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Old March 14th, 2003, 08:01 AM   #1
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Smith-Victor Lighting & Kits

I would appreciate any opinions and advice from those with experience with Smith-Victor continuous lighting equipment.

I own a very old Smith-Victor floodlamp on a stand, bought used 20 years ago and probably over 30 years old. It hasn't held up well and is a rather poor design. Another member of the forums has privately shared a negative opinion, but again with an old piece of equipment.

The new SV product line seems a far cry from my junky light. The more recent your experience, the better.

Thanks.
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Old March 14th, 2003, 02:56 PM   #2
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I don't have any S-V experience to offer. But I will say that the reason you don't see S-V within film or video lighting contexts is probably due to S-V's marketing emphasis and product line emphasis. They have been heavily committed to the still photo market (arguably an immensely larger market than film/video).

Looking at their Website it looks like that's still their emphasis, although there are products that look like they would work ok for video.
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Old March 14th, 2003, 05:51 PM   #3
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That's a pretty good point.

When I first started looking at the SV stuff, I came to the K77 Interview kit. That's obviously a video product just by the name, but SV explicitly calls out video in the kit's description. Video isn't mentioned much in other descriptions, although it is prominent in the banner on the site. As I researched the product line, I saw that all the pro-kits were built using the same components, so I realized that they could be used in video situations as well.

But you're right, the site does still tilt toward still work. It just wasn't obvious to me.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 11:38 AM   #4
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Just make sure the lights don't have a fan that kicks in when they get hot. That'll make your sound-guy look around. Quite a few stills-photo lights sport that kind of design.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 01:53 PM   #5
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Your older SV light is most likely better built than anything recent. I've seen their latest stuff but i didn't pay much attention to it. It appeared to be flimsy and limited.The open faced lights I saw were fixed focus, plastic and the wattage was severely limited. there was also a warning that they couldn't be used for extended periods and could overheat.

If it was good stuff and the deal of the century, than more people would own it and the lighting threads would be buzzing with recomendations.


Remember, you get what you pay for.

You want something that'll hold up and give you the versatility you need then buy what people have recomended. If you want to scrape by and buy something that may not last or compromise your projects , then by all means buy the JTL or SV gear.

In our discussions you have mentioned your failed experiment with works lights.

Buy something right the first time and life necomes a whole lot easier and less expensive.

Add up the costs, can you afford another mistake?
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Old March 15th, 2003, 03:51 PM   #6
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Good points, all, particularly the part about the money.

The specific SV kit I would consider is the K70, which uses the model 765UM light head. The description of this head specifically calls out extended duration.

My old SV photoflood head is only sturdier because the materials were heavier (aluminum was cheaper back then and was usually thicker than it is today). It's not made very well. It has a huge, heavy steel clamp used to attach the lamp to a ball fixture on the stand; the clamp is a mess.

You are right, Bryan, I do not want to spend good money after bad. What really constrains me is that my business is a bit different than many DViers. I cannot expect to see a dime in the inbound direction for at least six months from the time I start shooting, so every penny is a long-term investment. If I was doing wedding videos or commercial videos, I could expect cash flow sooner to help defray expenses. In that case, I might be freer with today's cash.

My project requires shooting over many weeks as the material is developed. I have to be sure I can light the first week the same as the nth week. So I can't buy one light now and experiment over time. I have to experiment quickly, choose the setup that gives the results I want, and then set that up over and over. From where I sit, that means a kit of some kind, whether I put it together out of pieces or buy it ready-to-go.

So as much as I'm tempted by your excellent suggestion of quality components, I can not afford to pay $400 for one light. I can only afford half that. Even if I hadn't fooled around with the worklights, I still couldn't have afforded that.

As for the worklights, I spent $210 on the experiment. $120 was for the lights, $30 was parts for my failed diffuser experiment, and $60 was for extension cords, clamps, and other accessories. I will sell the worklights and recover at least half, probably more. The diffuser is junk, a total loss (except education). The accessories I needed no matter what. The net cost will be thus be under $100, an affordable experiment.

What remains of my original budget is about $500. The SV kits are the only ones within reach of that budget, except for the Everlight. That's why I want to learn what I can about the SVs.

And you're right again. If SV equipment was jumping off the shelves for video work, we'd surely have heard more about them here. This thread was my last-ditch effort to hook an SV user.

Your advice here, and in our private exchanges, has been excellent. Thank you. Only my budget prevents me from taking it. You were first with one idea, though -- it was you who got me thinking about softboxes.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 08:28 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bryan Beasleigh : If you want to scrape by and buy something that may not last or compromise your projects , then by all means buy the JTL or SV gear. -->>>

Whoa, Bryan. Where did you get the information that the JTL Everlight Kit may not last, or may compromise a project? Since I am the person who discovered this item, and first mentioned it, I am a bit thin-skinned about someone else bagging on it if they have never used or even seen it. If anyone is going to bag on the Everlight, it is going to be me, thank you. What I have said as far as criticism is twofold:

Number one, the lights will not allow the wattage as advertised. I know for certain they will not allow for use with a 1K bulb, and I intend to test the 750 watt bulb this week (if time allows). The company admits this is an error, and is working on new labels for the gear. But even if you can only use 500 watt bulbs, you can still do a lot of work with these, using today's cameras.

Number two, the soft boxes are not the rugged quality of Chimera or Photoflex, but with reasonable care, they should hold up well. I would not recommend these for rental companies, where gear is subject to abuse by people who don't take proper care of the gear.

But with these two caveats, I still find this to be a worthwhile kit, especially for people with limited funds who want gear that will allow them to do good work. To back up this statement, I would like to introduce you to the work of David Decanio, who purchased the kit for a project that featured a number of interviews. Here is a link to his clips, which show his first time results. I would download a clip and play it with Windows Media Player. You should check out http://home.mindspring.com/~daviddicanio/

What else would you suggest for just under $500.00, Brian?
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Old March 15th, 2003, 11:15 PM   #8
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Wayne
We are all allowed our opinions.

I recognize the product as something built off shore (china) and sold under different names. I had a look at the product as sold by a Canadian distributor. Frankly I thought it wasn't the best quality.(Light or soft box)

Your idea of passable quality may not be the same as mine. Anything less than The Photoflex, Chimera or Wesctott standard of quality I find unsuitable. Responsible manufactureres don't play with rating labels and overcurrent protection.

Under 500 dollars I would suggest a tota, a medium photoflex, speedring and bogen / manfrotto 3086 stand. With a 650 HIR bulb that would cost $360.

I would sooner make do with less, than compromise. Please do not take offence, we all have different needs and opinions.

Will
Work with what you have and add a softbox and light. I think you said you had stands. If they're a bit unsteady get the wife or girlfriend to stich up some black dennim and make some sand bags.

For $500 you could buy a medium box and maybe an pro light for accent. Use your SV with an umbrella for now.
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Old March 16th, 2003, 01:42 AM   #9
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<<<--Bryan wrote
I recognize the product as something built off shore (china) and sold under different names. I had a look at the product as sold by a Canadian distributor. Frankly I thought it wasn't the best quality.(Light or soft box)

Your idea of passable quality may not be the same as mine. Anything less than The Photoflex, Chimera or Wesctott standard of quality I find unsuitable. Responsible manufactureres don't play with rating labels and overcurrent protection.--->>>

Let me respond to the second paragraph first. Fortunately, there's room enough in this world for both of us and our ideas of passable quality.

I come out with a different figure for your kit; closer to $450.00. But even at $360.00, you still only have one light versus the Everlight with three, packed in a nylon travel case.

And for the umpeenth time, you are correct, this is not the same quality as the Chimera, etc. Nor the same price. But as Mr. Decanio's clips suggest, you can turn out very professional results with this gear, with a good bit of talent.

Thank you for sharing your opinions with us. I will now slow fade to black.
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Old March 16th, 2003, 11:39 AM   #10
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The SV is a photoflood lamp with a 12" aluminum reflector. For various reasons, I think it's not serviceable. It overheats with low wattage bulbs, it's beat up (it always was), and the clamping bracket has to be handled with tools. It's not worth the trouble. I can use the stand for reflectors or panels or flags.

The (unknown brand) is a quartz light (DYH 600W) in a 6" open-face aluminum reflector with barn doors and a small wooden arm at the rear through which the cordset exits. This light is serviceable and could be notched down with an EYH 250W bulb.

So that's one usable light. I think I do need three lights in all.
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Old March 17th, 2003, 04:32 PM   #11
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No Smith-Victor for Me!

After due consideration, I have decided not to buy a Smith-Victor kit.

Thanks to all those who offered advice here.
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