Tip - Cheap Flash Units for DIY Studios
Lately I've been experimenting with a DIY home studio setup in the basement. I started with continuous lighting using large CFLs but moved on to trying out flash units.
I picked up an inexpensive flash trigger systems for three units from iShoot off Ebay that consists of a trigger that sits in the flash holder on your camera and three receiver units that fire the flashes.
So far the results have been great. I picked up a couple of inexpensive umbrella stands, a few flash clamps and a few shoot through umbrellas. This stuff is all new to me so its all very exciting. ;-)
For the actual flash units - one is a Olympus T-20 that I had from back in my high school days when I had an Olympus OM10 which as a popular budget camera in those days. I've long since sold off my OM10 camera. After dusting off the Olympus T-20 and inserting fresh batteries I was pleasantly surprised to find that it works perfectly and gives off a lot of light.
I've seen similar T-20 units on Ebay for around $20. There is also the Olympus T-32 which was the step up model that offered some bounce abilities in the flash unit. If you are mounting this on a flash bracket that moves than you really don't need to spend extra for this feature. They run closer to $30 on Ebay.
For really cheap new flash units, you'll find a lot on Amazon and Ebay. I got one from Neewer for under $10 and it even includes a slave function which means it has a light sensor that can trigger when it see any other flash.
These cheap flash units are sold under a number of different names in this $10 - $12. I found that mine works, at least so far, but its not as strong as the T-20, so I ordered another one and I'll mount them together or from the sides to light up the background for "over white " shots.
One nice thing about these cheap-o flash units is that you figure them out quickly. They don't have a lot of settings, they just fire. You can move the stands around to get the right lighting mix and "chimp" or look at the lcd screen to instantly see the results.
With digital cameras, just checking the lcd and histograms can take to the place of a light meter.
Here is the 300 Watt CFL:
Photo credits: Peanutroaster.