View Full Version : JTL Everlight kit
March 11th, 2003, 06:02 PM
I received the following post and wanted to put it up for everyone who has shown an interest in the Everlight Kit from JTL Corp. www.jtlcorp.com
>In your post at DVInfo.net you refered to the Everlight kit as a "three
>light kit that I am testing out to see if it will be the answer for
>tight-budget lighting." I did not see another post in which you gave
>results for your testing.
>If you do have results, could I prevail upon you to add them to the "El
>cheapo lighting..." thread?
>FYI, some prices for the Everlight kit (3x500W):
>adorama.com - $490
>porterscamerastore.com - $550
>jandkgroup (eBay store) - $600 (=list price)
>thecameratrader (eBay store) - $470 (out of stock)
Funny you should post this at this time. The UPS truck literally just dropped off a light from JTL for me to check out. Here is the problem: I purchased a 1000 watt bulb for the Everlight kit and within ten minutes of turning on the lamp, it shut down from overload. I phoned the company and they said there is a "switch" inside the lamp housing that needs to be reset for higher wattages. If I would return the lamps they would reset the switches. Hmmm. So I returned the lamps, and now they say there is no switch but they can put in a larger fuse. Hmmmmm. I explained that the unit is not performing as advertised, nor as a label on the back of the head indicates if it will not use the 1K bulb. They agree, have spoken with their manufacturing facility, and are going to replace the labels on the lamp heads. But that does not solve the problem for those who may have already purchased the kit.
Also, they make a unit that has a built in fan that will cool the head, but that costs an additional $20 per unit. They sent me one to test, which just arrived by UPS. But if the fan is too loud, this will negate the value of the lamp for sound recording.
The labels indicate that the lamp head is good for use with bulbs from 250, 350, 500, 750, 1K, and 1200. As a practical matter, there are no tungsten halogen bulbs below 500watt available in the G 9.5 socket that the lamp uses, nor is there a 1200watt bulb. Another user of the kit informed me he was having trouble using a 750watt bulb, so I decided to test the 1000watt bulb. The inescapable conclusion at this time seems to be that from a practical sense, the kit is only good with the 500 watt bulb it comes with, since there is nothing in a lower wattage, and higher wattage trips the breaker.
This is not the final answer in this matter. We still need to find out if the user can safely replace the enclosed fuse with a higher amp fuse, and if that will allow use of the 1000 watt bulb. I will let you know as soon as I finish my discussions with JTL headquarters and test the unit with the fan.
Sorry if my premature recommendation has caused any problems. I did warn I was not finished "testing" what looked to be a very good kit for the $490.00 price. It still may be the best value out there, but not as advertised at this moment.
March 11th, 2003, 07:34 PM
The prices I quoted to Wayne in the above post were the result of research I did today. I called JTL to ask them for three online retailers who carried the kit. The first three were their answer. All, including Adorama, had the kit in stock. The fourth was one I dug up last week based on random calling from JTL's dealer list.
I also called JTL's dealer in Delaware because it is close. The Camera Shop turned out to be a Ritz Camera that did not have the item in stock but offered to get it for list price. This must have been a local store decision, because the kit is not available at ritzcamera.com.
Wayne made a post last month in the "Soft Box or Umbrellas" thread mentioning that the kit was hard to find. He was right.
When I told the JTL receptionist that I was inquiring about the Everlight kit, she said "It's a hot seller." Maybe she knew more than she realized.
March 11th, 2003, 07:36 PM
The Everlight kit apparently uses JTL's SuperLight bulbs. These are the ones listed (http://www.jtlcorp.com/light/9.html):
2813 Superlight Bulb, 1000W
2814 Superlight Bulb, 750W
2815 Superlight Bulb, 500W
2819 Superlight Bulb, 1200W
March 11th, 2003, 07:44 PM
It's a bit hard to piece things together on JTL's site regarding the Everlight kit. Even though JTL lists part numbers for the kit components, they are not in obvious places.
The softbox is one of JTL's standard models, the model 2524. It turns out it has accessories, which can seen here: http://www.jtlcorp.com/lightbanks/4.html. Most interesting are three masks, including louvers.
March 11th, 2003, 07:45 PM
The problem is, Will, they don't have all those bulbs in stock. Another purchaser wanted the 750 watt, and they didn't have it. The bulbs that come with the kit are from Ushio, a reputable manufacturer. But they show no 1200 watt bulb in their catalog. Neither does anyone else, but it is a moot point, since, as I mentioned, it appears anything above 500 watt shuts down the lamp. Here is the latest info:
>I talked to JTL today and was told the kit was selling very well. Maybe
>there will be even more unhappy campers out there.
I am afraid there certainly will be. I just tested the head with the fan they sent me, and no way is this usable for shooting with sound. I assume the original purpose was for still photagraphy, as that seems to be their primary market.
>For my own purposes, I think 500W in two of the lamps will do well for me.
>But I had thought that I might up one lamp to 750 for the key light so I
>could ratchet it down with scrims or gels or whatever if need be. Now I'm
>worried that this won't work.
The reason I jumped to the 1K, is there is not that much difference from 500 to 750. The 500 watt lamp will provide all the power you need for today's cameras to do talking head interviews and what not. Unless you have to balance to available daylight. Here is the rub; if you use a full CTB (blue color correction gel) to balance to daylight, you are loosing almost 2/3 of the output of the lamp. Do the math. Not good. This is why I was especially interested in the 1K light. Now we are back to square one, since the fan lamp is too noisy.
What did you think of the quality of the light coming through the box?
No problem here. Actually the light coming through any similar soft box would all look the same. They have a slightly smaller surface area, at 24x24 inches. Most similar size boxes are 24x32, not a big deal. The general rule is, the larger the area of diffusion, the softer the light. Which is why in fashion photography you will see soft lights exceeding six feet in diameter! These are not too handy to schlep on location.
Here is something interesting. I mentioned the good stands that come with the kit. You can extend the height to seven feet. When you finish shooting, just unlock the three locks and walk away. The "air cushion" stand will lower by itself! Pretty wild. I wish the whole kit was that cool, but when you consider you can easily spend $500.00 for one soft box, quality stand, lamp head, speed ring, and bulb, the Everlight is still a good deal even with the 500 watt limitation. At least that is what I am trying to convince myself.
More to come.
March 11th, 2003, 07:52 PM
<<<It turns out it has accessories, which can seen here: http://www.jtlcorp.com/lightbanks/4.html. Most interesting are three masks, including louvers. -->>>
Pass on the louvers!!! They come as individual strips, and when they are in place, they flop all over the place. $50.00, and not worth it, IMHO. As for the masks, you can make these yourself. Go to an art store and buy black foamcore and cut your own custom masks. They should fit snuggly in front of the diffusion material. Then you can use the left over foamcore to make an "eggcrate" instead of louvres. (I haven't done it, that's just a thought)
March 13th, 2003, 04:13 PM
Wayne, not to rush you into your final review of this kit, but have the 500W lamps tripped the overload protection in your testing so far?
Obviously, I'm after continuous lighting.
March 13th, 2003, 09:13 PM
500 watt lights can be limiting. Through even just one level of difussion you'd have almost nothing left. Then there's the fan noise.
Can these bulbs be easily replaced?
March 13th, 2003, 09:30 PM
Wayne would have to confirm, but I don't think the Everlight has fans.
March 13th, 2003, 10:15 PM
<<<-- Originally posted by Will Fastie : Wayne would have to confirm, but I don't think the Everlight has fans. -->>>
Indeed, the lights that come in the Everlight Kit do not have fans, which is why they cannot use the 1K bulbs. JTL has a similar light with the fan which will handle the 1K bulb, but the noise of the fan precludes normal sound recording.
These bulbs are very effecient and you will get a lot of bang for your buck from 500 watts. As I indicated from my first post, these lights are a good value for the money, but are not as rugged as gear from Chimera or Photoflex. They are also a bit smaller. They are 24x24, and a similar Chimera is 24x30, I believe.
March 17th, 2003, 05:29 PM
I have decided to buy the Everlight kit. It looks like it will meet my needs and it's a bargain.
Now the problem will be finding one. Adorama had the best price but ran out of stock last Friday. Porter's had one this morning for $550, but I hesitated and missed it. J&K Group has them, but they are backed up with orders and can't ship until Thursday. 15 calls to shops on JTL's dealer list in states close to mine yielded nothing except a few dealers who wanted to know who JTL was.
Looks like J&K is it. They throw in a lighting guide of their own plus a case for the bulbs, so there's at least a little incentive to pay list.
I will return here in a few weeks, after I've had some experience with the lights, to add my report to Wayne's.
March 22nd, 2003, 10:34 PM
I am continuing to test the Everlight Kit and would like to update my report. As mentioned earlier, I have been in contact with the distributor of the JTL product line and had discussions concerning the Everlight Kit and the bulbs that can be used with the lamps. We agree that the lamp will not handle the 1000 watt bulb, much less the 1200 watt bulb as advertised. The company tells me that they have instructed the manufacturer to change the label to indicate no bulb higher than 750 watt. David Dicanio told me he had a problem with the 750 bulb also tripping the thermostat in the lamp. I have just fininshed my own testing of the 750 watt bulb, and find it is on the edge in this regard. Without the softbox attached, there is no problem and the lamp burned for an hour. But when the sortbox was attached, it did indeed shut down after a period of time (less than twenty minutes). However, when I turned back part of the soft box material closest to the mounting ring to allow more heat to escape, the lamp seems to operate properly, at least in a forty minute test.
Additionally it should be noted that I have not been able to locate any lower wattage bulbs than the five hundred watt bulbs that ship with the kit. No 350 watt as indicated on the label and the promo material exists in this G9.5 base.
What does all this mean to the end user? Thanks to today's light sensitive cameras, the 500 watt bulbs will be perfectly fine for most interview situations with the 24x24" supplied softboxes. As for no lower wattage bulbs, this can be remedied simply by adding additional layers of diffusion, such as Roscoe 216, over the supplied diffusion material, if lower light output is desired.
At the other end, things get a bit trickier. The reason I wanted to use the 1K bulbs with the kit was primarily for the use of correction gels, especially CTB which converts tungsten light to daylight, so as to use the softbox in a situation where sunlight is present, either as a key source or fill. The full CTB knocks down a lot of the light output, and a 1K light in place of a 500 watt light without the color correction would not be unusual. But it ain't gonna happen, so we will have to make do with 750 watts. Is this a deal breaker? I don't believe so, but certainly you have a right to know what the limitations are in this kit.
The other caveat I have with the kit is durability. I have always said that the soft boxes that ship with the Everlight kit are not the same rugged quality of the Chimera or Photoflex style boxes. But when you consider you are getting three lights, good stands, softboxes, bulbs and a carry case for the whole works for under $500.00, and ONE Photoflex, lamp, speed ring, bulb, and stand will cost you well over $300.00, then maybe a step down in quality level will allow the novice on a limited budget to get more "bang for his buck."
I would also like to ammend my comments regarding the louvres. Although they are not the handiest gadgets, again, they are considerably less expensive than similar items from other manufacturers, and they do work, although not as well as the fabric egg crate design, which costs hundreds of dollars. Pay attention to the shape of the louvres when you install them, as they are cut on a bevel to go into the softbox in one direction. It'll make sense when you see them.
But I still say "pass" on the "gobo" cutouts. You can make them yourself with heavy stock black art paper. And you know what? You really can't shape light through a soft box. You need a harder light to be able to create a serious gobo effect. Save your money on this.
March 22nd, 2003, 11:13 PM
I just went through some lighting catalogs to see if there was an adapter base that would allow the use of lower wattages. No such luck.
Ushio does show a G9.5 400 watt
March 24th, 2003, 11:49 AM
My Everlight Kit arrived this morning. Here are a few comments.
Wayne is right about the stands -- they are very good. I paid $35 each for two Bosh air-cushioned stands from the used department at B&H. I like the Bosh stands, but I think the JTL compact stand is better. The only problem is the mounting stud. When a head is mounted and the screw is tightened, the head rocks on the mount. The head mounts firmly on the Bosh stands. This is a very minor complaint; it probably means the mounting studs are not quite standard.
When the kit is loaded in the carrying case, it makes a very nice, compact package, about 38 pounds. This is an important factor for me.
However, packing the kit back in the case requires a bit of patience. The case I got does not match the one shown in the photo at JTL's Web site, so I will be inquiring about that. Mine does not have a side pocket and the contents are not stored as shown in the photo.
Wayne pointed out that the plastic head covers don't fit if the bulb is mounted in the head. Upon inspection, I'm guessing that there was some re-engineering after the covers were molded. The cover has a small hole in its top, making it clear that the intent was to secure the lamp in place by having the hole in the cover nest over the tip of the lamp. That strikes me as a great idea for storage; too bad it doesn't work. My vendor includes a bulb case with the kit as part of their package, meaning that they see the problem.
The JTL instructions for assembling the softboxes are terrible. Wayne sent me much better ones and I have some additions. I'm going to ask Wayne to post his instructions here. My vendor includes its own set of instructions, again recognizing a deficiency in the stock kit, but I haven't gotten them yet (my vendor had the kit drop shipped from JTL and sends the bulb case and instructions under separate cover).
The bulbs in the kit were Ushio EHD.
Using just a quick visual, I'm confident this kit will deliver adequate light for my situation. More later after I've set up and taped.
March 25th, 2003, 03:56 PM
Just a quick note on the bulbs for this kit.
Bryan Beasleigh was kind enough to drop me a private note pointing out that the Ushio EHD bulb is 3000K, a bit shy of 3200K. The trade-off here is that the EHD has a 2000 hour life, vs. 300 for a G9.5 575W 3200K bulb such as the GE or Ushio FLK.
As it turns out, I can't find a 500W, 3200K bulb, only 400 and 575. 750 and up are all 3200K, at least from Ushio.
ON the back of the JTL Everlight is a list called "Optional JTL Bulbs." Here's JTL's model number and the wattage for everything on that list:
2816 250W (not shown on JTL Web Site)
2821 400W (not shown on JTL Web Site)
2811 600W (not shown on JTL Web Site)
The 2819 1200W bulb is shown on the JTL Web site but is not mentioned on the back of the light head itself. JTL does not offer any specs on these bulbs at its site.
Thanks also to Wayne Orr for his private note suggesting that, while the 3000K lamp will provide a slightly warmer light, it's not enough of a difference to cause a problem.
March 26th, 2003, 12:46 PM
My dealer, J&K Group (an eBay store), specifies 500W lamps at 3200K. As mentioned, I got 3000K bulbs.
I would have gotten the 3200K bulbs if my kit had shipped from my dealer. Mine was drop-shipped from JTL. My dealer explained this to me and has offered to make any bulb exchange I like.
There is not enough information on the JTL Web site. If buying this kit, be sure to ask your dealer for the exact configuration so there is no misunderstanding.
J&K has been very agreeable through the entire transaction and has responded promptly to all my queries. Given my ignorance, they've been very patient.
April 3rd, 2003, 08:16 PM
Today I set up my "studio" and spent some time working with the Everlight kit. Here's an update.
I used the JTL stands side-by-side with my Bosh stands. The JTL stands are not just better, they are superior. Very strong, rigid when locked, and very compact when closed. There are two caveats. First, the legs are on the short side, so care must be exercised to make sure one of the legs faces forward, directly under the softbox. If a leg extends directly behind the softbox, the stand is stable but a feather can tip it over.
Second, the mounting stud is not firmly attached to the upper stand section. My Bosh stands have a good brass stud firmly attached. The steel JTL stud is attached with two screws and rocks if the screws are not fastened tightly. The poor quality of the mount mars an otherwise excellent stand. It's a bad place to cut costs.
I still need to work out details for my setup, but I was very pleased with the tape I shot today. The kit provides more than enough light. In fact, it produces too much. I may end up using the Everlights only for the key and fill lights, with something else for backlight and background effects. My setting is very cramped, so I don't have the luxury of lowering the light level by moving the lights further away. I have to use other forms of control.
I was concerned about the 3000K bulbs, but my GL2's automatic white balance and automatic exposure gave good results. Colors were true. I had thought about getting some 3200K bulbs for comparison, but now I don't think I'll bother.
No question -- the carrying case is the weak link in this kit. Its poor organization makes packing too time consuming. Packing up the softbox fabrics was annoying until I employed a time-honored piece of low technology -- the rubber band.
Because the bulbs can't be stored mounted in the heads, owners of this kit will need a small case for the bulbs. My vendor supplies a case, but it is large enough to hold 9 or 10 bulbs and thus will not fit inside the carrying case.
April 3rd, 2003, 08:59 PM
<<<-- Originally posted by Will Fastie : "Today I set up my "studio" and spent some time working with the Everlight kit. Here's an update.
I used the JTL stands side-by-side with my Bosh stands. The JTL stands are not just better, they are superior. Very strong, rigid when locked, and very compact when closed. There are two caveats. First, the legs are on the short side, so care must be exercised to make sure one of the legs faces forward, directly under the softbox. If a leg extends directly behind the softbox, the stand is stable but a feather can tip it over."
This is how you always want to use stands; with the weight directly over one of the legs, whether it is a lamp or a grip flag, or whatever. A sand bag on the stand is a good idea. A unique ability of these "air cushioned" stands is you can unlock them when you are finished and they will slowly and safely lower themselves, unattended.
"Second, the mounting stud is not firmly attached to the upper stand section. My Bosh stands have a good brass stud firmly attached. The steel JTL stud is attached with two screws and rocks if the screws are not fastened tightly. The poor quality of the mount mars an otherwise excellent stand. It's a bad place to cut costs."
I don't find that a serious failing. I am sure they do this so as to use the stands with different size studs.
"I still need to work out details for my setup, but I was very pleased with the tape I shot today. The kit provides more than enough light. In fact, it produces too much. I may end up using the Everlights only for the key and fill lights, with something else for backlight and background effects. My setting is very cramped, so I don't have the luxury of lowering the light level by moving the lights further away. I have to use other forms of control."
Get a dimmer (build one with Home Depot parts) and you can use it to lower the intensity of the fill (or the key). As you dim the light below about eighty percent, it will start to change the Kelvin temperature which will make the output slightly red. This is not a bad thing at all for a fill light. I know DP's who key regularly at 2400Kelvin, to give an overall warmth to their pictures. I will do it on ocassion.
"I was concerned about the 3000K bulbs, but my GL2's automatic white balance and automatic exposure gave good results. Colors were true. I had thought about getting some 3200K bulbs for comparison, but now I don't think I'll bother."
As you can infer from my above comments, it is a non-issue. The difference between 3200 and 3000 Kelvin is undetectable in 90% of shooting conditions.
"No question -- the carrying case is the weak link in this kit. Its poor organization makes packing too time consuming. Packing up the softbox fabrics was annoying until I employed a time-honored piece of low technology -- the rubber band."
Again, I agree, but for the price, it is not that bad. It is a compact, and relatively light weight package that I think you will get accoustomed to in time. I will trade out one of the softlights for a LTM Pepper when I know I am doing a simple interview set up. The combination of two softlights and one fresnel will give me more options. Also add some kind of bounce board to your kit.
"Because the bulbs can't be stored mounted in the heads, owners of this kit will need a small case for the bulbs. My vendor supplies a case, but it is large enough to hold 9 or 10 bulbs and thus will not fit inside the carrying case."
I have a small box that I place the bulbs in in their original boxes. This is part of the extra time I mentioned originally that this kit takes to set up and tear down, versus some of the more expensive soft lights that are available. I also carry a dimmer in the case and spare 10 amp fuses. Also some black duvetyne that I place on top of the stands in the case. There is always a use for black duvetyne on a shoot.
Sounds like Will is on his way. Some 216 diffusion material would be great to knock down the light a stop to allow moving the light in closer to the subject, which helps to soften the image even further. And don't forget that bounce material. Great for fill.
I used the Everlight Kit the other day on a shoot that included everything from short dramatic pieces in different sets, to portrait shots of the actors, to close up product shots. I was very pleased with how quickly I was able to set my lights and shoot, and the producer was very pleased with the results. But remember, it takes practice to get full use out of the gear, so don't expect instant perfect results.
April 11th, 2003, 04:12 PM
The lights are working out very well. In addition to video, I did some still product shots (for eBay) and got good results, easily the equal of a previous still setup I used but with less fuss. I think I might like a bit more light for still work, perhaps one 750W, but I don't do enough to worry about it and I can always adjust the stills with Photoshop.
I'm going to get vulgar here, so please avert your eyes if you are easily offended. The case sucks. Period. It is the main thing that makes repacking so slow. I can break down and ready for packing all three soft boxes in 3 minutes, everything in about 5, so that's not the packing delay.
And I remain annoyed that I have to remove everything on the top level of the case to get to the stands on the bottom, making it a pain if you want to use just one or two lights. I tried to use the partition vertically to store the lights on one side and the stands on the other, but the case isn't quite wide enough and thus bulges. In any case, it isn't the most secure way to store the heads.
But I like the kit and definitely think it's worth the $500 street price. I'd wish for a better case at $600, which is what I paid (when I bought, all the $500 sellers were out of stock).
May 1st, 2003, 04:26 PM
Could either Wayne or Will somehow email me their instructions for assembling these softboxes. From the instructions that came with the kit, it looks like I need at least 4 arms. :) Thanks in advance.
May 1st, 2003, 05:34 PM
Each softbox has a speedring, 4 arms with a spring coil in the middle, a front diffusion panel, and a cover.
Lay a diffusion panel on a flat surface so that the black edge with the wide band of Velcro is facing up.
Identify the ends of the arm. Both ends have plastic studs. The longer one goes in the pocket at the corner of the panel and the shorter one goes in a hole in the speedring.
Choose any corner and insert an arm. Insert the other end of the arm into any of the 8 holes in the speedring. The wider side of the speedring faces the panel and the smaller side faces the light, so keep the small side up.
Wayne and I differ on which panel corner to do next. He recommends an adjacent corner, working around the panel in a circle. I've found it handy to do an opposite corner first. Either way, choose another corner and fit the next arm. Because the speedring has 8 holes, the arms fit into every other hole.
As you begin to put tension on the spring arms, make sure the coil side of the arm is facing in, toward the panel.
Always insert the arm into the panel first and then the speedring.
When you are done, the speedring will be standing on the arms with the panel as a base. Now simply place the cover over the arms so that the seams follow the arms. Leave 1/2" of Velcro showing along the edge of the front panel.
Here's a tip for placing the softbox on the lamphead. Mount the lamphead on a tripod. Tilt it back so the bulb socket is facing directly up. Install the bulb. Loosen the locking screw on the front of the lamphead. Now you can use both hands to carefully lower the softbox so that the speedring mates with the lamphead. Secure the locking screw. Now loosen the two thumbscrews on the outside of the speedring, line up the softbox as desired, and tighten the thumbscrews.
Pointing the lamphead up to install the softbox lets gravity help and provides more control because the weight of the softbox is centered at the bottom rather than being offset to one side.
I hope Wayne approves of these instructions.
May 1st, 2003, 08:54 PM
"I hope Wayne approves of these instructions."
Will, please. I'm all for whatever works, and your instructions read like a real pro wrote them. Now, the real question is: how do you like the Everlight Kit now that you have had it awhile?
BTW, I just bought a 48x32" soft box by JTL from my local camera store, Reseda Photo. I will use this for situations that require more spread, such as two people sitting next to each other, or, a full figure shot, or whatever. It comes with its own set of rods but uses the speed rings that come with the kit, and yes, it will stuff into the nylon case, but it is pretty well stuffed. The soft box is just under a hundred dollars.
May 2nd, 2003, 08:29 AM
The lights are working out very well for video. I've been using the same stock setup I mentioned before, so I'm not getting much experience with setting up in different situations. Plenty of light for my needs so far and no white balance problems (and that's letting the GL2 do all the work).
For still shots with my digital camera, I've had a problem with white balance. But all these shots are intended for Web use, they don't hang around long enough to draw criticism, and they can be corrected automatically with PhotoShop (I use PS Elements, not the full version). My camera is an older Kodak consumer model, so this is hardly a criticism.
All things considered (except the case), I'm extremely happy with the kit and wish I'd just done this first rather than wasting all my time experimenting with the DIY worklights.
May 6th, 2003, 01:54 PM
I just noticed that the Everlight Kit is available from Adorama at $499.95. I noticed because I was checking the price of something else and the kit was featured on the home page when I first arrived.
I don't know if it's in stock. It wasn't when I bought mine weeks ago; maybe they've caught up.
May 6th, 2003, 03:20 PM
That's where I bought mine from last week. They had them in stock when I called.
May 6th, 2003, 03:27 PM
Joe, please report back your impression of the JTL kit after you have used it. And let me know if you feel I represented it fairly, or, what made you decide to purchase it. As you probably know, I am giving it a qualified recommendation based on my initial impression of the kit, but I have not used it enough to know how well it will hold up. As I indicated, the softbox material is not as sturdy as those from Chimera or Photoflex, but for the money it seems a good deal. They do have a one year warranty, but please hold on to your receipt in case you have a problem.
Look forward to hearing all comments, positive and negative. You can post here, or e-mail be direct.
May 9th, 2003, 05:04 PM
I've got a question for you guys that have been using the Everlight kit...
I had intented to buy the Lowel DV Creator 55 kit about a month ago. I ended up deciding to piece the kit together instead of buying the actual kit though because the stands that come in the kit are pitiful. So basically I bought all the individual components except the stands and bought sturdier Bogen stands.
The one light that wasn't available (out of stock) was the Rifa 55, which - for those of you who aren't familiar with it - is Lowel's new 500 watt softlight. I've been trying to get it ever since, but it's out of stock everywhere (supply problem apparently).
My question is - should I ditch the Rifa 55 and just buy the JTL Everlight kit instead? The Rifa (with a bulb) is gonna cost me about $450 - and I already paid about $80 for a Bogen stand for the yet-to-arrive Rifa - so for about $30 less I could get 3 softbox lights from JTL instead of the Rifa.
Keep in mind I would keep the Tota, Omni, and Pro from the Lowel kit as well.
My problem is I have no experience with the Rifa or the JTLs, so I have no idea what I'm giving up in terms of quality, light characteristics, lifespan, etc. Three just seems to be better than one to a simpleton like myself. Am I trying to "trade a quarter so I can get three nickels"?
Thanks - sorry it got so long!
May 9th, 2003, 05:32 PM
I don't have any experience with the Rifa. Its main claim to fame seems to be the clever way it folds up, which looks very fast.
The Everlight kit that we've been talking about here has three lights, but you can buy kits with 1, 2, or 3 lights. A one light kit will cost you $199 from J&K, the vendor who sold me my kit. This might be a better approach, as you already have other lights. I know of no way to buy the Everlight heads alone, but the JTL stands are at least decent, if not better.
One word of warning -- J&K supplies 3000K lamps even though the JTL site says 3200K bulbs.
J&K can be found at www.stores.ebay.com/jandkgroup. Click on the Continuous Lighting link. Only use J&K if you want one or two lights. If you decide on the full kit, J&K's price isn't good.
May 9th, 2003, 09:38 PM
I'd buy a medium Photoflex from B&H( It comes with a few extra goodies ) look at the locked lighting thread that Frank G posted. All of the links are there. Buy the Tota speed ring and use your Tota in the photoflex.
Buy a decent stand as I again outline in that thread. I use a manfrottoo master 004 stand ($75 at B&H)that will hold 22 lbs but the Bogen 3086 for $45 will hold the box ok. (11 lb rating)
i can put up or tear down the photoflex very quickly. You have half of the gear to complete a softbox setup why change course now. The Tota as a broad light would be a top choice for a soft box.
Your Lowel set is good stuff regardless of what some will tell you.
If you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm only too happy to help.
May 9th, 2003, 09:57 PM
I'd buy a medium Photoflex from B&H( It comes with a few extra goodies ) look at the locked lighting thread that Frank G posted. All of the links are there. Buy the Tota speed ring and use your Tota in the photoflex.Bryan's recommendation is exactly what I often use, Matt. In terms of lighting it works very well. But you will need to get some practice at setting-up the Photoflex and speed-ring. The principal advantage of the Rifa is it's compact portability and its ease of set-up and tear-down.
May 10th, 2003, 02:31 AM
As the original booster of the Everlight Kit, I would like to say........ I agree with Bryan "The Beaser" Beasligh. I would have tried to talk you out of the Lowel "Creator," (modest little name. Do they spell it with a capital "C"?) but that's another thread. Since you are at least half way there, get the speed ring and the Photoflex, medium, and you are good to go. If you had to build the Photoflex combination from the ground up you would be paying over $360 for one unit, versus the three (somewhat less quality) Everlights in a carry case (which Will hates). You will be putting that Tota to the absolute best use possible, unless of course, you wanted to start a fire, but I digress.
And you can always get a twelve volt bulb for the Omni and use it for an emergency work light for your car.
Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!
May 10th, 2003, 02:43 AM
I've been using an umbrella on the Tota - so you guys are saying I should get a Photoflex to use with the Tota instead? I've been thinking I need another "soft" light in addition to the Tota I have - doing this would still just leave me with 1 soft light source, right?
Is there a balance somewhere here - a way to get another light source (maybe even another Tota?) to go along with what I've got already? Or does that leave me back at the Rifa?
It just seemed like people were raving over the value of the Everlight kit, so I thought it may be a better use of the $500 than the Rifa...
thanks for the suggestions...
May 10th, 2003, 03:24 AM
You are in a bit of a different situation. The only item you have is the Tota light, which is only about an eighty dollar item. You would need to spend probably another $260.00 to get a speed ring, Photoflex, and better stand. The three softbox Everlight kit is OK, but what to do with the left over Tota? Probably the best bet is to use it as a bounce light, to provide fill on the side of the face or to help light a room with good ambient light. Use the umbrella for your short-film send up of "Singin' In the Rain."
May 10th, 2003, 04:16 AM
>As the original booster of the Everlight Kit, I would like to say........ I agree with Bryan "The Beaser" Beasligh.<
May 10th, 2003, 10:20 AM
<<<-- Originally posted by Wayne Orr : You are in a bit of a different situation. The only item you have is the Tota light, which is only about an eighty dollar item. You would need to spend probably another $260.00 to get a speed ring, Photoflex, and better stand. -->>>
Either I'm getting confused, or I'm confusing you! What do you mean "the only item you have is the Tota light"? I've also got a Pro Light and an Omni light, along with all the barn doors, gel frames/gels, scrims, etc. Also, the Tota is a $150 list light (about $130 at B&H with lamp). Finally, why do I need a better stand? I pieced together the kit instead of buying the kit the way Lowel sells it specifically so I could get better Bogen stands - which I did...
<<<-- The three softbox Everlight kit is OK, but what to do with the left over Tota? -->>>
I wasn't considering the Tota to be "leftover", especially since it doesn't sound like the JTL kit is as great as it could be. In fact, I specifically decided to NOT buy the JTL kit and to go with the Lowel because I felt the Lowel has more range/possibilities, a better quality reputation, and a better variety of hard and soft light sources. So if anything, I was thinking "hmm.. maybe I should get the JTL kit as a complement to the primary Lowel lights. Maybe I don't need 3 of them, but if they're selling a 3-light softbox kit for the same price that my 1-light Lowel softbox (Rifa) is going to cost, why not get it instead." I was assuming one or two of the JTL's would be "leftover", not my Lowel lights.
<<<-- Probably the best bet is to use it as a bounce light, to provide fill on the side of the face or to help light a room with good ambient light. Use the umbrella for your short-film send up of "Singin' In the Rain." -->>>
Are you saying the Tota/Umbrella combination is useless? I certainly wasn't hearing this opinion when I was researching before I bought.
Maybe you can help me figure out where I'm getting confused. Has anyone actually USED the Rifa to tell me the difference between that and the Tota/Photoflex combo?
May 10th, 2003, 11:55 AM
I haven't used the rifa. i looked at it but decided not to because I got better bang for my buck with the photoflex and Tota.
The Rifa lamps are expensive and not as easy to buy. The Tota lamp range is greater, cheaper and easier to find
You could use the omni with your umbrella but i'll bet that once you get a softbox that umbrella will stay on the shelf.
A lttle side note here. Some lamps provide an umbrella clamp hole either on the lamp or the yoke. the lamp swivel or the yoke locking screws will not do an adequate job of keeping the weight aloft. Spend $20 on a lobo clamp. It's also better to use speed rings to mount lamps uin a softbox rather than mounting the speed ring to the lamp. The locking collarts on the yokes of lights like the ianiro or even the arri are really stressed by the weight of all that crap hanging off them
In fairness we should really start a new thread as this one was intended for the JTL Everlight and the folks asscociated with the topic have put a whole lot of effort into it.
May 10th, 2003, 01:15 PM
Matt, if you're looking for some softboxes to flesh out your kit and those softboxes are going to be "second" in your kit, you will simply not get a better bang for the buck than the JTL kit.
All my research focused on getting enough difuse but appropriate light for my situation, which is a lot of inside shooting in close surroundings. For me, the JTL kit is proving its worth as a primary system.
May 10th, 2003, 01:21 PM
Good point Bryan - I didn't mean to hijack the thread... I'm afraid I'm not sure how to link on here, but below is the link for the new thread I started.
Feel free to join me there if you have any more advice for me...
May 10th, 2003, 03:23 PM
Sorry for contributing to the confusion, Matt. I was winding down after working a twelve hour day that seemed longer at about two in the morning, and I confused you with two people, or something like that. Anyway, knowing my bias against Lowel lights, I am just going to withdraw from your discussion. And yes, a Tota costs $109. Mea culpa.
Bulletin: I just wanted to post a response that was on another forum where I was trying to convince another young fellow who was in the market for some lighting gear to take a look at the JTL kit, and I was getting some spirited opposition from another writer. Anyway, here's a brief comment from the young man looking for lighting:
"I went to Reseda Photo and took a look at the Everlight kit. I was driving over there thinking this kit was gonna be cheap and that if my cat leaned on the tripod it would fall over, etc... I walked in and was very suprised to see these (3) very well built lights with stands that looked stonger and more sturdy then the Arri stands. I was very impressed and walked out with a kit. Thanks Wayneor!"
I thought this fellow was in the "starving student" category, but it turns out he has quite a bit of money to throw around. If I had known that, I might have pointed him in other directions, but for those on a limited budget, I still believe the JTL Everlight Kit is a good way to get into lighting for $500.00.
May 10th, 2003, 06:04 PM
No problem Wayne - I understand that some people just don't like certain equipment. The Lowel lights that I have have worked well for me so far, it's just that I'm still in need of a primary soft source (to replace the umbrella).
My lighting budget right now came out to about $1500 (which is why I didn't go for the Arri kits I've always rented). In the position I'm in now though, I've basically spent about $1000 of that and am just trying to figure out the best way to use the other $500.
I need something slightly more professional than having only the JTL, but thought it might be a nice filler for the last 1/3 of my budget. Bias and all, if you were me - currently working with:
- 1 750watt Tota (with gel frame/gels/umbrella and Bogen stand)
- 1 500watt Omni (with gel frame/gels and Bogen stand)
- 1 250watt Pro Light (with gel frame/gels and Bogen stand)
... and you had $500 dollars to round out the kit, how would you spend it?
a) 500 watt Rifa
b) Additional Tota w/ Photoflex
c) 3-light JTL kit
d) Something completely different?
Thanks for all the advice... (if you think about it - look for my other thread I provided the link to above and respond in that thread so we can leave this thread alone...)
May 17th, 2003, 09:07 AM
It's been a week! Won't somebody please answer the Pope! It would be very helpful to me also!
If you can expand I think my thread "Opinions wanted" basically carries on where this one seems to be dying. I've read and reread this whole thread a couple times because it's exactly where I am at the moment, but I ned mower infooo Captain! Theeerrre's nut enufff tiiiiime!
May 17th, 2003, 10:56 AM
Matt & Matt:
Matt P., it seems clear that you want to round out your kit with at least one 500W softbox.
With the JTL kit, you'll get three 500W softboxes with good stands and a case. I stick with my original comment, that the JTL kit gives the biggest bang for the buck.
You'll end up with three more stands and three more lights, a total of 6 lights in your kit. That's got to offer more options for you than 4 lights.
By the way, JTL makes a reflector for the Everlights. Because all I have is this kit, I thought it might be nice to be able to use one of the lights for harsher or more direct light, so I bought one reflector. This gives the JTL kit at least some flexibility and expands your options even more.
I'd say the only question is whether you think there is a quality problem with the Everlights. From other posts around here, it certainly appears that PhotoFlex is high quality. On the other hand, I think the Everlights will give me long service provided I don't abuse them.
November 4th, 2003, 04:17 PM
In previous posts in this thread, we have discussed the color temperature of the bulbs supplied with the JTL Everlight kit. I want to provide an update and recommendation.
The kit as purchased came with EHD 500W bulbs at 3000K. As previously stated, this was close enough to 3200K that the white balance feature of the camcorder produced an appropriate image. Had I planned to use the lights solely for video work, I would have put the issue to bed.
However, I also do some still work. Here I found the white balance problem more severe. No matter what I did, and I tried several digital cameras, the photos always looked better after some adjustment with Photoshop. Because of this, I decided to buy some 3200K bulbs and see what kind of difference they made.
I bought two FLK 575W bulbs from Production Advantage (www.proadv.com), a source often mentioned here, for $15 each, about $1 more than the EHD.
The difference between the EHD and FLK was immediately apparent in my first application, a recent shoot indoors with sunlight coming in through a window. I first tried to light with the EHD bulbs, one key and one fill, but discovered that the sunlight was casting blue light on one cheek of my subject while the key light was casting red light on the other cheek. Obviously, there was no way to balance this with the cam, so I needed an alternate solution. After some experimentation, I obtained the best shot with an FLK-equipped light as the key.
Certainly the difference between 3000K and 3200K contributed somewhat to the better lighting. However, the FLK lamp put out quite a bit more light, much more than I would have expected for just a 75W difference in power consumption. This helped to balance the sunlight and create a more natural appearance for the subject.
Upon further examination, I discovered that the EHD lamps are rated for 10600 lumens while the FLK lamps emit 16500 lumens. That's over 50% more light for just 15% more power. There is a downside, of course; the EHD bulbs have a life of 2000 hours, the FLK just 300.
I have some further experiments to do with the still camera, but I'm convinced. I plan to use the FLK bulbs regularly, using the EHDs only for situations in which less or softer light is desirable.
We have also discussed whether the Everlight softboxes are up to higher-wattage lamps. I used the FLK for hours at a time. The lights operated constantly. They were certainly hotter than the EHD, but not so hot to cause a problem.
My recommendation is to specify lamps other than the EHD when purchasing the Everlight kit, even if it raises the price a few bucks.
November 6th, 2003, 11:30 PM
Thanks for the update, Will -- much appreciated,
November 9th, 2003, 12:21 PM
I've run the EHG for most of the day without a problem. And I've run the 500w with one vent covered to control spill without a problem.
November 29th, 2003, 01:30 PM
wayne, et al
got the everlight kit a few weeks ago and still very happy with it. however, on two of the stands, the uppermost section is not holding firm and is collasping from the weight of the light. have looked at the clamps and cannot find a socket with walls slender enough to tighten the hex nut that secures the clamp to the tubing.
have not gotten a response from jtl- anybody run into this before and have an idea how to adjust the clamps to make for a more secure hold?
November 29th, 2003, 02:30 PM
Thanks for your comments. I am constantly monitoring user reactions to the Everlight Kit, and there have been a few minor problems, all of which I believe have been handled to the user's satisfaction.
What I would suggest, is contact JTL directly, and ask for Jonathan. Very nice fellow. Their voice number is 714-670-6626. Fax is 714-670-8836 Be sure to go into detail about the problem. They may ask you to send in the problem stands for a replacement.
Please tell Jonathan that you purchased the kit on Wayne Orr's recommendation, and that he told you to expect cooperation with your problem. And please let me know how it all turns out, or if you have any troubles dealing with JTL.
Wayne Orr, SOC
January 28th, 2004, 06:30 PM
Would this make a good portable light kit to take to people's home...or is the wattage going to be too much and will blow some fuses?? And, do you think this lighting set could succesfully do a location chroma key?
January 28th, 2004, 07:54 PM
I recently picked a single JTL light up, and was very impressed by it. It really does seem like at that price you would get crap for a light stand, but it really is a solid, well cushioned stand.
Also, the wattage is only 500 watts on the default JTL light. If you blow a fuse somewhere with that, chances are that place had problems to begin with. Many home torchiere lamps have 500 watts output.
It really is a great deal - thanks for turning me onto it, Wayne. I'm sure I'll get another one (or two) soon.
January 28th, 2004, 08:28 PM
Lisa, I took my kit of three to my brother's home to shoot an interview. I ended up using only two, both with 575W lamps and both plugged into the same circuit. No problems. I do think if I'd needed the third I would have run an extension cord to another circuit just to be safe.
I don't know enough to answer the question about the chroma key. My guess is that you have to get the background color just right, which could mean having exactly the right color temperature in the lights. Just remember that the bulbs supplied with the Everlights are 3000K. My 575W lamps are 3200K. I'm winging it here; I hope someone with experience hops in with the right answer.