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Photoflex Lighting School

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The First Studio FirstStar by Photoflex

The First Studio line offers professional quality lighting gear at an entry-level price. The flagship for the line is the FirstStar 250 watt quartz reflector light.

The FirstStar light is designed to offer a great lighting solution for those who want to improve their photos yet can't afford to fully stock a studio with professional equipment.

In this lesson, we will show you the quality and innovations we incorporated into this great new product and take you through the set up of the FirstStar light.

(Click on any thumbnail image below for an enlarged view.)

Topics Covered:

  •     Features of the FirstStar reflector light
  •     The Swivel Mount
  •     The 2205 LiteStand
  •     The FirstStar Lamp
  •     8" FirstStar compared with a competitor's 12" reflector
  •     Assembling the FirstStar
  •     Setting Up the LiteStands

Features of the FirstStar Light

The FirstStar is made with the highest quality materials available, the reflector is spun in a parabolic shape for maximum light output, and then polished to give the reflector a bright clean quality of light (figure 1).

The diameter of the FirstStar is 8". This is the optimum size for reflecting light output without blocking out too much of the light as it reflects back from an umbrella.

We added a cutout to the reflector for an umbrella post. This allows the light to point more directly to the center of an umbrella.

Figure 1

At the heart of the FirstStar is a porcelain socket, giving the FirstStar the ability to handle the heat produced by a 250-watt lamp. Most of our competitors don’t do this and their maximum output in around 200 watts. The porcelain socket not only helps the FirstStar be much more durable, but it gives the FirstStar ½ a stop more light (figures 2 and 3).

Figure 2

Figure 3

The Swivel Mount

The swivel assembly is a professional quality unit and is the same swivel we include with our Starlite QL. The swivel offers a full range of motion with just a 1/8 twist of the control handle, and locks down tight once you have set the light. The strength of the swivel is unmatched in this class of light. It has the ability to hold up a soft box and light assembly weighing about 7+ pounds (figures 4 and 5).

Figure 4

Figure 5

The 2205 LiteStand

The 2205 LiteStand is a professional quality, 3-section light stand that offers bolted stand collars. The construction is all aluminum tubing with doubled leg braces giving the stand superior strength and durability. The 2205 also offers a wider footprint giving the stand much more stability and a higher weight rating (figure 6).

Figure 6

The FirstStar Lamp

Our 250-watt lamp is the industry leader in both power and safety. The FirstStar lamp offers 50-150 watts more power than our competitors' lamps. Translated into photo terms, that’s ½ to 2 ½ stops, giving you faster shutter speed and greater depth of field. The FirstStar lamp is built in a double envelope design encasing the element in a heavy-duty glass shell. If the bulb explodes, the fragments are contained within the shell eliminating the need for a light reducing scatter shield and protecting your subjects from damage or injury (figure 7).

Figure 7

8" FirstStar Compared with a Competitor's 12" Reflector

The FirstStar reflector is eight inches compared to the competition's 12-inch reflector. When a 45-inch umbrella is attached, the FirstStar blocks less of the umbrellas reflective surface making it 30% more efficient (figures 8 and 9).

Figure 8

Figure 9

The parabolic shape of the FirstStar’s reflector gives it a broader light spread compared to the closed shape of the competition's. Again this makes the FirstStar more efficient with an umbrella in that the light is closer to the umbrella's reflective surface while still covering it completely. The competition's reflector must be farther away to get the same coverage making the light travel farther. The farther the light has to travel, the weaker it becomes (figures 10 and 11).

Figure 10

Figure 11

The through hole cut into the FirstStar's reflector lines up perfectly with the umbrella mount in the swivel allowing the FirstStar to be centered in the umbrella, again making it superior to the competition's (figure 12).

Figure 12

Our competitor's lights don’t line up properly. Tilting of the umbrella, or additional equipment, is required to attach an umbrella. This can throw the light too far off center for efficient light reflection in the umbrella (figures 13 and 14).

Figure 13

Figure 14

The following images show the reason we chose the color and the size of our reflector. By coating the FirstStar in a light finish we reduce the black circles created by a black reflector. And the reduced size of the FirstStar's reflector produces a much smaller circle in the highlight of reflective surfaces (figures 15 and 16).

Figure 15

Figure 16

The FirstStar also gave us 1 1/2 more stops of light for our exposure.

Figure 17

The FirstStar offers all the benefits and innovations that has made Photoflex world renowned, and at an attractive entry-level price.

We offer the FirstStar in two kits.

The First Studio Portrait Kit comes with two FirstStar lights and swivels, two lamps, two 45-inch silver-interior umbrellas (ADH45), and two 2205 LiteStands. This kit is an excellent, out-of-the-box lighting solution for portrait photography at a great price.

The First Studio Product Kit comes with two FirstStar lights and swivels, two lamps, two 2205 LiteStands, and a medium LiteIgloo tabletop shooting enclosure. This kit is designed for shooting products for web and catalogs. This kit provides great nearly shadowless lighting for your product images.

Making the choice of a First Studio lighting kit will give the amateur and the hobbyist photographer years of trouble free performance and start you off on the right path to high quality photography.

Assembling the FirstStar

The setup and tear down of the new FirstStar is very simple and requires no tools. Out of the box, there are three basic parts to the FirstStar: the reflector/lamp-housing (including the power cord), the swivel, and the lamp.

To set up the FirstStar, place the reflector/lamp-housing face down on a flat surface. With the yoke assembly toward you, line up the channel in the swivel with the yoke and slide the swivel on to the yoke (figures 18 and 19).

Figure 18

Figure 19

Once you have the swivel centered on the yoke secure the two pieces together with the locking knob on the side of the swivel (figure 20).

Figure 20

Setting Up the LiteStands

Included with each of the First Studio FirstStar Kits is a set of Photoflex 2205 LiteStands.

To set up the LiteStands, loosen the securing knob on the top leg collar, then pull out the legs and slide the top leg collar down (figures 21 and 22).

Figure 21

Figure 22

Re-secure the knob on the top leg collar and the LiteStand is ready for the FirstStar light (figure 23).

Figure 23

To adjust the height of the LiteStand, loosen a knob below the section you wish to lift and pull the section up to the desired height, and then tighten the knob to secure the section (figure 24-26).

Figure 24

Figure 25

Figure 26

With the LiteStand set up, we can install the FirstStar light.

First loosen the knob on the receiver of the swivel. Then slide the receiver on to the top of the LiteStand and re-tighten the knob to secure the FirstStar onto the LiteStand (figures 27 and 28).

Figure 27

Figure 28

With the FirstStar set up and ready to go, we can set up the umbrellas included in the First Studio Portrait Kit or use the light as is with the First Studio LiteIgloo.

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