Photography comes from ancient Greek meaning writing with light. Also, the most important thing that affects your photography is the light, which the best photographers know how to use properly. There are times when you are in an area where there is not enough natural light coming in. That is when lighting gear comes in and helps us do our jobs better. They are essential especially when it comes to shooting in a studio when you can’t get natural looks that you can easily achieve while shooting outside.
With the right set of lighting gear, you can easily achieve the desired effect and look with your subject. But hence the right part, since choosing lighting gear for your needs can be a little difficult. So for that reason today I have decided to present you with the complete guide to getting the best strobe lights for photography.
We will check out the best picks in the market, and on top of that we will check out what is a strobe light, things that make a model one of the best and things you should know before buying such a device. Without further ado, let’s get on with it.
The Top 5 Best Strobe Lights
5. Godox Smart 300 SDI
We are going to kick off this strobe lights with an affordable model that is also one of the most versatile and compatible models out there, the Godox Smart 300 SDI. This strobe light for photography delivers also a great value for the price and will allow you to shoot pleasant photographs. On top of that, it is my favorite model for beginner photographers.
My favorite feature about the Godox Smart 300 SDI is that it can be easily connected to a softbox with the standard friction adapter so you won’t need to buy anything different specifically for it.
There is a great fan base of the Godox Smart 300 SDI because of its super small size, lightweight, fast recycle time, and great power all in the same package. This will allow you to get great photographs in both studio scenarios and different events as well.
4. Neewer Photo Studio Strobe Lighting Kit
For those that are looking for a complete package that is portable and will help you get around different scenarios, I would recommend the Neewer Photo Studio Strobe Lighting Kit. This kit will satisfy all your demands and for starters, it is one of the best packages out there, despite being a little more expensive than budget models, but you get great value for the price.
With this kit you get two strobe light flashes one 300watt model and a 5600k model with modeling lamps that are pretty useful. But it doesn’t end there as it also has two softboxes in it, and RT-16 wireless trigger and two 6.5-feet light stand to help you out in different cases out there. There is also a carrying bag in the package so you can carry everything to your shooting destination.
The flash duration is pretty good at 1/2000 seconds which is pretty fast even for those that are shooting fast-moving subjects. Everything about these packages works perfectly and I have no complaints whatsoever. For the price, this is as close as you are going to get to a complete package.
3. Godox AD200Pro
Moving on we have an exceptional model coming in, the Godox AD200Pro. This is one of the most satisfying, easy to use, and versatile strobe lights out there and I have personally used it in endless scenarios. Its main features consist of the super useful Speedlight head, an accurate flash source, and the impressive bulb head that is specifically made to deliver lights of two different qualities depending on your needs.
The Godox AD200Pro has some exceptionally well-created elements in its body that come as a complete kit for making everything satisfying and easy to use. For example, the package includes two distinct heads, a charging cable for its rechargeable battery and a nice storage bag for safekeeping and transporting your equipment without much hassle.
What I like most about the Godox AD200Pro is that it features 2.4G wireless transmission that allows for fast operation. On top of all this, it is compatible with cameras from different manufacturers such as Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, and Olympus, It has three different flash modes you can use including, Manual TTL and Stroboscopic which is also called multi-mode for different adjustments.
2. Flashpoint XPLOR 600
For those that are looking for a super-powerful strobe light for their photography needs, I can recommend the high-end Flashpoint XPLOR 600. This is a pretty powerful strobe light that will help you out in most of the scenarios out there. I know a lot of photographers that rely solely on the Flashpoint XPLOR 600 which provides a super quick setup and delivers amazing versatility which is more than you could ever want.
In this list, this is the most expensive product out there. In the general sense for pros it is not too expensive though, however, it delivers a marvelous value for the price and the manufacturer hasn’t made any compromise in the quality of the device. I should mention that it is pretty large and heavy overall, not the lightest out there, and will be a little hassle carrying it around, but it is super durable and has a pretty fast recycle time.
The Flashpoint XPLOR 600 is not a model that you can use just inside your studio, it can deliver a perfect performance even outside with its 600watt power output. This makes it amazingly versatile and delivers great use in different scenarios with plenty of speed.
1. Neewer Vision 4
On top of the list, we have a super impressive strobe light for photography, the Neewer Vision 4. This is one of the most popular choices with a lot of photographers for a wide range of reasons, the most important of them being the attractive price. In addition to that this strobe lighting is one of the most portable options out there and it is battery powered.
The Neewer Vision 4 is packed with a German powered 300watt flash that delivers more than enough power for delivering exceptional photographs even in the most difficult lighting conditions. I have found out that it is a great choice for scenarios where you need to photograph dynamic subjects and need crisp results without any compromise.
The battery of the Neewer Vision 4 is a lithium model that delivers a total of 700 full-powered flashes, with a superbly quick recycle time. One of my favorite things about Neewer Vision 4 is that it works perfectly with different cameras including cameras from brands like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, and Panasonic. This is a super reliable model that you will have a blast using and I can’t complain about it, besides the strong trigger that becomes annoying.
What is Strobe Lighting and the Difference
For studio styled lighting there strobe lighting is one of the most popular choices, right there with continuous lighting. The main difference between the two is that strobe lights deliver a quick burst of light, pretty similar to your cameras flash, and on the other hand, continuous lights deliver a more constant light.
You will notice some differences between these two in your photography. For example when shooting portraits with strobe lights there will be a subtle difference in the eyes of your subject, as the quick burst won’t enlargen the pupils. This gives more color to the image thanks to the bigger iris and your portraits will come out as better in general.
On the other hand, continuous lights are not as powerful but are not as expensive as strobe lights, and are better suited for videos.
That is because they don’t deliver the desired effect, however, for beginner photographers I recommend continuous lights as they are easier to manage and work with, and don’t have the technicalities that come with strobe lighting. A lot of product photographers started preferring continuous lighting for the same reason.
Things To Look For When Shopping For Best Strobe Lights
There are a lot of factors that come into play and not all strobe lights are created the same, each of them delivering different values, qualities, and features that might be better or worse for your needs. So for that reason, it is better to be well informed before buying a set of strobe lights, so you won’t make the wrong choice and be confident when buying a device.
There are strobe lights with different flash durations, some suiting different photography types better than the others. But you can easily choose between models by knowing what you will shoot. For example, if you are planning to photograph fast-moving subjects than you probably will need a strobe light with a fast flash duration.
To be safe choose something with a t0.5 value of 1/2000th of the second or even higher if you can afford it. On the other hand, if you will deal more with static or slow-moving subjects you can use slower models.
The color temperature is also an important factor when it comes to strobe lights for your needs. Generally, you should be pretty safe if you are shopping for models with a color temperature that spans between 4800k and 5200k. Besides that most modern DSLRs allow you to adjust the expected color temperature so you can achieve better consistency with your photography.
You should also be careful about the power of the strobe light you are shooting. This will also depend on the size of the studio you are working in. For example, if you are working in a larger studio you will need a strobe light with high power. This will allow you to utilize smaller lenses that will let you get a better depth of field.
If you are shooting product photography you should also utilize different techniques and keep a look at the proper depth of field which will deliver you better results overall. On the other hand, if you are working in a small studio you can get away with less powerful lights as the power is not of the greatest importance.
Battery Powered strobe lights seem to be weaker than those you plug in, but the difference is hardly noticeable.
I always say that your budget is the biggest determinant in the quality of your photography, but not always. However, when buying gear always focuses on getting the best you can in your budget. As the more, you will pay on your strobe light the better the quality and features will be. I don’t always recommend buying cheaper products as they will mostly be short-lived and won’t deliver the desired performance, so you will be disappointed. It is better to save for a product that delivers better quality.
Compatibility and Mounts
There are different manufacturers out there that produce different strobe lights. Not all of them can be paired with all accessories and some lights can be paired with accessories in their own brand. The accessories include different modifiers that deliver different results to your lighting.
I always suggest getting the strobe lights with the largest range of modifiers compatible with it, there are also universal strobe lights that work with most of the modifiers out there. The type of mount is also important as different strobe lights have different mounts, holes, and cords, so you can complement them with different devices.
To conclude, I can say that choosing the best strobe lights for photography, shouldn’t be the hardest thing for the experienced photographer. Most of you probably already know what you are looking for and are here for a quick reminder and some suggestions, which you can find at the top picks section.
Shop within your budget but don’t settle for a poor model, always check for user reviews in a strobe light and buy something that is widely accepted in the photography circles, just to be safe. Have fun with your new toys.