worry about powercords and whatnot.  A strobe on a stand with a modifies is also light and easy to pull in for supplemental lighting.

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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2014, 09:48:41 PM »
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906651-REG/elinchrom_el_20852kit_d_lite_rx_4_400w.html

this elinchrom set is easily capable of pro use for a very good price and includes everything you need to get started
these will also do HSS with phottix odins :D
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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 09:39:52 AM »
I have been doing quite a bit of homeworks on studio light Vs Speedlites. After getting ton of WONDERFULL advices & feedbacks from CR members, I decided to go with Speedlites.

I recently got this package for $1650:
1. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, QTY: 3
2. Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter, QTY:1
3. Some Westcott umbrellas & softboxes

I also bought this Westscott combo: Triple Threat Real Deal Review

Dear Dylan777,

The Canon Speedlite (3x) and transmitter setup you described above may be exactly what I've been looking for. Would you please share the name of the firm you purchase this from? I realize the deal maybe over at this point, but it'll give me a place to start looking. Other package deals I've seen contain only two speedlites and I really need a third. Of course, depending upon the price I could just buy the third speedlite. But you also mentioned the company you bought from included some light stands in the deal and I will need those as well.

Vivid

PS: if anyone else knows of similar Canon two- or three-speedlite plus trigger deals, please let me know. Of course, I will continue to monitor this and the CPW site for such deals.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 10:41:39 AM by Vivid Color »

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Re: Small monolights vs speedlites
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 09:39:52 AM »