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on December 16, 2009
I loved my starter photography lighting kit! I'm fairly new to photography and want to learn more about studio lighting. I did some research and Cowboy Studio's basic photography kits came into the forefront. This is the perfect starter kit to take family portraits, still life or other product shots. The description on items included is somewhat of a misnomer. There is one full size backdrop stand, two muslin backdrop cloths (one white, one black), two tripod light stands & two lights. The lights can be used in one of three ways: softbox, monolight/continuous strobe or studio flash, one function at a time. The product description seemed as if there were one of each light. The lights are very versatile. The basic monolight can be converted to a softbox merely by slipping the softbox panel over the monolight. The light can be further enhanced by plugging in the studio-sync cords that attach directly to your camera for studio flash. I recommend buying some sandbags for base light supports to prevent tipping. Pro sandbags are made by other manufacturers but they are expensive. To save money you can use Ziploc bags and a few cubic feet of sand from the hardware store. That does the job. The muslin backdrop cloths are 5 ft. x 10 ft. so they aren't big enough to cover the backdrop stand when fully extended. Bigger muslin cloths of 10 x 13 ft & 10 x 20 ft are available from CowboyStudio as accessories.

I took a few test still life shots and self-portraits and they look great! It's amazing what a little light and some shadows can do for a photo. Don't be confused when assembling the kit. See link below for assembly directions. No instructions were included with the kit. It was fairly simple once I saw the illustrations. The whole kit weighs only 24 lbs. and comes with a bag for the sofbox attachments and backdrop frame. It's a very easy to use kit and of high quality. I highly recommend it. I will definitely buy more accessories from CowboyStudios in the near future. Enjoy.

[...]
22 comments70 of 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 29, 2010
I bought this for my very first photoshoot.

Lighting:
The (2) 110watt lights are not very powerful but i used them as lighting background and fill lights. I combined them with my canon 580exII flash and it worked great. The build quality is great.

Tripods:
Not super sturdy and built all that well but it never tipped over once. Its not the strongest or sturdiest but it can certainly handle the equipment it came with.

Backgrounds:
White Muslin was nice, with the backgrounds lights, no wrinkles showed and a little but of Post Processing. It looked great!
The black Muslin is very small and thin...You as a photographer will have to make the necessary adjustment with your lighting. I need more practice on the black muslin.

Overall i recommend combing the lighting with a regular flash to get awesome results. Great price! Great Shipping! Seller picks up phone!
Newbies: Remember kit does NOT come with wireless triggers so remember to order them!
22 comments21 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 12, 2009
This was a Great Kit! Perfect for starting photographers like myself. The backdrop's Tri-Pods and Support bars are very sturdy! The Soft Box tri-pods are a little flimsy. The lights are only 100w so for portraits i would recommend buying a higher watt. The Muslim Backdrops themselves are great aside from the wrinkles from shipping, a steamer should fix this easily. All in All I would still rate this 5/5 and recommend to others to buy!
11 comment14 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 25, 2011
I will say up front that this is my first kit. I purchased the 320watt kit with- the triggers ($37) and Polaris SPD100 Digital light meter($167) & photovision target. The whole package is a great starting point for an entry level studio. ORDER THIS FROM AMAZON why b/c Cowboy Studio had the kit $10 more on its website AND they wanted $20 shipping. It shipped free from Amazon and cheaper. That being said the kit shipped in 2 days using the free shipping option.
The kit - Packaged very well. There were some English instructions but cowboy studios website has all the instructions. I called them and they were helpful, they are a distributer the kits are made in China.
The Black Muslin is thin but serviceable. White is thicker. The mounting hardware is sturdy. There are holes to slide the pole through so you don't need clips. The stands were sturdier than the strobe stands.
The strobes. They can be adjusted in increments of 1/8 so you get the perfect punch. They have a cord that hooks up to your camera. They will fire if they sense a flash so you could cord only one or use your speedlight to fire them. I bought the wireless triggers and they work great. Some people were complaining about power. To get the desirable f5.6 100ISO & 125SEC I had my key light softbox 4' away from model @ ½ power. Then used a hair light softbox 4' above model head at 1/8 power. I do not have a problem with the power of these strobes.
Softboxes - were a little cumbersome to put together the little poles they give you seem to long but they work. There is an interior white diffuser then a second you see in the pic. Stands are a little flimsy but I use 5lb hand weights some use sand bags. Overall no complaints, this kit was as advertised and it is a great price. Everything comes with its own carrying bag so you can break it down and pack it up.
0Comment8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 30, 2009
Would definitely recommend the set.
I did not end up using the black muslin after the first time. I bought seamless paper instead since it's a bit more convenient.
The lights have more than enough power for average use. They also have slave sensors so you can actually trigger these with any flash, even your onboard flash (if I do use the onboard I make sure to turn the flash down so it doesn't affect the exposure). This also means they aren't great if working with other photographers. Definitely not heavy duty equipment but I've been using my set since august with no issues until today when my slave sensor on one did not respond. I fixed this by using a radio trigger on that one.
The softboxes are easy to put together and throw a very soft, quality light

The stands are ok quality all around. nothing to rave about but nothing to rant over either.

I rated it four stars because, for the money, the kit is definitely worth it. I posted 3 images I took with the kit.
review image review image review image
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on November 20, 2009
I have several things to say aboiut my order.

Pros:
-I used standard shipping, and according to the time frame given. I recieved this is a very fast and timely manner. It took four buisiness days to be shipped to my location.
-All Items listed were shipped and arrived. ( i have not taken the muslin out and measure it yet...but I will and include that info my Video review)
-I have not tried it out very much except a few test shots on my son. But it appears to work very well. The power switch allows you to control the light output in a nice and easy manner.
-Setup was fast
-Taking it down, was EVEN FASTER! I only had my lights up with the softboxes on. But I was able to completely take the lights off, deconstruct the softboxes and fold up the stands and put them all in their original casing, including plastic bags, in about six minutes. (I will include the full setup times and deconstruction times...including the backdground muslin supports and muslins in my video review)
-Cheap, for what you get

Cons:
-NO INSTRUCTIONS CAME WITH THE EQUIPMENT. You can go to the cowboy studio website and download the PDF files...OR you can go to YOUTUBE and watch setup videos. Both were quite usefull.
-Any info that did come...was in a foreign language.
-No recievers or transmitters are included in this. You have to buy an additional $50 dollars worth of stuff. A transmitter/reciever combo and an additional reciever. (these are very cheaply made..or at least appear that way)
-The electrical cords from the lights arent that long..you will need some extension cords.
66 comments9 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 9, 2011
This kit really is a great buy for the money. The quality of each individual part is what you'd expect from this price range, but everything works and works very well. The strobes are very powerful and easy to use. Recycle time is negligible at low power settings. Once you get up to around 3/4 or full the recycle times climbs all the way up to around 1.5 seconds. Not that big of a deal depending on what you're shooting.
If you're a hobbyist trying to take your photography to the next level or even if you're a studio owner looking to add to your equipment closet, this is worth the money.

Pros:
Good solid stands. The light stands have springs built into the bottom to cushion the fall if you loosen the supports with a light still attached.
The background support stands open up to about 10'wide and can handle the weight of a very large backdrop. They can get to almost 9 feet high.
Strobes are very powerful and very responsive. Optically triggered, they even work with Auto FP at high shutter speeds. The power adjustment knob gives you infinite control between 1/8 and full.
Soft boxes are heavy duty material and easy to assemble (as soft boxes go). The mounting system that mates the soft box to the strobe is innovative and heavy duty.

Cons:
No carrying device included for the strobes. There are carrying cases for everything in the kit except the strobes. This would be nice considering the boxes they came in aren't exactly convenient.
Backdrops are pretty thin and easy to see through. Shooting the black backdrop with strobes facing forward, I was able to see objects behind the backdrop. Shooting the white backdrop I was able to see the color of the cloth underneath the white backdrop on the floor. Be sure to account for this during initial set up.

Overall this is probably the best value you'll find in a package containing the same items in this price range. Sure there are better strobes out there and beefier more stout stands, but this is a great package for the money none the less.
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on February 12, 2011
I bought this product knowing that it wasn't going to be super high-quality, but expecting it to do it's job. Even with those low expectations, I was severely disappointed. Some of the items were chipped and one of the lights didn't work. It cost me $17.00 for them to ship it to me in the first place, $26.00 for me to ship it back to them, and then I was charged a $40.00 "re-stocking fee" for returning a damaged item! I was furious. Over $80.00 wasted, and all I got for it was stress.
44 comments22 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 18, 2010
I wanted a cheaper studio lighting set and found this one. i first set up the lights and finally found out that the lights are optical and fire when a flash is set off so you don't necessarily have to use a sync cord unless you want to use less lighting. Overall this is a great kit for the price if you are looking to start out.

Pros: good price. compact. good light control (1/8 to full power on manual lighting). softboxes work awesomely.

Cons: Muslin backdrop comes folded and hence has a lot of creases(haven't tried to iron them out yet). some of the parts didn't fit well when assembled so it felt like i was going to break something. the carry case doesn't have room for the actual lights. the soft boxes have to be disassembled if they want to be put in a bag(which is not a fast process if looking for speed).
22 comments7 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 20, 2010
The cowboy studio was a gift from my wife and i am so glad she got it. The softbox's work well with canon rebel and i am now taking pro quality photos. When i first got it there where no instruction's on how to put it together so i suggest going to there web site and looking at the photo's to get the geest of how they go, other than that i was really pleased at how my photos turned out after shooting, the back drop will need some steaming to get the crease's out other than that a great buy!!!!!!!!
0Comment7 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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