Need help buying right compressor for airbrush.



Hi. First time on this forum. Was wondering if anyone could please help me out with some extremely useful information. I'm thinking of buying my partner an airbrush setup. She's a professional photographer and painter. She does alot of photography work where she paints her models in detail and also in broad colours and she's mentioned wanting to go into airbrushing. So basically I'm looking for an airbrush setup that's advanced enough for a committed professional artist to get something out of, but not too advanced that she can't use. Just want to avoid wasting money on an overly amateurish setup that will soon become impractical. I've been reading some good things about the Vega and Omni airbrushes from Thayer and Chandler. Was hoping to get some advice on what setups would be suitable and if i were to use a Vega 2000 airbrush for example, what compressor, accessories and type of paint would be needed. Thanks so much in advance.
Where in the world are you located? It will help us suggest local suppliers.
Firstly forget the Veda or Omni, and I'm assuming the third is an equally inexpensive 'knock off.' with a little more info we can narrow your options for you

Are your partners 'models' human or of the 'remote control/war game' variety.
Thanks heaps for the reply. I'm located in Melbourne, Australia. My partner works with human models. She plans on doing finer detail work but also very broad work on both humans and props.
The Iwata Eclipse HP-c is a good all rounder and is capable of doing what is needed but I'm not sure what size needle is required for body paint, if you can tell us what brand of body paint she's currently using then I'll do some more digging between paint sessions and give you a better answer but I know we have one or two members who do body painting so hopefully they'll pop in.

Good on you for researching first and getting her the right equipment and not necessarily the cheapest
See uses all types apparently. Oil and water based. But she's willing to adapt. The more versatile the airbrush the better, I guess. Without costing too much I guess.
Hey there. Welcome. Get a decent double action badger or iwata, compressors vary a lot. Some are very portable others not so much. Depends on how they will use it. I'm sure others will chime in on this.
Body paint is specific to skin. Can you throw a couple of brands at us ?
Hi there, these guys have got you covered. How about popping along to the intro section and say hi propelrly, there are a few members here in the Melbourne area, an intro will usually bring them out. Here is the link.

The other thing you can do is check out the tutorial videos on the airbrushtutor website, particularly the compressor ones. Cheers Mark
I would suggest water based would be better through an ab, and possibly the Kustom eclipse AB which has a larger cup, and .5 nozzle which will allow for fine line work (though not super super fine) as well as larger coverage.

However if there will be a lot of large coverage then a siphon fed gun might be better. A siphon requires a bit more psi, so in this case you will want a compressor with a tank large enough to keep up and provide consistent flow. (Don't get one of the tiny tankless comps whatever brush you choose, it wont keep up and will pulse)

Is she studio based, or does the compressor need to be portable.
Thanks for the link and tips Mark. I reckon I'll check out those compressor videos. sorry for the late responses everyone.Very busy time of the year. I'm not sure of the specific brands she uses. The paints she uses vary alot. works with whatever is available. So whatever is the most popular yet affordable and decent quality. I think she tends to buy from certain Chinese suppliers from the net after testing already. So I think she'll figure it out as she goes. It's more about which compressor to use with what airbrush
That's why I was looking at the Omni airbrushes, cos apparently they can do broad detail to fine detail without changing the tip. But it sounds like it's too good to be true. Plus I gotta know what kind of pressure is needed to use it, but the website says nothing.
I think the compressor will need to be portable. She does change location quite a bit. Am I naive in thinking that I may purchase a decent kit for under AU$400?
pressure requirements are more related to the paint used, not so much the brush.
try and sneak a look at the body paints she uses, for an extra few $$ I'd stick with the Iwata Eclipse series. They're proven performers, the Omni is in the 'knock off' arena, good for a little time, not a long time.
airbrush megastore have been the cheapest around that I've found online.
they do the siphon Eclipse for $152.79 (plus freight) you may find a bricks and mortar store near to you to have a look and compare.
hoses are easy enough to get, if you can get it in time ebay have lots, just make sure the end suits the iwata.
again there are a multitude of cheap 'studio' compressors. I have one that is 4yr old cost me less than $100 from ebay. has a tank, but if she's doing large props the small compressors will overheat with the constant filling.

don't bother with anything without a tank. it will be constantly running to keep up and die quickly.
Is the siphon Eclipse airbrush suitable for finer detail or for more broader work like painting a leg or an arm? Or both?

Some of the paint brands she uses are Tag, Mehron and Kryolan. Which are all water based. She uses some oil based stuff from Mehron aswell, but it seems like water based is her preferred choice. But she's extremely adaptable aswell. So she'll definitely be trying out new paint.
It certainly can be. Trick with the syphon feed is it needs higher pressures (comparatively) to operate than a gravity or side feed. You might find the pressure getting too high for skin. Detail has way more to do with the operator than the brush!
Ah OK. I see. I guess she's really gonna have to muck around a bit before looking at getting a more specified airbrush.
So, which of the Eclipse series would you recommend if I was to avoid being too harsh the skin?
Any recommendations on a particular compressor? Or will anything around 50 psi (max) with a tank do? Is it worth getting a quieter compressor or are they too pricey and weak?

Sorry if I'm asking to many questions.
no such thing as to many questions !!
generally the quieter the compressor the more $$ youre going to spend. you can blow your budget just on that alone.
any of the airbrushes will work on the skin, its the air pressure that causes the issue. That's why I asked about specific brands, each will have there recommended PSI for the paint to spray. I'll do some research today and find out what pressure is needed for the paint brands you mentioned and /or find a body paint designed for airbrush, I know its out there but the brand escapes me at the moment.
Skin pressure, down around 5psi... At 20psi you are looking at permanent tattoos... Have a look around, compressor with a tank, have you seen the airbrushtutor video about compressors? If not that is a good view.