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Old Mar 12, 2011, 1:13 AM   #1
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Default What is needed for a softbox?

So I want to get a softbox and get into more advanced lighting. If I want a softbox, what all do I need to buy for my Sony a55 to make it work? I have no idea how to begin to connect a softbox with my DSLR.

Thanks for any help.
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 11:43 PM   #2
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I'm not an A55 person or even a Sony person so I'll see if I can provide some general help. There are four main ways to link a camera to a remote flash and some less common variations.

1) Wired remote. An adapter fits in the hot shoe of the camera and at the other end of a coiled cable there is a hot shoe to fit the flash into. The bottom of the hot shoe is threaded to fit a light stand or tripod. Full functionality is maintained but positioning is limited by the length of the cable.

2) Optical triggers. Attach's to flash, triggers remote flash based camera's internal or hot shoe mounted flash. The ones I'm familiar with work only manually as far as exposure is concerned. Can sync multiple flashes.

3) Radio triggers. One adapter fits into hot shoe of camera. The remote flash hot shoes slip into the remote adapters. Often retains a fair amount of flash exposure automation and as near as I can tell seem to be favored among many pros. Can control multiple flashes.

4) Some camera systems include an IR communication system between the cameras and flashes. Generally maintains exposure control and can handle multiple flashes.

I know this isn't Sony specific but it should help you start researching your options.

A. C.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 5:00 PM   #3
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Yes, that is helpful, thank you. I don't know hardly anything about lighting setups so I'll research those 4 methods. Do you know which methods are the most cost-effective?
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 5:06 PM   #4
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Also if anyone has some examples of what I would need, that would be greatly appreciated. I need it explained in simple terms. I know what I want the end result to be, but that's basically it.

Could I buy something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-P...pr_product_top
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Last edited by adamvk; Mar 13, 2011 at 5:15 PM.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 7:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamvk View Post
Yes, that is helpful, thank you. I don't know hardly anything about lighting setups so I'll research those 4 methods. Do you know which methods are the most cost-effective?
In part cost effectiveness depends on the capability of what you already have. In my case optical slave is very cost effective because I have a set of 30 yr old Honeywell 200/202 optical slave strobes and a Wein strobe meter left over from my film days that trigger very nicely from either my e620's pop-up flash or my 383 should I ever get it back.

In general optical slave triggers a relatively cheap because they're not trying to anything except trigger the flash and the flash itself can be cheap because co-ordinated auto exposure is not needed. Some of what you save there you're likely spend on a flash meter. Optical slave triggers appear to run in the $15-$50 range. The separate triggers are generally for converting external on-camera flashes to remote and strobe use. Studio flashes often have these built in. Your Vivitar 383 has a built in optical slave trigger so you could create a system out of multiple 383s. Flash meters run from $90 (for a Wein like mine) to around $800 adding features like color analysis and ambient light metering.

Functionality for radio triggers is much the same as for optical except that you don't need line of sight for the trigger to work. These seem to run from $50-$150 but are often sold in sets to control 2-4 flashes. There also appear to be radio units for Canon and Nikon systems that extend TTL exposure control to multiple system compatible flashes. These seem somewhat more expensive but not inordinately so.

Canon, Nikon and Olympus, that I know of , have flash systems that integrate multiple flashes and extend TTL exposure control over multiple flashes. The Canon 580s and Oly FL50 can do this and I'm just not familure enough w/Nikon to quote the numbers. Sony may have an equivalent system type flashes but I'm just completely out of my area there. JimC, feel free to jump in w/Sony specific info and correct/extend this any of what I've said so far as appropriate.

Camera manufacturer systems tend to be the most versitile for portable systems but are also likely to be most expensive. Three 383s are less the one Oly FL50 but one would really need to through in a flash meter.

At some point you'll really need to define your target uses, home studio, portable studio, outdoor studio, etc.

I like this site: http://www.diyphotography.net/ and this http://studiography.blogspot.com/ for lighting info.

A. C.

Last edited by ac.smith; Mar 13, 2011 at 8:17 PM.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 12:28 PM   #6
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Ok Thank you for the reply. My budget is not that high right now as this will be mostly for playing around, and eventually I will get more serious and invest in a more "professional" studio setup.

If I bought these three things, would it work?

Hot shoe: http://www.amazon.com/Seagull-SC-5-A.../dp/B0016120M8

Splitter: http://cgi.ebay.com/2-X-Multi-3-Way-...#ht_500wt_1156

Kit:http://www.cowboystudio.com/product/c04/p0402-11.php

Thank you again.
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