This review regards the Pro-Light 780 Strobe Studio Kit... compare with the JTL 480 if you require only a three light system.
As a serious portrait photographer, I required a portable lighting system, which could be set up and taken down easily by a single assistant for location shots.
I would say this system fits the bill nicely.
Set up time, from unpacking to shooting is less than 20 minutes. This is all the time it took the very first time out of the box as I instructed my lighting assistant.
I'm very happy with the overall materials for a mid-quality system such as this.
Tripods are stable and are of sturdy material. Strobes unpack and mount easily and securely, with adequate adjustment knobs. (side note, if using outdoors, with a chance of a breeze.. tri-pods will require anchoring)
Wireless sending unit mounts easily and quickly to a SLR Hot Shoe... and simultaneously fires all three strobe lights. I could sync the flash for up to 1/200 of a second... at 1/250th, half black, so you have to keep your shutter speed at or under 1/200th.
** The sending unit emits a red light, which is not noticeable when shooting portraits, yet showed up on glass surfaces when doing product photography. I held my hand between the unit and the subject, successfully blocking the red light, the performance was not hindered.
The hot/modeling lights may be turned off after the set up and strobes fire alone. This saves the hot lights and extends their life. I've read other reports, criticizing the bulb life, but I have to say, I've not replaced any yet and have used the hot-lights for video production.
There was a small initial quality issue with one spreader bar, but it was immediately replaced by the company.. so, a non-issue now. Customer support is top shelf!
The carry case is nice and well padded, more than practical for transporting the system. This kit will fit nicely in a normal trunk or back seat, along with other photographic equipment. Not too heavy for one person to carry comfortably.
Each light may be adjusted for strobe strength, though the hot lights remain on at a single intensity and may not be adjusted. Hot light intensity can be adjusted simply by adjusting the distance from the subject.
The instructions are minimal, but someone of normal aptitude will assemble everything with little problem I'm sure.
I think overall this is a very good value, properly priced for what you get. **consider that this entire system, including shipping, is comparable in cost, to just one on camera speed/smart flash.
I simply put ankle weights on the tripod bases for greater stability, as I like to use these outside and this prevents toppling due to a slight breeze.
Each light also has a fan unit, which helps keep them cooler. Though the fan remains on even if the hot lights are off and the strobes are on standby. So, they are not temperature activated, rather remaining on so long as either light is powered up. With all three lights powered up, you hear the fans running, but not much of a distraction overall. There is supposed to be a high-temp cutout, but it has never activated, even when the units were on for an hour or more... I guess the fans do their job?
I would suggest this system for the advanced hobby photographer, or the pro who wants something portable and inexpensive for location shoots.
I've done several sessions with it already and have had very pleasing results.
***Expect nothing but first rate customer support from this Company. Very good responses and parts availability (if needed). When it comes to lighting systems, backdrops or other portable photographic equipment, Steve Kaeser lighting systems is where I'll be headed. In two weeks, I'll be giving a seminar on photography equipment, this system, with it's scale and portability, will be my demonstration kit
If you are a photography or art instructor and need controlled lighting on the go... THIS is it. I've used it daily for the past month or so and have no complaints whatsoever.
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