Reader Question: What Strobe Should I Buy?

I get asked a lot from photographers who are just starting out what strobe they should buy. This is a quick overview of a few of my favorite lights and it is not an in-depth explanation about the technologies built in or how to use them. That is coming soon 🙂

If you are looking for what flash to buy check out my other article on how to get started with OCF by clicking here.

There are a lot of considerations to make when you are looking at strobes. What are you going to use them for? Will you be outside or inside?

Strobe

Best:

Profoto B1

  • Optional Remote Control with Air TTL-C/N/O/S
  • 500W/s, 9-Stop Power Range
  • Lithium-ion Battery Powered
  • Up to 220 Full-Power Flashes
  • High Speed Sync to 1/8,000 Sec.

The Profoto B1 has been the king of the castle for many years. This light is extremely consistent, it has a built in battery, and it has a feature called TTL lock which allows you to lock in the power that you want and continue to shoot without having the power of the light change.

 

Cost: $1995 Plus Trigger ($419)

Better:

Godox AD600

  • 600Ws, 9 steps of power adjustment(1/1 to 1/256).
  • Fully support High-speed sync (up to 1/8000 seconds),
  • Optical and Built-in 2.4G wireless transmission to offer stable output. (With Optional Trigger)
  • Large capacity lithium battery pack to provide 500 full power flashes and recycle in 0.01-2.5 second. 
  • 10W LED modeling lamp can adjust light brightness in three steps.
  • USB firmware upgrades 

I have been using the AD600 for over a year now. This light really packs a punch at 600Ws. It’s small, versatile, and offers a Bowens Smount that keeps your modifiers nice and secure. This light also offers HSS and TTL for Sony, Olympus, Nikon and Canon.

Cost: $549 Plus Trigger ($49)

Good:

Godox AD200

  • 200Ws, 8 steps of power adjustment(1/1 to 1/128).
  • Fully support High-speed sync (up to 1/8000 seconds),
  • Optical and Built-in 2.4G wireless transmission to offer stable output. (With Optional Trigger)
  • Large capacity lithium battery pack to provide 500 full power flashes and recycle in 0.01-2.5 second. 
  • 10W LED modeling lamp can adjust light brightness in three steps.
  • USB firmware upgrades 
  • The above link includes: eVOLV 200 TTL Pocket Flash unit Bare Bulb Head Fresnel Head with LED Modeling Barn Door with Grid and Color Gels Stand Adapter with Umbrella Mount Lithium Battery Battery Charger Case One Year Warrant

The AD200 is the little brother of the AD600 and comes in at 200Ws. I recently picked up this flash and I have been pretty happy with it overall. I like that it can be a bare bulb flash or you can pop the other head on and it becomes a standard Speedlight. This light also offers HSS and TTL for Sony, Olympus, Nikon and Canon.

Cost: $329 Plus Trigger ($49)

 

Modifiers

Best

The Westcott Rapid Box Beauty Dish is the perfect tool for the photographer who wants a decent sized modifier but doesn’t have a lot of space. What I love about this modifier is the high level of manufacturing quality and how durible it really is.

  • 24″ deep parabolic beauty dish collapses to under 6″ in diameter
  • Instant umbrella-style set up with heavy-duty locking hardware
  • Reflective soft white interior with 16 durable all-metal ribs, directs a soft, crisp light pattern towards your subject

Cost: $299

Better

The Godox Octa is a large light modifier that packs small. I really like this modifier but I will say it is not built as well as the Westcott stuff. That being said its about 1/4 of the price and I think at that price point it is a pretty solid product. This item also includes the honeycomb grid to give your light a little more direction.

Cost: $64.00

Good

This foldable beauty dish was the first modifier I bought when I purchased my AD600 mentioned above. I love the light that it creates for such a small package. If you want a nice little modifier that packs nice and small this is the perfect one for you!

Interfit Foldable Beauty Dish

$58.00

Stand:

When it comes to stands I feel you need to determine what is important to you. I own and use all 3 stands below for different reasons. If I know it is gonna be windy I bring a long a Cstand because they are sturdy. If I know I will be walking a lot and I don’t want to have to carry a lot of weight I bring a long the nano stand and if I need a general purpose stand that I can use for everything I go for the promaster.

You can find all of these stands here:

https://kit.com/tjhouston/off-camera-flash-lighting-stands 

Option A:

If I were to start again I would invest in a Cstand. Some think they are large but they actually fold down to a manageable size. These stands are the most sturdy stand you can get and they are also the ones that are used in large productions and on movie sets.

Cost: $139

Option B:

Promaster LS-2 Light Stand. I have used these stands for several years. From rivers to back alleys these stands really “Stand Up” and take a beating. Sorry I couldn’t help myself 🙂

Cost: $39.95

Option C:

If someone is looking for a compact light stand to hold their strobe I would suggest the Manfrotto Nano Stands. These stands are ultra compact and fold down smaller than your tripod. They don’t hold a lot of weight but will hold the bare necessities if needed. I wouldnt suggest throwing much more then your strobe on this stand.

Cost: $57.00

 

All of the products that I mentioned above can be viewed in my kit:

If you have any specific needs or questions, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email. tj at tjhouston.com

TJ Houston

TJ Houston the Vice President of Managed services at Epiphany Management Group. TJ leads professional development in all areas of technology and loves developing ways to make teachers, students, and staff's lives easier with the use of technology. TJ also loves photography and his portfolio can be found at http://www.tjshots.com. All of the views on this site are his own.