Anyone venturing into studio lighting or cost-effective light modifiers for the first time can be easily bowled over with all the options available (and the cost). Once you start pricing up a decent set of strobes or Speedlites and softboxes, you can be easily put off, justifying why natural light is the only way to go. However, lighting kits such as the StudioFX 2400 Watt bring affordability to a multi-light setup, with all the bits you need to cover a variety of studio shots.
As with any cost-effective solution, there are going to be pros and cons along the way. But as we will find out, the StudioFX 2400 Watt could be just the ticket for light sculpting without breaking the bank.
What’s in the Kit?
For such a nominal price, the total goodies you receive in the kit feel quite substantial. Everything comes packaged in a large carry bag, which contains three seven-foot light stands, one of which has a boom arm. The boom stand is a very nice inclusion for overhead lighting, clamshell shots, or when you want a light stand a bit out of the way.
The boom arm also has two counterweight bags, which can be attached with a clamp and hook. It can be a bit frustrating to adjust, as when the handle is loosened, it also adjusts the height of the stand.
The stands are respectable at this price point, but do feel a bit wobbly when fully extended and the full light arrangement fitted. There are a total of 12, 45W fluorescent light bulbs, which give a color temperature of 5500K and produce a total wattage of 2,400. The kit is also supplied with three light holders and three 16×24-inch softboxes with internal and external diffusers. Each light array has its own power socket with a simple on/off switch.
The initial setup of the StudioFX 2400 Watt is the most time-consuming, as you have to screw in all the lightbulbs and fit together the softboxes and light stands. Four metal rods fit into each lightbox and the diffusion panels are secured with Velcro. These can feel a bit fiddly to set in place, but in the end, are relatively secure.
The power cord is hardwired into each light unit and you’ll definitely need an extension cord when hooking up each light to the mains. This makes the whole kit more of a studio-based setup, rather than an easily portable kit.
Each of the lights in the setup can be turned on and off independently and throw a good quantity of constant light onto a subject. Although there is no way of adjusting the power for each bulb, at least each bulb can be switched on and off independently for different levels of light. The softboxes are just large enough to illuminate for an upper-body shot. But with three light sources at your disposal, it’s very easy to set up a typical key, fill, and rim light arrangement.
The boom stand also came in very handy for overhead lighting, although it could be tricky at times to set the actual positioning and angle due to the all-in-one adjustment handle.
This kit acts as a very good practice setup, as the constant lighting provides an instant way to judge the quality of light from each position. For those who are not used to using modeling lights on a regular basis, this way of working can feel far quicker than using regular Speedlites.
Although this kit won’t afford the same levels of output as a strobe setup or the same control over light output, the kit is a very affordable first step into a multi-light arrangement. When compared to a Speedlite setup, this kit is still far more affordable but it won’t allow for the same levels of adjustment.
How the StudioFX 2400 Watt Compares to Other Kits
The Fovitec SPK10-37 lighting kit has largely the same idea as the StudioFX version, coming with three softboxes, three light stands, and three fluorescent light arrangements. The Fovitec SPK10-37 is the more expensive kit of the two, and also features independent light switches for each bulb. The main advantage of this system is that it uses a kettle lead for power, instead of a hardwired in power lead.
In terms of the build quality of the stands and the light boxes, the StudioFX kit feels like the better-made version of the two. The boom stand feels more robust on the StudioFX version, but the Fovitec is easier to adjust. If both kits were the same price, then the Fovitec would edge slightly ahead. But for overall value, the StudioFX 2400 Watt kit has the most to offer, especially for those who need an affordable lighting kit.
|StudioFX 2400 Watt||Fovitec SPK10-37|
|Stands||3, one boom||3, one boom|
The StudioFX 2400 Watt Kit Is a Well-Priced Option for Beginners
For many purists, a fluorescent lighting setup may seem a little too basic, but they do offer a lot of advantages. For the beginner, having constant, viewable light is a quick and easy way to experiment with the fundamentals. This type of kit is also the most affordable way to buy into studio lighting before you commit to more expensive setups. As the kit is so cost-effective, you have the option of using one, two, or three-point lighting on any occasion.
The build quality of the light stands and softboxes is respectable for the price and, with careful usage, should last a long time. Some of the connecting fittings aren’t the best quality in the world, but they are perfectly adequate if used with kid gloves. The softboxes are also large enough to get you going before you need to buy into huge units for full body shots.
On the whole, the StudioFX 2400 Watt is a well-priced kit, considering it can cover a three-light setup with adequate amounts of light output. This type of kit will suit the beginner, those who are buying lighting for the first time, or those who only need studio lighting on an occasional basis. Considering the budget-friendly nature of the kit, it has everything you need to get you initially up and running with a multi-light setup.