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Thread: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Question Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    I never have been great a portraits but would like to step up my game a bit and start practising studio type work. Seems like portraits in LF would be amazingly fun. I have a Nikon SB-800 I've used for years, though moreso for fill flashes and stuff and not for studio portraits. It doesn't have a sync so I'd have to use some sort of wireless sync (which is a good idea anyway I suppose).

    Since I only have one though, I was thinking maybe about getting a continuous lighting setup instead especially given CFL and LED options. Digital may have a leg up here for high ISO sensitivity. I was thinking I'd probably use HP5 a good deal so I could push it to 1600 or 3200 there. But trying some other emulsions might be fun too for portraits (e.g. Pancro 400, or perhaps Portra 400). I was also thinking I would be using larger apertures for a shallower DOF. This would be with 4x5 at the moment.

    I poked around the forums and ran into [url="http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?137587-Continuous-Lighting/page2"]this/[url] post which goes into equipment, but doesn't mention much about when strobes or continuous lighting are the better fit for a particular application.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2

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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by m00dawg View Post
    I never have been great a portraits but would like to step up my game a bit and start practising studio type work. Seems like portraits in LF would be amazingly fun. I have a Nikon SB-800 I've used for years, though moreso for fill flashes and stuff and not for studio portraits. It doesn't have a sync so I'd have to use some sort of wireless sync (which is a good idea anyway I suppose).

    Since I only have one though, I was thinking maybe about getting a continuous lighting setup instead especially given CFL and LED options. Digital may have a leg up here for high ISO sensitivity. I was thinking I'd probably use HP5 a good deal so I could push it to 1600 or 3200 there. But trying some other emulsions might be fun too for portraits (e.g. Pancro 400, or perhaps Portra 400). I was also thinking I would be using larger apertures for a shallower DOF. This would be with 4x5 at the moment.

    I poked around the forums and ran into [url="http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?137587-Continuous-Lighting/page2"]this/[url] post which goes into equipment, but doesn't mention much about when strobes or continuous lighting are the better fit for a particular application.

    Thoughts?
    Why not go look at professional photographers websites and see what they use and how they use them? Try Clay Blackwell.

  3. #3

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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Oooh thanks for that, I'll check out Clay's work. I did poke around a bit, though had a bit of a hard time finding film or LF shooters. Found some nice articles for the digital domain though. But since you can crank a DSLR up to like a million ISO it felt a bit apples to oranges.

  4. #4

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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by m00dawg View Post
    Oooh thanks for that, I'll check out Clay's work. I did poke around a bit, though had a bit of a hard time finding film or LF shooters. Found some nice articles for the digital domain though. But since you can crank a DSLR up to like a million ISO it felt a bit apples to oranges.
    Most current pro portrait photographers that have been in business for several years were film shooters that shoot digital now.

  5. #5

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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Found a few more sources to check out:

    https://fstoppers.com/film/light-eat...raiture-164612
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...LF-portraiture
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...tinuous-lights

    Oddly found the last two via a Google search rather than the built-in search here but *shrug* some good info nonetheless! Still looking for examples from other photographers (Googling around while I have breaks at work).

    I think initially I may get a cheap wireless sync to fire my current flash since that'll get me started since that doesn't require much investment and I can play around with it while I continue to research options.

  6. #6

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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by m00dawg View Post
    Found a few more sources to check out:

    https://fstoppers.com/film/light-eat...raiture-164612
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...LF-portraiture
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...tinuous-lights

    Oddly found the last two via a Google search rather than the built-in search here but *shrug* some good info nonetheless! Still looking for examples from other photographers (Googling around while I have breaks at work).

    I think initially I may get a cheap wireless sync to fire my current flash since that'll get me started since that doesn't require much investment and I can play around with it while I continue to research options.
    Do you have an umbrella or soft box? How about a couple of light stands and a reflector to use as a fill light?

  7. #7

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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Umbrella and stands are on the shopping list (I super needed it a few weeks ago). Previously I've only had one of those sheet diffusers you strap to the top of the flash. Hadn't thought about a reflector but that's a good point. The place I have room to set things up doesn't have a ton of natural light but it would help (likewise I assume I can have the flash bounce off a reflector as well)

  8. #8

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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    You need a lot of light for large format portraits at traditional working apertures. I use 500 watt flash heads and I would say that is around the minimum you practically need if you want any kind of flexibility. It would be a major undertaking to get the same intensity of light from LED's or CFL's.

  9. #9

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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias Key View Post
    You need a lot of light for large format portraits at traditional working apertures. I use 500 watt flash heads and I would say that is around the minimum you practically need if you want any kind of flexibility. It would be a major undertaking to get the same intensity of light from LED's or CFL's.
    A soft box can be much more pleasant then an umbrella. The reflector can kick light back as a fill on the shadow side from your flash. You just look for a 3:1 lighting ratio.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Hi,
    I have all quoted problems: I would like enough light without roasting the subject during the setting and positioning of the lamps...
    So, for the kind of light, tungsten were the best: some with fresnels, to have a crisp light in some areas... but those are really hot!
    So, besides the usual diffusors that always work well, for pointed lights LEDs could be a solution, but I did not find the same kind of concentration of the flood.
    Do you have any advice ? which kind of lamps should I look for ?
    There are mini parabolic leds that look pretty good, but I am not sure.
    Thank you

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