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Review: 2 Light Kit for Less than $400

About a month ago I received an email from B&H asking if I’d be interested in reviewing photo equipment on my blog, all I had to do was tell them what I wanted to review and they’d send it out.

Well, I could have done the selfish thing and found something ultra expensive that I’ve been dying to use (for free) and asked for that, but then I remembered how many people ask me about what lighting equipment I’d recommend for someone that is just starting out, without a big budget.  My stupid bleeding heart got the best of me… so I requested to see some lighting kits with these qualifications.

  • It had to be at least two lights
  • Include EVERYTHING needed to get started
  • Cost had to be less than $500

My very helpful marketing rep from B&H gave me some choices and a few days later UPS dropped a single (big) box on my doorstep.

Here are all the fully retouched images… see if your eye is keen enough to spot any tell-tale signs that they weren’t shot with more expensive lighting equipment.

I used the following equipment to make all these images.

The Lights!

Impact Qualite 2-Light Soft Kit. $369.99 at B&H Hot light kit (meaning the lights stay on all the time and don’t flash).


  • Hot lights are fantastic for learning about how light falls on your subject.
  • This kit was very easy to setup, and take apart.
  • The kit comes with two good quality soft boxes that you can definitely use even when you upgrade your lights (about $80 each to purchase separately)
  • Lights are very light and easy to move around and small enough to be used in a spare bedroom of your house!


  • You can’t adjust the power of hot lights, so if you need to change their intensity your only choice is to move them closer or further away from your subject.
  • The hot lights are not as powerful as strobes so you need to shoot fairly wide open with a slower shutter speed.
  • Light stands in the kit are pretty cheap and probably won’t support much heavier lights/modifiers.
  • I generally prefer to use larger softboxes, so to fake a large softbox I placed these side by side for a couple shots.


This kit is EXACTLY what I wanted it to be, a very inexpensive, easy to use set-up that is perfect to learn and experiment with.  Are there lots of technical limitations?  Yes.  But the biggest limitation on getting started with using any studio lights is not starting your experimentation, and this will be a good way for you to jump right in, for not very much money, and start experimenting with studio lighting in a spare room in your own home!