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Thread: Please advise a semi-novice on a good lighting setup...

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    Please advise a semi-novice on a good lighting setup...

    I am close to upgrading to either a 5D2 or (if I can afford it) a 5D3, and the only flash I own is a Nissin Di622 mk ii, which I use with Cactus wireless triggers for off camera. I was planning on buying a 580 at some stage, but now I see they are discontinued.
    I have some product work coming up, and I would like to have 2 lights. And apart from that, I would like to start adding an extra light in for some portraits, an area I would like to practice a lot in.


    I need to work out the best path - is it worth just looking at adding a Yongnuo and another Cactus trigger to my setup?

    If I was to get a Canon 600, would it work as a master to my Nissin? - could I use them both together off-camera with 3 triggers?

    Or is there a more cost-effective alternative, such as a studio kit?


    Ideally I would like something that includes continuous light/modelling light, so that is why I was interested in the 580 or 600.
    A bit confused by how all of this works.
    Cheers, Daniel
    5D III | 35L | 85Σ| 100L | 50/1.8 | 600EX-RT | Di622 II

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    Whats your budget first mate?

    I have used and own over the last few years for work - cheap Yongnuo flashes for strobist work, Chinese made studio strobes bought directly from their factories in China, mid range Bowens and Elinchrom stuff, to the best of the best in Broncolor.

    Good lighting is an investment and an expensive commodity too, let me know what sort of work you are doing and I can recommend some products and packages etc.

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    Hi JM, thanks for the reply

    Well, my budget isn't massive at the moment, as I am close to upgrading my Canon 550D at the same time, and also maybe a lens. And I am relatively new to lioghting still, a lot to learn. I was looking at the Canon 600EX, but wondering if there is a good studio starter kit I could get for a similar price?

    Or would adding a YN (or even a Nissin 866) + Cactus trigger be a good move for me, as I am a bit restricted with $$?

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    If you are primarily doing product and portraits indoors, do you really see the need to upgrade to a 5D? Most of the time you'll be working at 100ISO with strobes and you won't see a need for what the 5D has to offer over the 550D.

    IMO, if you're going to do low light shoots and stuff... then the 5D comes in handy. Out door portraits, FF > Crop for DOF. But anything indoor with strobes, the need is pretty much moot. Spend more on the lighting than the body.

    Also product shoot does not necessarily need strobes, get yourself a Light tent and shoot it outdoors or 2 to 3 lamps positioned nicely will give you a shoot light. Again, it depends on how big your product is, what your intended background is and your overall concept for the shoot.



    Lit by natrual light in a light tent with 2 reflectors.




    With 3 strobes with just a white A3 paper background

    I was helping a friend out and learning along the way and messing around with trying out the different options.

    All shot with a 7D and a 17-55 f2.8

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    I am not limited to JUST product and portraits - they are not the reason for the body upgrade, they are the reason for the lighting upgrade.
    Last edited by kobeson; 23-05-2012 at 2:06pm.

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    Ahhh... my bad From what i read it was the other way round.

    There are plenty of cheap studio kits available on ebay and such if you don't need the portability. A full kit will set you back a similar to the cost of a 600EX. Note that in due time you'll most likely want to upgrade to something mainstream rather than the china brands. Also with the chinese made ones, take note that Wattage does not truly reflect the output. a 400W china brand may output the same light as a 250W Bowen. It's down to the efficiency of the strobe. Thus the recommendation to save up and go for something better.

    You can also pick up a Continuous lighting kit for cheap. $100+ delievered with softboxes and such. It actually helps a lot with getting the shadows right rather than strobe and adjust.

    If using 3rd party wireless triggers you'll be fine with any strobe. I have a total of 4 strobes and 2 of them are canons and other than the output power, if used via wireless trigger, it's all the same. Some people strap multiple small flashes together to achieve the same power output ore more than the bigger single flash with faster recycle time to boot! Down side is just that you have to carry more bulk.


    600 will trigger the nissin as the nissin has an optical trigger. Might not work very well outdoors in the sun and with longer distances.

    It'll be great if you could give us a better understanding of how you'd like to use the strobes, we can give you a better option. You've not answered the main questions of subjects and method of use.

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    The Nissin flash you have will also work as an optical slave, so if you buy another flash, you won't need to buy another trigger.
    When you set the Nissin to optical, it will fire when it sees another flash.
    You'll need to set the output manually, but that's easy to do, and will trigger off the camera's built-in flash too.
    I use my Nissin like this all the time and it works very well.
    So you can use the built-in flash to give some fill light for the front, and use 2 other flashes to light the sides, or even better still, use the built-in flash, one other flash to one side and the third flash to light up the background, especially if you are looking for a crisp, white background.

    The Canon 580 is a great flash (and I have one of these as well), but the top of the line Nissin and Yn's are just as good and half the price.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    The Nissin flash you have will also work as an optical slave, so if you buy another flash, you won't need to buy another trigger.
    When you set the Nissin to optical, it will fire when it sees another flash.
    You'll need to set the output manually, but that's easy to do, and will trigger off the camera's built-in flash too.
    I use my Nissin like this all the time and it works very well.
    So you can use the built-in flash to give some fill light for the front, and use 2 other flashes to light the sides, or even better still, use the built-in flash, one other flash to one side and the third flash to light up the background, especially if you are looking for a crisp, white background.

    The Canon 580 is a great flash (and I have one of these as well), but the top of the line Nissin and Yn's are just as good and half the price.
    Thanks Benny, that is a great post, very informative!! it sounds pretty good adding an 866 to my 622.



    Can somebody please explain to me what the 600EX and 600EX-RT can each do with the 5D3 that they cannot with other cameras?
    Last edited by kobeson; 24-05-2012 at 10:10am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeeFy View Post
    Ahhh... my bad From what i read it was the other way round.

    There are plenty of cheap studio kits available on ebay and such if you don't need the portability. A full kit will set you back a similar to the cost of a 600EX. Note that in due time you'll most likely want to upgrade to something mainstream rather than the china brands. Also with the chinese made ones, take note that Wattage does not truly reflect the output. a 400W china brand may output the same light as a 250W Bowen. It's down to the efficiency of the strobe. Thus the recommendation to save up and go for something better.

    You can also pick up a Continuous lighting kit for cheap. $100+ delievered with softboxes and such. It actually helps a lot with getting the shadows right rather than strobe and adjust.

    If using 3rd party wireless triggers you'll be fine with any strobe. I have a total of 4 strobes and 2 of them are canons and other than the output power, if used via wireless trigger, it's all the same. Some people strap multiple small flashes together to achieve the same power output ore more than the bigger single flash with faster recycle time to boot! Down side is just that you have to carry more bulk.


    600 will trigger the nissin as the nissin has an optical trigger. Might not work very well outdoors in the sun and with longer distances.

    It'll be great if you could give us a better understanding of how you'd like to use the strobes, we can give you a better option. You've not answered the main questions of subjects and method of use.
    Thanks for the comments, helpful info regarding studio kits.

    So the advantage of the 600 is that with a radio transmitter, you don't need any other triggers correct? And are there any extra advantages with a 5D3 over say my 550D when using 600's?

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    The 5D3 has no built in trigger, nor does it have a built in flash to trigger an optical slave.

    Canon consider the 5D3 a professional camera, so they expect you to use a flash or a trigger on the hotshoe.

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