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Thread: Akira Studio lights (or alternatives)

  1. #21
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    sorry, 550EX not a good comparison. I meant to say that the Metz 60CT4 was about $1.2k new (or at least it used to be).

    You can read up about this on the web... try photo.net

    TAKE NOTE that GN is expressed as a function of focal-length. That's why when Canon says oh... our flash is GN55 ... consider that their measurement is for coverage of an 85mm lens. You need to read the effective GN for a 50mm lens @100ISO... this is the industry-standard. I think for a 550EX its about GN40 @50mm. Metz rates their GN in ISO/50mm lens/in metres. In the US, they rate it in feet... GN is also a ratio, something like aperture values. I don't have details on hand... read it up on the web..

    but ah... when Metz says their 60CT4 is 60GN ... it is GN60 for a 50mm lens, or about 30% more powerful than a 550EX !

    BTW, my principals are correct... but my numbers are a bit hazy now ... so pls do your own research.
    Last edited by Keltzar; 1st July 2004 at 05:44 PM.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt
    Keltzar, your info is really good, but i am not really sure about the GN part, anywhere to read up on that part? how does watt equate with the GN? den having higher watt with higher GN is better? GN is used for wat?

    thanks alot...
    GN, or guide number is one way people measure the power of flash lights..

    usually they will say something like GN 50m at ISO 100 50mm.. to set fixed variables at which this GN value is taken..

    in breaking up for manual calculation.. usually GN = aperature * working distance

    so lets say 32m, you can use a aperature of F8 and working distance OF LESS THAN 4.. ideally.

    I guess the way watt equates to GN is the efficiency of the system... this one I'm not sure...

  3. #23
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    watt-second is practically a literal measurement of POWER!

    Think of this waterhose analogy:
    Given a certain volume of water (power) .... you have a choice to send the water out of a hose in 2 ways:

    1) make a small hole and water spreads wide but covers a short distance
    2) make a bigger hole and water travels further but along a narrower path.

    If you buy one of those old dinky $25 flashes with manually controled built-in reflectors w/ settings for wide , std and tele ... you see the principal in action. Take the same amount of power .... and you can throw it further at the tele setting, since your field-of-view is narrower.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltzar
    re: 120ws ... if only GN32 (is this correct?), you're better off even with a pair of Metz 45CL4 or get a pair of the old Nissin GN50 hammerhead flashes. At least those are rated GN50. The one advantage of strobes really is the bigger flash-element....
    the bigger the element, the more pleasing the diffusion of light. Thats one reason traditional wedding photogs like the hammerhead Metz60CT series even if the fanciest Nikon SB flashes cost about the same.
    hmmm any idea how much does a pair of metz 45CL4 cost ? or a nissin hammer head flash?? Where can I get them? first hand? second hand??

    I'm a D70 user.. so I would be shooting at ISO 200.. giving me an extra stop of light.. I already have one flash, unadjustable, rated at GN 26m..

    So I was considering getting 2-3 more flash heads, (i suspect $200 odd for each) or getting the akira set.

    The good thing about the flash heads is portability for one.. (and since the akira set is actually not very powerful, flash heads is a consideration)

    The advantage of the akira set is they throw in everything for the beginner.. snoots, softbox, many umbrellas, light stands, etc

    So in comparing, the flash heads are actually a lot more expensive ($600 VS $500+ for the akira)

    So now I'm considering other systems/brands.. maybe around that price point ($500-800)

    Is it possible to get a 2 light kit at that price?

  5. #25
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    $500 for Akira kit? That IS cheap! If you just want to experiment... maybe enough lah.
    But probably you will want to upgrade if you get more serious...but I really doubt you can do much more than table-top shooting. Quite unlikely full-body potraiture.

    If you can get a pair of even 250ws Elektra with some accesories for under $1k , I think it's a better deal.

    But back to basics... what are you shooting....

    I've done perfectly nice close-ups shooting one old nissin hammerhead into a white styrofoam box from a side cut-out . I've heard of professional photographers who never owned strobes.... but instead have a bag full of $50 GN20 flashes w/slave that they place all over the scene... and use it balanced with natural or ambient light.

    The Nissin used to be $350 new. They're not sold here anymore... I'm not sure if there are other brands you can explore. Metz is expensive.

    I'm an EOS user.... does your nikon flashes have a wireless slave TTL function? Maybe all you need for your style of shooting is one more flash and a pair of ombibounces.
    Last edited by Keltzar; 1st July 2004 at 06:05 PM.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltzar
    $500 for Akira kit? That IS cheap! If you just want to experiment... maybe enough lah.
    But probably you will want to upgrade if you get more serious...but I really doubt you can do much more than table-top shooting. Quite unlikely full-body potraiture.

    If you can get a pair of even 250ws Elektra with some accesories for under $1k , I think it's a better deal.

    But back to basics... what are you shooting....

    I've done perfectly nice close-ups shooting one old nissin hammerhead into a white styrofoam box from a side cut-out . I've heard of professional photographers who never owned strobes.... but instead have a bag full of $50 GN20 flashes w/slave that they place all over the scene... and use it balanced with natural or ambient light.
    hehe thats why the dillemma..
    I want to experiment with still-life, product, portraiture.. (dun think full body can lah.. so maybe 3/4 or 1/2 body)

    Its not cheap to rent a studio just for experimenting and self-learning.. just.. too troublesome sometimes.. and, well.. everybody gotta start from somewhere

    how much does a hammerhead cost?? roughly? I was thinking of getting the SB800 and slowly save up to play with the CLS.. but thats the most expensive solution so far (maybe cheaper than elinchrom freestyle series though)

    Any idea how much does a GN 50 slave flash cost? no need TTL or anything.. probably just the ability to control the power would be good...

    On a side note, do you think its good to buy 2 sets of the akira lights?
    meaning 6 lights in total.. Then we can do 2 lights at a side or something..

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by lytefunk
    hmmm any idea how much does a pair of metz 45CL4 cost ? or a nissin hammer head flash?? Where can I get them? first hand? second hand??

    I'm a D70 user.. so I would be shooting at ISO 200.. giving me an extra stop of light.. I already have one flash, unadjustable, rated at GN 26m..

    So I was considering getting 2-3 more flash heads, (i suspect $200 odd for each) or getting the akira set.

    The good thing about the flash heads is portability for one.. (and since the akira set is actually not very powerful, flash heads is a consideration)

    The advantage of the akira set is they throw in everything for the beginner.. snoots, softbox, many umbrellas, light stands, etc

    So in comparing, the flash heads are actually a lot more expensive ($600 VS $500+ for the akira)

    So now I'm considering other systems/brands.. maybe around that price point ($500-800)

    Is it possible to get a 2 light kit at that price?
    hehhee... it only gave 1 umbrella... den 1 snoot but gave 2 softbox
    Logging Off. "You have 2,631 messages stored, of a total 400 allowed." don't PM me.

  8. #28
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    I've done some simple macro shots with a powershot G2 + 380EX flash and a homemade reflector (from silver cardboard).

    Look around for used hammerhead flashes...they're cheap, but get one in good condition and not too heavily used. buy from the 2nd hand shops which can give you some warranty... so you can use it and see.

    a cheap GN15 slave-capable flash is about $35 from Ruby (last I saw)... and slave sensors which can take flashes and have a tripod socket to boot are about $30+ ... and you can buy cheapie pocket flashes of GN20-30 for about $10 in some of the 2nd hand shops.

    again, cheap but inelegant solution... but maybe adequate. Research, think through your needs... then decide what to buy.

  9. #29

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    The modelling lamp on a studio light is very handy.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by headlesschook
    The modelling lamp on a studio light is very handy.
    haha yeah.. thats true...

    urgh... guess you all have seen the eastgear setup by now.. hehehe

    oh well.. my impression now is, $500 is good value for a set like that, but... my concern is if the power is enough...

    If its not really usable, I'll just skip the whole thing, save more money (MUCH more money) and buy a bigger setup... but then... hmmm

    I have access to a $40/3 hour studio.. but its too damn far from my house.. and yeah.. cannot move props easily, cannot destroy furniture, etc..

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