Best budget studio lights: 8 tested

We name the best home-studio lighting kit

Best budget studio lights: 8 tested

Interfit EXD200 Home Studio Kit - £295

At £75 more than Interfit's EX150 kit, the Interfit EXD200 Home Studio Kit is still one of the cheapest options in the group, and has a lot more going for it. The upgrade from 150Ws to 200Ws heads might not sound very dramatic but, in our tests, maximum light output was much greater than the rating would suggest.

The flash heads are also much more sophisticated than Interfit's cheaper options. You get push-button power control in 1/10th stop increments, complete with an LED display, similar to the Elinchrom heads on test. The modelling lamp has proportional, free (manually adjustable) and off settings, and the annoying recycle beep can be switched off.

There's still no auto-dumping facility, but the head fires a test flash automatically when you reduce power, so you don't have to do it manually. For large reductions in power, this is actually a lot faster than waiting around for auto power dumping to do its thing.

The EXD200 heads also have a programmable slave mode, like that of the Elinchrom heads. You can use this to trigger the heads from a flashgun, in which case pre-flash pulses are ignored and the heads trigger at the right split-second for the actual exposure.

Other differences between the two Interfit kits are that this one includes a carrying bag, and features a handbook, but no DVD video guide. The good-quality softbox and brolly are the same in both cases, and so are the slightly rickety stands.

Performance

Best budget studio lights: 8 tested

Recycling times from a full-power flash are pretty respectable, at 1.5 seconds, which is the same as with the lower-powered Interfit 150Ws heads. In this case, though, the EXD200 heads achieved a much more intense maximum light output, sufficient for an f/18 aperture when fired through a translucent brolly.