One of the greatest things to happen in recent years for photography is the huge increase in incredibly well-designed budget lighting systems. Although most of them come from the same factories as the premium brands, offer similar specs on paper, and often have alarmingly similar looks, what is the real difference?
If, like me, you have had to spend wisely, budget well, and really keep tabs on your bottom line, then the new wave of high-specification lights that have flooded the market under various brand names may look like a very exciting prospect. And for a lot of photographers, this is certainly the perfect balance of performance to cost. In many situations, there is also no difference in terms of performance when looking at the final image. Nevertheless, for a professional like myself who works on major campaigns, there are certain things that these more affordable lights sadly let me down on.
In this video, I discuss my experiences of using brand new, top-of-the-line premium lighting kits on set, compared to 35-year-old premium kits and what the latest budget kits have to offer. Thankfully, in 2021, the vast majority of us can really benefit from the cheaper gear out there without giving up image quality, so certainly, you shouldn't feel that not having the budget to buy $2,000 lamps and $15,000 packs will hold you back, unless you shoot the specific things that I discuss here.
How have you used the more affordable lights in recent years? I am sure we can all agree that 10 years ago, they were pretty bad, but the last batch that I tested was surprisingly good and well made.