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Archive 2013 · Question on if to go Quantum or not
  
 
andrew00
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


Hey, may I please have some advice on if I should buy a SB-910 or a Quantum flash, prob the T5dr.

I'm looking to be able to shoot like Ellen Von Unwerth, who I really like. I actually posted about it a while ago as she was using a beauty dish a lot for her shots. However, since I do a lot of video work I wanted to go continuous + flash so I'm ready for video also.

Turns out Ellen also does a lot of video so seems to be using HMI's and various fresnels to have a spotlight-ish effect and then uses the flash on top of that for the pop.

I've got the fresnel sorted from my video stuff so now I'm looking to buy a flash to help me out.

As I shoot a D800E I believe I am either going to buy a SB-910 or the Quantum T5dr. Turns out Ellen uses the Quantum, as you can see in the below videos, looks to me like T5dr.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfpfl_Aq37I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKSM24r9qCc

Now, I'm sure part of why she uses this is so she can plug the Quantum into any camera, and that appeals to a degree as I do shoot with a Contax G2 sometimes, but it's not my main thought.

My main look is simply for the look of the images - the light as it were.

Going SB-910 is handy, gives ttl, is cheaper and will probably be fine. I can either use then on a bracket or with something like a Chimera Octa 2 for example and that'd be handy.

However, as I said I'm interested in the light quality above anything else. So I'm curious whether y'all feel the Quantums would more give the light I want, as I said Ellen either uses a Beauty Dish typically or the Quantums with the reflector. I'm conscious of the Speedlights giving a different type of light, difference spread etc.

Or if you feel it's all much of muchness and really unless I'm swapping cameras it won't really matter what I use.

Thanks for any advice in advance!



Apr 29, 2013 at 01:08 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


The Quantum T and X series have the power, the Quantum Trio has less power but allows FP Sync, and all have removable reflectors to allow bare-bulb shooting when desired. So that's nice. But you need an external battery pack, and Quantums are really expensive.

The SB-910 is fully dedicated to the D800E, but that doesn't mean you can't use it in manual mode on the Contax G2; it still has a standard center pin and a PC socket.

So, you need to decide if the extra power of the Quantums is worth the extra cost and the hassle of needing an external battery back. If you shoot outdoors in bright light, the extra power can be helpful in competing with the sun, but if you shoot mostly indoors or at hours with less sun the Nikon flash may be all you need.

As for beauty dishes, there are models designed for Speedlights/Speedlites; I use one myself, along with smaller dish reflectors and soft boxes.












Apr 29, 2013 at 01:23 AM
BigIronCruiser
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


If your primary concern is having enough power with speedlights, Lastolite has a series of modifiers that can hold up to 4 of them. Some people use the considerably less expensive (< $200) Yongnuo speedlights (YN-568 EX) in place of Nikon SB-910's. The Nikon version of the 568EX supports iTTL, but unlike the SB-910, it can't be used as a Master in a CLS environment. If you like the bare-bulb concept and can live with pure manual mode, Cheetah Stand is very close to releasing a fairly powerful CL-360. I have one of their CL-180's, and it has worked flawlessly.


Apr 29, 2013 at 04:02 AM
ukphotographer
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


andrew00 wrote:
Hey, may I please have some advice on if I should buy a SB-910 or a Quantum flash, prob the T5dr.

.....

As I shoot a D800E I believe I am either going to buy a SB-910 or the Quantum T5dr. Turns out Ellen uses the Quantum, as you can see in the below videos, looks to me like T5dr.

....

Going SB-910 is handy, gives ttl, is cheaper and will probably be fine. I can either use then on a bracket or with something like a Chimera Octa 2 for example and that'd be handy.



Yes, the videos show a T5d-R being used.

TTL, Auto, Manual or remote control of these is available with the T5d-R which makes these options appealing along with the light quality. You don't need to be concerned about overheating either. The Quantum's just don't.



Apr 29, 2013 at 10:01 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


Back 10 or so years ago before inexpensive battery / inverter power packs and studio monolights Quantum ideally filled an equipment niche for wedding shooters and others who needed a combination of more power than speedlights in a system could still be used on a camera bracket for candid shooting.

When switching from many years of using pairs of Vivitar flashes to Canon flash back in 2004 - 2005 after buying into the Canon DSLR system I seriously considered Quantum instead because they had more power but instead opted of the Canon speedlights for most dual flash location PJ style shooting situations and a set of studio lights when more power, bigger modifers, etc. were needed.

In terms of logistics and equipment costs when lights are placed on stands there's no real advantage nowadays with Quantum vs. something like an Einstein mono-light and Vagabond battery power source.

In terms of logistics for "run and gun" shooting with fill on the camera bracket and an off camera slave "key" light on a rolling stand the system speedlights are lighter and better integrated with the metering of the camera when used in auto modes. There's no "ball and chain" connection to the battery pack for the flash on camera. Been there, done that and hated being tethered. It wasn't a problem shooting so much as the logistics of putting down and picking up the camera.

That's not so say the Quantum gear isn't top notch, simply that the new option of using battery inverters changed the paradigm in the "heavy duty" location lighting niche the Quantums filled for situations like shooting group shots at weddings outdoors in the backlight of the sun.

If shooting weddings today I'd have a pair of Einsteins / Inverters in a rolling cart I could lock down after shooting formal portraits and group shots, and shoot the candids at the reception with system speedlights.



Apr 29, 2013 at 12:38 PM
andrew00
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


Yeah that's the thing, whether the Quantum light is the thing that is making Ellen and actually another photographer I like, Venetia Scott, using the flashes. Or if it's just that they're versatile across multiple systems.

As in the latter case I can just use a Speedlight, but in the former case it's about whether it's worth the extra hassle/cost as you're getting the light you want that just isn't there with the Speedlights.



Apr 29, 2013 at 01:20 PM
MNPNW
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


Cheetah getting pretty good reviews. I have the Godox battery PB-820 and it's great so think the Cheetah will be good.

http://flashhavoc.com/cheetah-cl180-godox-ad180-review/



Apr 29, 2013 at 03:20 PM
ukphotographer
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


Theres quite a bit of movement going on in Ellen Von Unwerth's videos with people walking towards camera and so at different distances.

Whilst 'Manual' is possible, I doubt that the use of the Quantum's in these scenarios is in that setting. Most likely an Auto setting is used independent of camera. I wouldn't want to limit myself just to Manual when a different setting would be more appropriate.

I'm sure that your D800E could even manage to operate the Quantums remotely in whatever mode you decided to choose.. that is.. whatever mode YOU decided to use.



Apr 29, 2013 at 05:21 PM
John Skinner
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


I run Profoto 8a airs', the Quantum systems T5drs', and the Einsteins' with Vagabond II here daily.

All things being equal. You'd be better off with 1 Einstein + 1 Vagabond II.

Reason: You expressed interest in the beauty dish, the SB will get you there, but thats it.

It's one light, on or off, and it's marginal on a beauty dish in ALL applications. The Quantum system does not lend itself to modifiers very well at all, except those of Quantum's..they just don't. The PCB 1 light/1 portable power will give the flexabilty to add ANY modifier you choose to use, be completely portable, offer enough PoP for ANYTHING encountered (even over powering the sun), and be triggered by the all seeing eye on top via your 'on camera' flash, or using a PCB trigger or PW etc...

As cgardner said above, now.... You aren't limited because of great advances in portable power as we were back in the Quantum BRICK days at our wedding shoots. So for the price of a SB-910, your playing with 640W of remarkable freezing power.




Apr 29, 2013 at 05:39 PM
ukphotographer
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


Did anybody watch the linked videos ??

They show a hand held Quantum T5d-R with diffusers attached used as fill in a HMI lit environment using a 5" reflector. I certainly wouldn't want an assistant swinging either a powerpack head / monolight above my head in any such setup at all.

As to fitting modifiers to Quantums, I do it all the time using Bowens 'S' fittings via an adapter because they also fit my QuadX heads and Esprit's. So I have ONE fitting which fits all my lights. If I want, or need to go lightweight I have the Quantum 19" and 27" softboxes as well with the choice of using them with 80Ws, 160Ws, 200Ws or 400Ws units of the same type.

I like using Manual output, I was brought up on it using 5K City packs, Balcar, Broncolor and Bowens, but on location and covering a wide range of assignments, then having the choice of different modes with a high output is something I wouldn't give up easily and certainly not something I would voluntarily want to be restricted by or even suggest that anybody else should be.




Apr 29, 2013 at 07:31 PM
 

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andrew00
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


Thanks for the comments y'all.

I agree, the Einstein combo would be useful if it didn't need to be so kinetic. I believe I could get the above feel with Speedlights, but my concern would be in killing the texture of the light. There's a lot of 'direct flash' type photography going on at the moment that makes the images pretty flat.

I like Ellen's lighting because she gets the same 'pop', even skin tones, and general 'glamour' look that comes from the direct flash feel at it's best, but since she's doing it with the fresnel, that's her main source, and the flash is just making her subject stand out, its not creating, and so flattening, the texture of the image itself.



Apr 30, 2013 at 03:20 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


andrew00 wrote:
I agree, the Einstein combo would be useful if it didn't need to be so kinetic. I believe I could get the above feel with Speedlights, but my concern would be in killing the texture of the light. There's a lot of 'direct flash' type photography going on at the moment that makes the images pretty flat.


Dimensionally flat lighting is a function of it's angle relative to the subject / object and how the shadow / highlight clues it creates compare to our "normal" baseline of natural downward lighting. Any source hitting at less than 45 vertically creates unnatural clues which make it seem "fake" compared to what is seen in ambient light.

When flash is near axis and there are few shadow clues it's where the highlights wind up on the face that make the lighting seem natural or artificial. Highlights in natural light wind up on the upper curve of cheeks, the reflection of on camera near axis flash unnaturally lower.

I learned to use flash back in the early 70s with a pair of direct Graflex strobes. They created very distinct shadow, but if they were naturally placed (e.g. key light 45 above and 45 to the side of the nose) and near-axis fill from a second flash on bracket made them light in tone similar to room lighting (about 3:1 ratio) the net result is naturally 3D and flattering. It's poorly placed dark unfilled shadow which draw attention.

When mixing flash and ambient I note the dominant vector of the ambient modeling the face, pose subject to it (which often requires getting the faces up into the light past the brow) then I put the "key" flash as close to that same angle, with fill as needed "neutral" (i.e. as shadow/highlight clueless as possible) from near the camera. The net effect outdoors is like having a small source (flash) in front of a huge one (sky) with the sun behind as "key" light.




May 01, 2013 at 01:13 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


andrew00 wrote:
Thanks for the comments y'all.

I agree, the Einstein combo would be useful if it didn't need to be so kinetic. I believe I could get the above feel with Speedlights, but my concern would be in killing the texture of the light. There's a lot of 'direct flash' type photography going on at the moment that makes the images pretty flat.

I like Ellen's lighting because she gets the same 'pop', even skin tones, and general 'glamour' look that comes from the direct flash feel at it's best, but since she's doing it with the fresnel, that's her main source, and
...Show more

not sure how the word "kinetic" fits with what you are saying. What do you mean by kinetic in this context?



May 01, 2013 at 04:21 PM
andrew00
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


@cgardner - interesting, so what you're saying is, it doesn't specifically matter if i'm using a speedlight or quantum per se, if i'm using the light front on it will give the flat character of light regardless? ergo the trick will be less about the specifics of the gear, and more about finding the right balance/levels to give the right amount of fill, and not to kill the character of the light, in my case coming from the fresnel?

@jzucker - i mean that if you look at ellen's style, it's all very fun, lots of movement, not especially posed or overly techie, i.e. emphasis on the spirit first, and in that sense it'd be most helpful to be fluid with the gear one does use.



May 01, 2013 at 11:37 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


most of ellen's studio work looks pretty posed to me. Look at darton drake's work and he uses a 4x6 softbox!

but i do love ellen's work.



May 02, 2013 at 12:29 AM
andrew00
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


Aye she's the best, it's the combo of depth of light + direct flash skin 'pop' that I love, don't see it in a lot of other peeps.

Speaking of - do y'all feel one should go with the Co-pilot+freewire ttl combo or use my PW's in manual?

I'm not an expert of manual flash, mostly intuitive.



May 09, 2013 at 12:20 AM
John Skinner
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


The FreeXwire used with the correct adapter on your body will allow for adjustments wireless up to about 250> feet whilst disconnected from the flash directly on the T5Dr. The regular old PW line up is just a glorified trigger. I don't think you can get the quantum line to adjust/fire even with the newer Flex system by PW.. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.


May 09, 2013 at 06:45 AM
ukphotographer
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


CoPilot and FW7Q on the T5d-R for sure.


May 09, 2013 at 09:32 PM
John Skinner
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


ukphotographer wrote:
CoPilot and FW7Q on the T5d-R for sure.


Or ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
That too.. I forget about the CoPilot as I've never owned one.



May 10, 2013 at 03:45 PM
ukphotographer
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Question on if to go Quantum or not


The CoPilot has made things a lot easier. It's a radio and TTL/Manual zone controller combined with a focus assist. You can also use it like a 'D' adapter as it has a cable port to connect to a T5d-R or X5d-R. All the controls for the three groups are then via the CoPilot.

An advantage for this is that the firmware can be updated as new cameras get introduced.



May 10, 2013 at 04:35 PM
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