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Archive 2010 · Einstein 640 review, part 1
  
 
derek walter
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p.8 #1 · p.8 #1 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Paul Buff wrote:
Laser rangerfnders are fantastic - about $100 at Lowes. I use mine all the time.

Make sure it's laser and not ultrasonic with a laser pointer. The price should be the obvious differentiator



Apr 22, 2010 at 05:52 PM
Paul Buff
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p.8 #2 · p.8 #2 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Good point. Actual laser units run from about $100 to $200. Mine was just over $100 and can do a good job at 100' off a very small surface - like a tree trunk. Can be a little hard to aim at a small surface at this distance . . . may I need to mount it on an AR15 so I can hold it steady


Apr 22, 2010 at 06:03 PM
Neuffy
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p.8 #3 · p.8 #3 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


The "here's three things, pick two" doesn't always work.

If there are inefficiencies that can be eliminated, we can make things less of a trade-off. PCB does that by being factory-direct. The trade-off is that I can't walk down to a store and purchase the product today, or try it out. It means no shipping-less exchanges. There isn't a staff member who can take a look at a unit of mine and help me with operation or tech support in person. Perhaps it should be four things, pick three?

I'd say that goes a long way toward letting us bias against price - it should be double what it is, if a standard distribution network was in place. I'm familiar with the retail markup on most lighting equipment, and it's in that range at least in Canada.

If we accept that the equivalent pricing (that we only get in exchange for the factory-direct relationship, as well as PCB's overall pricing philosophy) "is" double what it currently costs us, then it logically follows that we can have the other two.



Apr 22, 2010 at 06:11 PM
a2rob
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p.8 #4 · p.8 #4 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Paul Buff wrote:
Good point. Actual laser units run from about $100 to $200. Mine was just over $100 and can do a good job at 100' off a very small surface - like a tree trunk. Can be a little hard to aim at a small surface at this distance . . .





Apr 22, 2010 at 06:48 PM
E-Vener
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p.8 #5 · p.8 #5 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Paul Buff wrote:
Good point. Actual laser units run from about $100 to $200. Mine was just over $100 and can do a good job at 100' off a very small surface - like a tree trunk. Can be a little hard to aim at a small surface at this distance . . . may I need to mount it on an AR15 so I can hold it steady

umm, I think I'll just set mine on my Gitzo legset + Foba ASMIA head combo. My neighbors might get upset if they see me pointing a gun in the general direction of their house.



Apr 22, 2010 at 06:57 PM
derek walter
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p.8 #6 · p.8 #6 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Paul Buff wrote:
Good point. Actual laser units run from about $100 to $200. Mine was just over $100 and can do a good job at 100' off a very small surface - like a tree trunk. Can be a little hard to aim at a small surface at this distance . . . may I need to mount it on an AR15 so I can hold it steady



Here's a couple in Alien Bees colors













Apr 23, 2010 at 12:57 AM
Paul Buff
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p.8 #7 · p.8 #7 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Neuffy wrote:
The "here's three things, pick two" doesn't always work.

If there are inefficiencies that can be eliminated, we can make things less of a trade-off. PCB does that by being factory-direct. The trade-off is that I can't walk down to a store and purchase the product today, or try it out. It means no shipping-less exchanges. There isn't a staff member who can take a look at a unit of mine and help me with operation or tech support in person. Perhaps it should be four things, pick three?

I'd say that goes a long way toward letting us bias against price
...Show more

In the US you can't go into a camera store and check out a studio flash unless you are in a major city. If you are not in a big metro center you'll get "I can order it . . . it will take a couple of weeks, and no satisfaction guarantee and you have to send it back to the factory and wait three months if it fails" We had 400 dealers in the early 80s . . . now they're all gone. Going factory direct was the best decision I ever made.



Apr 23, 2010 at 02:36 AM
Neuffy
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p.8 #8 · p.8 #8 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Hmm...I'm in Canada in metro center of ~1M, and in one store you can see an Elinchrom Ranger/Quadra/D-lite and a few modifiers (as well as speedo and a few others). In another store you can see three or four other brands in person. The modifier selection is truly pitiful however, and only the most popular kits and packages are kept in stock. General policy on ordering something in is that there will be a restocking fee if returned or refused, deposit required up front.

You're definitely right on the subject of repairs and satisfaction guarantees though. I've definitely seen (and heard, but hearsay doesn't count that much) horrible situations with this.

My order, according to the emails I received, has shipped 19 times XD
<3 factory direct. Getting everything I want all at once, barring two-three things is great - amazing really. Doesn't happen very much with many currently common business models. Missing: Parabolics (old models backordered, V2 coming, s'okay), Laser Retro Reflectors (not available yet) and I may as well pick up the mini-offsets as well when I order those first two.



Apr 23, 2010 at 06:10 AM
Paul Buff
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p.8 #9 · p.8 #9 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


That's about the size of Nashville and constitutes, in my opinion, a substantial metro center. We have one professional photo dealer who carries primarily a few Profoto monolights and little else . . . no Elinchrom, Hensel, Bron etc. They beg us to let them sell ABs constantly. Cities smaller than this basically have only a couple of Chinese lights in stock. Customers from these smaller cities can buy direct from us and have the goods in a couple of day, repairs in 2-4 days and 60 day no questions return policy, as well as direct customer support from the source.


Apr 23, 2010 at 07:27 AM
 

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derek walter
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p.8 #10 · p.8 #10 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Anything over 100,000 is a major metropolis in Canada


Apr 23, 2010 at 11:36 AM
E-Vener
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p.8 #11 · p.8 #11 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


In Atlanta we are lucky to have two stores that carry substantial amounts of pro gear -- PPR on 11th st and Showcase Camera.

PPR carries substantially more lighting gear and has a very well stocked camera, lighting, grip and accessories rental department as well as two large studio spaces for rent. For pro level rental gear there is also Morel Studio Support (http://www.morelstudiosupport.com) run by my friend and former student Jay Morel. But Atlanta is a major media, sports, entertainment, and corporate center.



Apr 23, 2010 at 12:44 PM
Neuffy
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p.8 #12 · p.8 #12 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Yeah, here we have no rentals available. You basically can't rent lights, cameras, etc. It means that the barrier to entry is fairly high, since to use it you need to own it.

Gotta say, factory-direct is great.



Apr 23, 2010 at 02:21 PM
Paul Buff
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p.8 #13 · p.8 #13 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


derek walter wrote:
Anything over 100,000 is a major metropolis in Canada


Sounds reasonable, but in a city of 100,000 are there any pro photo stores that stock the lights and accessories mentioned on this thread and others?



Apr 23, 2010 at 07:25 PM
bobk
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p.8 #14 · p.8 #14 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


I live in a state of nearly a million in which there's only one 2000' camera store, period. Second-best camera store is Best Buy. I'd say the direct sales was a good decision.


Apr 23, 2010 at 07:53 PM
derek walter
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p.8 #15 · p.8 #15 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Paul Buff wrote:
Sounds reasonable, but in a city of 100,000 are there any pro photo stores that stock the lights and accessories mentioned on this thread and others?



Well, my point was that there's not too many cities over 100,000 at all. But the only place you really see the pro gear is either Henry's or Vistek in Toronto, don't know about out west, or a little bit of the Booth lighting kits at the Henry's stores.
But the answer is "no".



Apr 23, 2010 at 10:27 PM
rscheffler
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p.8 #16 · p.8 #16 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


Paul Buff wrote:
Sounds reasonable, but in a city of 100,000 are there any pro photo stores that stock the lights and accessories mentioned on this thread and others?


Not likely in Canada. I live in a region with 500,000 and the local pro shop does not stock much. Retail has changed dramatically in the last 10-15 years. As I'm sure you know, pro shops face stiff competition from bigbox stores on the amateur/consumer end and from the big online retailers on the pro end.

And in Canada many are very price conscious due to better prices from US retailers. Thanks to NAFTA, etc., it's very, very easy to order from a place like B&H and have hard to find equipment the next day while local shop might take weeks to fill the same order (and of course at a higher price). Some of that can be blamed on Canadian distributors either not stocking much specialized equipment, pricing it to the point where there is little room left for retailers to compete against US online shops, or having minimum purchase requirements that make it unattractive to place, or penalize smaller orders, thus causing delays in filling customer orders.



Apr 23, 2010 at 11:04 PM
Bryan Beasleigh
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p.8 #17 · p.8 #17 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


In Canada we have Bowens (Henrys and the Headshop) and Elinchron (Vistek) The rest of the offerings are chinese and korean stuff that looks of questionable quality.

It's almost easier to get PCB products serviced than the bowens and you won't get half the hassle. Vistek are easy to deal with and have competative pricing. Henry's seem to want to badmouth competition so i will not deal there.

The biggest deal is the fact that much of the PCB merchandise is made in the US. I'm a canadian but US built trumps offshore.

PCB's warranty people in Canada are very approachable and offered some very helpful comments.



Apr 24, 2010 at 03:31 AM
richardj7
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p.8 #18 · p.8 #18 · Einstein 640 review, part 1


We have prices in Montreal at Photo Service and L.L. Lozeau that are often cheaper than Vistek by a few dollars. We can rent pro equipment at both stores. There are other stores such as Dumoulin, Royal Photo, Simon's Camera that sometimes have price variances that make it worthwhile to shop there. The reason why some people from Quebec may buy from Vistek is that they do not pay Quebec sales tax, only Federal (GST) sales tax, and shipping is often "free".

I have tax numbers, so buying from Vistek is more expensive for me, than locally.

As far as B&H, there is a price difference between local stores and prices paid at B&H. Case in point, if I wanted to buy a 5DII, I would save approximately $400, including shipping from B&H to Montreal, even using World Wide Saver. Include the battery grip, and it comes close to $600 savings. With an even canadian to us dollar, it makes sense to buy from B&H. I like to encourage local dealers, however when the price difference tops $75.00, I buy from B&H.

I am a main poster to Quebec Photos (www.quebecphotos.ca), a french-speaking photography forum, the biggest in Quebec (and in Canada), and people, including myself, speak highly of PCB equipment. There are quite a few owners of Alien Bees, and everyone is highly satisfied with the products. We're a few waiting our turn on the list to get the Einstein. The first one that gets it will organize a get-together to try it out, and comment on it to others.



Apr 24, 2010 at 12:05 PM
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