Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and affordable universal kit for both the amateur and professional's equipment arsenal., November 17, 2013
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This review is from: PBL Studio Photography Video Light Kit Continuous Lighting Kit Video Lighting EZ 24"x 24" Softbox Photographic Lighting (Electronics)
I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the 'quality' of this kit - It's always a gamble with so many budget lighting kits choking the market, and I have had my share of headaches with third world lighting products that seem to have a life span of 4 hours yet require 12 hours of assembly and modification to make them work.

Because of the last minute film and print work I do for my company there is never time to draft up a wish list when it comes to grip and lighting packages, so we opted to go with and use the budget ones and have used (and thrown out, destroyed or donated) several similar kits over the past few years. I'm happy to announce this is one of the better, if not one of the best kits in this price range. This review being posted after assembly, testing, color temp, test photos and video, and it passed with flying colors.

Assembly of the soft boxes is quite easy; They have all of the support rods built into the units so assembly is fast and easy, as one simply just has to push on the base to lock it into place - (it's almost like folding/unfolding an umbrella - A definite PLUS if you've ever spent 2 hours trying to assemble a soft box with instructions in broken English, or via watching a Youtube instructional video) - None of that here - I had them assembled within 5 minutes, mounted, powered and lit. A new personal record, as I figured the assembly would kill a few hours and shave a few years off my life and sanity.

PROS
As stated, boxes are easy to assemble. Set up and breakdown in minutes. Light output is solid and holds steady right around 5100K (almost full bright "noon" daylight, but not quite - Not an issue or noticeable enough to even complain about, at least for my needs) - Diffusion cloth fastens quick and secure with Velcro that is (shockingly) accurately aligned on the boxes, allowing placement without another modification. Great for indoors/small rooms where space/room is an issue. Light stays cool so structure fires and skin grafts are one less thing to worry about with these, as opposed to working with a cheap tungsten lamp that can melt lead after a few minutes of use.

Light Stands: Yep. They're cheap. Yet they aren't as poorly made as the others that come with every bargain lighting kit on the market today. I have a collection of cheap stands that are about as sturdy as a few straws and dental floss, and while these aren't quite as bad, they're still cheap, flimsy and liable to fall over from even the slightest sneeze. Okay for interior work - If you plan on using these on exterior gigs plan on clamping or tying them down to secure them. Sandbagging is a tedious option, since the support arms are about as strong as an emery board.

Carry Bag and pouches: Actually, the travel bag isn't too bad of quality. Normally the 'travel bags' are about as durable as the light stands, but this one looks like it might survive a few trips before it breaks down and falls apart.

CONS
Cords are short, so plan on using extension cords. The built in support rods on the box that allow for quick assembly are probably also their greatest weakness, as I can see them bending or breaking easy, especially if you will be breaking them down often for storage and/or transport. Not a problem if you keep them set up in a small studio but TLC is definitely needed if you're a run and gun shooter. Like most boxes, these are bulky and must be broke down for proper transport in the travel bag.

Perfect for the guy or gal on a budget, or amateur looking to weed out the DIY Home Depot work light kit (not that there is anything wrong with DIY) - Of course these aren't just limited to the amateur guy either - Great for the Pros too. (although a few pro's might detest the thought of being caught using bargain no named lighting) - The light does what it's supposed to do, and while we all might wish we had a cool and hip Arri light package, these will do just fine. Great as simple key and fill light for a portrait or interview, yet versatile enough for the DSLR or Independent guy on set. Throw some color gels on them and tinker with diffusion and shaping/bouncing/flagging light. Remember that while these are bright, they aren't going to transform a dark street or large area into retina searing high noon sunlight.

(if you need/want that on a budget, get yourself a couple of used Lowel Tota lights and throw some CTB gels on them)

For the beginner:
Since they're daylight balanced, using them indoors with standard tungsten household lamps will throw off the color temperature so you will have to white balance your camera accordingly. Under these conditions using your cameras AWB will just give everything a orange/bluish tint so you need to learn how to manually set and/or correct the color temperature (if you haven't already tackled that yet) - Note that these can be used to mimic sun filtering in through a window, moonlight, and with some creativity and gels, firelight, candle flicker, you name it. Add an LED, clear or colored bulb of equivalent wattage and you can establish whatever mood and lighting scheme you feel the scene calls for.

5 out of 5 stars - Not factoring in the cheap novelty stands of course.
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