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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 13 Aug 2015 (Thursday) 09:50
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Buying first "better" strobes, need advice

 
digitalduck
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Aug 13, 2015 09:50 |  #1

Hi everyone,

Ok, so i am going to buy my first better quality strobes to be versatile in my portrait work. So far I only have a budget flashpoint monolight, the 300w.

http://www.adorama.com​/fplfbf300.html (external link)

Its actually served me pretty well. Either its met my needs or I just don't see the difference in the quality of light (yet)

So i am looking to get one or two AB 800's. The reason I say two is because i just got my first white seamless and although I do have two speedlights to light the back, that leaves me with just my monmolight to light the subject. I would like to replace that flashpoint and not be left in a situation where I find myself wanting one more light. On the other hand,. perhaps someone would recommend keeping the Flashpoint and buying one AB?

One more questions would be on the subject of modifiers. This could be a post of its own, but I would like to get a modifier forthe AB. Right now i only have a 60" shoot through and a 24x36 "Apollo like" softbox. Since it doesn't require a speedring I know i would be getting into a different style or setup. I would like a larger softbox or even an octobox.

When it comes to brand, since i would have the AB's would it matter brand as much on the modifier? Thanks for the advice!




  
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MalVeauX
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Aug 13, 2015 10:04 |  #2

Heya,

Could you describe what exactly you need from the light? Basically what you expect to gain from a new strobe? It's also a 320ws light. Granted, it's going to have better, more consistent temperatures, better recycle time (1 sec), etc. They're good lights, sure, but I'm wondering if you spending $300 for this, is actually going to be a significant improvement over what you have for what you're doing. Especially since you're wanting several lights. While the Flashpoint 300 may not be the beesknee's, it's an effective light with good output for it's cost ($99!). As long as it's reliable and has good consistent temperature, I would keep it and just add another one or two to your setup, so that everything is pretty much the same, and you can then take speedlites out of the setup and work with an all wired, strobe setup, with the same temperatures, etc.

The alternative is, are you interested in becoming portable, versus always wired into the studio?

As for modifiers, it comes down to what you want. If you are looking to go bigger, I would point you towards the Fotodioz EZPro series octas. They are awesome for the cost and produce soft light. I love the 48". But I also really enjoy using a 60" umbrella as a bounce source a ton too. Different tools, it's all about what you plan to do. Also, bigger modifiers (like a big softbox) means bigger heavy duty light stands. Keep that in mind.

AB's are common enough that everyone has a mount for them basically. If you go that route.

Very best,


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digitalduck
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Post edited over 4 years ago by digitalduck. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 13, 2015 10:24 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #3

Thank you MalV, that's a great response! Guessing I’m not sure what I'm hoping to “gain” from it, just ease of use and overall quality. So that may not be a good enough reason. However, i would like to be doing more work outside where I am doing more shots with balanced ambient (sunset, low light) and then adding strobe(s) Granted I don't have the work lined up, but would like to take wife out and practice etc. Having said that.. I know i have a some work a few months down the road (engagement/wedding) but nothing scheduled. I guess this is more for me. When I bought the flashpoint i knew it was budget and i was using it as a learning experience. Now that I have a better grasp on things, i would like to be able ot access the strobe without having to tear open the Velcro etc. However, I know i can get a speed ring for the FP and go that route as well. Then just have to make sure I get the modifier to match the speeding..

I believe this is the speed ring: http://www.amazon.com …oint-Budget/dp/B00K7QQGSW (external link)

Curious how that affects the modifier if i go the speed ring route Was also looking at maybe a beauty dish, to get into practice using that modifier.




  
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MalVeauX
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Aug 13, 2015 11:21 |  #4

digitalduck wrote in post #17667398 (external link)
Thank you MalV, that's a great response! Guessing I’m not sure what I'm hoping to “gain” from it, just ease of use and overall quality. So that may not be a good enough reason. However, i would like to be doing more work outside where I am doing more shots with balanced ambient (sunset, low light) and then adding strobe(s) Granted I don't have the work lined up, but would like to take wife out and practice etc. Having said that.. I know i have a some work a few months down the road (engagement/wedding) but nothing scheduled. I guess this is more for me. When I bought the flashpoint i knew it was budget and i was using it as a learning experience. Now that I have a better grasp on things, i would like to be able ot access the strobe without having to tear open the Velcro etc. However, I know i can get a speed ring for the FP and go that route as well. Then just have to make sure I get the modifier to match the speeding..

I believe this is the speed ring: http://www.amazon.com …oint-Budget/dp/B00K7QQGSW (external link)

Curious how that affects the modifier if i go the speed ring route Was also looking at maybe a beauty dish, to get into practice using that modifier.

Heya,

If you're wanting to expand to outdoor, you will want to consider more portable options that are good in studio and good on battery. This will increase your budget ceilling, but it will help you to avoid creeping gear, where you buy cheaper things over and over and ultimately end up with something more expensive and good, but you bought a lot on the way to it, and ultimately spent more money than had you simply went for what you wanted the first time.

Granted, you can get battery packs for AlienBees. So that is an option.

Personally, I'd start pointing you towards a Godox AD360 package (with battery and all that). Does HSS (you'll want that for outside).

Very best,


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digitalduck
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Aug 13, 2015 11:27 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #5

Thanks MalVeaux... I forgot to mention that i do have a Vegabond Mini which will allow for outdoor.. I use it all time, its fantastic! Does that change your recommendation at all :)




  
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MalVeauX
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Aug 13, 2015 12:15 |  #6

digitalduck wrote in post #17667460 (external link)
Thanks MalVeaux... I forgot to mention that i do have a Vegabond Mini which will allow for outdoor.. I use it all time, its fantastic! Does that change your recommendation at all :)

Heya,

Sure, since you already have that you should be set for an alien bee strobe like the AB800 and go portable.

Then again, I would really suggest saving a bit more and just going for an AB1600 if you plan on going outside with it.

And just budget around the AB800's for indoors.

Again that's if you stick with alien bee's (they're great for the money).

Very best,


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digitalduck
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Aug 13, 2015 14:43 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #7

MalVeaux, I just thought of something... I know i cant with my current FP monolight and cant with the AB800's but what about HSS? Am I thinking too much that I would want that in a strobe, or should i be considering my options which allow HSS too.




  
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MalVeauX
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Post edited over 4 years ago by MalVeauX. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 13, 2015 15:08 |  #8

digitalduck wrote in post #17667724 (external link)
MalVeaux, I just thought of something... I know i cant with my current FP monolight and cant with the AB800's but what about HSS? Am I thinking too much that I would want that in a strobe, or should i be considering my options which allow HSS too.

I would want HSS as an option in a strobe that I planned on taking outside. Indoors? Not so much. But outside, I absolutely would want it. I find it a lot easier to deal with HSS than to deal with ND filters when it comes to knocking down ambient light in day light and then exposing/fill with strobe/flash. Plus, it takes a more powerful strobe/flash to do that well anyways, and it takes a very powerful one to completely over power the sun (which is really cool, and I would try to have that as an option if you're really planning on taking the light outside). For that, I would push towards the 600ws as a good starting point to cover it all.

That said, I don't use Alien Bee's, but maybe someone else can chime in. I think you can sync them with faster shutter speeds with various setups. I'm sure someone can clarify this point.

Overall the best thing I can suggest is to basically save up and get a good setup that does everything plus future features you don't know you even need yet, and only buy once, rather than buying twice. I learned the hard way. I should have listened to the knowledge pool here in the Lighting board who guided me when I started my light journey and I would have saved a lot of money just getting it right the first time. It costs more initially, but it costs less in the long run! (This means a good stand with boom capability and counter weight, able to hold good weight on the boom; good big modifiers; and if you want, even a light meter would be a nice thing to have).

Very best,


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Aug 14, 2015 04:44 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #9

Just my .02 I think for a little more $$, you should consider a Einstein. And my reason my reason is that it offers a lot more options The einsteins is a little more power than the AB800 which should give more leeway when shooting outside and inside. And since it is from the same pedigree as the AB800. it also uses the same modifiers as the AB800.

The other way is to borrow a friends 'other' flash equipment and try it out. PCB equipment is fairly common in the USA, so if you have a friend to let you use it for a week or 12




  
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Aug 14, 2015 10:29 |  #10

Keep in mind that the Einstein and AB strobes are somewhat complementary to each other; the Einstein has longer flash duration at higher power, while the AB units have shorter duration at higher power. If this affects your use (like if you are considering stopping action with your strobe in bright ambient conditions) you might want to think carefully about which strobe is appropriate.


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digitalduck
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Post edited over 4 years ago by digitalduck.
     
Aug 14, 2015 12:11 as a reply to  @ GregDunn's post |  #11

Wow, thanks for all of the responses guys.. to tell you the truth I am really liking the idea of the Rovelight RL 600 (MalVeaux got me hooked) I like the idea of using HSS.. I really don’t get an opportunity to use HSS outside but would love to. Either that or an AB800 but for the difference it seems to pay to look at something like the Rovelight…

Also, If im looking at something like the Rovelight, (if) I already have a Vagebond mini, do i have any other choices for something which provides HSS like the Rovelight or is that my cheapest (mid level) strobe while still allowing that functionality.




  
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Buying first "better" strobes, need advice
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