Electronic Flash

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I have always shot portrait work with avaliable light and maybe an addition of a flood or two, using my 4x5 or medium format. I have started to use my 8x10 for this work and will use my scratch built 11x14 when completed.

With these formats I assume I will need additional control of light to achieve the requisite depth of field. I have sitting in the closet a three head set Novatron 550 with a bad power unit. The unit has a bad capacitator and the previous owner had purchased a replacement but I have never had it replaced.

My questions: will this unit provide enough light? 2nd, can someone recommend a good text or book for the beginner using studio flash? if this setup is insufficient could you please advise on additions or other gear. Budget is important, low end suggestions dollarwise please.

As always, thanks for any and all responses.

-- James Chinn (JChinn2@dellepro.com), April 25, 2002


If you position the lights close to your subject matter you will have enough light. But you will have to accept "the Inverse Square Law" with strong light fall off. If you want to duplicate the feeling of a north window light you need tons of wat/secs. - A 3000w/sec. - or better a 6000 w/sec. pack with a bi-tube head pack blasting through a large silk would give you that quality...

A less expensive route (if you are shooting b/w) would be to use tungsten light souces - mixed with ambient = window light...

Finally, the least expensive way would be to set up a white canopy in the back yard and drape the sides with transparent "silks"...With the sun illuminating the tent and light bouncing around inside you will have a wonderful lighting setup.

-- Per Volquartz (volquartz@volquartz.com), April 25, 2002.

The long lenses needed for 8x10 and 11x14 need very small f/stops for d.o.f.- and the bellows-extension factor comes into play as well, curse the luck. 500w/s won't get it done, as stated above. "There's no such thing as too much flash power".

-- Mark Sampson (MSampson45@aol.com), April 25, 2002.

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