A good camera is an essential piece of equipment for every photographer. But a camera alone is not enough to produce high-quality images. Whether you’re a wedding photographer, events photographer, or a product photographer, you are going to need a lot of other equipment and gear, including a tripod, camera strap, cleaning kit, memory chips, and of course, an external flash.
If you’ve been into this profession for quite some time, you may already know the importance of lighting. But this is also where it gets pretty confusing. Choosing lights for photography is not very simple because studio lights are not cheap. Speedlights are a lot less expensive than strobe lights. But not even the most expensive speed lights are as good as strobes.
On the other hand, choosing the best strobe light is not very easy either, as there are numerous brands and models. You have to look out for a lot of different things, which makes it even harder. Strobe lights are not very cheap, and you definitely want to get the best model.
This article aims to provide you with all the necessary details you need to know about strobe lights, and how using a good model can enhance your work quality.
To help ease your task of choosing a strobe light, we have handpicked some of the best models from different brands. Check them out.
Five Best Strobe Lights for Product Photography.
1. Neewer Vision 4.
User Review( votes)
In the world of lighting equipment, Neewer is amongst the top brands with a good reputation. This German engineered Vision 4 has almost everything that photographers look for in a strobe light. Its price is very reasonable, and it’s as good as some of the most expensive and advanced strobes.
Let’s dig deeper.
The Neewer vision 4 has 300 Ws power which is more than sufficient for product photography, and location shooting. Its power can be adjusted accordingly using its 6-step power selector.
A battery-powered strobe is great, but it can be very inconvenient if it shuts down while you’re in action. Hopefully, you won’t experience that in this case because this strobe has a powerful 6000 mAh lithium battery, which is powerful enough to generate 700 flashes at full power.
Another cool feature of this strobe is the modeling lamp which has a 13W LED bulb with 1370 lumens. It is designed to deliver optimum performance while using minimal energy. It is also equipped with a replaceable flash tube and has a very fast flash duration, which means you can even shoot or capture fast-moving objects.
2. Godox SK300II Studio Strobe.
User Review( votes)
Consistency is what you need when shooting photos, and the vital role played by the light cannot be ignored. The Godox SK300 is a solidly engineered studio strobe, which is very easy to use and offers excellent value to money. This light set has a user-friendly interface, and its accessories can be easily installed in just a few minutes.
It is equipped with a 150W modeling lamp and 9 brightness level selectors, which range from 5 to 100 percent. It large, high quality large capacitors provide a stable, consistent, and fast flash. This device comes with a built-in 2.4G wireless system that has 32 radio channels.
Most strobes these days have LED lights instead of tungsten, and this has reduced the chance of overheating. However, when the lights are used rapidly for a longer duration, the device’s performance may be compromised.
To prevent overheating issues, the Godox SK 300 has a built-in cooling fan which keeps the device running at its best. It also has an auto memory and recovery feature, which remembers your settings.
3. Fovitec Studio PRO.
User Review( votes)
This one is another easy to use and affordable strobe light which has been receiving a lot of positive reviews from hundreds of users. This model may not have a lot of fancy features, but it does exactly what it was built to do with perfection.
The Fovitec studio pro is very well built with high-quality materials that ensure its durability. It has 300 Ws power, which can be adjusted according to your needs. This unit comes with an AC power cord and a sync cord for connecting the strobe to the camera.
One of the coolest features of this strobe is its modeling lamp, which is equipped with a digitally adjustable intensity setting. This is a feature that is usually found only in highly expensive strobes. The bulb life is over 8000 average flashes, and its recycling time is 0.5-3 seconds, which isn’t stellar when compared to other models. But you won’t need this speed for product photography, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
4. Neewer N Studio Strobe.
User Review( votes)
Many professional photographers love this strobe because of its reasonable price and its incredible performance. Packed with 250Ws power, the Neewer N studio is capable of delivering amazing results. The modeling light is 75 W, with three power selectors. When the flashlight is not in use, it can be used as a fill light. It can even be used as a backlight, hair light, or as the main light.
This strobe is also very easy to use. It doesn’t have any complicated settings or controls. It also has a large LED display, which allows for easy, convenient, and precise operation. It can be mounted to a stand, or it can be handheld depending on which is convenient based on your location and the environment.
5. Godox MS300 studio strobe.
User Review( votes)
This strobe will benefit you the most if you own a Nikon DSLR camera as it comes with a wireless flash trigger that works with all Nikon cameras. The maximum power of this model is 300 Ws, and the modeling lamp is 150 W while its light brightness can be adjusted from 5% to 100%.
The Godox MS 300 is incredibly easy to use; it has a big LCD display and buttons placed ergonomically. It also has an inbuilt 2.4GHz wireless transmission system with a range is up to 100 meters. Another very cool feature of this model is that you can even adjust the lighting parameter using a mobile app.
Product Photography Strobe Light Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing your strobes, you don’t necessarily have to check each and every tiny detail. Photographers tend to get too technical when looking for strobes. Of course, you’re paying a good amount of money for it, so you need to make sure that everything works how you need it to. However, you should also consider the fact that every piece of technology has its drawbacks.
So, it’s good to know what exactly you’re going to need. Not all strobes are made or designed to work in all conditions. Some may be better suited for certain places and lighting conditions and so on.
Below are some of the primary factors you need to look at when buying a strobe for product photography.
This is undoubtedly the most important factor which many photographers care about when looking for strobes. There are quite a lot of options you can choose from.
This can be pretty confusing for beginners, so let’s break it down a little bit.
Strobes are measured in Watt seconds, which is written as Ws. Keep in mind that Watt second and Watt are different. Watt, which is usually written as W, is a unit of measurement for a standard light. There are strobes that have power ranging from 100Ws up to 6000Ws.
This does not mean that a 1000 Ws strobe is better than a strobe with 400Ws. Nor is a thousand-dollar model necessarily better than a hundred-dollar strobe. It all depends on the needs of different photographers.
It wouldn’t be a wise move if you decided to buy one that has 1200Ws just because one of your photographer friends told you so. In case you’re wondering, this is because your friend’s needs and your needs are not the same. You won’t be shooting at the same location are him or her. What works for others may not be practical for you.
Most product photographers opt for 200 to 400 Ws. Professional studios may even have strobes with up to 1000Ws, but they rarely/never use it at full power.
To understand how different photographers determine the power of their strobes, here’s a guideline you can use.
|150-400 Ws||Small studios, product photography, newborn babies|
|400-650 Ws||Outdoors, cars, studios|
|650+ Ws||Full-size studios|
For product photographers, the speed of the strobes is not a very important factor. However, if you plan on using the strobe for other purposes, you should consider this too. The faster the recycle time of the unit, the faster it can produce the flashes. So, if you want to capture action, look for a model with a fast recycle time.
Every strobe light has a way of communicating with the camera. Nowadays, there are some models which come with radio transmitters. This new technology has been embraced and welcomed by many photographers because it offers a better and robust connection.
And what’s even better is that you won’t have to deal with messy and tangled cables anymore. If you like the idea of eliminating the cables, then this is one thing you should look for. However, this type of strobe may not be compatible with older cameras.
Having a battery-powered strobe means you can take the light with you wherever you go. To ensure that you get to take the pictures uninterrupted, choose a unit with a powerful battery. If you have an extra pair of batteries, it would be even better.
Make sure that all the required accessories come along with the strobe. You wouldn’t want to buy them separately. It can be very inconvenient, and you obviously don’t want to spend any more money than you have to.
Service and Replacement Policy.
Strobe light repairs can cost a lot of money; it would be a good idea to know the terms and conditions. Also, choose the model that has a quality assured domestic service.
Careful consideration needs to be taken if you’re shopping on a budget. There are some excellent studio strobes which you can get for less than 250 dollars.
If you’re very limited on a budget, make a list of the features that you want, and strike off those which you think not very necessary. This will help you get a fantastic deal.
Any photographer worth his salt will agree that the secrets to great photography lie with the proper lighting. The nature of product photography is such that you cannot always get the best pictures in natural light alone.
Strobe lights can be the best investments right after your camera and lens. It can help you get the desired lighting irrespective of your location and time of day.