Best Continuous Lighting Kits
This review is a listing of the best continuous lighting kit available on Amazon for under $500.
Continuous lighting has many advantages over flashes and strobes. By continuous light, I am referring to continuous external lights. This light is stable and can easily be modified using a plethora of modifiers.
Best Continuous Lighting for Photography
There are reasons why a majority of photographers love shooting in natural light. For one thing, it is continuous. Plus, it is free, and of course produces excellent results.
However, when it comes to constancy, natural light isn’t the first choice. What if you can combine the best of both worlds? The best continuous lighting kit happens to be the ones that do this. They provide perfect daylight balanced lights continuously.
Watch this interesting Youtube video on the advantages of studio lights equipment and how to set it up:
For professional results and a constant output, pros prefer artificial lights. The convenience of shooting with continuous lighting without the associated hassles is a significant advantage for pro photographers.
For a professional lighting setup, you need at least three lights. These are your key light, fill light and accent light or hair light. The third light is sometimes used as a background light.
Alternatively, you can fire two lights from the front with equal power and use the third one to blow out the background for a high-key effect. In any situation, a three light setup gives you a lot more room to experiment and is our first set-up in this discussion to find the best continuous lighting kit.
The third light stands on a 28” high studio light stand and is a quality high output one. This is your accent light. This light stand is small enough to be easily used to light your macro shots.
The set-up includes:
- a set of three fluorescent lights
- two shoot-through umbrellas and
- light holders
The umbrellas and the light bulbs fit inside convenient carry bags. These bags are provided free with the kit.
The beauty of this set-up is that it is not a rigid system. If you need slightly higher power output, the 45w bulbs can be replaced with more powerful ones. There might be a need for this when you need to shoot images with a high-key effect or produce a hard lighting scenario with a single high powered light.
A variation of the kit that we just read about, the LimoStudio AGG912-A is a high-powered continuous studio lighting kit that has silver reflector umbrellas with a black top.
When you fire continuous light at them these umbrellas produce a slightly punchier light for sharper details. This lighting kit is ideally suitable for photographers who prefer a harder or punchier light than the soft light produced by shoot-through white umbrellas.
This lighting kit is ideally suitable for photographers who prefer a harder or punchier light than the soft light produced by shoot-through white umbrellas.
The other elements in the kit include:
- two 86” light stands
- one 15” tabletop light stand
- a set of three 45w daylight balanced fluorescent light bulbs
- Three light holders and
- two 33” black/silver umbrellas
The whole thing fits inside a well-designed heavy-duty carrying case.
Sometimes you need to be able to use enough light to be able to create a high-key lighting set-up for portraits. Clamshell lighting is what I am referring to.
You put two lights on either side of the subject’s face. Both the lights have equal power. The StudioPRO 3200 does give you that luxury to produce a lot of light at close quarters.
Each of the 24” x 36” soft-boxes accommodates a 7-head socket. Each of these sockets can accommodate a 45W spiral daylight balanced fluorescent bulb.
Together, the 14 bulbs produce enough light that is the equivalent of 3200 watts of incandescent output. Plus, these lights have less power consumption and emanate less heat when compared to incandescent lights.
The light stands reach a height of 7’6” when fully extended. At their shortest height, they are only 2’3”. Thus, these light stands are extremely versatile. They can be used for portraits, table-top product photography or anything in between.
The stands have been constructed out of die-cast aluminum. Keeping in mind the slippery marble floors of modern studios the legs are tipped with rubber.
With a price of $164.95, this is a good continuous two light set-up that can be used as the basis for portraits and products shoots.
You will only need to add a third light to add to this set-up to make the whole thing complete. The third light can be used as an accent light for portraitures. You can add another light to this whole mix, a background light, for those true-white high-key setups.
This review of the best continuous lighting kit has been thus far entirely about portrait lighting.
This is obviously not intentional. To make up for this unintentional oversight let’s look at a personal favorite – the Neewer tabletop photography studio lighting kit.
Continuous lights are extremely useful when it comes to shooting product photography. Product photos are usually shot with macro lenses.
Not that a traditional 24-70mm or 70-200mm lens is absolutely out of place. But with macro lenses, a photographer can focus on minuscule details of the product, e.g. the delicate details on the wedding rings, the flower design on the bride’s shoes or the jewels on a Swiss watch.
The only problem with macro lenses, which also happen to be their advantage, is that they have short working distance. Meaning you can get extremely close to producing a life-size reproduction of the subject. By doing so, you may block external lights, and you have to introduce external lights.
Continuous lights are the best option because you can check your composition and the final image before pressing the shutter release.
The Neewer Table Top photography studio lighting kit is a great little kit that consists of:
- two 18” light stands, perfect for table-top photography
- two light heads with reflector and
- two 110V 45W daylight balanced spiral lights that produce the equivalent of 200W incandescent bulbs
The overall package costs just $37.99to boot!
A great piece of equipment to kick-start your macro photography or stock photography career.
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