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Strobes
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    Do You Need a Monolight or Strobe Light for Your Next Shoot?

    You might hear the terms monolight and strobe light used interchangeably, but they each have their own unique benefits. They both supply that much-needed flash when taking portraits or doing a photo shoot, but here’s how they differ:

    • A monolight works best in the studio, with its easy-to-control light levels, a wider adjustable range and the fact that it works on AC power. Some connect directly to cameras while others can be triggered by the camera’s flash or via a wireless trigger. Many lights also need accessories like the umbrella to modify the light output. The light itself is a self-contained unit in a single housing with most having settings to regulate the amount of light you get, including full, half, quarter and some even less.
    • Strobe lights are more compact and easier to carry yet supply enough light to illuminate a room, making them effective for shoots in the studio and on the road, too. The strobe has a much lower watt-second, with fluorescent lighting often providing the best results.

    Monolights and strobe lights serve a very different use from power pack kits and continuous lighting hot lights that provide a constant light (and heat, ergo “hot lights”) in a studio setting. When deciding on the right monolight or strobe light for you, you’ll want to keep several things in mind.

    Key Features to Consider Before Renting Monolights

    There are four main aspects of a monolight or strobe light that you’ll want to consider. These include:

    • Watt-seconds (often written as WS) measures the discharge capacity of the flash unit’s power.
    • Guide number refers to the light output, with a higher guide number indicating a greater light output. This information is needed to determine the aperture when photographing in manual exposure mode.
    • Flash duration is the time between the triggering of the flash unit and the flash.
    • Recycle time describes how long you need to wait until the unit has full recharged.

    You also need to decide if you want continuous variable output (and if so, how much). Other considerations you’ll need to address are whether you want to use a proportional modeling light to test the lighting effect prior to the shoot, whether fan cooling is important and what degree of portability you’ll need.

    A Great Selection of Strobe Lights

    BorrowLenses’ selection of monolight strobes includes the most popular and common styles used by professionals, making the rental option a great way to fill a temporary need or try one out before buying. Trying out a system like the Elinchrom 1000W/s BX-Ri Monolight Kit or the White Lightning 660W/s X1600 Flash before you buy is an easy way to see if it’s right for you, without a large investment.

    Benefits of Strobe Lighting

    Due to being the more affordable option, strobe lighting has been the most commonly used lighting for photographers for a number of years. Strobe lighting is still popular because it uses as much power as it needs and can do so in a short amount of time. Strobes are also more compact and easier to carry. Typically about the size of a small can of coffee, they are still powerful enough to light up entire rooms. Finally, strobe lighting is usually more affordable to work with, as the watt-second is much lower. Fluorescent is considered the most effective.

    Benefits of Monolights

    Monolights also have several advantages. Monolights are often a better lighting choice for small studios that focus on portraiture, small products or fashion. This is because the individual light levels are easier to adjust, as each light has its own controls. They also have a wider adjustable range. You can place monolights anywhere there is an AC outlet, which means fewer cords running across your studio, and even if one light fails, the rest will continue to work. It's also easy to add on additional lights should you decide you need them.

    Renting the Lighting You Need

    If you are an up-and-coming photographer, it might not be financially feasible for you to purchase both types of lighting outright. Additionally, if your studio is small, you may not have the storage space. Luckily, you can rent strobe lighting & monolights from BorrowLenses. The affordable rental pricing allows you to get what you need, when you need it, without worrying about a large financial commitment. This is also a great way to try several brands and types of lighting, such as the Impact 1000W/s R Monolight Kit or the Elinchrom 400W/s Ranger Quadra A Kit, to decide which works best for your photography needs. Reserve yours today!

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