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  1. #11
    janeqb's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for all the valuable information everyone! It has caused me to rethink everything. Grrrr. Now I’m second guessing my initial decision.

    I'll finish checking out the rest of the links you provided as well. Thanks inkista for all the info! After carefully reading all of your responses, I’m thinking that the SB-900 would be way out of my budget after purchasing all of the additional accessories.
    I do love the 360 swivel, but since I’ve never had it, I don't think I'll miss it (sigh). One day, when I can afford it, there's no doubt that it'll be the one that I buy! The SB-800 would be ideal right now, but again, the additional money would cost more than what I’ve come up with. So….because I’m a newbie to lighting and will learn as I go, Ive decided to build a studio slowly and start simple.

    For now, I’m thinking that one AlienBees B800 would be the way to go. I would only need to buy a light stand, umbrella, and a trigger remote. The beginner package on their site is $358.66. The Beginner Bee This leaves me with needing to buy a trigger remote, extension cords and backdrops. If I have any extra money down the road (a long way down the road), is it possible to set up my SB-24 with an umbrella and light stand to work with it? If so, what do I need for a slave drive and trigger? Is there a remote that would work with both and if so, what is the most affordable and dependable, giving me the most bang for the buck?

    Since I still need a flash, eventually, I’ll probably purchase a used SB-600. Then I’ll be all set. Does this sound feasible? So what do I need for what I described to get me on the right track? Remember, you're talking to a newbie who is pretty confused. LOL.

    Again, thank you so much! You all have been very helpful! I'm so grateful!!

    jane

    ps. Someone told me about a GREAT website and I signed up for their FREE lighting course. Rosanne Olson’s Lighting from A to Z. – CreativeTechs Classes The first lesson was today and I was very impressed! I know that I'll learn a lot! I'm so happy!! Check it out. You can sign up anytime. They offer different courses. I've signed up for the advanced photoshop retouching as well.
    Last edited by janeqb; 01-14-2010 at 03:13 AM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeqb View Post
    For now, I’m thinking that one AlienBees B800 would be the way to go. I would only need to buy a light stand, umbrella, and a trigger remote. The beginner package on their site is $358.66. The Beginner Bee This leaves me with needing to buy a trigger remote, extension cords and backdrops. If I have any extra money down the road (a long way down the road), is it possible to set up my SB-24 with an umbrella and light stand to work with it? If so, what do I need for a slave drive and trigger? Is there a remote that would work with both and if so, what is the most affordable and dependable, giving me the most bang for the buck?
    Well, the nice thing about the AlienBee (AB) units is that they have a built-in optical slave capability. That means that any other flash that the AB unit "sees" will trigger it, and it will fire. Now, just realize that the optical slave feature is not 100% reliable; I have heard that sometimes the AB units will not fire even when another flash is triggered. I haven't heard it as a major problem, though. Plus, that issue is not unique to the AB units; it's the case with all optical slave systems.

    I would recommend using radio triggers to fire the flash(es). With radio triggers, you have a couple options:

    1 - Get a radio transmitter and one receiver. The transmitter connects your camera, and the receiver connects to the SB-24. No receiver is connected to the AB unit. The AB's default mode is slave mode, which means that as long as you don't plug in anything into the PC port, the unit will behave like an optical slave, firing when it "sees" another flash fire. So, when you set everything up and take a shot, the on-camera transmitter sends a signal to the receiver on the SB-24 that fires the SB-24, and the light from the SB-24 triggers the AB. Of course, when you actually see it happen, it all looks like it's happening at the same time - a good thing!

    2 - Get a radio transmitter and two receivers. The transmitter connects to your camera, one of the receivers is connected to the SB-24, and the other receiver is connected to the AB unit. This is slightly more expensive than the first option (since you're buying an additional receiver), but it is more reliable, since you are not relying on the optical slave system of the AB unit. So, after you set everything up and take a shot, the on-camera transmitter sends a signal to the receiver on the SB-24 and the receiver on the AB, firing them at the same time.

    Now, as far as what radio triggers to use is up to you and what you can afford, obviously. Some people use Cactus V4's; some people, like myself, use CyberSyncs (made by Paul C. Buff); some people use Yongnuo radio triggers. There is plenty of discussion here and elsewhere on each of these products, so just do some searching around. Of course, there are PocketWizards, but those are definitely not wallet-friendly.

    I hope this helps.

    EDIT: I know you asked about getting a SB-600 unit as well for your on-camera flash use. Which route you go really depends on what your needs are right now. If you need off-camera lighting more than an on-camera flash, then go that route. Or, if you need an on-camera flash more, then go that way.
    Last edited by natek313; 01-14-2010 at 03:57 AM.
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  3. #13
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    Default Vivitar 285HV

    If you really want to save money on a off camera/strobist setup without breaking the bank, go with a Vivitar 285HV flash or two. Just one wouldn't set you back more than a $100. You will have more money for decent transmitters and receivers, stands, umbrellas, rechargeable batteries and etc.

    Even if you want to eventually go with the AlienBee route, the 285HVs are great for back-ups when a power source is not available.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #14
    jseguir is offline I'm new here!
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    Default Nikon D90 and SB900

    You must also remember that the NIKON D90 has an internal flash controller compatible with SB900, so you don't need to buy an additional radio controller.
    I've tried the pack D90+SB900 and works very fine.

    Regards from Spain.

    Juan

  5. #15
    Dave R is offline I'm new here!
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    Inkista:

    you said, "Only the SB-900 in the Nikon speedlight lineup does the 360į swivel."

    I have a Nikon SB-600 and it has full 360 degree swivel. I can rotate the base 360 degrees and I can tilt the head 90 degrees no matter where the base is positioned. For instance, I can rotate the base 180 degrees and tilt the head 90 degrees to reflect off the wall in back of me.

    I don't know how anyone could get more flexibility out of a swivel action.

  6. #16
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    If you can "rotate the base by 360 degrees" you have an SB-600 that may have had its neck wrung. They don't come from the factory like that. From the SB-600 manual:



    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Lucas View Post
    If you really want to save money on a off camera/strobist setup without breaking the bank, go with a Vivitar 285HV flash or two. Just one wouldn't set you back more than a $100.
    I'd also say, you may want to consider the LumoPro LP120, as well. It costs you $130, not the $90 a 285HV will, but you will get the ability to set to 1/8 and 1/32 power, swivel capability, and four different synch connections: the flash hotshoe, a minijack (good for radio slaves), a built-in optical slave [so you could pop it off-camera without buying additional equipment], and a standard PC port (the Vivitar's is a weird proprietary connector, not PC). Also a two-year warranty. I think you get your forty buck's worth for the 1/8 power and optical slave alone.

    Jane, I think the main decision you need to make between getting monoblocs or speedlights is how portable do you need your setup to be? If you want a studio setup and you're not worried about having power outlets nearby, then monoblocs it should be. If you plan on doing run'n'gun exterior setups in the wild and you're lovin' the cordlessness of running off batteries with wee lights, then speedlights are the better choice. Most of us learn to light the Strobist way with speedlights first because we already owned the flash. But speedlights are severely limited power and light-wise to their tiny AAs. They aren't going to light as large an area/space or as powerfully against the sun as a big light will. And, if you have to, you can get battery packs for the ABs to run away from the wall.

    Radio trigger-wise, if you are going to go for an AB/speedlight mix, I'd say that Cybersyncs are your best bet for total reliability and the most features at a reasonable price, followed by the RadioPopper JrXs. But if you have to go dirt-cheap for triggers, the Cactus V4s or YongNuo RF-602s can get the job done, too, with a mix of both types of lights.
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    Last edited by inkista; 01-14-2010 at 10:06 PM.
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  7. #17
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    Check my Strobist set on Flickr if you're interested in what you can do with an SB-600, LP120, a couple of umbrellas and Cactus triggers. I won't say it's an ideal setup, but the whole kit cost me right around $500, and I can take it anywhere I want.
    Last edited by dakwegmo; 01-15-2010 at 12:31 AM.
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  8. #18
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    That SB-900 is a sweet piece of work, but I've used Sunpaks for a long time now. Back in the film days I used a PZ5000 with my N80 and now the PZ42X works with the newer cameras. They have models that are made to be i-ttl and e-ttl compatible for both Nikon and Canon cameras respectively. The PZ42X costs less than one third of the SB-900 and the only features you sacrifice are the wireless command capability and the hot sync adapter. Both of those can be overcome by inexpensive hot shoe adapters and pc cords (though it is admittedly much less cool). So for the same cost as an SB-900 you could get a pair of PZ42Xs and the necessary sync setup.

    The way I see it, a photographer on a budget (like me, since it's not my primary income) should be spending more on glass than on light.

  9. #19
    halmooney is offline I'm new here!
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    Default "Ideal" set-up

    I used a Photogenic two strobe set-up with white umbrellas for twenty eight years (the same ones!). The power was relatively low, 250 watt seconds. I could use a reflector for a hair light, and a Vivitar 283 on a short stand behind the subject to light up the background. Worked very well, and was easy to carry around.

  10. #20
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    If it were me, I'd be looking to make the most out of Nikons CLS and the D90's Commander Mode.

    You can look up Joe McNally who does a majority of his work using the CLS. There are even a couple tutorials by him on Nikon's site... Or check out his book "the Hot Shoe Diaries" (my current photography related read).

    Loosing the commander mode was one of the biggest drags of "upgrading" to my D3, But I already had an SB800. My "kit" is 1 SB800 and 2 SB600's. Stands, umbrellas, and I just got a couple Alzo softboxes.

    With the CLS you need a commander (Camera w/ it, SB800, SU800, SB900). Flashes that work wirelessly controlled by commander (SBR200, SB600, SB800, SB900).

    SB600's can be bought for under 200 on Ebay. SB800s for about 250.

    This is NOT the absolute cheapest route, manual flashes and optical triggers are cheaper.

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