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Thread: Sony OCF

  1. #1
    elaineeve
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    Sony OCF

    Hi there,

    I am hoping for some help from all of you Sony Experts! I have a Sony HVL58am flash (Got it for Christmas from Santa!) I'm looking to purchase a softbox (undecided between a lastolite and westcott) I live in Canada and am probably going to order from B&H just because it's so much cheaper even with delivery and duty/taxes. (Crazy!) I am also looking at the Avenger Cstand. (too much you think?) What I am wondering is what else do I need? I have my plastic Mini-stand that came with the flash, I know I need this. But what else would I need to be able to set it up and get it up and running once the shipment arrives from B&H? Is there an attachment that goes from the lightstand into the modifier that I'm missing? I'm new at this (can't you tell) and could use some expertise! And with Sony's proprietary hotshoe I'm just not sure what I need...I hear about these FM adapters? but I'm not sure what they do etc...See, total newbie to this OCF stuff!

    Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks
    Elaine

  2. #2
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    Re: Sony OCF

    Hi Elaine, first I would say that if you're just getting started that stand is way more than you need, for the money you can buy much more than that. Your first stop should probably be strobist.com, lots of techniques and examples there for folks just getting started. one thing to remember is that you don't necessarily need expensive gear for lighting, though many of the pros will prefer sturdier stuff that can withstand a lot of kicking around in the studio.

    I found some suggestions there for some very compact, inexpensive gear. Since I use this stuff away from home more than at home, I didn't want big, clunky gear where it's not needed. Something else to consider is a shoot-through umbrella which can work as a softbox, the main gotcha is that if used as a catchlight the ribs may show in the subject's eyes on very close shots. Here is the one I use.

    I have a few of these compact stands(you could almost buy four for the cost of the Avenger) which are plenty for an umbrella or small softbox, and they are very compact when folded. You can add sandbags for stability if you're working in a breeze or have a boom attached. You may not need a boom right away, but this one is inexpensive and versatile, it can hold a softbox or reflector and has a fitting so you can attach a counterweight.

    You will want a way to hold your flash, some softboxes come with everything you'll need some need a swivel such as this(if you are using a Sony/Minolta off-camera shoe) or this(if you just want to mount using your existing stand's 1/4-20 threads).

    You can find off-camera shoes on ebay, sometimes for less.

    Beyond that, more detail on what you're doing would be helpful. If you are using a FF camera you will need either an F20 flash or a cable adapter to trigger the flash, and the cables get expensive if the flash is more than a couple feet from the camera. You'll probably need a reflector, if you're doing this at home a large piece of foamcore or a nearby wall should suffice, if you're taking it on the road you might want to get a collapsible reflector.

    Note that while I have posted quite a few links to mpex, I have no affiliation with them -- just a satisfied customer.

    Also Gary Friedman has lots of good info on flash, for example this explanation of Sony flash protocols. Depending on which camera you have he probably offers an e-book that will explain all of the ins and outs of how to get the most from it with or without flash. Again, no affiliation, just a satisfied customer.
    α900+VG|F20|2xF58|16-35,24-70,135Z|STF|70-400G|50,85 1.4|16,20,28,100M,80-200APO f/2.8|28-135|500f/8|1x-3xMacro|2xMFC-1000|Tiltall+RRS, Bellows, etc.

  3. #3
    elaineeve
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    Re: Sony OCF

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks so much for answering my questions! I'm still confused so bare with me.

    My current gear is a Sony a700, 24-70Z, 70-200G, 50 1.4.

    I currently shoot newborns and portraits. With the winter months, I've just lost my mojo, hence why I'm looking at OC lighting now and especially with newborns, it will help out alot on those bleak/dark days. I am looking for a stand that can go close to the ground and because I am forgetful am thinking I should get an air-cushioned stand, I was also hoping to get a stand to extend higher then seven feet but maybe I should start small and cheap as you've suggested and work my way from there. I will be investing in a beauty dish eventually and would LOVE to have an octabox! But I digress...

    I have my heart set on a softbox (thinking westcott 50") but am not opposed to lastolite, although I will also be purchasing a cheapie umbrella as well. I get so confused with this type of thing, so sorry if my questions seem redundant.

    Ok, so if I'm understanding this properly, and please bare with me, I can be somewhat "slow" on the uptake With the softbox and umbrella, I will need a swivel (would it be the same swivel for both?). If I purchase the Sony Minolta off camera shoe, I no longer need my plastic stand but then need a different swivel? I think that's what I'm understanding...

    Thank you for your help. It is much appreciated

  4. #4
    elaineeve
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    Re: Sony OCF

    Edited to Add:

    Please, refer away! I don't mind and I don't think anything of it. I have ventured on the Strobist site and am like a sponge trying to learn as much as possible, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the selection that's out there, so I'm grateful for any/all recommendations you have as far as where to get things I need or things that may help me!

  5. #5
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    Re: Sony OCF

    The stands I mentioned can go close to the ground or way over 7 feet with a boom. May be a bit light-duty for a 50" box, OTOH the F58 flash may not fully illuminate a box that big. I think that puts you right on the edge of spending big $$$. For newborns you don't necessarily need a huge box -- 50" may be so big it doesn't show any shadows at all, depending on how close it is. If you have to move it far away to get the result you want, you might as well use a smaller one closer to the subject.

    You might consider going to a local camera store to see if you can get more direct help, if you can show pics to help demonstrate the problem you are trying to solve. If budget is no issue then go for it... but before you spend $300+ on a box and stand you might do well to see if you can rent stuff cheaply to figure out what works for you.

    Beauty dishes can be pricey, I just received a nice Lumodi dish that includes a sock to go over the front for more even catchlights. Haven't had a chance to try it yet but the article that prompted me to try it is here.

    Some softboxes come with hardware that will work to mount your F58, some even have swivels. You will need to work with a sales rep or do a lot of online research to figure out what parts you need to make it all work together. I suspect that a 50" box will be set up to mount to studio lights and may need some adaptation to work with your flash.

    Regarding which swivel, again you have to consider what mounts to what. The stand that comes with the F58 has a tripod thread on the bottom, but the legs in the stand may get in the way when you try to mount it to a softbox bracket. I pointed out the different swivels to make the point that the ones that are meant to mount to "any speedlight" will not work with Sony flashes without an adapter. With the adapter you can use any mounting system.

    BTW the note about "no affiliation" is more for the benefit of the site admins who discourage advertising here.
    α900+VG|F20|2xF58|16-35,24-70,135Z|STF|70-400G|50,85 1.4|16,20,28,100M,80-200APO f/2.8|28-135|500f/8|1x-3xMacro|2xMFC-1000|Tiltall+RRS, Bellows, etc.

  6. #6
    elaineeve
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    Re: Sony OCF

    Hmm...Well you have given me alot to think about. I'm thinking maybe go cheap and then work up from there. You have been very helpful. I like to have some knowledge when I go in to the stores, so that I don't appear as someone who can be taken advantage of! I'm narrowing down my options now, and am thinking cheap"er" lightstand then the avenger for now. But still have my heart set on the 50" softbox (so maybe I'll have to purchase some other lighting! LOL) Or maybe as you suggested start off with umbrella and go from there. I think I just talked myself into it too. Cheaper stand, cheaper umbrella and see what my lighting produces.

    I'm looking at that beauty dish too! LOL Thanks for helping me spend my funds! I would love to see some sample pics you take with it...but for that price, I don't think one can go wrong.

    I appreciate your help, I'm off to the store today to see what I can find out, but again, I think I will ultimately purchase online just because it's so much cheaper.

    Elaine

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