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Thread: tungsten vs strobe lighting

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Northern Virginia

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
    It's really a shame most photographers get stuck on strobe*. Hot lights are a lovely way to work and it is so much easier to see the light rather than guessing what is going on or chimping a hundred times with your digital (or burning Polaroids $$$) just to do an obvious shot.

    *I qualify this though... shoot a group of people and you need strobe, no group is going to be patient enough for hot lights.
    My old Speedotron heads have modeling lights, and I do admit to using just the modeling lights on occasion with black and white, and when the lighting needed to be really close. But they are too yellow for color, even tungsten-balanced color.

    Now, when I need really close lighting to provide that shadowless, enveloping effect, I use a shoot-through umbrella or a translucent scrim, sometimes mounted on its own stand, with the light as far back as needed.

    But it's been so freaking long since I've had a use for studio lights that I'm not even sure they would work if I plugged them in.

    Rick "who likes the sound of that gigantic capacitor charging up" Denney

  2. #12
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    With Fresnels you can focus the beam however you want. I have a traditional Arri
    setup and absolutely love it for 8x10 portraiture. These kinds of lights were often used
    for that classic look in the movies of the 1930's and 40's, right up to the advent of
    color movies. They can create crisp firm-edge shadows, the Karsh look, or can be used
    in conjunction with diffusers and reflectors for a highly controllable softbox effect.
    But they are "hot" lights, so you want a comfortable room which isn't unduly warm to begin with. Fresnel lighting is quite a bit more expensive than ordinary hot lights, but
    not as bad as some pro flash boxes.

  3. #13
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    Personally, I'd use a scrim, diffusion sheet or neutral density with your Bowens flash. Bright tungsten lights can be very difficult on models, especially non-professional ones. As someone has already mentioned, you can put up a diffusing fabric a few feet from your model and shoot your soft box light though it, backing the softbox up to get the level that you want. You could also put neutral density Rosco filter on the front of the soft box, or you could put another couple of layers of diffusing fabric on the front. You can get fabric that works very well for this at a fabric store. Another option would be to bounce the light (probably without the soft box) into a v-flat made of two big pieces of Gatorboard. (We used 4x8 sheets in the studio, but they don't have to be that big.) You could use slower film. ... You have a whole bunch of choices.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  4. #14
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    can you just use the modeling light in your monoblocks ?
    that is what i do, and the longish exposure gives a nice feel to the portrait.
    if you can pick up some lowel " L-Lights " they are dirt cheap and great to do portraits with as well.

  5. #15
    Scott Davis
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Washington DC

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    If you are looking for a Fresnel to use with strobe, Walimex (a German company that does business on eBay) makes a "universal" Fresnel (big box with the glass, and an adapter ring for the appropriate strobe head connector). They're considerably cheaper than OEM ones - I got mine for under $500 USD including 2-day FedEx shipping from Germany. A Bowens one that fit my strobes was selling used for almost $1K. I have no commercial affiliation with Walimex and get no benefit from this posting. Just wanted to share the economy option for getting a focusable Fresnel for strobes.

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Durham, NC

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    Thank you for all your fantastic suggestions. I will start to experiment with them today. I am particularly fond of cheap and low tech solutions but am not averse to using higher tech equipment, if it is called for. I am fortunate in having a very patient model, my wife. She is not a professional model, nor are the folks I plan to shoot. Having them comfortable with the lighting is essential, whether hot lights or strobes.

    My studio is in an old barn, I cool it with a large A/C window unit (very low tech). The temperature never gets below 80 degrees in the summer, so hot lights may be more of a problem this time of year. As I said, I will experiment. Turning the lights off between shots is a great idea.

    I was just a beginner 30 years ago, when I went to school for photography. After so long a hiatus from LF and studio lighting, I am an only-slightly-more-knowledgeable beginner today and am truly grateful for your sharing your knowledge with me.

    Thanks again,

  7. #17
    ki6mf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Austin, TX

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    I assume you are shooting B&W. If not and you are mixing lights with differient color temperature and will need to get color correction filters from a pro camera source to cover your lights.
    Wally Brooks

    Everything is Analog!
    Any Fool Can Shoot Digital!
    Any Coward can shoot a zoom! Use primes and get closer.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Durham, NC

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    Thanks everyone,

    I kept the fresnels and had some good results with a couple of 650 watt tungstens and some foam core for some fill. Plus I got a couple of old Lowel lights (1000 watt). I'll continue to explore.

    That reminds me of my first painting teacher in college who "corrected" me in a rather embarrassing way. I said that I was experimenting in my paintings. He said, "Mr. Solow, experimentation implies at least a rudimentary knowledge base. You have none. You (pause) are exploring." I grew to love this teacher. Every time he came over to critique my work, he would begin by saying, "Of course your realize, Mr. Solow, this painting is a piece of shit." After four years of that, I no longer relied on others' approval of work.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    May 2010
    St. Louis, Mo.

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by David Solow View Post
    Thank you for your repspones. I know there are many photographers that would strongly disagree with me, but I don't like to put filters of any kind on my lenses. I would be happy to put them over the softbox. I'll see what they have online. What about the quality of light from the fresnel spots? Can that be replicated by strobes with a snoot or other attachments?

    I have a very good friend who feels as you do about using filters on his lenses. He feels that filters will make his images softer. I kind of understand his point of view since he is a landscape photographer and mostly uses a Hasselblad Xpan which is a 35mm camera.

    You are shooting portraits with a 4x5 camera. I don't know how large you are enlarging your images or if you are shooting men or women. How sharp are you wanting your images? I shot a group shot of my wife with her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter with a Mamiya RZ67 with 110mm lens and Novetron Strobes and I caught hell from my wife because the images were razor sharp.

    Neutral density filters on your lens may very slightly soften the image. I wouldn't think enough to notice. Most Hasselblad owners use softar filters when shooting women because the Zeiss lenses are too sharp. Of course I'm talking about medium format and blowing up to 8x10 and 11x14 sizes.

    I think that neutral density filters on your lenses would be fine and quite a bit cheaper than ones on your strobes.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Minneapolis, MN

    Re: tungsten vs strobe lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Gales View Post
    How sharp are you wanting your images?
    If I can't count the hairs on the bacteria crawling across her face, then it's not sharp enough.

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