With prices starting at about the same as you’d pay for a high-end flashgun, complete studio flash kits give you more power and greater versatility
We review four studio flash kits this issue, but which one should you consider for power and versatility?
Twin-head studio flash kits comprise everything you need to get up and running with a home studio. They’re not limited to the home, either, as kits typically come with carrying bags and are sufficiently compact and lightweight to take pretty much anywhere. You can therefore use them at any venue where you have access to mains electrical socket.
The kits we’ve selected for this group test all include a pair of fairly powerful flash heads, most with ratings of 400Ws each, and lighting stands to mount them on. They also include a pair of softboxes, or maybe the option of a single softbox and an umbrella, complete with a ‘reflector’ to direct the light. You can also expect a full set of electrical and triggering cables. However, many budget cameras don’t have a flash sync socket, so you might need to buy a hotshoe adaptor separately. Some kits even come with an RF (Radio Frequency) wireless controller/trigger, that slots into a standard hotshoe and communicates with RF receivers built into the flash heads.
Naturally, studio flash heads are bigger and bulkier than flashguns, but they’re also a lot more powerful. With softboxes or brollies, the light source also has a far greater surface area, resulting in a much softer quality of light. In many ways, studio flash setups are also easier to use than flashguns. With two or more heads, you can create more sophisticated lighting effects and built-in modelling lamps make it easier to preview the effect, as you move the lamps around and adjust the relative strength of their outputs. Let’s take a closer look at what’s on offer.