BKA’s Studio System Pro Starter Kit; Two Lights In One
The Studio System Pro Starter Kit distributed by the Brandess-Kalt-Aetna (BKA) Group includes two components--a professional studio setup and a smaller, more portable unit. The first component is a good solution for experienced photographers who want to get more serious about studio lighting. It includes the SP Excalibur 3200 Monolight, a full-sized strobe head with self-contained power pack and reflector; a heavy-duty four-section 13-foot air-cushioned light stand; a swivel bracket; and a 27" square softbox.
The other component is a small setup that works well as a secondary light
source with the 3200. It's also ideal for photographers just getting into
or experimenting with portrait photography. It's also a nice solution
for a simple one-light setup. Included is the Squire Series SP S920 miniature
strobe, which also has a built-in power pack; a four-section 8-foot aluminum
light stand; a 33" white umbrella; and a light focusing snoot. All the
equipment comes packed in two soft cases.
Set up was fast and simple. There wasn't any of the "wrestling" with light stands and softboxes that's sometimes the case with other equipment. Each piece of equipment came together as it should, without having to force it. That's a big plus.
The Excalibur 3200 strobe includes a built-in 100w-120v modeling light that makes it easy to preview compositions. Both the flash power and the intensity of the modeling lamp can be controlled from 1/8 to full power by continuous slider adjustments on the back of the unit.
The daylight-balanced flash has an average color temperature of 5230K. According
to the specs, with a guide number of 160 with ISO film (or equivalent digital
sensitivity) of 100, the 3200 Monolight provides a rated 320 ws at full power.
Using the standard reflector, and taking readings at 4 ft, full-output power
measured at f/22. Half power measured f/16, which is what would have been expected,
but dropping down to 1/8 power, exposures were consistently measured at f/11,
which is somewhat higher than would be expected.
With the softbox, at 4 ft, full power exposures metered out at f/16, half power at f/11, and the ¼ power reading was f/4. The 32" umbrella's full power reading was f/11 while half power was f/8. Recycling time is rated at 4 seconds for a full power exposure. It's possible to shoot considerably faster at a reduced power level. For really quick shots, exposures can be taken at approximately 1-second intervals when the unit is set at 1/8 power.
All the controls and indicator lights are located on the back unit. There's both a ready lamp and an audio-ready indicator, which can be turned on or off, as preferred. The unit can be connected to a camera with a sync cord, or fired off through the built-in slave. It uses a standard AC/computer power cord. The flash tube and the modeling light bulbs are user-interchangeable for quick replacement without interrupting the shooting schedule.
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