Studio lighting for 35mm and 4 X5 photography

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Stephen M. Gluck, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. I'm thinking about setting up a portable studio lighting set up at
    home to take some portrait and indoor decorating shots. I will be
    using an Omega 4 X5. I have a couple of light stands and umbrellas
    along with a couple of Wein Peanuts to convert Electronic Flash to
    slave units. Since this is a hobby and being done for fun I want to
    keep expenses to a minimum. Thus I want to avoid monolights and AC
    flash heads for the moment. I have a couple of Vivitar 283's and a
    couple of SB-4 AC adapters. Can I use them as flash heads in this
    setup ? I have Minolta Flash meter to read the light. For Portrait
    shooting I am going to be using 35mm. either a Minolta XD-11 or X-700
    with a 100mm f2.5 MD lens and an off camera flash as the main source
    an 360X to be exact. Thanks.
    Stephen M. Gluck, Jan 10, 2006
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  2. Stephen M. Gluck

    Alan Browne Guest

    Yep. Assuming you can trigger at least one strobe using a PC synch or a
    flash on the camera hotshoe to trigger them (via the peanuts), you're in

    A couple low power AC strobes (about $50 each) to use as rim or
    hairlights is a good cheap investment to get going.

    Put your vivitars behind a makeshift difuser (a 3' x 3' sheet of white
    polyester or thin white cotton stetched over PVC pipes) will give you
    soft light. Try to block any of that light from getting at the lens

    Some white or grey seamless paper mounted to the wall with a couple
    brackets and a long dowel (a few $) will give you a basic BG that can be
    lit to a variety of colors with a strobe and gel.

    You probably know this anyway, but I'll wax on IAC:

    To set ratio lighting, it is best to use the flat disc difuser on the
    Minolta meter, although using the dome won't be that far off. Meter one
    light at a time, turning off the others (or blocking the light from them
    with your body while metering the light of interest). Point the meter
    at the light of interest for this.

    Overall exposure, verify with all lights on, meter pointing at lens.

    If you can get a "shoot through" white umbrella, it should be fine with
    the 360X for fill or key.

    But, keep on the lookout for some nice monolights ...

    That Minolta lens sounds great.

    If shooting neagive film, set the ISO lower than rated by 1/2 to 2/3 of
    a stop. for example 160NC is usually shot at ISO 100. This collects
    great detail in dark hair and clothing while not blowing the highlights.

    Alan Browne, Jan 10, 2006
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  3. Stephen M. Gluck

    Nick Zentena Guest

    I doubt you'll have enough power for 4x5. You can cut the power some by
    using faster film. But even if you want to shoot your lens fairly wide open
    you'll find those 283s underpowered.

    Nick Zentena, Jan 10, 2006
  4. Stephen M. Gluck

    Alan Browne Guest

    eh? How does ISO 100 f/8 for a 4x5 differ from ISO 100 f/8 for a 35mm?
    Alan Browne, Jan 10, 2006
  5. Stephen M. Gluck

    Nick Zentena Guest

    F/8 on 4x5 might be wide open on the lens. It's also not going to be very
    much DOF. Figure F/16 is a more normal F/stop with 4x5.

    Nick Zentena, Jan 10, 2006
  6. Stephen M. Gluck

    Alan Browne Guest

    Ah, good point. From 35mm to 6x6 (cm) I wouldn't even think about this,
    but for LF it would definitely matter.
    Alan Browne, Jan 10, 2006
  7. Stephen M. Gluck

    jumull1182 Guest

    I am just a begginner in photography but am interested in buying macro
    lens for my Pentax, where is the best place to go for advice?
    jumull1182, Jan 11, 2006
  8. Thank you Alan, I've been reading your posts for a couple of years
    now.especially with regard to Minolta equipment, a passion we both
    share. With respect to the 4 X 5 camera. I took a course in LF
    studio photography at the local college after retiring. I became
    fascinated with the cameras ability to straigten converging lines. My
    plan for the 4 X 5 is to photograph a newly decorated great room in my
    home. Nothing will be moving so the issue of long exposures should
    not be a problem. In fact I should be able to fire the flashes
    several times with the shutter open. I plan to shoot first with a
    Polariod film holder and when the exposure proves correct switch over
    to Ektachrome to shoot a 4X5 slide. I want to create a large
    transparency in a Professional photo lab and back light it in a
    lightbox frame and hang it on the wall as part of "my artistic
    Stephen M. Gluck, Jan 11, 2006
  9. Stephen M. Gluck

    no_name Guest

    For advice, here is about as good as it gets.

    For good prices on good quality used gear, check our KEH.

    If you're interested in buying new, find a local independent camera dealer.
    no_name, Jan 12, 2006
  10. Stephen M. Gluck

    zeitgeist Guest

    unless your intention is to duplicate the worst examples of shopping mall
    and church basement family portraits I would suggest you leave the brollies
    in the closet. You can do a lot with a flash bounced off a side wall. A
    283 will give you a just enough to do this with a 2.8 lens. It works, its
    cool. Use a reflector and your good to go. the effect is like a huge soft

    what is the point of using an umbrella, it takes that one inch light source
    and makes it larger. the curve directs more of the light towards the
    subject. With a strong flash you can afford to waste more of it, bouncing
    off a side wall gives you the effect of a wall sized light source, close to
    the best of natural sources, twilight, open shade, overhang etc.

    Now, if you want to take it a step up, use a slaved flash for a hair/kick
    light placed on the opposite side, make a shoot of some sort so you don't
    get light into the lens.

    this reply is echoed to the z-prophoto mailing list at
    zeitgeist, Jan 12, 2006
  11. Stephen M. Gluck

    seree5555 Guest

    seree5555, Jan 12, 2006
  12. These are nowhere near enough light. You NEED the stuff you say you
    don't want to buy: monolights.

    It's absolutely pointless to do what you propose doing.
    uraniumcommittee, Jan 12, 2006
  13. Sure. I've used 283s that way, and Sunpak units. The flash meter is
    important. The thing you lack is modeling lights, which makes
    learning harder; but you can to some extent get an intellectual
    understanding by flash readings of single strobe pops (instead of
    firing the full set).
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jan 12, 2006
  14. f/8 is wider open than one is likely to shoot in 4x5; f22 is more common.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jan 12, 2006
  15. Stephen M. Gluck

    Alan Browne Guest

    I just bought a Hasselblad 500 C/M and a couple lenses. Why? Well the
    transparencies look fantastic. I had rented the same sort of kit a few
    times last fall and I was hooked. One major difference is that you work
    a lot slower. And that is good.

    But ... although I've been tempted to rent a Horseman 4x5 ... I really
    can't see myself going _that_ far with film...

    Alan Browne, Jan 13, 2006
  16. Stephen M. Gluck

    Bandicoot Guest

    I often suggest embroidery hoops for stretching small fabric diffusers /
    reflectors. Light and cheap.

    Bandicoot, Jan 13, 2006
  17. Stephen M. Gluck

    Bandicoot Guest

    my home. Nothing will be moving so the issue of long
    As well as the well known reciprocity failure effect, film suffers from
    something called intermitency - which basically means that with large
    numbers of multiple flashes you end up needing more flashes than you expect.
    So instead of being able to double your exposure with a sequence that looks
    like 1 2 4 8 16 ... flashes, it is likely to be more like 1 2 5 12 28 ... or
    something along those lines.

    If using the 283s means you are into very large numbers of flash, this is
    important to know - _eventually_ you reach a point where more flashes
    don't really increase the film density much at all. Unfortunately, the
    extent of the effect is film specific, so while your Polaroid test shots
    will give you a very good idea, you can't be 100% sure the exposure is right
    till you get the film back from the lab.

    Two things to consider that might help with this project: do some tests with
    35mm Ektachrome and use that as a reference, or - if the 283s are just
    leading you into needing so many flash pops that it just isn't working, you
    could always hire some monolights.

    Bandicoot, Jan 13, 2006
  18. That wouldn't be my choice of method.

    Interiors are funny places to light if you want the light
    to look 'right': natural but without deep shadows or blown
    out lamps/shades and with a natural view out the window.

    You need to see the effects of the light you are adding, and
    for this you will need modeling lights if you want to use

    My recommendation is to use 100watt lamps in photo-reflectors.
    You can see what you are doing. If you want color pictures then
    the color temperature of your added light and the room lights
    will be the same. With color film you will need to play with
    filtration on the camera lens and/or cover the windows with
    filter gels. For window gels see

    To pull this off you may need to take multiple exposures:
    one for daylight effects, one for room light effects and one
    to fill shadows and add highlights.

    Ansel Adams' "Artificial Light Photography" book [out of print
    but available on or at a good library/interlibrary
    loan] has a chapter on 'painting with light' where the room is
    blacked-out and while the shutter is open a man walks through with
    a lamp/reflector and scans the light around the room to fill
    in the shadows.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 13, 2006
  19. Stephen M. Gluck

    no_name Guest

    Good site on making your own studio softboxes & such from PVC pipe.

    .... page contains hyperlink to a booklet in Adobe PDF format.
    no_name, Jan 13, 2006
  20. Stephen M. Gluck

    Alan Browne Guest

    My SO has sewn some velcro strips to polyester (as extra dampening for
    my softboxes, actually). Works fine. Maybe not as light the fabric
    hoops though.

    Alan Browne, Jan 14, 2006
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