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

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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.

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