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Old December 16th, 2003, 03:30 AM   #1
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Lighting Suggestions - $500 budget

Hi Everyone.

I have $500 I need help spending on lights. I am new to the lighting game so I will need a bit of help. I have poured over this section and learned a lot.

USED FOR: Interviews and misc. other things. Mostly light duty type stuff. I will be by myself.

WANT: I know I would like to have Soft Boxes. Beyond that, I have no idea. Was thinking a 3 light set...

DONT WANT: I don't want to go the umbrella route. They seem cheep to me, although I know they are not.

NEED: You tell me. What is the best brand for a new guy? I was thinking about the JTL Everlight kit and it seemed ok, esp. the stands. The Lowel's stands sounded like they were not so hot.

LET ME KNOW.

THANKS!
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Old December 16th, 2003, 08:06 AM   #2
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If you only have $500 and you would like a 3 light kit, and softboxes, then it looks like the JTL kit is your only answer. Wayne Orr here has posted extensively and very helpfully on that kit.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 09:44 AM   #3
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To be fair, there is no way a all inclusive $500 kit can match the quality of pro or even prosumer gear. The kit apparently works fine for many people. The final judgement should be reserved for a hands on inspection of all components , from either source.

The Lowel kit stands are light weight , they are built that way for a purpose. Regardless of weight the lowel stands are well made. Heavier Lowel's are available. I prefer something sturdier like an Avenger or Manfrotto stand, but 3 stands will take up $160 plus tax and shipping of your $500 budget.

It is my opinion that while very inexpensive, the build quality of the everlite stands or softbox is not equivilent to the build quality on Lowel,Photoflex or Chimera.

All said, you're not going to get a 3 piece soft box light kit for $500 anywhere else. It may be a good start, if you decide you need better, you can always sell it and move on.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 11:27 AM   #4
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Now that you have Bryan's opinion, here are some comments from others:

I just got my Everlight softbox kit last week just in time for a shoot I had out of state. They really made a difference in lighting quality and my project was a great success because of them. Thanks to all of you for posting info about these lights!!! I paid $499.00 through adarama. Jim Quinlan

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. Will Fastie

"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 Wayne!"

"Overall a nice kit at a great price." Rick Spillman

I got the Everlight kit on Wayne's advice and am very happy with them
> too. I've used them three times in the 10 days since the kit arrived and
> they performed beautifully. I was especially
> pleased with the ease in which they set up - important for me as a
> one-person crew or with only one other person helping out. I ordered mine
> from www.adorama.com and the service was excellent.
> Vivian

I just received my Everlight Kit. I'd been working with a friends Arri's
> and was worried about these not having a quality appearance...they're
> excellent...they're not Arri's but I wouldn't be ashamed to show up with
> these anywhere. Thanks for a tip on a beautiful starter kit for lights.
Roy
>

Other than Bryan, who has never used it, I have not seen one message where the user has been disappointed in the Everlight Kit.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old December 16th, 2003, 11:47 AM   #5
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It's unfortunate that a person can't give an opinion on this product without being subjected to a barrage of comments. It makes me not want to post much at all on the topic of softboxes.

I'm not wrong, just tired of it all.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 12:04 PM   #6
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you might also

look for a used lowel kit on ebay, and if you order the gel frame holders you can do some good things with many of those. Its not a softbox but its not so bad.

M
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Old December 16th, 2003, 12:46 PM   #7
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Aaron,
As if you don't already have enough opinions, here's one more.

Given your remarks that you (a) will generally be shooting alone and, (b) will frequently be shooting interviews, may I recommend that you consider a Lowell Rifa light? It's very light weight and folds down to a very compact size making it easy to carry around. It has a built-in softbox that opens somewhat like an umbrella.

No, it's not a 3 light kit. But it's a very versatile light that will probably be handy for many years to come. If you carry a collapsible reflector (and a grip stand for it) you can accomplish quite a nice intervew set-up with a Rifa.

A big 3-light kit of fresnels is great to have for general dramatic work. But they're heavy (my Arri kit is 50 lbs.) and, in my opinion, are overkill for many types of shooting.

There are several models to choose from. Here's a 750w model at B&H.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 01:42 PM   #8
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Re: you might also

<<<-- Originally posted by Michel Brewer : look for a used lowel kit on ebay-->>>

That is if you can get one!

In the past few weeks I have been bidding on some Lowel kits, omni and DP lights, and the prices they ended up paying are absolutely crazy!

What's the advantage of buying something from a person you don't know, in a condition you don't know and paying about 2/3 of what you would pay to B&H for a new one?

In my opinion paying more than half the retail price at Ebay is foolish. But who knows, maybe that's the way the cookie crumbles...


Carlos
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Old December 16th, 2003, 04:48 PM   #9
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Hi everyone.

I absorbed everyones comments and thank you all VERY much. I finally decided on getting the JTL kit for a few reasons...

- It was in stock at the local Pro Photo Connection (not most important)
- Budget
- Time - Need to interview my Grandpa before I can't. I made that mistake with his wife. =(
- Weight - It is somewhat heavy, but I can live with it.

We (Grandpa and I) just broke out the kit and had a blast setting it up. It really stimulated his mind watching me try and figure it out (I know it's not that complicated).

Everything is set up in the living room for tomor. when I get home from work.

I must say that I am impressed with it. Even though I would prob. be impressed with my first kit of most any kind. As stated before, the case stinks but I will deal with it. Wayne, if you have any ideas on creating a better one, let me know. I might get one made.

Thank you again everyone!
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Old December 16th, 2003, 05:19 PM   #10
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Congratulations on your purchase, Aaron. I'm sure the JTL's will serve you well. Many others have reported good results with them. I've never used (or even seen them), but reports indicate that they may be a very good value for hobbyists and occasional users.

Good luck with your family history project, too. I know how it feels to have missed the opportunity to capture a senior family member's recollections.
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Old January 28th, 2004, 05:45 PM   #11
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I'm curious to know which exact JTL light kit your purchased.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 08:29 AM   #12
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thanks Bryan

re: your dec post

Thank you for your comments Bryan. They are insightful and relevant.

I value and benefit from posters who are unafraid to offer a contrary opinion, and am grateful for both your opinion and those who disagree with you. But reactions that include (or conclude) with personal shots only reflect poorly on the person who posted them.

Please continue to share your opinions.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 01:17 PM   #13
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For assembling a lighting kit on a budget, check out the excellent article written by Scott Spears:

http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/lighting/spears1.php
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