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Archive 2012 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip
  
 
kenyee
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p.4 #1 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


hondageek wrote:
The key word here is "fotodiox". It's junk.


+1

At the very least, the manufacturer's own softboxes should have been used before pronouncing the design "crap"...
And if you ever get your car repaired after an accident, don't let the insurance company use non-OEM parts...because they fit like crap...seriously...found out the hard way :P




Jul 21, 2012 at 02:26 AM
markd61
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p.4 #2 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


Deezie wrote:
I've owned Hensel Integra monolights in the past and found their modifier mount very easy to use, and it firmly holds very large modifiers.


+1
I bought Hensel after using a set of Bees. The mounts are actually similar but the Hensel has a capture ridge surrounding the mount that supports the ring and prevents even the larget mods from coming loose.

I have an Einstein and a varied selection selection of Bees and White Lightnings and although operator error can easily occur even properly mounted mods can and WILL come off.

I did get a Bowens and I like that mount I would like to know what the detractors dislike about it. The challenge for me is I need portability and the Bees are small and rugged. Most everything I see in Bowens mount is large though I really admire the LiteTrek from B&H.



Jul 22, 2012 at 02:18 AM
jzucker
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p.4 #3 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


btw, there's very little difference between the photodiox AB mount and a real ab mount. Mine looks just like the one hondageek posted and when I compared the two side by side, you'd be hard pressed to see a diff. Folks on this forum like to gang up against anyone who goes against the grain and that's fine. You can beat your chest all you want but it doesn't change the issue. I actually am still using one ab1600 for location shooting because it works better on the VML than my elinchrom and I already have some modifiers. Additionally, I don't want to travel overseas with the elinchrom and the AB is smaller and lighter and easier to pack for a trip like that.


Jul 28, 2012 at 12:16 PM
BrianO
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p.4 #4 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


jzucker wrote:
...Folks on this forum like to gang up against anyone who goes against the grain and that's fine. You can beat your chest all you want but it doesn't change the issue.


And some like to whine and beat a dead horse, and won't admit that most of their problems are their own fault.



Jul 28, 2012 at 01:41 PM
cgardner
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p.4 #5 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


The best way to judge fit is to mount just the speedring without the modifier attached so the physical contact "foorprint" of the fingers on the flange can be evaluated. There's a significant difference between some contact and good solid contact.

But having followed this thread that will not die from the beginning I recall the problem of breaking the flash tube was the result of not getting all the fingers inside the flange correctly, which caused the modifer to slip off and break the tube. That's not a design flaw that's user error: an error in judgement in your abilty hold the fingers open with one hand and lift the modifer onto a light head mounted on the stand. Stubbornly doing it the same way despite seeing the same results is a "meatware" problem not a design flaw. The design holds the speedring quite well if all four fingers are engaged correctly.

If the ABs have design flaw its the lack of protection for the flash tube. But even addressing that shortcoming will not remedy the user error of not getting all the fingers inside the flange and having the modifier slip off.

The first time I tried to change a SB with the light on a stand I saw the two-handed juggling problem and the potential for breaking the flash tube. I did not go running to the lighting forum and whine about the gear, I studied the problem for about 10 sec. put the SB flat on the floor, took the flash head off the stand and using two hands on the flash head guided it safely into the SB.

The solution was obvious to me because over the years I've juggled and nearly dropped other gear like lenses and meters and them off tables, desks and shelves. So now where practical I store my camera gear on the floor or close to the floor when not in use. When practical I change lenses by putting the new one on the floor on it's lens hood, placing the camera with old lens on the floor next to it, twist the body off the stationary old lens and on to the new one. More inconvenient than doing it in mid-air but thats a task best done with three hands and I only have two and also keeps the body pointing down less likely to get dust inside.

Inconvenient? Yes, but not as inconvenient as broken gear.

Putting the SB on the floor removing the light and putting back on the stand with modifier securely attached took me less time to do it that way than my previous repeats tries to navigate the Large 36 x 48 SB onto the stand mounted flash head. I've never broken a flash tube in six years of use.

I offered that common-sense solution early in this thread. Did you ever try it? Apparently not because you continued to do it "your way" and broke another flash tube.

Perceived gear problems can be remedied by buying different gear. Repeating the same user error of not getting the fingers engaged and repeatedly breaking flash tubes is a problem between the ears more difficult to fix. A hot stove will burn your hand if you touch it. For most it only takes one touch to figure that out and decide not touching the stove is the better strategy.

No gear is perfect in all respects. To use it successfully one needs to get past how you think it should work if designed per your expectations, understand how it works and it's limitations, and find ways to work around them. I don't use my ABs in the rain because they aren't waterproof. I wish they were and they would be in a perfect world, but life just ain't fair at times.

Humor me Jerry. Put your SB on the floor when swapping modifiers... and let this thread die







Edited on Jul 28, 2012 at 02:57 PM · View previous versions



Jul 28, 2012 at 01:52 PM
cineski
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p.4 #6 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


White balance on the Einsteins is also not that good. While the blue/yellow color temp stays steady, the light tend to waver with the green/magenta hues as the power is turned down.


Jul 28, 2012 at 02:51 PM
HappyCamp
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p.4 #7 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


cineski wrote:
White balance on the Einsteins is also not that good. While the blue/yellow color temp stays steady, the light tend to waver with the green/magenta hues as the power is turned down.


Proof and/or data to back this up?



Jul 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM
cgardner
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p.4 #8 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


cineski wrote:
White balance on the Einsteins is also not that good. While the blue/yellow color temp stays steady, the light tend to waver with the green/magenta hues as the power is turned down.


Every device has physical limitiations. Color temp is function of the spektrum of the gas inside the tube and how it reacts to current. To the degee it's controlled better in one brand than another it's likely due to the combination of tube characteristics and the sophistication of the electronics controlling the current flow.

The degree that color shifts with power level isn't ideal on Einsteins but is it absolutely flawless on any brand? Granted it may be better on other brands as seen by direct comparison but's that is something a prudent purchaser factors into the purchasing decision based on a balance of performance and price they can afford or justify for the task.

Minor exposure and color variation, while inconvenient because it requires more attention to post processing, isn't a show stopper for most digital photography. For exposure one simply needs to err on the side of preventing the high range of the variance from blowing the highlights. When doing color critical work, such as copying artwork for documentation, it's a standard practice to surround the item being copied with control targets which can be measured and used to compensate for any fluctuation.

Things were far worse back in the days when film had two nominal color temps and even the most careful management of color at capture via color meters and CC filters could be derailed by variation in the processing.

Back in the days when I managed the printing of art exhibit catalogs the only way to know for sure what the art actually looked like was to color separate based on making the control targets on the sides match the original target. That's why control targets are so expensive they all need to be made with close tolerances to a master standard so the target used halfway around the world to photograph the painting is exactly the same as the one on the proof evaluation table next to the printer.

But even when the color reproduction is controlled to that degree the reproduction usually doesn't match the original art accurately because the press gamut can't match the gamut of the pigments used in the art.

if you shoot a model in a bright lime green dress sitting the hood of a red Ferrari there's a good chance her skin tone will be a pretty close match to actual on screen and print but the dress and car won't. That's because the actual color of the skin falls inside the monitor and printer gamuts but the actual colors in the dress and car don't and will be reproduced with less saturation. Will that be noticed? Only if the original content, monitor and print are viewed side-by-side. The larger gamut will always win that fight

So while it is good to strive for technical perfection in both gear and workflow in practical terms perfection isn't necessary most of the time to get the job done acceptably. When buying gear sometimes the view from the top of the mountain isn't worth the expense of the climb.



Jul 28, 2012 at 04:04 PM
supergimp
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p.4 #9 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


cgardner wrote:
put the SB flat on the floor, took the flash head off the stand and using two hands on the flash head guided it safely into the SB


This technique is taught in any number of classes/workshops/tutorials. Hell I went to a Joe McNally workshop and that's how he (well, his assistant) did it with Elinchrom.



Aug 03, 2012 at 06:15 PM
rico
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p.4 #10 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


supergimp wrote:
This technique is taught in any number of classes/workshops/tutorials. Hell I went to a Joe McNally workshop and that's how he (well, his assistant) did it with Elinchrom.

Mount design can influence safe SB loading. I always attach my Acute to the stand/boom, then mount my assembled SB (medium Chimera) onto the head. On a stand, the head points up, and I secure the SB while standing to the side. On the boom, I stand inside the SB and shove it onto the head. Profoto modifiers are easily secured by touch alone.



Aug 04, 2012 at 04:17 AM
 

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ukphotographer
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p.4 #11 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


markd61 wrote:
I did get a Bowens and I like that mount I would like to know what the detractors dislike about it. The challenge for me is I need portability and the Bees are small and rugged. Most everything I see in Bowens mount is large though I really admire the LiteTrek from B&H.


I've never had a problem with Bowens mounts. It was a bit of a wrench when they switched from the large 2 pin grip type to the smaller 'S' mount, but I've never had a modifier fall off, break a tube, or any other consequence regarding mount failure. Line up the lugs, twist and click.. locked.

I tripped 2 kits of Bowens Travellers all over Europe from about 1989 in Bowens fitted cases.. worked rather well, and still do.



Aug 06, 2012 at 03:53 PM
PeterBerressem
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p.4 #12 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


ukphotographer wrote:
I've never had a problem with Bowens mounts. It was a bit of a wrench when they switched from the large 2 pin grip type to the smaller 'S' mount, but I've never had a modifier fall off, break a tube, or any other consequence regarding mount failure.

I did.
Broke several flash tubes on 3KH heads (no glass dome) which leave just a few millimeter clearance to the 15cm collar when switching softboxes in a hurry. Okay, not comparable to the much smaller monolight tubes.



Aug 06, 2012 at 07:18 PM
ukphotographer
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p.4 #13 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


My 3KH heads all have glass domes, at least if you refer to the QuadX heads as 3KH's. (Even my older Quadmatic 3KH and 6KH heads have glass domes). Pretty neat actually..


from here: http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-bowens-quad-head-110-240v-/p1004854

The Traveller's and Esprit's don't have domes as you say, yet I've not broke anything on those and a modifier has never fallen off any of those either. They either lock-in, or they don't. If they don't lock in, it wouldn't be the fault of the mount.



Aug 06, 2012 at 09:14 PM
RDKirk
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p.4 #14 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


Things were far worse back in the days when film had two nominal color temps and even the most careful management of color at capture via color meters and CC filters could be derailed by variation in the processing.

Not to mention that both the sun and incandescent lights wandered constantly, studio electronic flash (for those with lucrative enough studios to afford it) was far less controlled and very few people owned color temperature meters--or even intended to own one.

I'm rather continually amazed by the anxiety over this matter in these digital days when it's so easily handled compared to the comparative lack of anxiety back in the film days when it was so much more difficult to handle.

There seemed to be an understanding back then that except for a fairly narrow range of uses, perfectly accurate color balance didn't matter that much. It was much more important that color balance be pleasing.



Aug 07, 2012 at 01:28 PM
FestivalFoto
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p.4 #15 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


I just compared the mounting rings JZucker used to my Fotodiox mounting rings for my Alien Bee and Photogenic flashes. It appears that the mounting ring at issue is for a Photogenic flash and not for the Alien Bee / Einstein flash. Fotodiox appears to have screwed up (again) and sold JZucker the wrong mounting speed ring.

Nevertheless, my Fotodiox speed mounting ring for the Alien Bee is not that sturdy and I don't use it for large softboxes!

Edited on Sep 04, 2012 at 02:30 AM · View previous versions



Sep 04, 2012 at 02:10 AM
jzucker
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p.4 #16 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


BrianO wrote:
And some like to whine and beat a dead horse, and won't admit that most of their problems are their own fault.


And some folks just need to make negative statements about others in order to boost their own self esteem.



Sep 04, 2012 at 02:26 AM
jzucker
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p.4 #17 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


Just to be clear, though I've stated this a bunch of times, the adapters that hondageek gleefully posts to show what an idiot I am were not the adapters that were slipping. The ones that were slipping I kept. The one he's been posting was a photogenic adapter which I didn't realize I had sent him until he posted the picture.

Let's try to keep the negativity down and try to discuss the issues rationally. It's ok to point out good and bad about each manufacturer's products.

And being a d-bag is never acceptable no matter how knowledgeable you are. There's a way to convey information without getting personal and dismissive.



Sep 04, 2012 at 12:56 PM
jzucker
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p.4 #18 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


And chuck, I admitted several times it was user error. The point is that a well engineered product keeps you from making a fatal user error. Just imagine if your car door required 4 fingers to properly close and that the hinges were on the bottom and that if all 4 grips were not holding it shut it might fly open while you were on the highway?

But seriously, when you are on location and you're on a beach and you're rushing against the setting sun trying to get the shot you may may mistakes. Yes, I should have been more careful but several times in the heat of the moment I was not and paid for it several times with broken flash tubes.

I've since switched to elinchrom but we also changed our workflow. We now leave the softbox open and mounted for the entire shoot even when moving from location to location so we are not opening and closing the softbox constantly.

Now that i've switched to elinchrom, I thought I would add some additional comments (assuming it's ok to discuss this rationally without folks feeling the need to beat their chests and pile on....)

The Einstein grips were much stronger than the alienbees grips. The way in which they lock is better too and less prone to error. I think I like the Elinchrom mount a little better. Because it locks into place it's a more positive acknowledgement about whether you've got the softbox properly mounted. However, I find that the elinchrom adapters are very soft aluminum and are prone to bending/twisting out of alignment. Considering the price, I'm very disappointed in this. I actually found the fotodiox adapters to be more sturdy though I had to dremel them to get them to fit. The fotodiox adapter is thicker and more stiff. The elinchrom adapter is 1/3 the price of the softbox ($100).

Additionally, the BXRI 500 goes down to 31 ws which is too high IMO. There are times when I want to shoot at 2.8 or 4.0 and I cannot do it with the elinchrom without moving the softbox back 12 feet.

I do like the fact that the radio slave is built in. It's makes for a quick location setup not to have to worry about slave receivers and batteries and the transmitter battery has lasted me a couple dozen shoots so far without needing changing. And I do like the elinchrom skyport transmitter. It's very simple and easy to use without having to look at an LED screen.

My take on BXRI vs Einstein:

Mount: Slight Edge to Elinchrom, footnote - Elinchrom OEM adapters are flimsy
Modifiers: Slight edge to Elinchrom in terms of light quality though elinchrom is $$$
Replacement Parts: Buff
Service: Buff
Wireless Ease of use: Elinchrom
Wireless Functionality: Buff
Power Range: Big edge to Buff - goes much lower and has more power too

Overall winner: Buff/Einstein





Sep 04, 2012 at 01:19 PM
cordellwillis
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p.4 #19 · really hating the alien bee accessory spring grip


"Well engineered" is from a users perspective. The mounts have been around for ages and lots of people are satisfied with them. This is no different than a classroom full of kids reading the same book. Some students fail while others excel. Does that mean the book was crap or is it a matter of understanding, appreciation, and working within?


"But seriously, when you are on location and you're on a beach and you're rushing against the setting sun trying to get the shot you may may mistakes. Yes, I should have been more careful but several times in the heat of the moment I was not and paid for it several times with broken flash tubes. "

The early bird catches the worm. Changing the oil in a car should be done safely by properly supporting the vehicle before going under it. I've read stories of those who were in a hurry and didn't properly support it.


"...(assuming it's ok to discuss this rationally without folks feeling the need to beat their chests and pile on....)"

It depends on how you read into it. There seems to be only one common element in these posts.



Sep 04, 2012 at 02:47 PM
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