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Archive 2011 · Einstein or Alien Bee
  
 
MnK2003
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p.1 #1 · Einstein or Alien Bee


Hey Guys, I'm wanting to get my first lighting setup, but I'm not sure what to get. I've been looking at the Einstein 640w and the Alien Bee's "all versions" by Paul C. Buff. I'm not really sure what each one is able to do "quality wise". I know that there is a little difference in the price, but I'm not worried about that. Any info and advice you can give is greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Mark



Aug 07, 2011 at 10:33 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #2 · Einstein or Alien Bee


Einstein ... uses IGBT circuitry that others do not.


Aug 07, 2011 at 11:50 PM
rambham
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p.1 #3 · Einstein or Alien Bee


I have just gotten started with studio shoots with strobes - and the Einstein units with the
cyber command remotes are very nice - and not too expensive.



Aug 08, 2011 at 12:21 AM
MnK2003
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p.1 #4 · Einstein or Alien Bee


OK Thanks!
With that in mind do you think that the Einstein would be harder to learn than the Alien Bee's? I have very little experience with lighting. Whatever I get will be my first lighting setup.



Aug 08, 2011 at 01:41 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · Einstein or Alien Bee


Should be no real difference in 'learning curve' ... just that the Einstein has a couple of different modes, where one allows for more consistent color temperature, with the other mode allowing for faster recycles.

The IGBT circuitry allows for shorter flash durations at reduced power, similar to a smaller camera mounted strobe.

The learning curve is likely to be more about modifiers, placement, fill, ratios, angles, fall-off, spill, reflection control, etc. ... generic to to studio lighting no matter the brand or model.



Aug 08, 2011 at 04:09 AM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #6 · Einstein or Alien Bee


RustyBug wrote:
The learning curve is likely to be more about modifiers, placement, fill, ratios, angles, fall-off, spill, reflection control, etc. ... generic to to studio lighting no matter the brand or model.



+1

For starting out you most likely will not see a difference in either AB or Einsteins (for YOUR use). The greatest differences is as noted by Rusty. Will this be useful in the beginning....nope. Will they be useful later....that greatly depends on what you end up shooting. Understanding ratios, angles, etc as Rusty mentioned is your greatest challenge.

One benefit of the Einstein that *may* be useful early on is the power range from 2.5w up to the max. Some people buy lights not realizing lower power settings are just as important as high power. They end up buying something like the AB1600 but the AB400 would have been more useful in a small studio setup.

In the end if money is not an issue I would suggest the Einsteins because as you learn what you're doing the other benefits of the lights will come into play. HOWEVER, for many years people who have grown in their work still use AB today and create great art.



Aug 08, 2011 at 04:09 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · Einstein or Alien Bee


My B400 has a bit more color variation at lower power settings than the Einstein (reportedly) does. This alone, makes the Einstein preferrable to the Bees. I picked up my B400 to go with my VML battery due to it being lighter in the field than the Einstein. Otherwise ... Einstein's (relative to PCB's product line) will anchor my studio lineup when I transition from field to studio.


Aug 08, 2011 at 04:42 PM
24Peter
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p.1 #8 · Einstein or Alien Bee


I'm a long time AB-user (800 & 1600). Got an Einstein a few months ago to try it out and returned it within one day. The Einsteins obviously have some nice features (e.g., consistent color and short duration) but those features aren't high on my list. Useability is very important to me. I work in a very quiet environment and the fan noise in the Einstein (compared to a regular AB) drove me nuts. I also didn't like the user interface and don't understand why there's as much space/adjustability devoted to the modeling lamp as there is to the strobe itself. I picked up another AB800 and have been quite happy ever since.


Aug 09, 2011 at 02:57 AM
jjasef
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p.1 #9 · Einstein or Alien Bee


Thanks for the feedback 24Peter.. I am contemplating of upgrading my Alien Bees (currently have the 400 but primarily use the 800) to the Einsteins but I guess I can use the money to just get the 1600.

I agree on usability and while Alien Bees don't have that same "wow" factor as Profotos and such, it definitely has been working for me [and you! Great shots of Maria and her motorcycle.. great use of gels]



Aug 09, 2011 at 08:41 AM
onetrack
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p.1 #10 · Einstein or Alien Bee


No contest, Einstein at least for anything in front of your subject. AB's for hair, edge, kicker lighting is OK.

Constant color, remote control capable, 9 f-stop control range.



Aug 09, 2011 at 12:22 PM
 

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m.shalaby
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p.1 #11 · Einstein or Alien Bee


RustyBug wrote:
The learning curve is likely to be more about modifiers, placement, fill, ratios, angles, fall-off, spill, reflection control, etc. ... generic to to studio lighting no matter the brand or model.


this.



Aug 09, 2011 at 12:28 PM
kdphotography
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p.1 #12 · Einstein or Alien Bee


If price isn't the issue (as you state), the Einstein is a better light than the AB series across the board. Get a lightmeter, a few modifiers and you're set.


Aug 09, 2011 at 02:37 PM
hammer2k911
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p.1 #13 · Einstein or Alien Bee


I would definitely pick up the Einstein. As previously mentioned, you get a wide control range with the unit. In essence, a B1600/B800/B400 wrapped into one unit. Better color consistency if used on the lower power range.

Also, you have digital controls rather than mechanical slide controls. For me, it is one less thing to break if the unit gets knocked around.



Aug 09, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Grend
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p.1 #14 · Einstein or Alien Bee


Another plus for the Einstein is the radio trigger port--if you're a cybersync user, the module for Einstein is inexpensive and makes for a tidy overall solution if you like to keep the dangling cords to a minimum. There's also a pocketwizard module available that supposedly supports hypersync and rear curtain sync although I don't have personal experience with it.


Aug 10, 2011 at 04:36 AM
MnK2003
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p.1 #15 · Einstein or Alien Bee


Thanks everyone for your input. I really appreciate it.


Aug 11, 2011 at 12:05 AM
JohnR84740
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p.1 #16 · Einstein or Alien Bee


I'll chime in for the Einstien as well. I entered the lighting game with the Einstiens for their short flash duration. That was my priority at the time. Since then, I have learned that the color consistency, easy remote adjustability using the Cybercommander, and 9 stops of light are worth the price of admission. A bonus is the flexibiity of the modeling light and ready indicators. Available modifiers are the same for either, so that is not part of the formula today.

Their biggest limitation is also thier upfront strength. Short flash duration means that there is little gain when attempting to sync at speeds above the camera sync speed.

You'll pay a little more up front for them compared to the AB, but will be glad you spent it later.



Aug 11, 2011 at 02:47 AM
RoadconePhoto
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p.1 #17 · Einstein or Alien Bee


depends on your budget and what you're trying to do, if you need to stop motion then the E640 is the way to go if you've got 500 bucks per unit, but if you're just getting into the whole studio flash thing, like i just have, then a pair of B400's is less expensive and honestly the only time i need MORE power is mid day and i generally dont even need that...

heres a shot with my B400 on full power 1/200 f/13 ISO100 just messing around at a pull of in the mountains.



Aug 11, 2011 at 09:07 PM
minatophase3
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p.1 #18 · Einstein or Alien Bee


I have had 2 AB800's and 2 WL 1600's, both were good lights. My only issue with the AB800's was that they would not go down low enough, that is why I liked the WL 1600's as they had a 1/4 power switch. I sold all of them and picked up 5 Einsteins and am very pleased with them. I love their range, without having to push a 1/4 button, also love the audio alert when they are ready to fire again. Love the cyber commander and the way the triggers attach to the lights.

I would highly recommend the Einsteins if you can afford them, they are very nice for the price.



Aug 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #19 · Einstein or Alien Bee


someone mentioned a light meter, this is a requirement not an option. I bought all my AB stuff and then when I went to test things out I realized I NEEDED a light meter finally, the plus is that now I understand how to use a light meter, it has simplified my photography. had I known how easy it was going to be to set up my own studio lights, I would have done it 20 yrs ago when I was shooting 35mm film. my reasoning for buying strobes was to get the better light since I found out digital is not the same as film (discovering about the noise), I had a few shoots where speedlites were not cutting it with larger groups, etc. I am very happy with my AB lights, I have 400, 800x2, 1600. If you think you are going to do any outside work and need to overpower the sun, you will want the 1600.


Aug 24, 2011 at 03:10 PM
bobk
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p.1 #20 · Einstein or Alien Bee


I have some of both... have to agree, the AB's are much easier to use and the light is just as good for most uses. The "modal" menus on the Einsteins drive me crazy, especially in the field. Doesn't get much simpler than a power slider and on-off switches, so I usually use the AB's for location shooting.


Aug 24, 2011 at 09:14 PM
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