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Thread: Questions about Monolights:

  1. #21
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    You know, there are good reasons why I have 3 Vagabond II's at my disposal rather than the new Vagabond Lithium Minis.

    1) VB IIs give you more pops per charge.
    2) VB IIs recycle faster (especially when plugging in multiple monos into the same inverter).
    3) The weight of the VB II helps keep a lightstand in place. If I'm going to have to carry around extra weight, why not let the weight do double-duty in its usefulness?

    Food for thought.

  2. #22
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    This was just sent to me by a friend. It looks interesting!

    http://ftxlightingtools.com/FTXLight...22bracket.html
    Last edited by shutterdown; 05-10-2012 at 02:07 AM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shutterdown View Post
    This was just sent to me by a friend. It looks interesting!

    http://ftxlightingtools.com/FTXLight...22bracket.html
    Just a little comment about this product or any beauty dish that would use a speedlight; a beauty dish really needs a bare bulb protruding through the opening to have the desire effects of a beauty dish.

    With a beauty dish the center baffle blocks the direct light (not reflect) and the light of the bare tube shoots outward and bounces off the side and back so the hottest light is coming from the perimeter with softer light coming from the back witch makes for very contrasty light.

    Anytime you use a speed light, the light never directly hits the perimeter. There really isn't a efficient way to get a bare bulb effect. Maybe with a Stofen on and set to protrude but you lose a lot of power since the speedlight light is still really shooting forward.

    I'd suggest instead of spending $180 on that bracket, I'd suggest a AB400 (or better if budget allows) and PCB Beauty dish. It will cost $100 or so more but it is real beauty dish light. Plus it comes with diffuser and with that it is essentially like having a 22" round soft box too.

    If you really look at the dynamics of what is happening with a beauty dish w/speedlight, it becomes a really crippled flash in a small umbrella. The hottest light is coming straight off from the back with some residual bouncing off the sides just as an umbrella would. So you could really save money and buy a 28" umbrella and have way more efficient use and better quality of light.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith B View Post
    I'd suggest instead of spending $180 on that bracket, I'd suggest a AB400 (or better if budget allows) and PCB Beauty dish. It will cost $100 or so more but it is real beauty dish light. Plus it comes with diffuser and with that it is essentially like having a 22" round soft box too.
    Good advice. Actually, I wasn't really considering this as an option, since the result would be just as you said. Sort of like poking a flashlight through a hole, and expecting it to spread the light in all directions.

    An on-camera speedlite would do just as well.

    It was just interesting that someone sat down, and dreamed this thing up.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by shutterdown View Post
    Good advice. Actually, I wasn't really considering this as an option, since the result would be just as you said. Sort of like poking a flashlight through a hole, and expecting it to spread the light in all directions.

    An on-camera speedlite would do just as well.

    It was just interesting that someone sat down, and dreamed this thing up.
    Yeah I'm not picking on the devise, I'm all about free enterprise and ingenuity but just want to let those less knowledgeable about lighting not to expect beauty dish quality light.

    On this board a while back there was a DIY style beauty dish that was getting some talk. It essentially did the same thing. It was made from a large plastic potting bowl with a whole in the bottom. Some really liked the light from it, which is fine, it just doesn't replicate beauty dish lighting.

  6. #26
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith B View Post
    On this board a while back there was a DIY style beauty dish that was getting some talk. It essentially did the same thing. It was made from a large plastic potting bowl with a whole in the bottom. Some really liked the light from it, which is fine, it just doesn't replicate beauty dish lighting.
    I own a 14" Titanium colored Lumodi (made for speedlights), a 19" silver generic Ebay BD (with grids), 22" PCB HOBD, and a 22" Mola Demi (white, with stacked P.A.D. and opal glass) with White Lightning/Alienbees mounts. All of them can provide beautiful and interesting light in the right hands. They're all a bit different, yes...but to say one is really that much better than the others, I can't. Here's how I use them:

    1) Right now, my default BD is the Mola Demi. I prefer its white finish most of the time. It seems to light subjects very well when used properly. It is very expensive, though.

    2) I use the HOBD when I have to place the light source farther away from the subject and I'm trying to kill the ambient. Being silver, and shaped the way it is, it is a very efficient modifier. I will typically add a bit of a warming gel to the light in order to counter-act the cool colortone resulting from the silver reflective surface.

    3) I use the 19" Ebay dish when I really want to control the light. First of all, it's a bit smaller--but it also came with two different grids. Those grids are great for limiting spill. Even though the dish is silver, I don't feel the light coming off of it is quite as cool in color tone as the HOBD's. I still usually throw in 1/8 - 1/4 CTS (or CTO).

    4) I use the Lumodi if I'm strictly using speedlights. Many times this happens because of a limited working space. The titanium finish is warm in color and doesn't require any gelling. In fact, it can be a bit too warm under some circumstances requiring an offsetting CTB gel on the strobe. Overall, I like this modifier in closed, tight quarters.

    I wouldn't hesitate to pull any of the modifiers out given the circumstances for which they are [in my mind] ideally used.

    Truth be told, there is so much variation in beauty dish designs for studio lights (from Profoto, Mola, Dynalite, Hensel, Broncolor, Speedotron), as well as variations in finishes (white, soft silver, mirrored), as well as variations in center reflectors, that it's difficult for us to clearly define what the "classic" beauty dish output should look like. Even dishes that look very similar may be designed so that the flash tube is placed further in or out of the dish and thus providing a noticably different look.

    At the end of the day, you just have to do some research, find something you think you'll like using, buy it, and try it out for yourself. There is no wrong light modifier (I've used bedsheets, walls, index cards, 4'x6' softboxes, 5 different "beauty dishes", PLMs, octaboxes, stripboxes, 7" reflectors, gels, etc...)--but each modifier has characteristics that make it useful (providing pleasing results) under specific situations.
    Last edited by Sean Setters; 05-10-2012 at 09:35 PM.

  7. #27
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    Depending on how close the modifier (beauty dish) is from the subject is what really makes the difference. In the sense of shooting head shots for hair and make-up ads a beauty dish is used in pretty close proximity. Usually you try to have a modifier slight larger than the subject within respect of distance. Like a 22" is popular for headshots because at two to three feet away it is a pretty good ration of size of subject to light source. This is where the characteristics or lack there of will shine through. If you back way off you essential start to use it like a large reflector, the light flattens out the shadows get defined and won't really notice the distinction. Just like a the inverse square rule, if you multiply the distance between light and subject by 2 you have to increase the power by 4, you can have a large light source but as you move it farther a away, it is smaller in relation to the subject. Like the sun is really the largest light source, but because it is so far away it is actually a very bright and tiny light source there for the light it cast is flat and the shadows are very hard edged and defined. The finish can affect white balance but is more for a desired specular quality. Silver will be more specular while white is less specular and is more flattering for less than perfect skin.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith B View Post
    Like the sun is really the largest light source, but because it is so far away it is actually a very bright and tiny light source there for the light it cast is flat and the shadows are very hard edged and defined.
    That's why I consider clouds to be the perfect soft box!

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