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Thread: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

  1. #51
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA

    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Randy, the Honey Badger is very similar. I have one. It's nice. The main differences are the mounts, Buff versus Bowens-S. I personally don't like the mounting system on Buff lights, but if you already have them, and are good with them, then I'm sure it's a good choice.
    "Poverty is the biggest cause of poverty." Rutger Bregman

  2. #52

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Consider the word Photography which originates as Light Graph.

    Photography is much about light with camera-lens-film-or light recording device. IMO, too much effort by Photographers are spent on camera-lens-film (or image recording device)-processing "tricks", not enough is spent on light and lighting. Much of what the creative-artistic aspects to Photography is about lighting, shadow, shapes and forms as a result of lighting and shadow.

    Strobe or Continuous or Natural lighting have their place and neither is better than the other, the choice is dependent on the needs of the creative image. Lighting for Portraiture has change due to fashion and expectations of the Sitters and market. There was a time when continuous or hot lights were the standard for studio Portraiture. Consider the images made by George Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Yousuf Karsh and many-many-many others. Hot or Continuous lighting offers the ability to finely control light, shadows allowing forms to be shaped, created and controlled by how this form of lighting is applied. Or, diffusion can be applied as needed to soften the light. There is also the advantage of much reduced Portrait sitter trauma during film exposure as the light is essentially constant-continuous allowing the Sitter to relax, settle in and expression coaxed by the Portraitist to be recorded on film.

    Strobe light can be applied in similar ways to continuous lighting except there will be a burst of much higher intensity light at the moment of exposure. This can be quite traumatizing-shocking for a Portrait Sitter. How many group snap shots were redone due to some one in the group shot blinking at the moment when the strobe went "off"? In studio work, the need for high power strobes were directly related to f-stop required and distance from strobe to subject. Smaller the required f-stop, greater the distance from subject to strobe, greater the Watt-Seconds needed and it is NOT linear. To gain one full f-stop typically required twice the number of Watt-seconds or what was once 200 Watt Seconds rapidly becomes over 1000 Watt seconds as the need for smaller f-stops and strobe to subject distances increase. There is also quality of strobe light. Back in days of critical color control demands of commercial and artistic work, strobe light was often measured using flash color temperature meter then CC filters applied to either the lighting or lens to zero in the color balance. Lenses were often purchased as a color matched set to assure changing lens focal length on the camera would result in uniform image color balance. The alternative means to color balance was to do gray card test using the strobe lights-lens-film-processing lab to achieve the desired color balance.

    As strobe light became more popular with film photographers and the modern fashion-style of the later 60's-70's took hold, High Key strobe lighted Portraits came into popularity as it fit the Social-Cultural norms of that era. This is about the time when Diffused lighting for Portraits began to become the norm and expectation (Aka Richard Avedon and many, many others). This became the way as it was easier to manage studio portrait lighting and produced acceptable pleasing results for the portrait sitter with good profitability for the Portraitist. What got tossed out and mostly forgotten was the great Portraiture of the previous era using continuous or hot lighting which demanded careful set up and artistic-creative skills from the Portraitist.

    Keep in mind, majority of Soft Focus Portrait lenses produce their best images using continuous-hot non-diffused light. This is why many LF lenses from that era had large apertures of f4.5 or so due to the demands for reduced exposure times of Portrait work. Then came powerful strobe lights and the "Everything Sharp" image fashion which require smaller apertures (f-stops) from the lensed to be used. This is likely how the modern common Plasmat LF lens became the norm with a full aperture of f5.6 to ease focusing and a taking aperture of f22 or so. Gone were the Tessar and similar family of LF lenses that did their best at about two f-stops down or f8 to about f16.

    Natural light is an entirely different light in SO many ways. This is where magical moments can happen with Landscape Photographers mixed with wondrous shapes and forms found in Nature is often the basis of what makes some Landscape images magical and remarkable in their own way.

    Not to be forgotten is Architectural photography with is in many ways a blending of Natural-Artificial lighting with shapes, form, shadow and more..


  3. #53
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Yes, I have a few PCB modifiers and some old reflectors that also fit.

    In too deep to change now. I use Nikon and won't switch to anything else as I have a system.

    The Honey Badger has less power.

    The Interfit Badger is closer in power and cost.

    I know a few DSLR shooters that want the way less powerful strobes as that is how they work. At 10% power and less.
    sin eater

  4. #54
    Indiana, USA chassis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Indiana, USA

    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Peter, I am interested to see some examples if you care to post them, with the LED panels. Do you plan to use modifiers with them?

  5. #55
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA

    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    They just arrived. I've only unpacked one so far. The light quality looks very good. I'll do some measurements with a color meter this weekend and report back. I plan on using my Fuji 680 with a 180mm f/3.2 lens wide open for some portraits. I had planned on using the lights very close and unmodified, but if there's enough light, I might use some diffusion panels.
    "Poverty is the biggest cause of poverty." Rutger Bregman

  6. #56

    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    Nice research site for lighting:

  7. #57

    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    I did 18 years with film (mostly medium format) and now have about the same time span with digital. Digital just caught up to film quality wise about 5 years ago!

  8. #58
    Charles S
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Zurich, Switzerland

    Re: Strobes vs Continuous Lighting with MF and LF?

    The biggest issue is the amount of light you need when shooting LF. If you start adding low ISO, you are close in but need some DOF and the bellows you need a lot of light.

    For studio portraits, after some experimentation, I settled on 400WS Bowens strobes off eBay for about 200USD each. They are solidly built dumb heads, triggered by a pocketwizzard and slave settings for the rest. There is really no need to buy new and smarter heads if you use them for LF in a studio. I also use the same heads with my digital gear, and I find it easier than fiddling with settings on a remote. If you can handle the LF process, you can handle manual flash heads.

    Two heads are sufficient to shoot portraits with a beauty dish as main and a large softbox for fill. It gets me to f/11 @ISO 100 on a Fuji W 250mm for the 8x10, without bellows compensation. It is just at the edge of what I need in terms of DOF.
    If I need more, I rate the film at ISO 200 and develop in Microphen, or use ISO 200 film. If I need an additional stop, I use an ISO 200 Film w Microphen which nets to two additional stops over my base setup. The grain is fine enough to my taste, so it is not an issue.

    Obviously you can add a hair light, lighting on the back drop, move the main and fill around etc but this doesn't affect the amount of light falling on the face by much more than a stop if you are careful.

    I use the same kind of set-up, with the same film when I shoot with my MF gear. Works every time.

    Click image for larger version. 

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