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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 13 May 2014 (Tuesday) 14:47
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Monolights for backpacking

 
J_O_S_H_U_A
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May 13, 2014 14:47 |  #1

Can you guys share your experiences with small, powerful monolights?

The goal here to to have as much power as possible (in the 600ws range) with as little weight/gear as possible, but still being able to get about 2-300 pops at full power.

Keep in mind, this is for applications deep into the wilderness for multiple day trips so recharging is not an option and any package would have to weigh 15lbs or less because it has to be carried in along with water and backpacking gear.

A few hours of research has landed me on the Alienbee 1600 + vagabond mini lithim combo wich gives me 650ws at about 7lbs without a modifier.

Multiple speedlights are not an option because I want modifier options without needing a ridiculous amount of adapters, small parts, and batteries to worry about while out there. It only slows down the process and there is an increased risk of failure when relying on so many parts.

Thanks!


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klaptastic
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May 13, 2014 17:22 |  #2

Just to clarify, ABs with VBMLs aren't monolights. :D

But you're right, for that amount of power, they're probably your best option without spending a ton. Other than that, you're looking at either something like the Lencarta Safari/Jinbei types (there are many brands these fall under, but they have less power than the AB setup) OR something like the Profoto B1, which is extremely expensive.

Honestly, the Profoto B1 is designed for exactly the kind of thing you're doing - location shoots where more power is needed with less hassle and weight. I have one, I love it, it is an amazing light... but I probably wouldn't bring it backpacking, even at only 6.6lbs... UNLESS the whole goal of my trip was for people photography in these remote locations, and I was already bringing my 5D3 and nice lenses. If I were going more for the adventure, I'd just bring my RX1 or a compact with a digital shutter, and a couple speedlights capable of syncing at super high shutter speeds.




  
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agv8or
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May 13, 2014 17:47 |  #3

klaptastic wrote in post #16902417 (external link)
. Just to clarify, ABs with VBMLs aren't monolights. :D

But you're right, for that amount of power, they're probably your best option without spending a ton. Other than that, you're looking at either something like the Lencarta Safari/Jinbei types (there are many brands these fall under, but they have less power than the AB setup) OR something like the Profoto B1, which is extremely expensive.

Honestly, the Profoto B1 is designed for exactly the kind of thing you're doing - location shoots where more power is needed with less hassle and weight. I have one, I love it, it is an amazing light... but I probably wouldn't bring it backpacking, even at only 6.6lbs... UNLESS the whole goal of my trip was for people photography in these remote locations, and I was already bringing my 5D3 and nice lenses. If I were going more for the adventure, I'd just bring my RX1 or a compact with a digital shutter, and a couple speedlights capable of syncing at super high shutter speeds.

Maybe you can clarify what they are if they are not monolights? I seem to be confused but that is nothing new as I seem to be confused a lot lately.

To the OP....I like the AB 1600 and VLM idea with maybe a spare battery or two. Cheetah Lights (CL 360) are another option.


Rand

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pyrojim
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May 13, 2014 18:03 |  #4

J_O_S_H_U_A wrote in post #16902083 (external link)
Can you guys share your experiences with small, powerful monolights?

The goal here to to have as much power as possible (in the 600ws range) with as little weight/gear as possible, but still being able to get about 2-300 pops at full power.

Keep in mind, this is for applications deep into the wilderness for multiple day trips so recharging is not an option and any package would have to weigh 15lbs or less because it has to be carried in along with water and backpacking gear.

A few hours of research has landed me on the Alienbee 1600 + vagabond mini lithim combo wich gives me 650ws at about 7lbs without a modifier.

Multiple speedlights are not an option because I want modifier options without needing a ridiculous amount of adapters, small parts, and batteries to worry about while out there. It only slows down the process and there is an increased risk of failure when relying on so many parts.

Thanks!

What exactly do you intend on shooting?


If you are going to be outside, it sounds like a fully integrated radio triggering system is going to be your only option: IE, the canon STert 3 or what ever its called, the paul c buff cyber commander, the cheetah stand trigger, or the profoto air.

OBVIOUSLY using any of these triggers means using THAT particular system...

You are asking for a lot, which sucks. The new paul c buff vabagond extreme with an Einstein may be a good option. As could be the profoto B1, provided you bring along a few extra batteries.... lord knows neither of these option are going to be light-weight.


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pyrojim
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May 13, 2014 18:04 as a reply to  @ pyrojim's post |  #5

There is that new fangled cheetalight CL600 coming out too.

But the profoto B1 sounds like the best option if you want to minimize the amount of overall crap you have to carry.


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BrickR
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May 13, 2014 18:08 |  #6

Profoto is a good place to start. Quality stuff.
Also, any pack/head system if you look into, check the pack weight, they can get up in weight pretty quickly.

ABs are pretty light and the VM battery isn't very heavy. The VM holds a charge for a long time.

Cheetah CL360 will be about the size of a speedlight on steroids with a battery pack that will go all day long pushing just over 300Ws per unit (very small packing space for the power you get).


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dmward
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May 13, 2014 23:01 |  #7

Given your weight and backpacking requirement I'd take two or three CL-360s. Along with battery packs for each and then extra batteries to slide onto the packs. They are great with Westcott Apollo type modifiers as well as several good modifiers that fit onto the head directly. If you want to use other modifiers, the Cheetah S bracket is a great, light weight option.


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J_O_S_H_U_A
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May 15, 2014 07:45 |  #8

Hey all thanks for the insight!

I dont think that the cheetalight is going to be enough power or have the flexibility with modifiers, but the Profoto B1 looks very promising! Price really isnt an issue because I'm asking for a very specific setup with rigid requirements. This has far less moving parts than the AB setup and that is attractive.. the only thing that scares me the the non-user replaceable flashtube. That may be a dealbreaker, but I have got some research to do.

Thanks again all!


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J_O_S_H_U_A
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May 15, 2014 07:47 |  #9

Oh and for the record, I am also wondering how AB's and a VLM are NOT monolights?

They are not a pack/heads because the Ab's are all self contained. The VLM is just a power source, but it is not required at all if you can plug into a wall.

They are absolutely monolights.


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pyrojim
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May 15, 2014 12:41 |  #10

J_O_S_H_U_A wrote in post #16905854 (external link)
Hey all thanks for the insight!

I dont think that the cheetalight is going to be enough power or have the flexibility with modifiers, but the Profoto B1 looks very promising! Price really isnt an issue because I'm asking for a very specific setup with rigid requirements. This has far less moving parts than the AB setup and that is attractive.. the only thing that scares me the the non-user replaceable flashtube. That may be a dealbreaker, but I have got some research to do.

Thanks again all!

http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …00_replacement_​flash.html (external link)

I won't say you should do your home work.... but.... there is not ANY company that wants to be taken seriously that PREVENTS the end user from changing the flashtube...

I think that you would be wise to relax any restrictions on modifiers that you may have in the field. shooting with a standard reflector is often wonderful... and its lightweight!


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alessandro2009
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May 15, 2014 12:52 |  #11

2 x Cheetah Light CL-360
That combined should give almost 600-650W.
A lot less weight.
More autonomy at full power.
Better more unit with interchangeable parts that only one, that can be used as well in case of backup.

Note:
It isn't a strobe.




  
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pyrojim
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May 15, 2014 13:40 as a reply to  @ alessandro2009's post |  #12

Its almost seeming like your best option is a yet-unreleased CheetahStand CL600!

although the cheetah light 360's could be an option too, you just need a cross bar thingey(the scientific term...) to put both of them on a light stand together...

If I do any regular field shooting this summer, I'm definitely gving a good hard look to the CL600. The speedotron 1500, while awesome, is three times the weight....and price......and power....


PhaseOne H25
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J_O_S_H_U_A
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May 17, 2014 22:26 |  #13

Are you saying that Profoto does not want to be taken seriously? I'm confused.

pyrojim wrote in post #16906533 (external link)
http://www.bhphotovide​o.com …00_replacement_​flash.html (external link)

I won't say you should do your home work.... but.... there is not ANY company that wants to be taken seriously that PREVENTS the end user from changing the flashtube...

I think that you would be wise to relax any restrictions on modifiers that you may have in the field. shooting with a standard reflector is often wonderful... and its lightweight!


www.instagram.com/_j_o​_s_h_u_a_ (external link) www.atomiccanary.com (external link) http://joshuaorozco.co​m (external link)

  
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dmward
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May 18, 2014 16:03 |  #14

Based on weight, the CL-360 offers more Ws per pound that other options. Its also small and easy to carry and pack. B1 is a unique piece of equipment, but portable only in the sense that it can be carried to a location. Not small and light.

The CL-600 appears to be a nice light, but the whole kit, including power pack is not a light weight option either. As mentioned in another thread, its designed along the lines of the Elinchrom Quadra. i.e. small head, with all the weight in the control module and battery which can be put on the ground or carried via a shoulder strap.

It really comes down to what you're willing to carry in terms of weight. The battery life, in full power pops, suggests that they will add considerably to total weight with the B1s as well.


David | Sharing my Insights, Knowledge & Experience (external link) | dmwfotos website (external link)

  
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pyrojim
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May 18, 2014 20:12 |  #15

J_O_S_H_U_A wrote in post #16911953 (external link)
Are you saying that Profoto does not want to be taken seriously? I'm confused.

No... Also note that you said the B1 doesn't have a user replaceable flash tube??? But....it does...


If you only needed one light, the B1 and 3 batteries could work well!


PhaseOne H25
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Monolights for backpacking
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