Speedlights Vs Studio Strobes, which should you buy? In this video, I go over the main differences between Speedlights and Studio Strobes. I won’t get too technical over light output, as I want to keep this as practical as possible and as understandable as possible to those just learning. But by the end of the video, you should have a good idea between Speedlights and Studio Strobes and which is better for you.
Transcription was done by Rev.com’s automated transcription service which means it’s an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar
Let’s talk about speed lights like these. Hey, this is Scott Wyden with a storyteller, with a camera talking about all the things photographers like you and I are thinking about. And in this video, I want to talk about speed lights. Okay. So here’s the thing. This is a speed light. This is actually one from Nikon. There’s a variety of companies who make these most of the manufacturers of cameras also make speed lights to match, and they’re not all created equal. And should you get a speed light versus a strobe? Now, this video is not about to get technical. This is just to give you an overview of the difference between a speed light and a strobe. I’m not getting into all the different light ratios and light powers and stuff like that. But I will give you a sort of dumbed down version because you may not need all the technical stuff.
The average speed light. It goes on a hot shoe. Some of them have a lock mechanism like this old Nikon SB 800 has a lock mechanism, a little flip switch right here. There’s typically a screen. So you can control things. Now, the SB eight hundreds, which are not made anymore, and in my opinion, where the absolute best Nikon speed lights that they made. And that’s why I have six of them. These are amazing because I can lock it up. I can lock it down and then everything in between is unlocked. I can even twist it and it just it’s so powerful too. It also has the optional fifth battery pack. Yes. These take AA batteries. And I can put on a fifth battery for extra power, the newer Nikon models. I don’t think they have this. Now these are small. And this actually acts this one in particular, not all of them acts as a flash, a remote, a slave to the master remote.
It can do a variety of things. So I can put one of these on my camera and use it to control other SB 800 speed lights and do it wirelessly, which is a beautiful thing. But at times, especially outdoors, the wireless infrared wireless doesn’t travel as far as it would indoors. So sometimes need to add an accessory like a pocket wizard or radio popper or something like that. This is a pocket wizard, and this, you would have to like rubber band or zip tie or something to your flash, and you’d have to plug it into the PC port, into the pocket wizard. And then you can use radio signals in order to transmit the firing of it to the other flashes. And each flash would need one of these. Now, the more modern speed lights, Nikon, Canon, and so on, they have radio built in.
So they are going away from the infrared and going towards radio. So it’s much smarter. They go a much longer range. Now you might be wondering how long would the battery last on these? Well, depending on the output you’re doing, if you’re doing it, the full power, which is one to one, then you’re going to get a lot less battery life than you would. If it was one, one 28th, which is the lowest that this one goes in particular, but some speed lights like the SB 800 offer the ability to add external battery packs. So this is one, I think it takes eight AA batteries and literally can plug it in to a port right here in the front of this and just dangle this on the light stand or whatever. And or if I needed to, I can have it on my, on my belt cause there’s a belt loop and I get a ton more life out of one of these.
I can go a full day of doing photography in studio environment or wherever with one of these attached to one of these. But it still doesn’t compare. In my opinion, to a strobe and most modern strobes are actually battery powered. They are monitor lights. This is a strobe. This is it, giant battery. And by the way, this also has radio built in this one is actually from Botox. There’s a ton of money factors who make it. If you were in the market for one, I would check out the goat boxes. I would check out the Westcott strobe that they make. But if you want to go for the absolute best and you’ve got the money to spend on the absolute best check out pro photo, it’s worth noting that the flashes that have radio built in while they’re amazing, they are all specific to each brand.
So pro photo will not necessarily work on a good X on a go docs, go, docs will not work on a Nikon. Nikon will not work on a Canon and it’s not just the radio frequency. It’s also the pins and things like that. That’s why the brands like go docs have made remote triggers for each specific brand. This is the trigger that goes on top of your camera. That is actually for a Nikon body. And as you can see, it has an end on it. And that is for Nikon. The Fujiwara to be F the Canon one would be C and so on. No, while I cannot put this on a Canon body or a Panasonic body or an Olympus body or whatever, I can trigger as many go docks flashes. As I want with this one, one remote. Basically, no one of the advantages of having a strobe is the amount of light modifiers you can put on those strokes on those strobes, securely and large at that.
But when it comes to a speed light, you’re a little bit more limited unless you pay more for additional light modifier tools. For example, this is a Nikon SB, a hundred that has a mag mod on here. This is a Mac grip. And what this allows me to do is to just throw on the light modifier. But if I want to have more output or Daisy chain, basically multiple SBA hundreds, and put it through a big soft box, I can’t just use this. This could only hold so much. So you need to do something like the big mag box and the mag grid in order to Mount it securely inside. And I can have up to two of these and that orders companies who make what’s called speed rings for speed lights that hold up the four of them sum up to six, and then you can put it through a big soft box or a big flat or a big umbrella or anything like that.
If you want to learn more about the mad box and how these work potentially in there, check out the video above, of course there are other types of that are not modern. Like the kind that require you to plug into a wall or have a big pack with it. I don’t recommend those for most modern photographers. Cause you limit yourself to wires, mano lights that are battery powered have gotten so affordable, so affordable. So there’s no reason why you need to Daisy chain yourself to tether yourself to a wall just for lighting. And they’re super compact. I can take two of those go docs, 8,600 pros and stick them in one thing, tank, airport pro rolling bag two strobes and the batteries and some additional accessories in one rolling bag. Now there are some companies doing innovative things with strobes and speed lights like pro photo has done some amazing things with their products, but again, sometimes they’re the price of a camera and a lens.
So do you need to go to that level, especially if you’re a newer photographer or new to lighting, don’t go straight to a pro photo. But if you’re an advanced photography doing it for a long time and it’s time for you to get new lights and new upgrade consider pro photo that is brands like Westcott, which are innovating. They’re the only one creating a remote that works across all brands. One remote that will do TTL on any camera. You put it on TTL by the way, TTL basically is a smart, automated flash system where you don’t have to think about the light power, each different light. The camera will tell the remote to tell the lights what to do. This is good for the sort of running gun situations where you need something fast, but when you want more control, you’re going to want to put that on manual and not TTL of course.
But the beautiful thing is getting back to that is that Westcott is making it possible to have one remote and one product of one strobe that works across all brands. Whereas the go docs or many other manufacturers, you have to buy their specific remote. So the core differences between a speed light and a strobe are basically the size of course is a big difference, but to get the power of one strobe, you need a bunch of speed lights and light modifiers and products that give you the ability to put a whole bunch of lights into one modifier. So the light output is far reduced on a speed light than it is on a strobe. The size of course of a strobe is going to be larger. But depending on the company, the product you get, they’re not much larger. Really. You will also have larger batteries, which give you more runtime, which means you could also bump up your power as needed and still have a good amount of time.
Plus, a lot of these strobes have TTL built in and high speed sync, just like the little speed lights. So my recommendation for those who don’t have to worry about the size so much invest in a lower end strobe battery powered, mano light, the products, products that are affordable. You can get undergo docs or many other names. They kind of white label their products for Adorama and other companies. So if you’re, if you’re an Autorama customer checkout flashpoint, it’s made by go docs and you can save a little bit of money. So that’s the core differences, and it’s a matter of what you need right now, your personal preferences and what you might need in the future. But my recommendation is now this point in 2020, it’s time to drop the speed lights and go with these battery powered strobes. There’s just too many advantages. If you like this video, click that subscribe button right now. I publish new videos every Monday and Thursday, one of her possible you don’t want to miss it.