I know there are discussions from the forum on lighting suggestions, but I want some expert advice on the best next steps for my current gear. I know many of the experienced members of this forum will have an opinion based on their own experience. I have a Nikon D800 and SB 700 speed light. I recently picked up a 85mm 1.8G and have been dabbling in some portraits and I find it really enjoyable. Although the SB 700 mounted on camera is working well, I also want some creative flexibility with my lighting options. I have been reading strobist.blogspot.ca and have been inspired to start taking my lighting to the next level
1) I am considering the basic light stand + shoot through or reflective umbrella kits for starters. There are many kits available. Does anyone have a kit they would highly recommend (preferably via B&H)?
2) Also The site suggests using a PC sync cord, but the SB700 doesn't have one. I have been testing the SB 700 off camera using the pop-up flash (on the camera body) to trigger it, but I am realizing that I am going to be running into all sorts of line of sight issues. How do people overcome this? I have been looking into wireless triggers & receivers, but I don't know much about it. I have also read I can get another SB 700 and use it as commander. Is that better?
TLDR: 1) Please recommend a good shoot-through umbrella compact kit (preferably through B&H) 2) Best way to trigger off-camera flash? Wireless trigger/receiver? A second SB 700?
2) Start with what you have (pop-up flash + SB700)
If B & H is your store, simply searching and reading the reviews can be helpful.
If you do have a budget, this would be nice so you do not have recommendations for $5,000 in flash equipment and a new RRS tripod….
Phottix Mitros/Mitros+ ... My Experience
I have an old Yongnuo manual flash YN-560 for a couple of years, works good.
This year I bought 2 Yongnuo-YN622N triggers and last month the YN-622N-TX as controler (the YN560-TX was not announced at that time, cheap and good.
Last week I got the YN565EX flash, was only available for Canon (the C model ($99.-), does everything on my D600 like the SB-800, only easier.
With the trigger set I can set this last one with the YN-622N-TX on the camera only when it is in in TTL mode.
If I want to buy a starter set now, I would go for the Godox Ving 850, there are starter kids on Ebay for less then $ 300.-, you get 2 flashes, 2 triggers, a commander and a lot of power.
The problem with triggers always is, different brands don't speak with each other, therefor if you choose you are stuck with that system.
You can get a lot of information on lighting rumours site: www.lightingrumours.com
I got this Phottix Mitros+ Scott Kelby kit, you might want to consider it:
It seemed like a good deal for what you get. I haven't had time to play with it yet, but the Phottix Mitros and Mitros+ flashes get great reviews, here and elsewhere.
Here is a base kit that is well made, doesn't break the bank, will hold almost anything, can grow with and last a long time. I picked the items that will pack easily in a backpack.
Manfrotto 026 Swivel Umbrella Adapter $40 (This is the one item never to skimp on. Manfrotto is what everyone else tries to copy.)
Enlight photo Frio Universal Locking Cold Shoe V2 $15 (Love these little guys, they just work.)
Manfrotto 5001B Nano Black Light Stand - 6.2' (1.9m) $50
Westcott Umbrella - Soft Silver, Collapsible Compact - 43" $21
Westcott Umbrella - Collapsible, Optical White Satin - 43" $21
Total: $147 This is where things get interesting and much more complex depending on how you want to use your lights.
Decision time - Do you want to shoot with the flash in Auto (iTTL) or Manual mode.
Auto (iTTL) options: (order of cost)
Use your on camera flash. Drawback: line of site only.
Nikon SC-28 TTL Remote Cord - Coiled 3-9'. $64 Coiled cords have uses but tripping on stuff, yanking stands over, etc. is a pain.
Hear comes the ouch time
-Radio transmitter/receivers. For full Auto iTTL use, Pocket Wizard or Phottix Odin are the most popular and allow for the full use of Auto iTTL. Phottix Odin's are cheaper but work just as good.
-Commander Flash. Other option is another flash. I would strongly suggest against another SB-700 and get a SB-900/910 type of flash. Phottix Mitros (non-radio) works just as good as a SB-910 for the price of a SB-700.
(note if you go with any of the above, it will also do manual stuff as well.)
Manual Flash Options:
This is where you don't use iTTL and change the flash output at the flash it's self.
Personally I would just use a cheap radio trigger system like Phottix Ares Wireless Flash Trigger Set or Phottix Strato II. Draw backs: No high speed sync (sync at speeds of 1/250)
Other products/ terms to search for.
Phottix Strato TTL Flash Trigger Transmitter and Receiver for Nikon (only on Amazon). THis is the new Strato series and allows HSS and iTTL. I have not use them, but they should be quite good.
Phottix Mitros TTL Flash for Nikon Cameras
A new option that is getting good reviews: Manfrotto Snap Tilthead with Shoe Mount.
Westcott 43" Collapsible Umbrella Flash Kit with Stand $72
I really appreciate the feedback from all of the pro's and super users on this forum. I'll keep you posted!