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Archive for October, 2011

Interfit EX150 MKII 3 Head Lighting Kit ..A good all-in-one option for beginners

October 24, 2011 2 comments

Interfit EX150 MKII 3 Head Lighting Kit Quick Review

This is a quick review on the Interfit EX150 MKII 3 Head Lighting Kit that includes the following items:

EX150 MKII heads x3 (three included)

100 watt Bulbs x 3

Lighting stands x3 (2 tall, 1 compact)

60cm (24″) Softbox x1

Translucent Umbrella  x1

Educational DVD

Sync and power leads x3

9ft x 30ft (2.4 x 6m )Background cloth x1

Snoot x1

All in one Kit Bag  

More information can be seen at the Interfit website at http://www.interfitphotographic.com/index.htm .

First, I should say that I am by no means a portrait photographer!  I normally loathe taking photos indoors where I have to play around with white balance adjustment, mounted flash units, etc.  As you may have seen from my other galleries, I am much more at home with allowing mother nature to illuminate my subjects, which consist predominately of wildlife.  So you can imagine my initial reaction when my wife approached me about doing some professional photos for her practice’s website. 

I had two options.  First, I could have told her to get them “professionally” done and in the process spend several hundred dollars for a photoshoot that would potentially result in limited access to the final photos or require us to buy the rights for use on her website.  The second option was to use that same amount of money (around $550 total US dollars) to invest in a lighting kit that would allow (or force) me to branch out into portrait photography.  Obviously, since I am doing this review I decided on the latter and am glad I did. 

But I am now getting ahead of myself…  First, I started by visiting my favorite local photography store, The Houston Camera Exchange ( http://www.hcehouston.com/ ), as I knew they would have many options for studio-type lighting and plenty of informed salespersons to help answer my questions.  After only a few minutes of browsing the store, I quickly realized that this venture could be a very expensive undertaking.   I mean I was looking through various lighting heads, light stands, backdrops, softboxes, umbrellas, and snoots.  And if you are anything like I was at that time, I was asking myself what the hell is a “snoot”.   I will digress for a moment to define a “snoot [as] a tube or similar object that fits over a studio light or portable flas and allows the photographer to control the direction and radius of the light beam”, per wikipedia.   Anyway back to the story, luckily for me, a nice sales associate must have noticed my stressed look and came over to help.  I explained my situation as a predominately nature photographer who would like to spend as little money as possible for a decent quality lighting system.  I told her the lighting system would likely only be used occassionally for family portraits and professional photos.  She smiled and said she had just the thing, as she led me to a shelf with the Interfit Lighting Kits.  After a brief description of the contents of the Interfit EX150 MKII 3 Head Lighting Kit, I was sold!  Basically, this kit has everything  that one would want to start taking professional-looking studio portrait photos, with the exception of a light monitor and stand for the background cloth.   The Houston Camera Exchange was having a promotional deal that included a second softbox for free with the purchase of the kit, thus giving me two soft boxes and an umbrella.   I decided to purchase a seperate interfit backdrop cloth support rack from B&H for about $50.  Though I bought my Interfit EX150 MKII 3 Head Lighting Kit from a local store, the same kit sells at B&H for $399 plus shipping and does not include a free 2nd soft box. 

I will be the first to admit that I am not one to read directions.  I ended up watching the education DVD that is included with the kit and some other instruction demos on youtube.  After this initial “research” I assembled the lighting system and “played around” with it for about 30 minutes before inviting my wife to join for the photoshoot.  After an additional 30 minutes of  a trial-and-error photoshoot ,  I had some photos that we were both very pleased with.    I would never claim that they are the best portait photos ever, but they are also not too bad for a first attempt and only 30 minutes practice.  I guess the main point I am trying to make is that Interfit EX150 MKII 3 Head Lighting Kit  is very easy to use and get quality results with, even by a novice like me.   I highly recommend the Interfit EX150 MKII 3 Head Lighting Kit for anyone looking to get professional quality studio protraits for an inexpensive price!

Additional items recommended:  A light meter would be really helpful and is something I will invest in sometime soon.  You can certainly get the correct exposure and lighting strength without one, but it would have made the process even faster.   Backdrop cloth rack that I purchased sepertate is helpful and allows me to set the background cloth up anywhere.  The kit does come with a set of plastic hooks that you can attach to a wall via those removeable adhesive strips.  That would probably work fine if you have one wall of you home/studio that you will always does your portrait work, but an actual seperate support rack makes it quite mobile.

SAMPLE OF FINAL SHOTS:

Here are some of my wife’s favorites that she is deciding between for the website, though there were 14 photos that made her final cut.  

Categories: My Equipment Review

Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII goes to the Ballpark

October 20, 2011 2 comments

Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII goes to the Ballpark

My wife and I came upon tickets to the last game of the 2011 Baseball regular game between the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals.  Though, I am from Houston, I was hoping to see the Cardinals win since a Wild Card Playoff position was at stake for them.  Anyway, I digress but this was my first chance to take my Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII lens to a professional sporting event.  I also brought my Nikon TC-20EIII teleconverter to see how it might perform when paired with the 70-200mm f2.8 at such an event.

First, I would highly recommend that you check with any ballpark or stadium that you plan to bring any lens “larger” lens.  Personally, I assumed that the 70-200mm f2.8 was not large enough to even attract attention by the “bag checkers” at the gates, but I was wrong.  The lady at the bag inspection table actually said she would need to ask her supervisor if the lens was too big to all in the stadium.  He said it was fine to allow in, but the fact that it was even in question makes me want to give this advice.

Overall, I was very pleased with the performance of the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII both alone and with the Nikon TC-20EIII teleconverter…at least for my purposes.  Obviously, the teleconverter limited the acceptable shots to predominately stationary photos of players, but I also got several good action photos despite a slower shutter speed to compensate for the increased f-stop.  You could probably get away with even a faster shutter speed with a FX camera that would allow for higher ISO. 

Shooting conditions:  Indoor stadium/baseball park with roof closed and stadium lights on

(BELOW) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII at 240mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec and ISO 400

(BELOW) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII at 200mm, f2.8, 1/200 sec and ISO 400

(BELOW) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII at 195mm, f2.8, 1/200 sec and ISO 400

(BELOW) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII at 200mm, f2.8, 1/200sec, and ISO 400

(BELOW) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII at 190mm, f2.8, 1/250 sec and ISO 400

(BELOW) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII with TC-20EIII teleconverter at 400mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec and ISO 400

(BELOW) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII with TC-20EIII teleconverter at 400mm,f5.6, 1/125 sec and ISO 400

(BELOW) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII with TC-20EIII teleconverter at 400mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec and ISO 400

Feel free to leave comments or your experiences…

-Kyle

https://ksqphotography.wordpress.com/

http://ksqphotography.zenfolio.com/

Categories: My Equipment Review