Ebay Flash Stands and Umbrella

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by cyrax83, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    Hey guys, I'm getting interested in portrait photography and practicing using flash and off camera flash

    My gear currently includes an Olympus E-M1 and Nissin i40 flash. The flash does work in Remote TTL which is great, but needs to be fired by the little included flash as a trigger which should be still fine as it shouldn't add much to the exposure so I'm assuming I don't need any remote triggers or cables and I'm assuming it'll fire fine in sunlight (I read it's infrared so only line of sight required)

    The Nissin i40 does come with a flash holder with a screw in socket at the moment that I presume screws into the flash stand

    I'm unsure of what flash stand to buy on eBay (and Umbrella?). As I'm not a pro and it would be used very infrequently, the cheaper the better. The actual flash is small and doesn't weight alot so could get away with a lighter / more compact stand.

    1. Any one give me some pointers on what to buy?
    2. Once I set my on-camera flash to RC mode, do I need to change the flash mode to 'Fill' or 'Auto' or something?
    3. : Will I have line of sight if using the umbrella?
    4. Would it be cheaper to try use my existing camera tripod as a flash stand? (Sirui T-005KX)

  2. You probably want to use manual or TTL so you can control flash ratio. A stand is better for realistic lighting as it can go above head height.

    Most of all, look at lighting 101 from strobist.com.
  3. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Shameless plug: I have some umbrellas FS in Buy & Sell I have some clamps too, if you are interested I'll post them.
  4. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
  5. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014

    the cheap eBay stands do work but for obvious reasons they are not the strongest stands around, but you have to pay a lot more to do better, to get you started and for occasional use they are fine.

    Then if you find you like it and are doing more, then is the time to invest in a more sturdy design.
  6. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Good attitude. Wait until you need 'em before getting 'em. If the optical triggering stops working for you, then it's time to consider radio triggers.


    Here's the thing. Bright sunlight can overpower the near-IR (most of these optical systems aren't actually infrared--just near infrared. They're visible light signals) light at given distances. Also, if you're outside, there aren't any bounce surfaces for the light to reflect and go back to the flash sensor. So, actually, on-location shooting in bright sunlight is when optical wireless signaling can be reduced in range and reliability--even with good line-of-sight. Optical triggering tends to work better in studio conditions. That doesn't mean it can't work outdoors. Try it and see. But if you begin to have trouble firing your flash reliably, then it's time to consider radio triggers.

    Yes, that can work. However, most of us would probably get an umbrella swivel, so there's also a way to attach an umbrella or other modifier, as well as a way to adjust the angle of the flash on top of the stand.

    I would say don't go via eBay, unless it's through a trusted seller you know. All kinds of cheap junk gets sold that way. And a new, good, low-cost stand can be found for around $40-$50 here in the US. The cheaper and lighter the stand is, the less stable and shorter it tends to be. You do want a stand that can be raised above your subjects' head, because we're naturally used to sunlight and light coming from above. I use compact 7.5' stands with my speedlights. If you only plan to use speedlights and only light one or two people at a time, these should be sufficient. The Strobist has a good list of beginner gear. Lightstands, like tripods, can be with you a good long while, and it generally makes sense not to cheap out on your first/only one.

    With most modifiers, like umbrellas, the larger you go the softer the light gets, but the harder it is to fill with light from a small flash like a speedlight (vs., say a studio strobe).

    Most of us tend to use M mode and then dial in what we want. This is for consistency and precision. You could use TTL/Auto if you wanted to, but you'd have less control. When doing off-camera studio-type lighting, you tend to have time to reshoot and adjust. TTL is more for run'n'gun event shooting with on-camera flash, but can also be used. However, you really want to be in control of the flash/ambient balance, and you generally have to think your way through that and the exposure settings. It's not easily done by a simple setting on the camera. If you've never used flash before, I'd actually advocate becoming very familiar with the flash on-camera and bouncing before attempting to take the flash off-camera. And as a footnote to that, before using flash at all, being very comfortable shooting with the camera in M mode. Because ambient photography is just juggling iso, aperture, and shutter speed. Flash photography is juggling iso, aperture, shutter speed, flash power, and flash-to-subject distance while balancing ambient against the flash. Easier to learn to juggle five balls while riding a unicycle if you already know how to juggle three. :) 

    Maybe, maybe not. Depends on where you place yourself and the camera and the umbrella, and how much swivel capability your master and slave units have (swivel means the head can point one way while the flash points another). For instance, if your clip-on master doesn't swivel so it can point behind you, then your lights have to be in front of you.

    Yes, it would be cheaper, but it would be more an annoyance to use. It's liable to take up more space, and unlikely to give you the height you'd want to light someone from above. But you could use an umbrella swivel on it the same way you would a light stand. You could also use (or DIY) a clamp, if you have a stud and swivel. Once you have a stud and swivel, you can attach a light (and umbrella) to anything with a 1/4"x20 thread. I use one to put the flash on the end of a monopod and do strobe-on-a-stick.
  7. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    Thanks for your great advice and detailed post! I really do appreciate it!!

    I have used the Nissin i40 on-camera TTL before, and used it indoors to bounce flash on top of ceilings with good success. Now i'm slowly thinking about outdoor portraits

    The cheap gear I've bought is:

    Light stand: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/281350083893?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
    Umbrella: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/250785756424?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    I'm looking into a flash bracket and this one seems to fit the bill - it's compatible with the Olympus FL-600R flashes so should fit the Nissin i40 great - thoughts on this one? http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/271259077244?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    I also watched a vid on youtube about someone testing infrared flash RC commander outdoors and he got great length coverage so I'll see how it goes!
    edit: this video http://www.adorama.com/alc/0013888/...he-Go-with-Joe-McNally-Adorama-Photography-TV

    I have read about the Aokatec AK-TTL system working on M43 for Wireless TTL functionality - basically interpreting the flash TTL pulses from the commander so line of sight is not required. Do these work? I wouldn't purchase it though unless down the line i'm finding the line of sight and outdoor flash not working
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  8. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    Hi, so I've organised a couple of TFP shoots as I'm looking to build my portfolio. So far what's been organised is a:

    - Lingerie shot indoors

    - Outdoors portraits and fashion shots

    The camera I have is an Olympus E-M1 with Nissin i40 Flash (swivel flash TTL). I have a range of lenses so not worried about lens selection

    I've only used the flash in hot-shoe TTL bounce previously, so I need to move it off-camera and get some experience with off-camera lighting.

    I was going to use the Nissin i40 flash off camera in Slave mode TTL, and the camera firing from the included bundled flash as Commander to activate the Nissin flash.

    1. 2.1 metre lighting stand


    2. Flash bracket/umbrella holder


    3. 33" translucent white umbrella


    4. Selens Flash gels (haven't used them before but I'd imagine I'd need it for indoor lighting to match the interior lights)


    Have I covered my bases? Is there anything else I need?

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