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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 26 Aug 2010 (Thursday) 22:50
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true vrs effective watt seconds

 
KenVP
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Aug 26, 2010 22:50 |  #1

Can someone explain to me the meaning or difference between producing true wattseconds and effective wattseconds of power with strobes. I am researching both Alien Bees http://www.alienbees.c​om/flash.html (external link) and Calumet Genesis more so the 400 2 light kit (400 watt seconds)http://www.calumetphot​o.com/item/CF0514K1/ (external link)

The alien bees produce effectice watt seconds where the genesis produce watt seconds whats the difference??????




  
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shooterman
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Aug 26, 2010 22:56 |  #2

"Effective watt second" is a marketing gimmick term that Paul C. Buff came up with to make it sound like his lights put out more power than they actually do. It's total nonsense and BS.


Randy
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KenVP
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Aug 26, 2010 23:20 as a reply to  @ shooterman's post |  #3

So thats all there is to it? i would have to think theres more to it then that in order to be marketing such?




  
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toxic
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Aug 26, 2010 23:25 |  #4

It's marketing.




  
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sigma ­ pi
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Aug 26, 2010 23:37 |  #5

KenVP wrote in post #10797564 (external link)
So thats all there is to it? i would have to think theres more to it then that in order to be marketing such?

Yup and thats what he is going for :D


Don't try to confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up.
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SkipD
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Aug 26, 2010 23:43 |  #6

shooterman wrote in post #10797460 (external link)
"Effective watt second" is a marketing gimmick term that Paul C. Buff came up with to make it sound like his lights put out more power than they actually do. It's total nonsense and BS.

While this is true, his web sites totally define the differences between the two terms and show measurements of what his products do.


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Aug 27, 2010 00:34 |  #7

SkipD wrote in post #10797681 (external link)
While this is true, his web sites totally define the differences between the two terms and show measurements of what his products do.

That's what Buff finally began to do after taking a ton of flack from others about inflated claims of effective watt seconds. The inflated claims originated with Buff way back with the White Lightning line of flashes. So while the web site explains 'effective watt seconds' in mouse sized text, he continues to name the flash models made by his company with inflated numbers in the names...'AB400' is really a 160 w-s unit.


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mickeyjuice
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Aug 27, 2010 04:54 |  #8
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KenVP wrote in post #10797422 (external link)
Can someone explain to me the meaning or difference between producing true wattseconds and effective wattseconds of power with strobes.

Very simple - "effective watt seconds" is a measurement that you make up, and thus assign any number to that you like. It's a "marketing variable".


cheers, juice (Canon shooter, Elinchrom lighter, but pretty much agnostic on brands.)

  
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tim
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Aug 27, 2010 06:56 |  #9

http://www.alienbees.c​om/glossary.html (external link)


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TMR ­ Design
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Aug 27, 2010 09:27 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #10

PCB should just stop that nonsense. Every day of the week someone asks about true vs. effective. It just complicates the entire matter and confuses the hell out of people. Additionally, it fools people into misunderstanding and thinking they're getting more power than they really are.

Paul is the only person in the universe to create or use that terminology and it means nothing in the real world.

Forget you ever saw the word 'effective' and read the actual specs.


Robert
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kenyee
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Aug 27, 2010 09:38 |  #11

Way back, it was his attempt to point out that pack/head systems have some power loss through the long cables from threads I dug up on this.
In reality, the numbers between manufacturers isn't really comparable...it's just a rough guide. The power number is what they take at the input and everyone converts stuff w/ different power loss by the time it gets to the flash tube. Even after the flash tube, the reflector designs are different so you can't even compare that.

Want to do an apples to apples (or as close as you can get) comparison? Get a light meter. Stick the different strobes in the same softbox after swapping speedrings. Fire them at full power. Compare meter readings...


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TMR ­ Design
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Aug 27, 2010 09:40 as a reply to  @ kenyee's post |  #12

Yes, of course. I understand that. But that was 'way back' and he must realize that having his own spec is absurd at this point.

At this point it's marketing and Paul knows that. There isn't a single reason to continue using a spec that no one else uses and if he truly wants to show differences or make comparisons he should do with with a meter and present real world numbers that people can relate to and understand.


Robert
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KenVP
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Aug 27, 2010 09:42 |  #13

kenyee wrote in post #10799476 (external link)
Way back, it was his attempt to point out that pack/head systems have some power loss through the long cables from threads I dug up on this.
In reality, the numbers between manufacturers isn't really comparable...it's just a rough guide. The power number is what they take at the input and everyone converts stuff w/ different power loss by the time it gets to the flash tube. Even after the flash tube, the reflector designs are different so you can't even compare that.

Want to do an apples to apples (or as close as you can get) comparison? Get a light meter. Stick the different strobes in the same softbox after swapping speedrings. Fire them at full power. Compare meter readings...

Thats a great idea for people who have money to spare, for the rest of us in the real world we rather know what were getting up front. It should be the companies job to provide accurate specs on their items.




  
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KenVP
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Aug 27, 2010 09:49 |  #14

Per AB site;

Effective Wattseconds: This terminology was originally used in 1985 by Inverse Square Systems in conjunction with their "Stroblox" series of high-efficiency self-contained flash units. The term was created because most manufacturers of flash equipment (as well as the press) insisted on the incorrect use of the term "wattsecond" as a definition of light output (in such wrong statements as "This system puts out 800ws of light"). Since the Stroblox system produced on the order of twice the amount of light per wattsecond as did the average "box-and-cable" system at the time, Inverse Square Systems chose to employ the rating "2400 effective wattseconds" as a means of saying "our system puts out an amount of light equal to the average 2400ws system,” even though the actual stored energy of the Stroblox 2400 was only 1200 joules or wattseconds. Indeed, this terminology gave the user a more clear idea of what to expect from the unit than he would have gotten had they simply stated that it was a 1200ws system. We publish wattseconds, effective wattseconds, and Lumenseconds for our flash units, with Lumenseconds being the most valuable method of power comparison.

Lumensecond: A Lumen is a unit of measurement of light intensity emitted by a light source. A Lumensecond refers to a light of 1 Lumen intensity for a duration of one second, or the equivalent, such as 2 Lumens for half a second. The absolute amount of light emitted each time a flash system is fired is correctly specified in lumenseconds. The number of lumenseconds produced by a particular flash system depends on the efficacy, how effectively the system turns electrical energy into light energy, or wattseconds into lumenseconds. The efficacies of commercial photoflash systems typically fall within the range of from 15 to 50 lumenseconds per wattsecond. What this implies is quite simple: a highly efficient 300ws system may produce as much actual light energy as an inefficient system rated at 1000ws.

Wattseconds (Joules): A wattsecond is a measure of electrical energy used in flash systems to indicate the amount of energy in the flash capacitors. Since this is only a measure of electrical energy, and does not take into account considerations such as flashtube efficacy, or flash capacitor/flashtube energy transfer efficiency, it is not necessarily a good number to comparatively assess light output. See also effective wattseconds and Lumenseconds.

Sounds like what everyone else is saying,it just another way to mess people up, I agree with the other postings. have a STANDARD term across the board. Thanks everyone who responded, atleast now I know what the heck im looking at......




  
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TMR ­ Design
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Aug 27, 2010 09:56 as a reply to  @ KenVP's post |  #15

Hi Ken,

Regarding the fact that no two strobes with the same rating will output the same amount of light... TRUE.

BUT........ if you take two 600 Watt second strobes from different manufacturers you may very well see a difference in output but if all things (or as many things as possible) are equal then the numbers will be fairly close and unless that small differential is going to make or break the purchase then you can use that comparison as a rough guide.

If you were to mistakenly compare one strobes rated Watt seconds with the PCB effective you'd be way off and possibly be making a huge mistake.


Robert
RobertMitchellPhotogra​phy (external link)

  
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true vrs effective watt seconds
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