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Archive 2012 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro
  
 
RustyBug
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


Okay sports fans ... riddle me this.

I'm talking with a local (90 miles from home) shop and they have tickled my fancy to look into the Bowens lineup. So, I wind up @ B&H website and Bowens USA website.

So while there is a discrepancy between the Bowens USA website (1/2400 sec) vs. B&H website (1/2900 sec) at t .5 for the 500 Pro ... the thing that has me scratching my head is that the 500R is rated @ 1/900 sec at t .5

I'm not gonna quibble over the 1/2400 vs. 1/2900 anymore than I did on other minor web discrepancies ... but how is it that the 500R can have a 1/900 sec t .5 flash duration, whereas the 500 Pro has 1/2400 (1/2900) sec t .5 flash duration?

Given that they are both 500 WS ... what am I missing on this one that explains why the 500 Pro would be so much shorter duration than the 500R?

Does it have something to do with the flash tube of the R costing around $90, while the Pro flash tube costs around $290 ... as the $200 seems to bridge most of the gap between price in the two models? If so, what is it about the flash tube that achieves the difference between 1/900 vs. 1/2400?

Similar differences between the R vs. Pro series at other models seem to follow the same relationship, so it doesn't seem to be an anomaly (i.e. typo) ... but without something like the Pro using IGBT circuitry so that flash duration is faster at reduced power, I'm missing why / how such a dramatic variance would exist for the same output (i.e. both @ 500 WS).

Thanks for any insight you might offer.



Nov 01, 2012 at 04:26 AM
PeterBerressem
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


RustyBug wrote:
Does it have something to do with the flash tube of the R costing around $90, while the Pro flash tube costs around $290 ... as the $200 seems to bridge most of the gap between price in the two models? If so, what is it about the flash tube that achieves the difference between 1/900 vs. 1/2400?

Yep, it's the tube having 3 electrodes instead of the common 2-leg types. Btw, Bowens state it here in their sales text:
www.bowensdirect.com/index.php/compact-flash/geminipro/gemini-500pro.html



Nov 01, 2012 at 08:16 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


Peter,

Thanks. Missed that somehow.

Any idea if there is any interchangeability / system compatibility between models? i.e. does the R have the ability to accept the faster 3 prong tube? and/or can the Pro fire the 2 prong tube, albeit at a slower duration?



Nov 01, 2012 at 01:57 PM
PeterBerressem
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


I suppose that this won't work as the R lacks of the third socket while the Pro's circuit will miss the third electrode.


Nov 01, 2012 at 04:43 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


Thanks Peter. I would have just gone back to the store to look at the R for the 3rd socket, but at 90 mile away ...

Alas, that's what I figured ... but thought I'd ask just in case engineers had designed in system compatibility rather than proprietary components.

Diggin' the speed and power combo in @ the Pro ... but the thought of 3 bills for a blown tube is something that might take some adjusting to. I wonder if the tube is included during the warranty period.

So, does that mean that the 500R with a t .5 @ 1/900 is only yielding around 1/300 for t .1?


Thanks again.



Nov 01, 2012 at 06:16 PM
PeterBerressem
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


RustyBug wrote:
So, does that mean that the 500R with a t .5 @ 1/900 is only yielding around 1/300 for t .1?


Yep, I agree.



Nov 01, 2012 at 07:14 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


Hmmm, ... I'm beginning to get a clue @ the diff between pro and entry level ... beyond a "great build".

The t .1 of a 500 Pro would essentially be the same as the t .5 for the 500R.



Nov 01, 2012 at 07:50 PM
ukphotographer
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


RustyBug wrote:
Diggin' the speed and power combo in @ the Pro ... but the thought of 3 bills for a blown tube is something that might take some adjusting to. I wonder if the tube is included during the warranty period.


I don't know what your experiences of flash equipment is, but I've used Bowens equipment for over thirty years and never had a 'blown' tube.



Nov 04, 2012 at 04:10 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


I've not had a blown tube either ... but being relatively new to this level of lighting, it still makes you wonder.


Nov 04, 2012 at 09:59 PM
 

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ukphotographer
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


I've never needed to give it a second thought. Absolutely no anxieties as far as durability or performance is involved with the Bowens equipment.


Nov 04, 2012 at 11:03 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


Any concerns over the Bowens Chinese built versions being less durable than the pre-Chinese manufacturing versions


Nov 05, 2012 at 03:13 AM
PeterBerressem
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


RustyBug wrote:
Any concerns over the Bowens Chinese built versions being less durable than the pre-Chinese manufacturing versions

Bowens manufactures in Clacton on Sea / Essex / UK. So, please explain what you are talking about?



Nov 05, 2012 at 07:12 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


Yes, I understood Bowens to be a European (UK) company.

However, the lighting guru @ the pro shop "apologized" that they weren't made in UK anymore and showed me the "Made In China" on them.

Way cool that 30 years of experience with Bowens reports well ... but that would of course have been from units mfr'd in UK. If mfr'ing has been shifted elsewhere ...

Well, part of me is going ... spec is spec. Yet another part of me is going, their Chinese mfr ops haven't as much experience as their UK counterparts. Just makes me wonder if the newer Chinese Bowens mfr'ing will hold up the same way the as the UK gear has developed a good reputation for.

Would be interesting to know also, if the tubes are from the same source as before, or Chinese now.

For many of us, we have been conditioned to believe (and touted by many) that certain demographic manufacturing is superior to other demographic manufacturing ... the lines are starting to get a little blurry.

Along those lines ... I picked up an Elinchrom (don't know which model), took one "feel" of its housing and put it back on the shelf. I probably should have looked to see where it was made as well, as it's build did not instill confidence, nor impress upon me a "quality" product. I shared this with the store and they had no choice but to agree that it was a "plasticky" housing, compared to the Bowens.

I'm okay with a composite material, but if I'm gonna invest in a "long term" piece of gear, I'd at least like to feel like I don't have to baby it and that it'll survive a tumble or two (i.e. it's gonna happen someday).

Anyway ... that's where the "Chinese" reference @ Bowens comes from.




Nov 05, 2012 at 01:30 PM
PeterBerressem
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


Just talked to a Bowens contact... wow, you are right - since already a year they let assemble in China. But he assured me that they are made to the same specs and standards as ever (most parts anyway were obtained from China since years) without any noticeable detriment for us users.
Seams that we have to give in that China becomes more and more the "workbench of the world"....



Nov 05, 2012 at 02:32 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


PeterBerressem wrote:

(most parts anyway were obtained from China since years)


That's kind of en"light"ening ... wouldn't you say?
/


So, now that we are talking about Chinese Manufactruing ... what is it that makes the other (replacement) tube cost $200 more, since we can be pretty sure it isn't labor costs. Yes, there is a different design with a third prong, that is easy to see, but that is probably about an additional 30 cents in material costs ... unless the materials being used are exotically different (yielding improved durability, etc.), or use a significantly different process.

I'd sure like to know what I'm getting for that extra two bills that would instill a vote of confidence that it is worth the difference (regarding durability) ... or is it simply a case of "What the market will bear?" for the increased performance for shorter flash durations.

Just things that make me go "hmmm".



Nov 05, 2012 at 03:38 PM
ukphotographer
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


RustyBug wrote:
I'd sure like to know what I'm getting for that extra two bills that would instill a vote of confidence that it is worth the difference (regarding durability) ... or is it simply a case of "What the market will bear?" for the increased performance for shorter flash durations.

Just things that make me go "hmmm".


If you want short duration flash at high output you need to pay for it.... Different animals.. Simpleeees!

If modifiers fall off the things, or they need to be sent in for upgrades or they have overheating issues or they are missing a handle or clamps break off... or the flash tube is liable to break - then I'm sure it would be well documented.



Nov 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


ukphotographer wrote:
If you want short duration flash at high output you need to pay for it.... Different animals.. Simpleeees!

If modifiers fall off the things, or they need to be sent in for upgrades or they have overheating issues or they are missing a handle or clamps break off... or the flash tube is liable to break - then I'm sure it would be well documented.


I understand what you are saying (without saying it) ... and yes, that is part of what has me looking at what direction I'm going to invest long term. That being said, I'm exploring to understand the difference between the Bowens, ProPhoto, Elinchrom, etc.

Unfortunately, when I was at the store, they made NO MENTION of the flash duration difference between the R series and the Pro series. He was all about the digital .1 stop variability. To me, a flash that is 3X as fast is way more of a significant difference than a .2 analog vs. a .1 digital precision.

I'm fully aware of "you get what you pay for" and "there's no such thing as a free lunch" ... so the "different animal" is no surprise and I'm very willing (more so when I understand what I'm actually paying for) to pay for that. I just like to know what I'm getting before I make my decisions ... rather than learning about them after I've already done so. Getting started on investing into a long term system isn't one that I want to approach at the "whim" of who can scream the loudest professing their passion for brand X vs. brand Y.

I realize that for some will simply decide to do what others suggest, but I feel that you should know why you are doing what you're doing, i.e. own your decisions. So, I simply strive to understand the difference between product A vs. product B, i.e. Bowens vs. ProPhoto vs. etc. or monolight vs. pack & head vs. hotshoe. From that I can make my decisions regarding what is important / not important to me.

But, if I just listen to the salesman, I would have gone with the R series (.1 digital not THAT important to me) ... and later been dissatisfied to learn @ the variance in flash duration. For people that have been using pro-grade studio lighting for decades and already made your decisions ... I get that these might seem like stupid overkill questions.

But there are those of us who are trying to make decisions (and learning curve) amongst the plethora of perspective being pitched by OEM, salesman, other photographers, and yes ... cyber opinions.

Caveat Emptor




Nov 05, 2012 at 04:55 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Bowens 500R vs. 500 Pro


So ... continuing into learning about junk vs. entry vs. pro vs. top shelf lighting equipment .. this comes to mind regarding the diff @ flash tube.

Looking at other companies flash tubes, I noticed that some of them have their different "series" of tubes as well, and have included WS ratings alongside them in some cases.

With that in mind, I realized that some tubes are not only built to have a shorter flash duration ... but, are ALSO ... built to withstand the POWER of a FAST & STRONG 1500WS (or greater @ pack & head) requirement. So, while the "R" series may work for a "slow" 500WS, the Pro Series is "just gettin warmed up" with a tube that can be used for much more, i.e. up to a "fast" 1500WS.

Kinda reminds me of the difference between a glass bowl from the dollar store vs. Pyrex. As long as you are just putting your corn flakes & milk into the bowl, either will get the job done. But when you are going to toss something into the fire (lab or oven) ... only the Pyrex (or similar) will survive it. Thus the cost, weight & size diff of Pyrex is realized as appropriate by those who need to put it to the fire ... yet, likely seen as "overkill" for those who are just gettin' some breakfast to start them on their way.

As such, a better perspective / understanding helps transform "sticker shock" into "investment strategy".






Nov 10, 2012 at 01:22 PM





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