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Archive 2012 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set
  
 
Jeff_Stapleton
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p.1 #1 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set


I mostly shoot sports, but also do some weddings/portraits/t&i. For my lighting needs, I've been using a 2-3 flash strobist system triggered with cybersyncs.

I've got a friend who is basically giving me an older complete Novatron 240 set (lights, battery pack, stands, umbrellas). My question is, what is the advantage of this over 2 or 3 SB-2x's? Are they more powerful? If so, by how much?


I can easily see the disadvantages... not sure about the battery, everything is reliant on the battery pack, not as portable as a strobist setup.

Any advice would be really helpful.



Jan 13, 2012 at 01:58 AM
316shooter
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p.1 #2 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set


The Novatron is not a battery unit at all. It's an a/c pack. While the Novatron's are fine for portraiture, etc., I'm fairly certain they don't have sufficiently fast flash duration for sports. My opinion is you would be better off with the strobist setup or investing in the Einstein units. Since you're basically getting the kit free it would come in handy for weddings and portraiture though.


Jan 13, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Jeff_Stapleton
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p.1 #3 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set


Ok, well, thats good to know . I haven't received it yet, so I didn't know. I assumed it was a battery pack. What do you think the flash duration is on something like this?


Jan 13, 2012 at 02:06 PM
316shooter
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p.1 #4 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set


I could not speak to the duration of the Novatron lights, but being that they are quite old and on the lower end of lighting kits, I would guess it's not great. I had a Novatron kit back in college and there certainly is nothing wrong with them. In fact I'm sure their newer products are very good. But considering the age, bulkiness, etc I doubt they would be a good solution for lighting an arena. You would need to find power outlets, and invest in head extension cables at the very least.


Jan 13, 2012 at 02:56 PM
 

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Rick Ryan
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p.1 #5 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set


You better also make sure they have a low voltage (6v or so) flash connection or you can fry the sync trigger on your camera.
Hopefully you will be getting the manual. If not you should check online and confirm flash sync connection is low voltage since many older units put over 200v on the connection, which will do bad things to your camera with repeated use.

Rick



Jan 13, 2012 at 05:36 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #6 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set


The basic design difference between pack and monolight/speedlight is that with a pack system the capacitors are in the pack on the floor and the flash tubes are mounted on the stands, connected via a high voltage cable. Placement options are limited by the length of the cable between pack and light head. Power settings are also limited between lights so you need to set exposure by combining the limited range of power control and light distance. That works OK in a fixed location like a portrait studio where the lights are suspended on tracks from the ceiling (where the lighter flash heads are a plus) but is less practical for location shooting logisitcally.

The pack units fell out of favor when monolights where capacitors and flash tube are all together in the same unit like a speedlight became available. The all-in-one monolight design allows more flexibility for both positioning and independently controlling the power of each flash unit.

For shooting weddings you might instead want to consider a pair of monolights like the AlienBee 800s or Einsteins powered by the Buff Vagabond battery / inverter for your posed portraits and group shots, continuing to use the speedlights for the candid reception shots.






Jan 13, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Jeff_Stapleton
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p.1 #7 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set


Well, I got them. I haven't had a chance to play around with them much, but I see what you guys are saying. They are going to be relatively clunky. It seems like speedlights are just as powerful as these and just easier to use. The only thing that I see being a plus is that the exposure consistency will be a bit better, not dealing with batteries that start to wear down.

I do want some monolights. I have a yearly job at my wife's school doing kindergarten cap and gown pictures. They are using a new company for school pictures, and this new company prohibits me to do this job. It usually nets us over a grand, so it was a pretty big disappointment. I was talking to my friend about wanting some AB's for portraits and for sports, and was telling him how I probably wouldn't get them anytime soon because this job fell through.

So he had this older set of lights and basically gave them to me, so I have no gripes, but am still aiming for a pair of AB's...It'll just be a while now.

And I will need to get a cable or make a cable, but I'm going to trigger these with my cybersyncs



Jan 14, 2012 at 03:38 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #8 · Tell me about Novatron 240 set


One of the easier ways to use a pack style unit is in a butterfly configuration with a 2:1 reflected ratio. In that configuration you put the key directly above the camera and fill centered just below the lens about chin level with the subject with both lights at the same power (1K+1F: 1F = 2:1) with similar modifiers. That configuration works great for groups, putting the same pattern and even lighting on the faces and keeps stand and the wires except the power cord out of the way of feet that might trip over them. When I light that way with my monolights I just use a single stand next to the camera with the key on top and the fill attached to the middle with a super clamp.

For short lighting with centered fill and the key light 45 from the nose if you have identical modifiers on both lights you can control ratio via the relative distances of fill and key. For example if you have your fill back over the camera 8ft from the face putting the key light at around 5.5ft will made it 2x brighter, which when overlapping the fill will create a 3:1 ratio (2K+1F: 1F).

Another way you can regulate power is by using ND gels over the flash heads. Each .30 of ND will cut output by half (1 f/stop). So by adding ND in .1 increments to a light you can adjust the power by 1/3 stops. Window screen wire over the flash head will have a similar effect of cutting the light about in half.

Once you find a configuration that works with a given power /distance / f-stop it will be consistent session to session if you set the lights the same way. An old school trick to speed set-up is to tie a string to the each light color coded for the distance for different configuration / ratios. Set distance by stretching the string from lights to nose and you won't need to meter or fiddle.

That string trick is handy for lighting large groups with the centered butterfly pattern. If you swing the string in an arc with the tip of the string near each nose the group will wind up arranged in a arc around camera and light, not a straight light, which will result in more even lighting and eliminate near/far size distortion between the faces in the middle and the faces on the end.




Jan 14, 2012 at 09:04 PM





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