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I'm about to upgrade from a few simple speedlites with umbrellas to a couple of studio strobes with beauty dish / softbox for indoor portrait shooting. First I want to get one strobe and beauty dish and I like shooting at large apertures, f2.8 or even f2, but sometimes at higher apertures too. I also like having the light close to the subject to get a nice light falloff.

Is a 5-stop 250 Ws stobe (looking at Elinchrom BRX250 with a 16-260 Ws power range) too powerful for using with a beauty dish rather close to the subject at f2.8-f2?

I don't want to have a too high minimum power setting forcing me to use an ND filter on the camera. I realize there might not be any single strobe with large enough power range for all purposes and for my first strobe I want to prioritize beauty dish with large apertures.

  • Here is a Paul C Buff output chart of their flashes at various power levels, including a couple of beauty dishes, which should be helpful. paulcbuff.com/output.php Note that they meter this with a diffusion cover over the dishes. – WayneF Nov 21 '16 at 4:29
  • Maybe weigh up your current needs and future possible needs and use that to help with the decision. Do you shoot in locations that require a lot of strobe power ? – LMP2016 Feb 1 '17 at 23:06
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That light will be fine for that application.

Its always a balance between iris/depth of field/shutter speed/distance to subject. Start at the lowest monolight power for the first shot and work up to mid-range to understand the effect at the subject distance. Adjust ISO or shutter speed, rinse and repeat until the image works for you.

If the process is followed methodically, you will have a sound appreciation for the trade-offs involved.

My monolights are Impact Astral Extreme ASX 400 with 6 stops and a 0.4s charge cycle. With a beauty dish I would keep the power to a low setting 1.0 to 1.5 (the range is 1.0 to 6.0) and play around with the shutter and ISO. You might also want to look at softboxes for softer contrasts.

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No, it should be fine. I used 500W/s at 2.8 the other day and it was fine.

  • I assume you used it at minimun power? What was the minimum power setting on that flash? – Aardvark Sep 24 '16 at 5:21

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