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Thread: First umbrella purchase

  1. #1
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    First umbrella purchase

    Hello all, my first thread after lurking in the background for a few days. when i get home im going to put myself through Colins "School of portraiture" i want to order a multipurpose umbrella shoot through, silver, gold, that sort of thing. I read in part of Colins thread that the end of an umbrella stem failed causing $$$$ of damage to his PW's

    There's a bewildering array of stuff out there, none of which i can touch or feel. Do any of you have recommendations for size and make? I prefer to buy spend a little more and buy equipment once if i can but sometimes throw away is the best way to go.

    All advice welcome

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    Hi Mark, I'd suggest that you take your time if you haven't been able to see and touch the equipment that you are thinking of buying. See if you can contact someone in a local camera club to get the first hand feel and feedback.

    If there are no camera clubs in your area, it might be worth waiting until to can get to a location where they are for sale before making a decision.

    Meanwhile, there are a lot of inexpensive DIY projects that can experimented with for next to nothing and will give you a sense of what works for you. You may also want to search for posts by Jiro Bau as he has created DIY lighting and has produced some fantastic images such as the one in this link F-curve..

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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    The major problem I have found with shoot through umbrellas is that they reflect a goodly portion of the light back which can light the shooting area and minimize control of the lighting.

    However, there are shoot through umbrellas that have a black covering over their open side which would prevent the light from spilling back and lighting up the studio area in ways and from directions not desired by the photographer.

    Here is an example of what I mean:

    First umbrella purchase

    Since, I often shoot dogs on location in relatively confined areas, I like the additional control of this type of shoot-through umbrella. It doesn't light the entire room as I am shooting. It is stilll, however quicker for me to set up and break down this umbrella than a softbox.

    This is the type of umbrella I use but, is not my setup. The rod of the umbrella goes straight through the reflector of my old White Lightning WL-5000 unit so the light hits the center of the umbrella and is quite even. I can't think of a downside of this type of shoot-through umbrella. It is a bit more expensive than "standard" shoot through-umbrellas but, at around $USD 25.00, it is not really very expensive.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 1st November 2011 at 06:21 PM.

  4. #4
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    Hi Frank,

    my nearest gear outlet is an hours drive, and stocks no lighting stuff at all, the closest that does lighting is 2.5 hours drive but the only seem to stock lastolite if i want to find an outlet that has a wide range then ill have to drive 4 or more hours..... i was hoping that someone could recommend some makes and then i could track down the nearest distributor and have a look.

  5. #5
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    Hi richard thanks for that, probably a stupid question, but are there and circumstances when ill need to spill the light out of the back? will i need both types? what sizes do you recommend and any particular makes?

    thanks

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    All of the umbrellas with softbox like conversions that I have seen have the black piece removeable. Not sure this is the case here.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    The one that I have doesn't include a removeable back cover. However, I have several lights without a cover at all. IMO, umbrellas are fairly inexpensive light modifiers (as opposed to softboxes) and are small enough when folded that they don't take up much storage room. I don't mind having several different from which to choose. Here is a small setup which I use for photographing my Maltese dog images.

    First umbrella purchase

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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    Hi Mark,

    I just use the cheapest ones I can buy (about NZD $12). Spilling light out the back isn't an issue for me as I always use then in "shoot-through mode". When I do want to spread the light around more (using an umbrella) (as per Richard's example), I use a black umbrella with a silver lining. Although having said that, it's rare that I use them in any mode other than shoot-through, because for portraiture, shoot-through allows far more control over the light (you can get it closer - so it's softer, and you can vary the distance from the flast to the umbrella - for more control over light distribution & fall off).

    Keep in mind too that when working with speed lights, the umbrella is "natures shock absorber" - and you'll invariably wreck a few each year.

  9. #9
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    Thank you gentlemen selection made, an interfit shoot thro with black silver cover and wife to make DIY cover to turn into umbrella box 25 pounds each 7 mm shafts so can work with my elinchroms which i will dream about!!

    Colin how do you get on with the PW minni having the small battery? was going to get all flex's because of aa batteries......

  10. #10

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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    Thank you gentlemen selection made, an interfit shoot thro with black silver cover and wife to make DIY cover to turn into umbrella box 25 pounds each 7 mm shafts so can work with my elinchroms which i will dream about!!
    ... unfortnately, theres little spotting those 7mm shaft sliding right through the strobe if they're on any kind of angle

    Colin how do you get on with the PW mini having the small battery? was going to get all flex's because of aa batteries......
    No battery problems at all - I'd suggest just getting a couple of spares. No reason you couldn't use a TT5, but it's a heck of a lot more bulky.

    These are worth their weight in gold too ...

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ry_Tester.html

  11. #11
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    ... unfortnately, theres little spotting those 7mm shaft sliding right through the strobe if they're on any kind of angle




    No battery problems at all - I'd suggest just getting a couple of spares. No reason you couldn't use a TT5, but it's a heck of a lot more bulky.

    These are worth their weight in gold too ...

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ry_Tester.html
    Thats great Colin thanks, another PW question if i may..... i notice that you use skyports with the elinchroms rather than pw st4's why is that? and if i was to use both systems in a studio ( 2 x rx 600 2 x sb900) could i trigger both PW and Skyports either by stacking the triggers or using a split cord.... The shopping list grows..... maybe i need anew thread!!!

    I thought Elinchrome had to have a 7 mm shaft because 8mm was to big?


    thanks

    mark

  12. #12

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    Re: First umbrella purchase

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    Thats great Colin thanks, another PW question if i may.....
    Sure, no problem

    i notice that you use skyports with the elinchroms rather than pw st4's why is that?
    The skyport supports 4 channels (which I normally use for Key, Fill, Hair, and background)

    and if i was to use both systems in a studio ( 2 x rx 600 2 x sb900) could i trigger both PW and Skyports either by stacking the triggers or using a split cord....
    Just turn the magic eye on on the RX600s - they'll fire when the SB900s do (so long as the SB900s are configured not to emit a pre-flash)

    I thought Elinchrome had to have a 7 mm shaft because 8mm was to big?
    They are 7mm, but they're still a "loose" fit in that if the lights are pointing up or down at a steep angle, the brollies can (and do) slide through the shaft. To be honest, I very seldom use brollies with the strobes (they spray light everywhere) - I mostly just use softboxes or bare bulbs (with the occasional snoot / grid / beauty disk / barn door thrown in for good luck).

    Ultimately you'll want more than 2 RX600s though (I'm up to 5 RX1200s, and could still do with 1 or 2 more on occasions). On that note though, 1.2 x 2.4m polystyrene on casters make EXCELLENT fill light reflectors.

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