Frankenstein Lighting

I am on a quest to repurpose inexpensive (I mean really inexpensive) flashes into a “Frankenstein Setup that will yield Studio quality light at a fraction of the price.  I have to thank Paulina Gwaltney for naming this lighting device?  And her name really makes sense because I have actually raised some old flashes from the dead in this search for affordable BUT quality light!  So my goal is to produce Studio quality lighting on a reasonably low budget. 

Introducing the Monster!


This is the creation I am working with.   It is completely wireless.  All the flashes are actuated via slave modules I purchased from FLASHZEBRA .  See my equipment lists for specifics.   At this point the Monster consists of one Nikon SB-28 (purchased in 1996 and setting on my shelf since about 2002).  Also there are two Vivitar 285HV.  There is room on the QUAD mount by FOURSQUARE for a fourth flash.  However, using these flashes at 125/sec @ISO 200 I am getting a meter reading of F.16 at 5-6 ft away.  That is the same as my Photogenic Studio flashes!  

Here is my equipment list. 

Vivitar 285HV   Cost $79 (Amazon) Total is $158

Nikon SB-28  Cost $79 (KEH used) Total is $79

Foursquare mount $99 (Lightware direct)  Total is $99

Slave modules at $14.75 each (FlashZebra)    Total is $44.25

Umbrella and Light stand are paid for.    So my total is $380.25.

Now let’s review how the Monster works!



Each image was captured using 125/sec F.16 @ ISO 200.  Each flash was on FULL POWER, and by the way each of these flashes has adjustable output should you want to vary the output.   The flashes were tripped by using the on camera flash of a Nikon D300s that was turned all the way down.   The on camera flash trips the Monster Flashes with light via the slaves.   This was essential in my Underwater Photography years ago there is no such thing as wireless underwater, AND ITS CHEAP.  You can see how the light from the umbrella did a good job with each of the lighting patterns and the umbrella (much maligned by the soft box school) also delivers a bit of a hair light too.   In my next blog I will describe how you can have a great hair light for only $39.95 and it is also a slave actuated flash! 

Bottom line:  You do not have to drop a bundle to buy good lighting equipment!

Hope you enjoy this discussion of how you can recycle old equipment, or pickup some really great “off the shelf” deals that will deliver good quality light at a fraction of the price for the NAMES. 

Next workshop at Chandler Studio is our “Spare Room Studio” (click to find out more) on 18-19 January.  Call us at 910 324 1646 if you want in, our workshops are small so you can learn “by doing” not by talking. 

2 thoughts on “Frankenstein Lighting

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s