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Thread: WANTED : Small lighting kit

  1. #1

    Default WANTED : Small lighting kit

    Hello guys, it looks like I might be very soon in the place to buy a lighting kit. I'm thinking small 3x300w set, perfect for lighting interviews and brightening up corners of rooms etc. Also looking for a dimmer unit.

    Something like this would be perfect : - Ianiro 3 head Gulliver kit with soft case

    Can anyone recommend any particular make or model to either go for or to certainly avoid? Anywhere I can get a good deal?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    If you've got the money, then go for the best you can afford. You'll be using lighting gear long after your camcorder has bitten the dust.

    For tungsten units: Arri is the best, both in build quality and ease of use, it is also the most expensive :(

    Ianiro is very, very good value for money. Well built and reliable.

    Photon Beard is good, solid British-made gear almost as good as Arri but more expensive than Ianiro.

    Desisti, Cosmolight and Film Gear are copies of the above, rip-off fakes made with cheap components and false economy in the long run. They save money on the castings, lenses and reflectors.

    Avoid anything made in China or Eastern Europe. It will look the same as an Arri or Ianiro but will break very quickly and will start to look tatty after a few uses. Under no circumstances buy stuff from ebay from Romania, Hong Kong etc. In fact I would say that there are so many fakes and copies on ebay, I'd avoid it completely when it comes to buying new lighting gear.

    It really is worth paying that bit extra for Arri, Ianiro or Photon Beard. If the gear is solid and reliable, it's fun to use. If the barn doors keep falling off or the tilt knob has to be done up with a pair of pliers to stop it slipping down or the reflector is slowly turning brown with use, then you're reluctant to use it.


    For Ianiro, have a look at the prices on IANIRO ALDO SRL

    For Photon Beard: Photon Beard


    For a 300w dimmer unit which you'll only use yourself... Ikea!
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 04-07-2010 at 07:40 PM.

  3. #3


    Thank you for your time in responding, I was aware that arri would be the one to go for if I had the money, but I had no idea about the other brands. I've got approx 1000 to spend, at a push. But was hoping to get lights and a dimmer for that.

    I don't mind getting second hand but totally see the need to either inspect or confirm quality before purchase. Do you think the price for the kit in the link above is a good one? (997 inc VAT). I did like the look of Ianiro before you confirmed their build quality.

    I just spotted this at the IANIRO ALDO SRL site, Code KIT 15 Fly - Basic (3200k)
    1019, same thing I gather but with a hard case for almost the same price.

    My head hurts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    It's difficult to suggest an ideal lighting kit for everyone. Mine changes every day!

    Fashions change as well. At the moment LEDs and Fluorescents are "in". They are, however, expensive. If you can afford one I would go for the "economy" range from Ianiro ICE - ianiro UK A 4 bank is an ideal general purpose light, but it will put a serious dent in your budget. Do not, under any circumstances buy cheap LEDs, they put out a light which is okay on paper but isn't at all flattering on skin tones. There are a couple of American firms which sell LED softlights and they are far from flattering to caucasian skin. In the same way, cheapo Chinese fluorescents are to be avoided at all costs. They flicker (cheap ballasts) have a really poor build quality and they use polished metal in their reflectors which don't give out an even spectrum.

    If I were in your place, I would probably set up a kit from scratch. To keep costs down I would go for a mixed kit rather than three of the same. I suggest:

    Two 300w open face units. These give you the ability to cover an area. Have a look at the Digidual from Ianiro. It's essentially a cheaper redhead but it will take 300w or 650w lamps, so you could change the lamps if you need more power. It also has a fitting for an umbrella and they're 185 each including barndoors.

    Pick up a Photoflex silver umbrella for the above and you've got a soft source.

    I, personally would then go for something controlable, a fresnel. Old technology, some would say ancient, but a great workhorse. I would go for a Solaris 650w but put a 500w bulb in it. You're looking at 450 including barndoors but it's worth it.

    Lighting stands should be Manfrottos. You're relying on them to hold expensive, hot electrical equipment. The thought of aforesaid hot, electrical equipment falling on someone does not bear thinking about. Don't buy cheapo stands.

    With regards to the flight case. ( Thomann Cyberstore) are probably the best place, have a look at their selection of flight cases and see which suits you.
    Link: Accessory Cases - U.K. International Cyberstore

    A word of advice on buying cases. If in doubt, go for one a tad too big rather than too small. There's nothing worse than trying to cram gear into a case which is too small and hearing a breaking noise as you force the lid closed.

    I don't know what sort of work you normally do and the above is a suggestion for a very portable kit. If you don't have to "run and gun" then I would think about adding an Ianiro 4 bank at the first opportunity. With that, and the above kit, you can get a good result in almost all "everyday" video situations.

    BTW I'm not an employee of Ianiro! My own interview kit is a mixture of KinoFlo Diva lights and Dedolights but this is way outside your budget at the moment. However I do have a lot of Ianiro stuff and am very impressed with it, certainly it's hard to beat on a cost/value scale.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 04-08-2010 at 10:23 AM.

  5. Default

    We use the Ianiro lights at university they're pretty poor quallity light stands are not very stable, My friend knocked one over when we were in a shoot and the internals all blew out even though he cushioned the fall

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    That's why I suggest using Manfrotto stands,

    If you knock any tungsten lamp over you'll blow the bulb which is why it's important to get decent stands.

  7. #7


    Thanks for all this invaluable data Gaffer. Even though I'm not in a position to shell out this kink of money yet on a lighting system, I know this thread is here for future reference.

  8. Default

    it wasn't just the bulb that broke, the whole housing inside the shell broke... no damage to the shell of the light.

  9. #9


    yes certainly pause for thought. I'm inclined to get one of the pre assembled kits, but what you're saying is the stands aren't up to much. I may continue trying to find a decent second hand kit first before deciding though. So much choice!

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post

    Avoid anything made in China or Eastern Europe. It will look the same as an Arri or Ianiro but will break very quickly and will start to look tatty after a few uses. Under no circumstances buy stuff from ebay from Romania, Hong Kong etc. In fact I would say that there are so many fakes and copies on ebay, I'd avoid it completely when it comes to buying new lighting gear.
    OK, a little rant here!

    While I agree with Gaffer that 'name' gear (of all sorts, not just lights) is normally of good quality, it should be remembered that the vast majority of gear is now made in the far east and to say that everything made in China is of poor quality is a bit like tarring everything with the same brush!

    So, for the folks working on very limited/hobby budgets, chinese/ebay products can be a usable alternative. I recently bought a couple of LED Video lights, through ebay, from China and they do what they say on the box. The pair of them cost less than 80 delivered, have built in dimmers, work off NiMh AA batteries and don't break your back while transporting them and don't get hot when in use! In other words, they're fine for my occasional use.

    Also remember that many of the 'name' brands have their products manufactured in China. For example, almost all of the tripod makes have their carbon-fibre tubes manufactured in China, and many have the product assembled there too. Often, the manufacturers produce their own brand of a product that they make for a 'name', using the same methods, tooling materials etc, and produce not just clones, but exact copies of the items that cost three to four times as much because of the 'name' stamped on them!

    So, while there is some cheap junk on the market, there is also some genuine bargains to be had if you are careful about where you buy from. I can name a number of examples!

    //end rant//
    I have six honest, serving men. They taught me all I knew.
    Their names are What and Why and When. And How and Where and Who! (Rudyard Kipling)

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