Portable lighting advice: Einstein vs Alienbees
OK so I've never used artificial lighting but i'm interested in learning. I'll be shooting portraits with medium format (Rollei) with black and white film.
I decided to go with PCB because they are affordable and this is purely my hobby. Now most agree that the einstein e640 is better of the two but i'm not sure if the additional features are worthwhile, are they? I figured that I do not need a high speed recycle time, I do not need to worry about color shifts (do I for black and white?), and I do not need wireless triggers (a convenience but unnecessary, i think). Again, I'm not sure about these features... this is just my thinking. I figured that I can dip into strobes more cheaply with b400/b800/b1600, then "upgrade" to einstein's or even a higher end brand if I feel to do so. Or maybe this is false economy?
Suggestions? Also how much power do you recommend?
My interest is in portraits. I'm thinking outdoors and some indoors with mixed lighting. I think a b800 would be most appropriate and b1600 if i really wanted outdoors entirely. I am not interested in a studio at all. I was planning on going with a vagamond mini and PLM umbrella (64" soft silver, most likely).
If you're not sure it's something you will really like, buy used. Also, buy more than one. I would say at least two. You never know when a situation may call for it.
No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.
I would look into used Profoto 600R's and get vagabonds with them. Much cleaner light than anything PCB ever tried to attempt.
One thing different about Alien Bee and Einstein is their ability to turn DOWN the output. For portraits, one often encounter situations where the light is too bright, especially indoors. You can move the light farther but that will have a different effect. (or sometimes not enough room)
I really think you'll be wanting wireless triggers though. Having cord attached gets old really quickly. (you CAN do that with Bees also but it will be external)
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Calumet also has a line of (relatively) inexpensive portable monolight strobes with an optional battery pack. The Genesis 300 B outfit, here:
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
i wouldn't get either of them ...
i would get a lumedyne kit with
the handle unit to choke the light to 2ws.
they are the PERFECT location set up ...
I just looked into the AB vs Calumet. It seems that Calumet offers higher build quality, lower entry cost, and comes with an elinchrom mount.
Is 300w sufficient for outdoors? What is the minimum wattage?
I'm not interested in overpowering the sun but to mix natural light with artificial light.
What is the lumedyne kit that you are referring to?
Last edited by franny; 11-17-2012 at 11:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by franny
you can get a rebuilt lumedyne head and pack and everything you need
right from lumedyne.
a 244 with a single head doesn't cost too much $$ and it all fits in a camera bag.
they go from 50 ws to 400 depending on the battery ... and with a handle unit
you can dial down to 2ws and to to 400 ..... and everything inbetween.
i've had mine since 88' and used it shooting for a newspaper and location portraits for years .. prefect on location
and they can be modified with soff/soft boxes, globes, snoots, umbrellas, you name it ...
all that said the lumedyne pack / head &c is worth its weight in gold
300 ws is more than ample for outdoors - figure that most shoe-mount flashes are at most 150 w/s. As to the mounting ring, elinchrom vs. say, Bowens S-mount vs. Profoto really doesn't matter if you've not already bought into one system. All of them are available, and for example, Calumet makes a universal speed ring you can use to mount your softboxes or other modifiers, and if you ever change systems in the future, all you need is a single new mount adapter. The Paul C. Buff stuff requires their own unique proprietary mount, IIRC, and you can't buy adapters from other folks.
Fanny, I have a mix of Alien Bees and the White Lightening flashes. Honestly I prefer using my White Lightening X1600s indoors. If I want/need a hair light I will use my Alien Bee B800s on a boom for effect. I am fairly new to studio lighting too. Got a couple of PLMs and life is good as I learn more and more everytime I use them.
I have some new and some used. Look around, if used is close to new, I recommend new for the warrantee and when you put together a "deal", it may be better than used. I got my stuff over three years ago and took a long time to find the "right" deal. As I recall I bought one Alien Bee and then used the increasing discount to add on multiple stands, PLMs and modifiers I thought I would need. If you are serious, join Buff's forum and read, read, read and ask specific questions.......make sure and mention exactly how you are going to use them. That will assist the forum with specific recommendations.
Nikon F5, Nikon F4S, Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N90, Nikon N80, Nikon N75, Mamiya 645 Pro, Mamiya Press Super 23, Yashica Lynx 14e, Yashica Electro GSN, Yashica 124G, Yashica D