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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 17 Apr 2012 (Tuesday) 12:15
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Alien Bees B800s for Oudoor Use

 
snyder17315
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Apr 17, 2012 12:15 |  #1

I've been eyeing a pair of B800s (along with a Vagabond Mini) and I was looking for feedback about using them for outdoor shoots. Do you find them powerful enough to overpower the sun? Any quirks or big reasons to not get them? Something else you'd recommend around the same price range (i.e. $600/pr)

I'm also looking at their CyberSync system. What are the thoughts on that? Thanks!


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Village_Idiot
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Apr 17, 2012 12:19 |  #2

snyder17315 wrote in post #14281299 (external link)
I've been eyeing a pair of B800s (along with a Vagabond Mini) and I was looking for feedback about using them for outdoor shoots. Do you find them powerful enough to overpower the sun? Any quirks or big reasons to not get them? Something else you'd recommend around the same price range (i.e. $600/pr)

I'm also looking at their CyberSync system. What are the thoughts on that? Thanks!

If you can have the lights right up in the subjects face, then they can work. If you need to light groups of people and you're using modifiers, they may be a little week. I found this to be the case with the B800 I owned. It just couldn't provide the power once I had to start moving it back from the subject.


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gonzogolf
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Apr 17, 2012 12:21 |  #3

Village_Idiot wrote in post #14281317 (external link)
If you can have the lights right up in the subjects face, then they can work. If you need to light groups of people and you're using modifiers, they may be a little week. I found this to be the case with the B800 I owned. It just couldn't provide the power once I had to start moving it back from the subject.

This.

It also depends on your definition of overpowering the sun. If you want to significantly darken the sun, and use a softbox then no.




  
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snyder17315
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Apr 17, 2012 12:22 |  #4

Sounds like I'll need to look elsewhere.

What do you guys recommend for a two light kit with battery for less than a grand that will overpower the sun with softboxes?


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gonzogolf
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Apr 17, 2012 12:28 |  #5

snyder17315 wrote in post #14281327 (external link)
Sounds like I'll need to look elsewhere.

What do you guys recommend for a two light kit with battery for less than a grand that will overpower the sun with softboxes?

Ab1600's would be the next logical step. Depending on your modifier, with the silver plm's or a high output BD you can squeeze a little extra out of them.




  
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drvnbysound
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Apr 17, 2012 13:01 |  #6

snyder17315 wrote in post #14281299 (external link)
I'm also looking at their CyberSync system. What are the thoughts on that? Thanks!

I have and use the CST and CSRB's (full manual) with speedlites. They are well built and I have yet to have a miss-fire. If you are going with AB strobes, it would make sense for you to possibly go with the CyberCommander and the plus (+) model receivers which would allow you to control power as well.


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gonzogolf
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Apr 17, 2012 13:44 |  #7

I love the cybersync's. They simply never miss.




  
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MrScott
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Apr 17, 2012 14:01 |  #8

The AB website has a pretty cool light calculator that will help get you some details...
http://www.paulcbuff.c​om/output.php (external link)
For example an AB 800 with the following mods will get the following readings @ 10'.

7" reflector = ~f11
8.5" = ~f16 (match sunny 16)
11" = f22 +6/10
2' x 3' SB = f5.6 +7/10
This is double diffusion, plenty of people shoot with single or no diffusion outside...
22" Silver BD = f8 +4/10
With the diffusion sock removed, +3 f-stops = f22 +4/10




  
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bdillon
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Apr 17, 2012 14:40 |  #9

snyder17315 wrote in post #14281299 (external link)
I've been eyeing a pair of B800s (along with a Vagabond Mini) and I was looking for feedback about using them for outdoor shoots. Do you find them powerful enough to overpower the sun? Any quirks or big reasons to not get them? Something else you'd recommend around the same price range (i.e. $600/pr)

I'm also looking at their CyberSync system. What are the thoughts on that? Thanks!

Totally depends on your definition of overpower, what type of modifier you want to use, type of shots and time of day. A B800 with a silver beauty dish or a extreme silver PLM can do ok in some situations. If you want the sky to go dark, then I wouldn't advice a B800. A B1600 would be better. I use a WL X3200 (which is 1330 watt seconds) and have ran out of power using larger softboxes.

Here's a tip that will help. Even though your sync speed on your camera may only be 1/200 or 1/250, I can push it MUCH further than that outdoors, as long as anything lit by my strobe stays out of the portion of the frame where the shutter banding will be.

I was shooting at 1/400 and 1/500 using flash this weekend with no banding.

You could get a WL x3200, a B800 and a VML for under a grand.




  
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drvnbysound
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Apr 17, 2012 14:58 |  #10

bdillon wrote in post #14281999 (external link)
as long as anything lit by my strobe stays out of the portion of the frame where the shutter banding will be.

Reminded me of something crazy, though also creative, that I saw David Ziser mention quite a while back... if it's really a situation that you can't get around... turn your camera upside down. The shutter banding would now be the upper portion of the image, which is usually the sky - probably not lit by the strobe :)


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Village_Idiot
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Apr 17, 2012 15:35 |  #11

drvnbysound wrote in post #14282107 (external link)
Reminded me of something crazy, though also creative, that I saw David Ziser mention quite a while back... if it's really a situation that you can't get around... turn your camera upside down. The shutter banding would now be the upper portion of the image, which is usually the sky - probably not lit by the strobe :)

This is a good trick. If you shoot wide as well, that'll get you some more room to crop the band out. If you OP has the cash for pocket wizards, he can play with the hyper sync features.

http://www.adorama.com​/FP2420.html (external link)
Adorama has their own brand of monolights that are cheap and from what I've read from people that use them, good. A 1200w/s monolight is $400. With two of these though, you'll most likely need a battery for each and recycle at full power will be slow. It's something you have to deal with though if your plan is to over power the sun.

The next option is to purchase something like an older Nikon (D40, maybe D50 and D70) that has a hybrid shutter that will let you go well above the rated x sync without the banding that occurs from a normal camera. With a good trigger you can shoot upwards of the camera's max shutter with an off camera flash and get a totally exposed shot as if you were under the camera's x sync.


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snyder17315
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Apr 17, 2012 15:40 |  #12

I should probably be a little more specific when I reference "overpowering the sun". I don't plan on shooting at high-noon, in direct sunlight, in the middle of July :)

Realistic scenario - shooting in the park, in shade, mid-day and would need to balance ambient and flash accordingly.


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bobbyz
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Apr 17, 2012 16:47 |  #13

I used to use AB800 then got Einsteins. Even now when using modifier like softbox and single person full length shots I don't think I have enough power to over power sun in afternoon. I would have liked 1200ws or so.

One thing you can do is get miniTT1 and use plus II and then hypersync on 1.3x or 1.6x crop. That will let you shoot at 1/500 vs 1/200 or so with FF and regular triggers. Gets you a stop.


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bdillon
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Apr 17, 2012 18:13 |  #14

drvnbysound wrote in post #14282107 (external link)
Reminded me of something crazy, though also creative, that I saw David Ziser mention quite a while back... if it's really a situation that you can't get around... turn your camera upside down. The shutter banding would now be the upper portion of the image, which is usually the sky - probably not lit by the strobe :)

Yup, done that one too! That one never occured to me until I read an article by Daivd Hobby where he mentions doing that......then I was like "duh"!

I was shooting with a beauty dish in portrait orientation. As long as I kept my model and light in check you could see no banding. Shooting at 1/400 was a piece of cake. Shooting at 1/500 caused the flash exposure to drop dramatically and increasing the power really didn't do much......I'm sure there's an explanation for this.
If I remember right, this one was ISO 50 1/400, f/2.0 with a 3 stop ND filter on my 85 1.2L. Full crop, no banding.


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tim
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Apr 17, 2012 18:32 |  #15

I use one bare AB800 and it can often often provide a similar amount of light as the sun, when lighting a moderate area - say up to eight people spread out a little. On really bright days or with the sun low in the sky it struggles to have enough power, but can often be recovered in the raw converter.

I would rather have an AB1600 or maybe an Einstein. You would be better with a vagabond unit per light, otherwise recharge time will be pretty slow. With an AB800 and a single vagabond recharge can take a couple of seconds when shooting at full power.


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