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Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?
  
 
playerofwar
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


So I'm in need to expand my flash setup. I want my product photography and portrait/portable photography lights seperated. My current setup is being used for product photography 4 days a week and 1 day on the go or studio on average.
I currently have 4 Einsteins with many accessories, ranging from reflectors, to parabolics, to softboxes and beautydishes. Of course I also have 4 battery packs (Lithium mini's).
Everything I currently own is Balcar mount, which makes this decision a lot harder. I would have to change many of my mounts or even complete units.

I like the self contained nature of the Profoto B1 a lot. But for that price I can get 4 PCB Einsteins. I won't use the TTL a lot and will need dome accessories for getting a non-focused light.

What other flash systems should I take into consideration?




Jan 11, 2017 at 10:36 AM
Wadebob
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


You might consider looking into the the Dynalite Baja B4 or B6.
Respectively they are 400ws and 600ws strobes with on board li-ion batteries, and with the optional HSS transmitter and receivers they offer real high speed sync (not the long tail type, but the multiple burst mode)
They run about $550 for the B4 and $750 for the B6.
They use the Bowens mount so modifiers and mounts are inexpensive and plentiful.
They are bare bulb so they offer great performance in any modifier be it dish, softbox or snoot.
They have a handle built in (which after working with other photographers using Einsteins that is my biggest gripe!) but it is on the top which is far less than ideal compared to the B1 or D1 with the handle on the back.
They seem to be well constructed, a PJ I know has them and says they are rock solid and don't feel as flimsy as when he used AB's.

The mount may be different, but I am considering making the switch over to them and have a ton of old Bron, Norman and Hensel reflectors. If I do make the switch I will buy the bowens flanges on flea-bay, remove the old mounts and pop-rivet the bowens flanges onto them.

One down side, I can't seem to locate spare flash tubes to give an estimate on how much those cost. One thing that I like about PCB is the price of his flash tubes, they are about 1/10th what other charge.






Jan 11, 2017 at 10:57 PM
tdlavigne
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


If your Einsteins work for you and you don't have a real reason/need to upgrade then I'd suggest just keeping what you have. To replace your 4 Einsteins with the B1's it'd be ~$8000, not counting extra batteries (250/each iirc). Is the self-contained/compactness worth ~$6000? Only you can say. Same goes if you were to look into various pack/head systems. Unless you reaaaaaly need a specific modifier you can't get with AB (ie. a fresnel or hardbox for example) I don't think you'd get much of a benefit to switching to something else.


Jan 12, 2017 at 03:09 AM
playerofwar
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


Thanks for the reactions!
tdlavigne wrote:
If your Einsteins work for you and you don't have a real reason/need to upgrade then I'd suggest just keeping what you have. To replace your 4 Einsteins with the B1's it'd be ~$8000, not counting extra batteries (250/each iirc). Is the self-contained/compactness worth ~$6000? Only you can say. Same goes if you were to look into various pack/head systems. Unless you reaaaaaly need a specific modifier you can't get with AB (ie. a fresnel or hardbox for example) I don't think you'd get much of a benefit to switching to something else.


That what I was thinking of. These Einsteins already beat most European brands up to 1500$, I'm already "stuck" in the Balcar mount and these actually do whatever I demand from them. I'll just order a few more Einsteins then. But I'm also eager to see if they are going to release an updated version of the Einstein. More powerful/internal reciever/HSS/...



Jan 12, 2017 at 09:17 AM
hijazist
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


You'll get so many different views on this one For me, speed and ease of operation is a priority so when the B1 came out I immediately switched to them. Now I'm using the Xplor 600 system and I'm very happy with it.

A system with a built-in battery, receiver, HSS and TTL gets out of the way and allows you to focus on more important things (to me) like compostition, interaction, posing, and more opportunities to take pictures. It takes me around 10 seconds to set up my Xplor 600 with a Demi on location. I take a shot with my colorchecker then I'm good to go. This might not be as important to someone who usually shoots in a studio.

The other day, I did a photo series of 20 portraits of students just because I had my bag on me. It had my camera, lens, Xplor 600, trigger and Parapop softbox. A student handheld the light with the softbox and we shot the portraits in multiple locations, all were shot in HSS. We printed the series 13x19 and exhibited them at the school.







Jan 12, 2017 at 02:39 PM
kdphotography
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


If your studio is busy, it makes it easier to justify splitting into separate systems. The Einstein does provide a lot of bang for the buck, but the Balcar mount is its achilles heel, and no amount of firmware updates will get around this. The innards work, but you can see/hear where corners have been cut.

If you are able to "free yourself" from that god awful Balcar mounting system you will be able to better utilize other quality modifiers. No comparison between Profoto and Balcar mounts.

I use a mixture of Einstein and Profoto---and much prefer Profoto overall (and I rarely if ever use TTL). Initial investment is high, but worthwhile if your studio traffic is busy.

ken
www.carmelfineartprinting.com



Jan 12, 2017 at 03:33 PM
Littleguy
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


If you are expanding and want the systems separated - what's the problem?

Keep your Einsteins for studio use and just buy another system for running and gunning. You are not going to be lugging that much modifiers if it is for portable portraits.

Godox is popular now and comes in many white labelled brands as well. Look at their AD360 or AD600 flashes.

Or just get the Profoto for your non-studio use.

playerofwar wrote:
So I'm in need to expand my flash setup. I want my product photography and portrait/portable photography lights seperated. My current setup is being used for product photography 4 days a week and 1 day on the go or studio on average.
I currently have 4 Einsteins with many accessories, ranging from reflectors, to parabolics, to softboxes and beautydishes. Of course I also have 4 battery packs (Lithium mini's).
Everything I currently own is Balcar mount, which makes this decision a lot harder. I would have to change many of my mounts or even complete units.

I like the self contained nature
...Show more




Jan 12, 2017 at 03:49 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


kdphotography wrote:
If your studio is busy, it makes it easier to justify splitting into separate systems. The Einstein does provide a lot of bang for the buck, but the Balcar mount is its achilles heel, and no amount of firmware updates will get around this. The innards work, but you can see/hear where corners have been cut.

If you are able to "free yourself" from that god awful Balcar mounting system you will be able to better utilize other quality modifiers. No comparison between Profoto and Balcar mounts.

I use a mixture of Einstein and Profoto---and much prefer Profoto overall (and I
...Show more

Disagree. I have the einstein lights and have no issue with the balcar mount. I regularly use a 4x6 softbox on it and it holds it just fine. In fact, it's easier to mount it on the balcar mount than the bowens mount. And the balcar mount on the einstein is extremely secure. Once you mount a flash on it and lock the modifier on, it's not going anywhere. 10 years ago, the buff spring mechanism wasn't very stiff and it was easy to get yourself in trouble but the einstein and recent alien bee designs have all but eliminated that problem.

I also have a godox ad600 TTL and a pair of godox 360 TTL flash units. The light quality is much more harsh out of the godox helical flash tubes and the color consistency is much worse than the Einsteins. I was originally going to switch over to the godox because I looked forward to the HSS/TTL, the built in battery and built in RF receiver but after spending a couple months with the godox I just can't justify switching.

The 360 just has too many issues. Too many parts, too many accessories needed, over-rated power spec, poor recycle time, etc. The 600 is much better but is too heavy to put up on a boom stand. I bought the remote head which is better but the light quality is more contrasty which i do not like. In a 36" octobox, even with 2 layers of diffusion it is about as contrasty as my einstein in a 22" beauty dish with a grid.

I was going to return the godox stuff but i'm going to keep them for travel purposes since the 360 is a smaller footprint and for times when I really want the HSS/TTL but in terms of a general solution, the buff still is a superior system in terms of light quality, modeling lights, reliability, service and build quality.



Jan 18, 2017 at 07:21 PM
Two23
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


I think the three strong points for the Einstein are (1) color consistency (2) parts/service availability (3) cost (including resale value.)


Kent in SD



Jan 19, 2017 at 12:22 AM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


Two23 wrote:
I think the three strong points for the Einstein are (1) color consistency (2) parts/service availability (3) cost (including resale value.)

Kent in SD

Hi Kent: I've retired, so selling off my lighting equipment. I have checked e-bay, but no Buff stuff for sale. Do you have and idea what good condition Einsteins and reflectors are selling for (% discount from retail)? For instance I have two PCB Beauty Dish grids, new in box, do these have any value?

TIA



Jan 19, 2017 at 06:42 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



BigIronCruiser
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


Have you tried FM's Buy/Sell forum?


Jan 19, 2017 at 01:27 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


BigIronCruiser wrote:
Have you tried FM's Buy/Sell forum?


No, because I have no idea what to ask? If I ask for too much it doesn't sell, if I ask for too little I'm giving it away. If I'm giving it away, then it doesn't make much sense to go to all the trouble of shipping, paypal, whatever.

There's a large dumpster next to my storage locker. It may make more sense to just throw it away, than put-up with the hassle

I also have some Profoto gear. A Hardbox, like new in box, and a clear 75mm dome, also like new in box. So far none of the big used equipment dealers are interested. So these will be used in a "pull-the-trigger-on" video. Putting a few 45ACP rounds into the Hardbox should rile-up the gear heads. I can see it now, a man dressed like a ninja, pulls the Hardbox from it's clean white box. He drops it on the ground, then he draws his Colt 1911 pistol ...

Or maybe an unboxing video, using a Milwaukee SAWZALL. Yeah, that would be better. It could be done in the backyard, no need ti drive to the desert to pull-the trigger.



Jan 19, 2017 at 04:00 PM
Chris Court
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


Sounds a bit extreme.

I think perhaps BIC was suggesting you search the FM Buy/Sell for historic values of your items, as a first step. Einsteins are fairly hot commodities on there, and you may well have luck with your other items as well.

C



Jan 19, 2017 at 05:41 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


Chris Court wrote:
I think perhaps BIC was suggesting you search the FM Buy/Sell for historic values of your items, as a first step. Einsteins are fairly hot commodities on there, and you may well have luck with your other items as well.

C


I'm not into buying & selling, therefore I knew nothing about the Buy-Sell forum. I checked, and sure enough there is a search function. Amazing Except for a few expensive things, the rest sells for $10.00/$15.00.




Jan 19, 2017 at 08:02 PM
Deezie
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


c.d.embrey wrote:
I'm not into buying & selling, therefore I knew nothing about the Buy-Sell forum. I checked, and sure enough there is a search function. Amazing Except for a few expensive things, the rest sells for $10.00/$15.00.



In regards to the Buff lights - If they're in very good condition take a look on Buff's site and see what the retail cost is, then take off 15-20% to garner interest. Most people are looking for a deal so they'll try to get you down a little more on price. So be prepared to give them a small additional discount - maybe 2-5 percent. But don't offer a discount unless someone asks for it. Then you can haggle.


Edited on Jan 20, 2017 at 03:38 PM · View previous versions



Jan 19, 2017 at 08:12 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


Deezie wrote:
In regards to the Buff lights - If they're in very good condition take a look on Buff's site and see what the retail cost is, then take off 15-20% to garner interest. Most people are looking for a deal so they'll try to get you down a little more on price. So be prepared to give then a small addition discount - maybe 2-5 percent. But don't offer a discount unless someone asks for it. Then you can haggle.


Thank you very much Deezie. This was the kind of answer I was looking for. Much appreciated




Jan 19, 2017 at 08:40 PM
Michael White
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


Before eBay screwed things up I used to pay half of new for used items that's gone now. I search here and a couple other places for finding out the values of photo gear. Bought many items here and sold a couple back and both parties were happy. I'm one to counter offer almost everything I buy here.


Jan 19, 2017 at 09:54 PM
kdphotography
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


jzucker wrote:
Disagree. I have the einstein lights and have no issue with the balcar mount. I regularly use a 4x6 softbox on it and it holds it just fine. In fact, it's easier to mount it on the balcar mount than the bowens mount. And the balcar mount on the einstein is extremely secure. Once you mount a flash on it and lock the modifier on, it's not going anywhere. 10 years ago, the buff spring mechanism wasn't very stiff and it was easy to get yourself in trouble but the einstein and recent alien bee designs have all but eliminated
...Show more

You might not have problems or difficulties with the Balcar mount, but it's still no comparison to the Profoto mount. Not even close.



Jan 20, 2017 at 12:14 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


at 4x the price, i'm not interested in the profoto so it's a moot point.

kdphotography wrote:
You might not have problems or difficulties with the Balcar mount, but it's still no comparison to the Profoto mount. Not even close.





Jan 20, 2017 at 12:18 PM
HiredArm
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Paul C Buff Einstein still amazing option in 2017?


Einstein's are fine in 2017 or any other year. You receive good light quality at a decent price. I'd argue in the sub $600 price range that they may be the best thing on the market. About the only thing you don't get is TTL or HS/HSS and the Cyber Commander is a little quirky IMO.

I started with them but I agree that the Balcar mount is the "weakest" part of the package when shooting outdoors or with large modifiers. After awhile the spring tension just isn't as strong and I actually had the improved versions with a stronger spring. Light quality is great, the prices are more than fair, and the customer service is top notch for sure.

I don't think anyone is saying otherwise but by comparison the Profoto or the Bowens mount are far more secure in comparison to the Balcar mount.



Jan 20, 2017 at 10:46 PM
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