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Going now to run some flash duration tests, but here are a few additional first impressions that Ellis didn't cover:
The body is solid. It's clearly packed full of PCBs and capacitors and whatever else goes in here. Doesn't feel hollow like some recent monolights. That's great as long as the cooling can take > 10,000ws/min.
The dome doesn't offer much in the way of protection. It feels thin (which isn't a bad thing on its own, as it's good for efficiency) and the clips are fairly lightweight. As long as replacement domes aren't too expensive, this isn't a problem. A polycarbonate alternative would be nice.
Probably my biggest problem with the whole unit is the way the CSXCV connection was designed. I don't see why it couldn't have been reversed and had the female end on the CSXCV and the male end inside the Einstein, fully protected just like a CF card slot.
The stand mount is awesome. It's lined with metal inside. Feels very solid.
The speedring mounting arms are nice and solid but the movement of the lever isn't very smooth. It may smoothen out eventually, or that may simply be a side effect of making the arms tougher. They also don't feel spring-loaded, so you have to manually lock them into your modifier, you can't just release it .
The flash cover/protector is the same one they include with the ABs/WLs, unfortunately. It's about 2'' longer than it needs to be.
The metal back beneath the dome on both of mine is all scratched up and faded looking, not bright and shiny new like everything else on here. I blame China.
I loved how nerdy (or simple) the icon for turning on or off the light sensor is. Non-geeks will probably disagree.
Takes around 16 seconds to self-discharge all 640ws. When making small adjustments of -1 or -2 stops, it's very fast. Definitely no need to do a full power pop unless you're going from 640 to 20ws.
The LCD is brilliant. Very easy to read and navigate, very iPhone-like. The diagnostic screen is also a touch of pure genius, it includes three different temperature readings, a flash count (mine came with 225 flashes out of the box), and allows you to adjust "Cap PWM/Voltage", "Model PWM", and "Gate Time".
Recycle speed with my Pelican battery pack (180W Aims inverter) is:
Everything seems to work exactly the same as AC, but I'll be on a 5 hour location shoot on Saturday and will report any issues (which I don't expect).
Alright, here are the results of my flash duration test. I tried to keep everything except for the flash power mostly the same for each shot, so I used scrims and cinefoil to cut down the light at high power, and then I switched the 7'' reflector for the new 11'' high output once I got to -5f. This isn't meant to be a scientific, boring test like the ones you'll find of dremels at 30,000 RPM. If you shoot pets or people jumping, swinging things, pouring liquid, or anything like that, this is a good test to see what kind of power and flash duration you can get.
Settings were f/11-f/13 on the 5D2, Einstein set to Color mode (not action). Ambient exposure was pitch black. Only adjustment made in LR was to set the clarity to full, to make the details clearer.
Full power. 1/540 t.1. This is equivalent to your average decent monolight.
-1f, 320ws. 1/1700 t.1. Detail is much crisper, but there's still some streaking towards the edge where the fastest water drops are.
-3f, 80ws. This is nice and crisp. Very little streaking. I missed the peak and didn't have enough water balloons to re-shoot.
-5f, 20ws. I caught this at its peak and you can see some slight streaking towards the edge on the left.
-7f, 5ws. Caught at the perfect peak of the burst, no streaking whatsoever. -6f is probably just as good, but this shot was timed better.
Even in color mode, it's faster at -2f and below than any other monolight on the market right now, as well as most pack and head systems under $4k. This is actually a very demanding test, I'd love to see an RX600, Compact, or D1 user try the same.
Here are some shots to show the difference in the back plate between the Einstein and an AB, as well as the scratches that both of my Einsteins had right out of the box:
And here are the results of my dremel test. Speeds used were 12,000RPM, 24,000RPM, and 30,000RPM. WB was left at 5600k for all of the shots, so you can clearly see the tendency towards a blue hue in the Action shots as the power goes down.
Here's what the lines looked like: (notice my daughter's pet of the day, to illustrate what the rest of you regular portrait shooters can expect out of an IGBT )
Full power: (same flash duration and WB for Color and Action)
At this point I switched to the 11'' LTR. Really nice light. Notice how the foreground's exposure hasn't changed, but it looks darker because of the lack of spill.
For a bit of background/perspective on a test like this, check out this review, comparing a Bron IGBT pack with a similar Action/Colors modes, versus a Pro-8a. http://www.h2hreviews.com/article/Lighting-H2H-Profoto-Pro-8a-2400-Air-vs-Broncolor-Scoro-A4S/Performance-Flash-Duration.html
Edited on Apr 15, 2010 at 04:35 PM · View previous versions