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Archive 2013 · What Lights do You Use and Why?
  
 
pepperman
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I am in the market for lights and want to hear the pros and cons from real people, not the "sales" people.
I would like some portable lights myself however I am not sure that 400 watts will be enough....... So if you are using something and like it...or don't... Please Share it Here. Share the "The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful"
P.S. I have been shooting with multiple flashes only
Feel free to post images as well.
Thanks in Advance,
Stuart





shot with 2 580EX Flashes

  Canon EOS-1D Mark IV    25mm    f/11.0    1/200s    50 ISO    0.0 EV  




Feb 12, 2013 at 11:00 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


What do you plan to use them for?

See http://photo.nova.org/#Equipment



Feb 13, 2013 at 12:05 AM
pepperman
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


Thanks Chuck, I shoot some portrait work however I shoot it wherever I can, so portability would be nice. I would like to be able to shoot on location with control. I also need to be able to take them into Motorcycle shops to shoot some custom built bikes both with and without models, and in a perfect world I would also like to be able to shoot some events with them also.
I know, this is a tall order! Just so you know, I love natural light and I love window light! I have transitioned to multiple flashes (580 EX's and an ST-E2) for their portability however the down side of recycle time coupled with battery life is very limiting.
I really appreciate all and any input!
Thanks Again,
Stuart



Feb 13, 2013 at 01:59 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


Look at Einstein lights and Vagabond battery/inverter power at http://alienbees.com


Feb 13, 2013 at 02:45 AM
gpop
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


if your 580s have the power you need, perhaps the add on external battery packs could reduce recycle time and extend battery life?




Feb 13, 2013 at 02:54 AM
swoop
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


Yongnuo YN-560's with Lumedyne batteries and microsync triggers.
http://www.ken-m.com/b-sides/july-20th-2012-shining-a-new-light.html

3 light headshot.
http://www.ken-m.com/b-sides/september-14th-2012.html

Wedding with formal portraits done using one light.
http://www.ken-m.com/b-sides/june-2nd-2012-a-wedding-day.html



Feb 13, 2013 at 03:17 AM
Sellerman
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I shoot with the Quantum X series. They are 400ws heads and last about 200+ full power flashes per battery (QpaqX---SLA based, $19 to replace dead cells; easy as lego building). I love them because of the quality of light they give off, they can do bare bulb, and they turn noon into darkness with 1/8000 @ full power. Plus, the wireless manual control is awesome, no more walking towards each flash to change power. You can plug them into AC too (with the correct accessory). Good for studio or location use. Downside? $$$.


Feb 13, 2013 at 05:52 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I bit the bullet and went for the Profoto Acute B2 600 and despite the cost I love it. 600ws, just over 5kg all up, rock solid both in mount/build and consistancy with 2 sec full power recycle. With the 7B charger you can basically use it mains powered.


Feb 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Roland W
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I too decided on Profoto, but rather than the current B2 version with the improved and expensive batteries, I have the previous version of the Acute B with the lead acid battery, the Acute B 600. You can find them used, and the removable battery module can have the battery in it renewed if needed for not too much cost. You get the reasonable power of 600 watt secondds, and keep the portability that built in battery power gives when you need it. Obviously it is not a low cost item, even for a used one, but you get quality and consistent performance, and a great mounting system for light modifiers.

The Paul Buff Einstein units were not announced when I went with the Profoto unit, and you can easily get two of those plus a portable power source for the cost of a used Acute B 600. I would guess I would get Einsteins if I was deciding right now, but I am very happy with the Profoto.



Feb 13, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


Stuart,

Much of the decision process starts with budget. Portability and power doesn't come cheap unless you buy cheap. If you have the budget Profoto is always a good choice but lots of pros use the Elinchrom Ranger Series also. The Ranger Quadra should definitely be on your short list. I use their Quadra and RX moonlights, and Nikon SB-910's. I like them all but for portability, power, and light modifying the Quadra wins. The other thing to consider are light modifiers and there are non better than Elinchrom and Profoto. Good luck.



Feb 13, 2013 at 03:49 PM
 

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400d
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


Broncolor user here. I was using Photogenic before and found their monolight lack the accuracy I want, the mount is only acceptable if I am not using it with a large (5'+) octagon softbox, and lack of a decent head/pack line. The locking mechanism on the Photogenic Powerlight series is prone to disengage easily. Switched to Bron two years ago, and invested a lot more in lighting in the process. It's definitely a joy to use their products, sad fact is ultimate accuracy and reliability translate to extremely expensive products. For most users looking to switch to Bron, it only makes sense to buy used or rent. The older series pack like Topaz, Nano, Pulso, Opus are great value if you can find them on ebay. One of my top reasons switching to pack/head from monolight is, when you have a light 7' off the ground, you will appreciate the ability to control power from the ground level, it also means lighter strobe=less counterweight and sandbag on the stand.

With that said, I think Profoto has a slightly better mount design, especially for huge reflectors like a Mola Mantti 43.5" BD, I felt that I can damage the glass dome on the Bron more easily. Elinchrom, Profoto and Broncolor, you can't go wrong with either one of them.



Feb 13, 2013 at 07:40 PM
rico
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


Profoto AcuteB 600 user here. It's only a single head, but easy to transport and use. Darn cute, too. I even use it in my studio instead of the big pack. Of great value is the rock-solid mount and full compatibility of modifiers.You can connect any Acute head or fixture into the AcuteB (only modelling light is lost).


Feb 14, 2013 at 04:03 AM
jefferies1
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I use Genesus 200 and 400 Watt. I have 6 of them. One AB that is the B1600. I use most of the time in my studio and bring on location about 1 time a month. I seldom shoot outside so battery packs were not required for my kind of work. I required several lights and did not what to spend thousands. I also did not want high replacement cost of the flash tubes. To my surprise I have never broken one even moving the things from job to job.

Today my shoots have changed with most of my work being portrait so I use 1 - 5 lights. If I require bright white background that takes 1-4 lights plus 1-2 on the subject. My preferred way to shoot is a giant window with one accent light and reflector.

The good thing about lights is they hold their value in the used market unlike a DSLR that drops in price every time the new model arrives.



Feb 14, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Jon Uhler
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I use Elinchrom. Started out with Alien Bee's. Didn't like the color shift and inconsistent results that I got with the Bee's. The Elinchrom are more $$$ but man do they sing.

I also like the Elinchrom light mod's compared to PCB.

Jon



Feb 15, 2013 at 03:10 PM
hondageek
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I do a lot of the same sort of photography that you're looking to do. Motorcycles indoors and out, motocross, etc. I use Einsteins and a VML when there's no power available. I find it pretty much impossible to beat the Einstein/VML combo when it comes to cost, shot-to-shot consistency with power and color, control-ability, warranty, support, and service.


Feb 15, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Mr645
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I use Dynalite and Speedotron. Dynalite is a small, light weight, full featured lighting system and the Speedotron Blackline is faster recycling, better built, more consistent and much heavier


Feb 17, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Waki
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I'm a Profoto user. Acute 1200 w/ 3heads and AcuteB 600R. I was leaning towards Einsteins at one time and still think they are a great technology. But I truly hate the mount. I also considered Elinchrom and might pick up a RX 1100 Speed AS battery pack for the power in a battery format. But if I didn't go with the Acute 1200 indoors, I would have went with Dynalite. I still think highly of Dynalite....I like packs too as you can tell.

Bottom line, I bought all my Profoto used at cheap, cheap prices. Practically new. As cheap as any Dynalite system or monolights of equal power. I do like the lights after using them for a year or more. My studio is a co-op so from time to time I have shot with other photographers lights and I will say there is a HUGE difference in color shift, recycle time and power consistency. I'm spoiled by my Profotos since they are the same shot to shot. That said, I'm looking at two Einsteins for that quick flash ability to freeze motion. I'm going to use them mostly with Kacey EL adapters and PLM umbrellas and the Retro laser Reflector.

I think the mount is important. More than people think. I happen to like Elinchrom soft boxes so I use Profoto mounts on the few I have. Same for the beauty dish. The 600R gets the most work, even in the studio. You can do so much with one light. I might get that EL RX1100 Speed AS or another 600R....thought about the RX Quadra too and love the head size but 600 w/s is a good limit to have and at times I could use the 1100.....just depends on what you do with it.

Lights nowadays seem to be very independent of modifiers. You can mix and match at will with only needing a speed ring insert. Shop smart, be patient. Deals come along.



Feb 17, 2013 at 05:59 PM
basehorhonda
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


I went with the Einstein's. For my price range, they were the best bang for my buck. I really liked how they had great flash duration and were reasonable on the color output.

With it also being my first step into working with studio strobes, I had heard nothing but great things from the PCB customer service. I was able to use that customer service when my strobe arrived with a broken modeling lamp. An email and 5 min later, they responded saying they would send another out free of charge.



Feb 17, 2013 at 09:53 PM
John Skinner
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


Whenever these types of threads pop up, there are so many points to consider.

The commenter that said 'budget' was pretty well on point IMO. Are you using these and making money? Are you doing this out, more than in? Are you in need of larger power?

And my personal all time favorite consideration is service after sale.

As a Quantum system user, ProFoto 8a user, and a Einstein owner there are points about all these systems that are needs. But if limited to just one, I'm on the PCB Einstein system. And for what your describe above, I would suggest those to you.

I made reference to the service after sale issue for this reason. After 30+ years of doing this, these current light sets are not my first rodeo here. The repair bills I have had to contend with during those years have been considerable. And despite that some of these fellows will post about things like 'color shifts' and 'quality of light & modifiers'.. It's all horse pucks.

If I shoot the same image with 3 different bodies on all 3 light systems, no one would be able to tell them apart sans the EXIF.

The repair and support side is another matter. The Swiss systems are almost laughable when repaired. The time factor alone on the bench and waiting for parts can be disabling. Works just stops. And it's fairly pricey too.

ProFoto, albeit good lights. I would suggest a raise on your present low interest credit card's limit prior to ownership. A socket repair alone can be close to $1,000.00.

The PCB lights just work... And they keep working... almost disposable at 499 per unit (although why would you have to pitch them out) 99% of the repair costs that come out of PCB place are under $60.00. And it's to your door within 8 days.

I've lit entire teams of workers outside their buildings with 3 of these, and beaten up the mid-day sun. I am not a real fan of the arrogance and demeanor of Mr. Buff, and could not be considered a fan of his politics or how he has to beak off about his goods. They speak for themselves. The resale on these units is just insane. You loose maybe < 5% on a resale. So bang for bang, buck for buck.. I'm in for the E640's any day of the week. I use em, love em, and can't see my work without using them daily.



Feb 18, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Waki
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · What Lights do You Use and Why?


Maybe you never experienced color shifts or varied power levels with other lights in 30 years. Then you are most fortunate to have used some pretty good equipment - always.

We had 14 models in a studio setting. I had my lights set but I rotated to 4 other stations working with models and different backgrounds and eye balling the LCD plus LR showed lots of color shift and exposure difference when I was at a station with other lights than mine.

I'm a fan of the Einstein's, and might own a few in a couple of days. I'd not worry about color shift or any of that with them but I have used WL and AB's and can honestly say the mount sucks compared to others I have used.

Horse pucks definitely applies to the PCB mount.



Feb 19, 2013 at 12:35 PM
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