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Archive 2012 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question
  
 
jzucker
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


I have a chance to buy a 4 light setup of white lightnings at a good price. Apparently, the older (non X series) do not have fans and the support folks at paul buff indicated that I should be careful about using the lights in a softbox with the 250w modeling lights up all the way.

Anyone have any thoughts on that?



Jan 17, 2012 at 07:00 PM
myam203
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


I'd take their advice and use lower wattage bulbs or don't go to full power for too long. Better safe than sorry!


Jan 17, 2012 at 07:41 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


thanks.


Jan 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


Can't speak to the specifics of you situation but I have AB lights and have always found Buff 's support excellent. If they suggest being prudent, I'd need the advice but since they have survived this long I wouldn't worry too much. Typically modeling lights are used in a mode where they adjust in proportion to the flash power so the only time the modeling lights will be 100% is if the flash is firing full power.


Jan 17, 2012 at 09:03 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


cgardner wrote:
Can't speak to the specifics of you situation but I have AB lights and have always found Buff 's support excellent. If they suggest being prudent, I'd need the advice but since they have survived this long I wouldn't worry too much. Typically modeling lights are used in a mode where they adjust in proportion to the flash power so the only time the modeling lights will be 100% is if the flash is firing full power.


I don't know if that's typical. Most photographers crank the modeling lights to see what the lighting is doing. In a 500ws flash, proportional modeling lighting with the flash set to produce F8.0 at 5 ft away is going to be minimal.

In any event, I always use the modeling light cranked



Jan 17, 2012 at 09:15 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


Ambient light level is a variable. I have no problem using 150W bulbs in my lights in a darkened room. If the room lights are so bright you can't see the modeling lights they are probably also biasing what you see. If you are using all of the 100% they won't show reflect the ratio. That being the case I would think key light alone might suffice, but that would depend on how you light things.


Jan 17, 2012 at 09:33 PM
 

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jzucker
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


cgardner wrote:
Ambient light level is a variable. I have no problem using 150W bulbs in my lights in a darkened room. If the room lights are so bright you can't see the modeling lights they are probably also biasing what you see. If you are using all of the 100% they won't show reflect the ratio. That being the case I would think key light alone might suffice, but that would depend on how you light things.


I use a flashmeter to calculate the light ratios. In my experiments with white lightning, photogenic and alien bees, even with the flash units set so that the modeling light tracks the flash lighting, the ratios are not correct. The incandescent and halogen bulbs do not have a linear output and their output to voltage linearity changes over time as the bulb ages. The only true way to calculate ratios is with the meter.

Anyway, that's how my uncle Monte Zucker did it and it worked for him so that's how I do it.



Jan 17, 2012 at 09:38 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


I worked for Monte as his full-time assistant back in 1972-74. Back then he did all his portraits with window light and a Larsen reflectors not studio lights. Everything else with a pair of speed lights which is how to set lighting patterns without modeling lights.

Agree that modeling lights aren't 100% accurate but your eyes also don't see in the same way the camera records things. The critical factor technically is fitting scene range to sensor. Since cameras vary in DR the lighting ratio needed to do that will vary. A way to determine what ratio fits scene to sensor is to set up a target like this where you plan to put the face:







Turn on just your fill and raise it until you see detail in the black towel. Then turn on accent and key and adjust them just below clipping and a bit darker, respectively in the RAW file on the computer. That fits the scene range to the sensor visually.

Given the way the photographic process is engineered if you get detail in the shadows and highlights at the same time everything in the middle will look similar in linearity to what is seen by eye, i.e., "normal. That's exactly what your Uncle did by using dual flash for weddings. The way we set lights by distance create the ratio need to fit the range from the grooms black suit lapels to the lace on the bride's dress perfectly to the range of the color print. That's what made his work look so life-like. The same 3:1 ratio that worked back then works for digital because the ranges of print and sensors are similar.

Once you get exposure perfect visually in the RAW per your judgement corollate what you see there to how it looks on the camera playback so you know when it is perfect there too. Then after you do that take the meter out and reverse engineer it by the numbers.

Measure each light separately and compute the ratio and you'll know what ratio fits your sensor. Then point the dome at the camera and take an exposure reading with all the lights firing.

If you haven't compensated the meter to the camera the exposure reading may not be the same as the f/stop you used. That's common since ISO 100 on the camera isn't always exactly 100 per the same standard the meter is calibrated to. The meter is correct, but that's less important than it telling you what is needed for correctly exposed highlights. If for example you shot at f/8 but the meter reads f/9 you would need to enter a .3 stop compensation factor to the meter to get it in sync with the actual camera sensitivity.

A metered ratio will tell you what you have set is a 2:1 or a 3:1. But incident meter can't measure IQ factors like lens flare which affects contrast. What matters more is whether that is the look needed for the that subject. That's a call better made by eye than by the numbers



Jan 17, 2012 at 10:28 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


yes, I understand all that but I still use the meter to set flash ratio and don't depend on the modeling lights. Additionally some of my modeling lights are 150w and some are 250w


Jan 17, 2012 at 10:44 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


hey Chuck,

Have we met before?



Jan 18, 2012 at 12:40 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


jzucker wrote:
hey Chuck,

Have we met before?


We worked out the basement of his house on Longwoood Dr. in Silver Spring. So if you visited his house back in 1972-74 we might have but I don't remember it.



Jan 18, 2012 at 01:01 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Paul Buff Ultra (non X series) question


I graduated HS in '75. Not sure if I visited during that period but I know I've heard your name from Monte and possibly my dad, (Monte's brother Sy)


Jan 18, 2012 at 01:15 AM





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