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Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:43 am

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:35 am
Posts: 12

I'm getting ready to buy my first set of strobes for product photography. I've done some research and spoken with PCB sales support who have been great. I'm thinking of getting 3 Einstein's & Cyber Command system. But I still need some final advice - mainly on modifiers.

My shots will vary a lot. The products themselves are tech products (some are shiny), ranging from cell phone size to toaster oven size. May be shot high key or low key. But I will also need to shoot them being built in a factory or on an assembly line. This would include someone sitting on a bench doing hand assembly, or a big production machine 15 feet wide, or an assembly line in a factory.

Some of the photos will be done in my (very) small studio which is 10' x 12'. Some will be done on site.
So here's what's currently in my shopping cart. I need some advice on whether these are the right choices - or whether I've left something out - or whether I've duplicated items.

1. High output reflectors for all 3 Einstein's. (Should I get grids for one or two of these? Which size?)
2. Two 64 inch white PLM's with diffusers and black covers (Or do I go silver?)
3. Two large soft boxes. (Do I need these if I have the PLM's?)
3. One grid for one of the large soft boxes
4. One Lite Mod Kit with 6 pack of Gels for one of the Einstein's (Should I get a grid or barn doors as well?)
5. Two Mini Boom Arms & two TS13 AC stands. (At some point I want to get a full boom for overhead shots - need recommendations for one of these.)

I also thought about a beauty dish - but not sure if that would duplicate some of what I have selected above. And the total bill is getting pretty high. :)

Thanks in advance for the help. I have my first shoot end of January - so trying to get my order in soon.

Dan




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Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:25 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:44 am
Posts: 100
Location: Chicagoland, USA

Hi, Dan

In my experience with product photography (and any other kind for that matter :) ), you simply can't have too many modifiers. Ones that work very well in one situation may not give you the look you want in another since rarely is one shoot exactly like another.

Aside from that, I will say that I find gridded modifiers - whether that be softboxes or strip boxes or hard reflectors - to be invaluable in controlling putting light where you want it and limiting it where you don't want it. What size/shape modifiers? It will likely vary with the size of your products and what you want your shots to look like.

Also invaluable: Being able to boom your lights. I am very glad to see that on your list.

These two things - grids and booming - add a tremendous amount of control to your product photography. And if you are photographing shiny objects, these are indispensable for keeping overly bright and distracting reflections off your product.

Image

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Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:16 pm

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:35 am
Posts: 12

Thanks Craig - The pictures help a lot.
Any recommendation on booms? PCB doesn't carry them any more.
Dan




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Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:47 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:44 am
Posts: 100
Location: Chicagoland, USA

Dandev wrote:
Thanks Craig - The pictures help a lot.
Any recommendation on booms? PCB doesn't carry them any more.
Dan


Your are very welcome, Dan. I'm glad the pictures help.

I did not know PCB is not carrying booms any more. That being the case, two most common and best quality choices out there are made by Matthews and Avenger. Less common but a little less costly is Kupo, but I actually like them a bit better for a lot of little reasons. The finish of the Kupo line is not quite as nice, but my gear gets so much travel a Maserati finish would not stay looking perfect for long anyway.

The silver stand/boom you see in the first photo is a steel Kupo High Baby stand with a Kupo steel Baby Boom and 2 1/2" grip head.

I know it is more expensive, but I can't stress enough to boom your PCB monolights only on heavy duty stands and booms. It's insurance for your lights, and safety for anyone around your booms. It's so tempting to try to go with medium duty, and so risky. Even if your light survives a tumble and no one gets hurt, there is also the chance that an accident will buckle your boom/stand and then your are left with replacing and then you end up spending what you would have for "heavy duty". If you look at the first picture you *will* see a medium duty black Manfrotto boom, but it's holding a speedlight. I never boom even a bare Einstein on it.

Last, remember to start planning out how you will counter-weight whatever you boom.




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Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:34 pm

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:35 am
Posts: 12

Thanks.
In the reviews, I see a lot of chatter about the holding attachment (fingers) of the PCB units. Have you had any issues with large soft boxes coming off the fingers/strobe?

Dan




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Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:45 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:44 am
Posts: 100
Location: Chicagoland, USA

craig16229 wrote:
. . . . . . I know it is more expensive, but I can't stress enough to boom your PCB monolights only on heavy duty stands and booms. It's insurance for your lights, and safety for anyone around your booms. It's so tempting to try to go with medium duty, and so risky. Even if your light survives a tumble and no one gets hurt, there is also the chance that an accident will buckle your boom/stand and then your are left with replacing and then you end up spending what you would have for "heavy duty" . . ..


. . . and here is an example of a fully boomed Einstein. This setup is a 60" octa w/double diffusers, heavy duty quickring, and steel Kupo Baby boom, and 20 pounds of counter weight. In other words, this is a heavy rig. There are times when I add a grid to the octa and a drop pin to the boom. Medium duty stands do not hold up well to this kind of demand even without any breeze; even a breath of wind, and . . . . . . well . . . . . .

Image

Yes, you will find talk of modifiers falling off of Einsteins.

First, the latest generation 640's have much improved fingers.

Second, I have never experienced this issue.

Third, I highly recommend this if your are working without assistants: Assemble your mod and put it face down on the floor/ground. Then mount your Einstein to your mod. Gravity will help you make sure you have the most flush and tight mount possible. Then lift the whole mod and light together put it on your stand. Do the reverse when you take down your light. This will help avoid the mod slipping down on you and hitting your flash tube and/or modeling light.




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Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:47 pm

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:35 am
Posts: 12

Wow! Those Kupo stands look great. I think that's the ticket. I've heard from numerous sources not to skimp on stands.

Question - what do you use for a backdrop support? I've looked at a few packaged kits on-line (stands and expandable pole and bag for around $150) and they seem "OK." There are so many - it's hard to figure it out. Any recommendations?

Dan




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Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:39 pm

Site Admin
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 5266

I believe my favorite piece is the small silver reflector in the wide shot.

BTW, Craig, have you seen the new VML bracket and clamp?
http://www.paulcbuff.com/vmbrkt-set.php




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Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:06 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:44 am
Posts: 100
Location: Chicagoland, USA

Technical Support wrote:
I believe my favorite piece is the small silver reflector in the wide shot.

BTW, Craig, have you seen the new VML bracket and clamp?
http://www.paulcbuff.com/vmbrkt-set.php


Yes, that is my super-sexy miniature reflector made out of a DVD holder and Reynolds aluminum foil. I plan to patent it, sell it for $99.95, and license it to PCB for $49.95 per unit. LOL. That product shot needed just a little extra pop-and-fill on that side, so any port in storm :-)

Yes, I just saw the new VML bracket and plan to get at least one.




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Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:15 pm

Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:44 am
Posts: 100
Location: Chicagoland, USA

Dandev wrote:
Wow! Those Kupo stands look great. I think that's the ticket. I've heard from numerous sources not to skimp on stands.

Question - what do you use for a backdrop support? I've looked at a few packaged kits on-line (stands and expandable pole and bag for around $150) and they seem "OK." There are so many - it's hard to figure it out. Any recommendations?

Dan


I have a heavy-duty 10ft wide background support (JTL brand, I think) that I have had for years. A couple of years ago I assisted a protégé of mine who had purchased an inexpensive support. His muslin hung on it just fine - until I tried to stretch the wrinkles out of it by clamping its edges to the vertical poles. Any tension I would put on one upright would cause the other upright to literally topple over. Seamless paper rolls can get quite weighty, and I would bet one of those would bend and buckle his background support.

I guess this is the long way to again say - don't buy a cheap one. The lightness will come back to bite you in the worst ways.




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