Achieving great lighting that complements and enhances whatever is in front of the camera is one of the primary goals of all professional photographers. Indeed, the effective control of lighting is one of the defining features of images that attain the highest professional standards. Moreover, to remain competitive, professional photographers know they must achieve beautiful, expressive lighting and dramatic lighting effects at a moment’s notice—either by enhancing the ambient light or creating an integrated lighting setup that showcases and flatters the subject. Enter professional lighting systems.
Since lighting is such a crucial variable, most pros turn to one of the top pro lighting equipment companies when selecting the best lighting gear for their studios—or when traveling on assignment to cover events, weddings, concerts, etc. In addition, some pros buy their lighting equipment à la carte. They select an assortment of different items such as softboxes, continuous light sources, reflectors and light stands from different manufacturers. However, many others opt for single brand lighting kits.
We carefully selected eight kits from top lighting companies. Needless to say, your customer doesn’t have to be a pro to appreciate the value of first-class lighting gear. The serious photo enthusiasts in your customer base are also an excellent target audience.
Eight Great Professional Lighting Systems
Elinchrom D-Lite RX Softbox To Go Kit
This versatile, high-quality AC-powered two-light kit is, as its name implies, a portable lighting solution. It provides a range of basic lighting setups as well as the convenience of wireless control for pros on the go. The two 400W Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4 monolights feature 5-stop control in 1/10-step intervals; a motion freezing 1/800-sec flash duration at full power; and recycling times as short as 0.35 sec.
The integrated EL-Skyport receiver is compatible with the included AA battery-powered EL-Skyport Plus transmitter for cordless remote triggering and flash control from up to 656 feet away. The transmitter can trigger and set power for up to four groups of compatible flashes. It also includes an all-groups setting and provides 16 different channels: eight normal and eight high speed.
In addition, a locking metal accessory shoe connector lets users mount the transmitter directly to a camera. And a top hot shoe and 2.5mm sync port accommodate an additional strobe. Along with the monolights, the kit includes one Elinchrom Portalite 26×26-inch softbox; one octagonal softbox; a translucent deflector; 120V 100W modeling lamps; a pair of light stands with a case; and a robust storage bag for the lights and light modifiers. $799.99.
Broncolor Siros L 400 Two-Light Outdoor Kit
Designed to offer pro studio-quality light on the road plus freedom from power cords and sync cords, this outstanding battery-powered kit features two Broncolor Siros L 400W monolight flash heads. They provide built-in Wi-Fi and an RFS receiver. The kit also includes two Li-ion batteries; a charger; a 33.5-inch silver/black umbrella; a 24×24-inch Broncolor softbox with a speed ring adapter; and a 16-foot sync cable that provides a hard-wired connection if desired. It can all be stored in the bundled Outdoor Trolley backpack.
The light units each deliver up to 440 full-power flashes on a 70-minute charge. They include 25W LED modeling lights to minimize power consumption and recycle in as little as 0.03–1.2 sec with normal flash duration of an action-freezing 1/6200 sec. Speed mode bypasses the Enhanced Color Temperature Control system to prioritize short flash durations and rapid recycling. This results in flash durations as fast as 1/19,000 sec on minimum power.
Other Siros L features include: 9-stop variable power; 50-shot flash sequencing; an intuitive control panel with an ergonomic rotary controller; and control for up to six units via the free bronControl app and a smartphone. Moreover, the Broncolor HS syncs at shutter speeds up to 1/8000 sec with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras via an optional RFS2.2 transmitter. Note: This outfit does not include light stands. $4,125.
Westcott Solix LED Two-Light Kit
Made by the iconic manufacturer of light modifiers, this kit was assembled by the acclaimed Jen Rozenbaum, Westcott’s top pro photographer. The ingeniously simple kit for photographers and videographers makes it easy to achieve brilliant lighting setups based on the classic key and fill-light principle. The major components are two AC/DC-powered daylight-balanced 5600K Solix LED lights. They put out 2100 lux at 3.3 feet in a wide 120º beam. The lights also feature an integrated speed ring for mounting the included 24×32-inch Pro softbox and the 12×36-inch Pro stripbank. Both have reflective silver interiors and removable baffles, enabling a variety of different lighting effects.
The kit also includes two Solix barndoors; two Solix frosted diffusion caps; two Tether Tools PowerStraps, each with a built-in tilting bracket with a 5/8-inch receiver and an umbrella receptacle; two power cords; and two 10-foot light stands. A robust Westcott soft wheeled travel case holds it all. The softbox and bank light are constructed of a double-layer heat shield fabric that’s heat resistant to 500W. They also feature strong, durable spring steel rods to hold them in position. $1,399.99.
Lowel Pro Power Tungsten LED Three-Light Kit
This powerful kit from top-tier light maker Lowel provides everything needed to set up and store a versatile tungsten-based lighting system that’s easy to take on the road. It features three complete Pro Power LED light fixtures, each with Fresnel, two-way barndoors and AC adapters. It also includes three UNI TO 8-foot light stands; a collapsible, easily attachable Pro Power LED softbox; a Pro Power LED gel frame, an IP-78 accessory gel set; a 27-inch silver Tota-brella; and a super-tough TO-84Z hard case that holds it all.
The light units put out 3000K light with an impressive CRI of 95. They focus from 43º to 10º and also provide a minimum output of 553 foot-candles at 5 feet when set to spot. Moreover, they deliver an output comparable to a 100W tungsten halogen lamp and have built-in dimming and power switches. The lights run cool and are flicker free, a crucial factor in video applications. $2,315.
Hensel Integra 500 Two-Light Kit
This pro-caliber multi-voltage 110–240V AC lighting outfit is built around a pair of high-quality Hensel Integra 500W/s monolights that provide flexible lighting control options. The fixture includes precise output settings over a 6-stop power range in 1/10-stop increments, all visible on a large, legible LED screen.
A powerful 300W modeling light in each unit is strong enough for shooting video and can be set to proportional for previewing flash effects. Both the flashtube and the modeling light are fan cooled for long life. In addition, the latter dims after a user-selectable interval of 5 to 90 minutes and resumes full brightness when reactivated.
The Integra 500 delivers short flash durations of 1/500 sec and recycles in only 2.2 sec on full power. Its extruded aluminum body features a sturdy ergonomic handle, an upgraded quick-action reflector mount and a sliding stand mount that makes balancing front-heavy accessories easy. The kit includes a 7-inch grid reflector; an umbrella flood reflector; a white 32-inch umbrella with black backing; a 16.4-foot sync cord with a phone jack; two 16-foot power cords; two 6.9-foot Alu III light stands; and a handsome wheeled soft case for easy transport. $1,549.
Profoto D1 Air 500/500/1000 Three-Light Studio Kit
This sophisticated, comprehensive high-end Profoto setup can handle almost any type of photography in the studio. However, it is also still quite easy to transport for location shoots. AC-powered, the kit features two 500W/s D1 Air monolights and a 1000W/s D1 Air monolight—all fan cooled. They are bundled with RFi 1.3×2-foot and 2×3-foot softboxes with speed rings for easy mounting; three robust 8-foot light stands; and a 10º grid. It all fits into the included D1 Trolley roller bag.
The light fixtures have built-in wireless Air receivers and can be triggered at distances up to 1,000 feet with an optional Air remote or Air Sync transceiver. Each strobe is encased in a sleek, matte-black-finished high-impact polycarbonate housing and has highly visible LED digital readouts. They cover a 7-stop power range in 1/10-stop intervals as well as deliver maximum flexibility thanks to advanced circuitry and dual mode SMPS capacitor charging.
Other monolight features include: a built-in space-saving 77º umbrella reflector; a 300W modeling lamp; a frosted glass diffusion plate; power cable; and plastic transport cap. All units are compatible with Profoto’s acclaimed light-shaping tools. $5,695.
Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT Two-Flash Portrait Kit
This wireless flash kit is based on pairing two of Canon’s popular pro-spec Speedlite 600EX II-RT shoe mount flash units with basic light-shaping tools and accessories. The compact battery-powered assemblage is all that’s needed to create flattering or dramatic portrait lighting on location or in the studio.
The kit includes Canon’s advanced ST-E3-RT Speedlite transmitter for fully wireless operation; two 32-inch convertible umbrellas with mounting brackets; SBA-E3 bounce adapters; SCF-3 color filters; mini stands; two universal accessory shoe mounts with ¼-inch screws and knobs; and a pair of 8-foot cushioned light stands. It also includes cases for both flash units. Power components include a Watson eight-bay rapid charger (AA/AAA), eight rechargeable NiMH AA batteries and a battery case.
The on-camera E-TTL/E-TTL II compatible flash units have an impressive ISO 100 and 200mm guide number of 197 feet. Moreover, their two-way 2.4GHz radio system has a range of up to 98.4 feet and can control up to five groups of three Speedlites, for a total of 15. The Speedlites also offer an AF-assist beam, 15 custom functions, stroboscopic settings and a quick flash setting for faster recycling. $1,575.
Smith-Victor FLO-330 660W Two-Light Kit
Simple, straightforward and effective, this robust, well-made, highly portable AC-powered kit includes two FLO-330 660W dimmable light fixtures. Each one has six daylight-balanced fluorescent lamps and four-way barndoors. The kit also bundles two Talon heavy-duty air-cushioned 8-foot light stands. Smith-Victor fluorescent light banks provide soft, even illumination for a wide variety of digital applications, such as portraits and product shots in the studio and on-location video productions.
The light units provide flattering illumination for skin tones, as well as reduced contrast with open shadow detail rendition. In addition, the fixtures’ four-way barndoors offer directional control of the beam spread that can be further narrowed with the purchase of an optional 40º honeycomb grid.
The included high-efficiency 5500K fluorescent lamps provide flicker-free illumination without the heat of conventional tungsten light sources. Also, users can easily swap them out for optional 3200K lamps. In addition, a built-in dimmer allows power adjustment from full to 1/4 power. Optional remote dimmers are also available. $1,299.