Flash - strobes - On site/light travel kit.

TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
edited February 2013 in Nikon Flashes
What do people like as a light strobe on site travel kit? Mainly looking at multi-flash set-ups with modifiers.

So some followed my thread looking at Quantum flash lights as an on-site, light travel kit that could overpower interior lighting and even a bit of sunlight.
In the end I passed on it finding it was much more expensive for the results, opting instead to stick with Nikon flashes and trying a 3rd party strobe. For the most part, I found 2-4 flashes in a soft box can blast out the sun so I'm opting for that route and getting a wireless iTTL trigger system.

Here is the kit I am building/have:
This is what my "go anywhere - do almost anything" kit looks like.
-----Buying-Main things---
3 - Manfrotto 175F-1 Spring Clamps
2 - Manfrotto 5001B 74-Inch Nano Stands
1 - Phottix Odin TTL Flash Trigger for Nikon (these are really cool - look them up if you haven't)
3 - Phottix Odin TTL Flash Receivers
1 - Yongnuo YN-568EX TTL (1/8000 high speed sync flash - well reviewed, similar GN as Nikon, we will see) $200
1 - Flashpoint Quad Shoe Mount bracket
1 - 30" Octogon Softbox with grid
and a couple of other little accessories
-----Have already----
2 - SB-900
1 - SB-600
1 - 24" Soft box
Rogue 3-in-1 Honeycomb Grid System
Orbis ring flash
Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible PRO Kit
Assorted Umbrellas and light stands
And a few other little things.

I'm sure there will be a plethora of more stuff that will be added, but all of that should fit in a gym-bag sized bag for easy travel. That is the key and goal.

I have seen a newer item on the market called a SaberStrip light - I'm thinking of either building something like it or just getting one. Anyone use/have one?


If anyone has any suggestions or want to share what they use I think everyone would love to read it.
D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
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Comments

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,191Moderator
    TTJ....I have built in the past numerous light modifiers like the saber strip. Usually, a cardboard tube with either white paper or aluminum foil. Main use was in product photography in the studio so as to establish a specific reflection/shape of the light source.

    About the Yongnuo YN-568EX TTL....does the 1/8000 sec synch work by the flash being longer than the entire time the shutter passes across the sensor, or does the shutter actually open fully when using 1/8000 second on a D4? I always understood the shutter passed across the sensor as a slit to achieve the shorter durations.
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited February 2013
    I use 3 SB 900 's with pocket wizards and one big and one small brolly
    brollies are cheap and light
    When working outside with a brolly, there is a good chance of it being blown over , so I mount one brolly with two SB900 on a Tripod and this is used mainly as a fill flight
    the third SB 900 is used "naked" as back light
    the only modifier I have used is the Nikon one the came with SB900
    I have tried a Garry Fong but it kept falling off
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I have the collapsible light sphere (G-Fong) - that thing does not fall off. Hell, half the time I can't get it on. ;) I use that for events because of that. Now the G-Fong snoot (like the older light spheres) falls off all the time as well. I put a wide rubber band on my flash head, and that helps a bit.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    TTJ....I have built in the past numerous light modifiers like the saber strip. Usually, a cardboard tube with either white paper or aluminum foil. Main use was in product photography in the studio so as to establish a specific reflection/shape of the light source.

    About the Yongnuo YN-568EX TTL....does the 1/8000 sec synch work by the flash being longer than the entire time the shutter passes across the sensor, or does the shutter actually open fully when using 1/8000 second on a D4? I always understood the shutter passed across the sensor as a slit to achieve the shorter durations.
    From what I understand, the flash actually pulses as the curtain passes over the shutter. At that speed you can't see it but I guess that is what it is doing. Make sure to turn on the "auto FP" (i think it's called) in your camera. Still learning this - but I have set it and left it. ;) Hopefully I'll be able to have my "Kit" finished by the end of the month so we will see.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I THINK
    With high speed sync, the flash pulses, so as to give a longer effective duration. The Guide number will be reduced, but I cannot find a table that tells you by how much.

    If you are using a higher shutter speed to reduce the amount of natural light , with a D800, you seem to start to lose more than you gain, if you shoot above 1/350
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited February 2013
    Sevencrossing - where do you see the loss? Not meant harshly - just truly curious as I am setting up lighting to be shooting in HSS 1/1000th+ for a "Look" that I am going to market.

    Here is 3 image samples of what HSS (High speed sync)
    Settings unless noted below: D300, 85mm f/1.8D @f1.8, SB-900, ISO 200, Rouge grid (stacked 1/4 & 1/8th) No post editing - just re-sized for upload.

    Aperture priority, No flash, 1/50th shutter
    image

    Aperture priority, Full Auto TTL flash, 1/60th
    image

    Manual mode - Full Auto TTL flash (default setting), Shutter 1/8000
    image

    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,217Moderator
    What metering method for those shots - matrix, centre weighted or spot?
    Always learning.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited February 2013
    All spot - Matrix was no different.
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    High speed sync reduces the maximum power the flash can output, typically by around 2 stops. So it's like setting your flash power to 1/4 right off the bat. But if you only need your flash to fire at less than 1/4th of normal (e.g., as fill) then there's no issue.

    Sometimes there are better alternatives than using HSS, such as by using an ND filter, or by blocking the ambient light source some other way (e.g., by using a large screen, curtains, bed sheets, etc.) Or just wait for the sun to go down.

    Usually if I'm fighting the ambient light that much, I start looking for alternatives (most often, a shaded area).
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    As Ade say HSS reduces maximum power
    so HSS will be fine for a medium close up
    but it may lose too much power, if you are trying to balance midday sun when shooting a wedding group
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I guess I have never seen it as a goal to make sure I had 100% power output - to me it doesn't matter what the output is, other than knowing if I need to add more light.

    sevencrossing- Yes groups in sun is an issue. My kit I'm building will get me a single full height portrait of one or two people with 4 strobes (sb-900s) in strong sun. With groups the issue becomes people being in other's shadow - two choices bigger flash (studio flash) or more strobes. I'm going with more strobes - but I don't do large group photos. As Ade said, I would also look for shaded areas.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Output on a speedlight is $$$. You pay a huge premium for the compact size, as compared to monolights or strobes. And then after paying the premium, having only 1/4 max power in FP mode... ouch. Speedlights aren't that powerful to begin with, so with HSS sooner or later you'd have to pair them up (or worse). Of course it's all feasible, just not very cost effective.

    Unless maybe your name is Joe and you already have dozens of speedlights lying around...

    image
    Joe McNally's Tree of Woe -- @strobist
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    edited February 2013
    I have done a lot of reading about lighting; an excellent source of information about lighting (in all of it's many forms), is Syl Arena's newest book, "Lighting For Digital Photography"; only one problem; Syl is a very smart guy, and I've learned a lot from him.......but he's a dedicated Canon shooter; so I kept on looking; I have recently found a book (and an author) that is Nikon specific; "Nikon Creative Lighting" (covering the SB-600, 700, 800, 900, 910, and R1C1 flash units, by Mike Hagen.

    Go to Amazon and check out this book; it's by far the best book I've ever seen for anyone using Nikon equipment. I'm highly impressed by Mike Hagen's writing.

    While you're at it, if you want to see the best guide yet about the D 800, D 600, and D 300, check out David Busch's books; I paid $40 bucks for Thom Hogan's D 300s guide, and while it's a great guide, the D 300s guide by David Brooks blows it out of the water ! (It's definitely NOT for carrying around in your camera bag ! the thing is BIG! ( 8 1/2 X 11 x 2" thick, 525 pages. Biggest, clearest, color photos of every control, button, lever, you name it; this is by far the best camera guide book I have ever seen; and David Busch is even better than Thom Hogan at explaining things. I think it only cost like $20 or so, maybe even less than that.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    If you'd like another Nikon specific book, the award-winning guy pictured above has one called "The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes".
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I have heard the statement of "You pay a huge premium for the compact size" or something close so many times over the years that I start to believe it. But honestly every time I have priced stuff out and when you include Batteries, remote triggers, reflectors, additional bags, they are much cheaper. And as the title of the thread "On site/light travel kit" they are not all that less powerful than the "travel flashes" at all.

    Take for instance what I priced out in the last three weeks trying to decide. I was looking for a 3-light source set-up, (a Key light, a Fill, and a back defining/hair light) for a down and dirty kit.

    A Elinchrom Ranger Quadra is $1,200 for only one flash/light source (no wireless). The Einstein by PCB is $500, add a battery for $250, a reflector for $20, trigger Transmitter & receiver for $120. That's $890, a two head set-up is $1,720, 3 lights, $2,550. Then all the modifiers are just a bit more expensive, snoots, grids, soft boxes, more bags to hold stands down in the wind etc. The cost just keeps going up. Sure you can buy cords, cheap ebay triggers, 3rd or 4th party this or that, but then the quality goes down and issues go up. Just like many other things, some items come with everything you need, others require you to buy more and more. Flashes are one of those things that is a never ending list of things to buy, if you want the same capability as a strobe.

    Now for speed-lights:
    For the cost of the flashes, you can have 5 SB-910s for that, still fit them in a bag, put three in a soft-box for a main light source which will give you close to a 275watt equiv flash, and 2 in another for 180watts. Or you can have 5 lights to really get a unique look indoors. You can't do that with just 1 or two heads at that price.

    Test shooting, 2 SB900s in a soft box would light a 4x6 foot area and blow out anything but the brightest sun where I'm at in the mid west. 3 in a box handles everything. A SB-600 was able to hit a hair light in the sun. I'm planning on adding another 900/910 yet, but am going to see how the Yongnuo YN-568EX performs which is only $200. If well, then I'll add 2 or 3 of those. Sb900s used are $350, YN-568 - $200, so for 4 lights, $1,100, Plus the Odin with radio receivers (like pocket wizards), $650. You could drop that cost and just get a SU-800 for $250 used if you didn't need radio wireless. So for $1,800 you can have 4 90w equiv flashes with radio triggers that can handle most things and still fit them in a small bag or rely on the infrared (SU800) and get away for $1,400.

    I'll admit strobes will not handle everything, but I don't shoot large productions or groups where I would need them. Even with a wedding, I could front light with 3 flashes and still be able to have a highlight flash in the back. I guess to me, more sources = more options and more unique looks.

    Here is the thread where I was bouncing around quantum flashes.
    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/336/quantum-flashes-or-multi-flash-with-softboxes#Item_38
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited February 2013
    I love the Desert shoot McNally did -
    Here is one for you -

    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,191Moderator
    edited February 2013
    TTJ, I love the video above. Reminds me of shooting a scene at the ocean, (1960's) we had built a fiberglass rock, had the model on the rock with a live goat, and standing in water with a Hasselblad shooting the man and goat. We did a lot of pre production prep and this is exactly what is done for many top drawer pro photos...

    Eight speed lights...love it....and the results were super.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    TTJ: Comparing 3x Einstein vs. 5x SBs is of course apples vs. oranges. Personally if I were to start over again I'd absolutely take the 3x Einstein over the 5x SBs setup any day. Actually, I would start with just one Einstein.

    Joe McNally and Dave Black had to use speedlights for those kinds of shots back then, because that was the only way to get remote TTL/FP on Nikon cameras.

    But even "back then" ~ if you look at Joe McNally's location shoot videos you'll notice that he often prefers Elinchroms instead of speedlights. Here's Joe using one Quadra at the beach:



    Now in 2013 we have many more options for TTL and FP, plus personally it would be rare for me to use TTL anyway. I only prefer speedlights when space is a premium (e.g., when I travel long distances on my motorcycle).

    You can see my travel setup here:

    image
    (Baja California, Mexico)

    I carry two Pelican cases on the motorcycle, fitting in camera/video/audio gear, laptop, and some motorcycle spares. The pic above was from a 1-year solo ride from Canada to Argentina. I planned to bring two speedlights but only had room for one (plus some modifiers and a Gitzo tripod strapped on top).
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member

    I carry two Pelican cases on the motorcycle, fitting in camera/video/audio gear, laptop, and some motorcycle spares. The pic above was from a 1-year solo ride from Canada to Argentina. I planned to bring two speedlights but only had room for one (plus some modifiers and a Gitzo tripod strapped on top).
    Ahh ha! now we begin to see what you use! But you didn't add anything beyond saying you use speedlights. :(

    My point kind of was, everyone says "Get the or the best are the big portable studio lights", but almost no one uses them. Most I see with them work with a full crew, commercial shoot - which of course is probably 1% of photographers. These days, I don't meet many photographers who even have even a part time assistant. Maybe a wife/husband/retired parent, or a fellow photog.

    If you use studio flashes, great! Love to hear it. But don't make an argument for them, and then conclude by saying you don't use them. I'm not looking for a debate which is better - that is not the point of the thread.

    I'm looking for what people use and travel with it. Modifiers, stands they use the most, clips, DIY stuff, backgrounds, all of that stuff.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Huh? I never said I don't use studio flashes. I use them most of the time. As I said above, I only prefer speedlights when space is a premium.

    I took this portrait on location as part of a documentary of a 3rd generation Japanese violin maker about a week before the above trip using ~ $20k of ProFoto gear:

    image

    I shot unassisted that day. 1x ProFoto Pro-7a pack, 1x ProB2 pack, 4x heads, Elinchrom Octalite, various mods, stands, grips. On location at the violin maker's workshop.

    If I were to travel with a car vs. motorcycle I would definitely bring studio lights instead of just speedlights.
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    +1 Ade.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    TTJ;
    I spent 30 minutes looking at this last night, then couldn't remember where I saw it ! Dummy me! In an add, right here on NRF; advertising "lighting for portraits" "Steel lighting for portraits"; no joke.......it really looked pretty interesting, and it's EXACTLY about what you're interested in; (I think)
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    edited February 2013
    ADE;
    Where can I see the documentary about the violin maker ? (love that photo, BTW) also........where can I get a copy of the book that you MUST WRITE on that MC trip from Canada to Argentina ? That's exactly the kind of stuff I like to read about!
    Please send me an email, instant message, or whatever..
    Post edited by Gitzo on
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    TTJ;
    I spent 30 minutes looking at this last night, then couldn't remember where I saw it ! Dummy me! In an add, right here on NRF; advertising "lighting for portraits" "Steel lighting for portraits"; no joke.......it really looked pretty interesting, and it's EXACTLY about what you're interested in; (I think)
    I'm not getting those - can you post the company name?
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,191Moderator
    Is this thread about bikes or lights.....
    "The Midwest"

    Sorry, once I see a bike...I just lose control... The cameras are in the Pelican cases...
    Msmoto, mod
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