Review of the Interfit STX 3200 Kit

Manufacturer: Interfit
Model: STX 3200 Kit
Price: £249

My first experiences with studio lighting were back at college in the early 1980s, using black & white film and tungsten lighting.

Colour film using filters or tungsten balanced film could be used, but there would always be some colour inaccuracies, so in the professional world I would always use the more expensive flash heads for lighting. However, digital photography and the accuracies of white balance have revived the fortunes of the humble tungsten light, and so new generations of photographers can now discover its cost-efficient joys.

Studio lighting company Interfit has a couple of kits available using these particular heads: a three-head kit with canvas background and this basic two-head option. The kit consists of two tungsten lamps with 500W bulbs and a reflector for each. There are also a couple of brollies included – one being a silver reflector and the other a white diffuser – along with a pair of stands. The whole kit packs away neatly into a large carry bag for storage or carriage to location. Interfit has even kindly included a DVD with training on some basic lighting methods.

The kit is adequately made for light, amateur usage, though not up to the rigours of professional misuse, and is easy to set up. Like all tungsten lights though, the lamps get hot which can get uncomfortable for the sitter if they’re posing for any length of time, and care must be taken when handling to avoid burns.

Similarly, the power of the light is bright to the eyes, but less so to the camera, and using both heads to light a portrait at about a metre away allowed an exposure of only f/3.5 at 1/60sec using ISO 200. For still-life subjects this is less important as longer exposures can be used, though don’t forget the tripod, otherwise you’ll need to set a higher ISO.

Type: Tungsten
Output: Full Power Only
Lamp Power: 500watt
Colour Temp: 3200k

As tungsten lights go, there’s little to criticise
the Interfit models for. They are reasonably inexpensive and well made
and are sometimes a good way to start a home studio. However, tungsten
lighting has inherent problems, not least the heat and low power
output. This makes them limiting to use, especially for prolonged
periods, while the low output also makes it difficult to control the
lighting and exposures with any accuracy or practical use.

Ultimately, if you start with tungsten lighting you will learn
something, and want to upgrade to flash after a short while. My advice
is to cut out the middleman and go straight to flash, even if that
means waiting a bit longer until you can afford to. In the long run it
will be cheaper; that’s not a criticism of the units here, just of
tungsten in general.

Good accessories (brollies, stands etc), OK for some still life

Inherently flawed lighting system – low output, hot

What Digital Camera Score: 76%