Need thoughts and help on buying strobes
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Old 02-25-2008   #1
Alpaca
 
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Default Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

Hi. I am looking on purchasing some strobes (1-3) or a kit for my home studio and also for location work. They will be used for single person portraits up to wedding group portraits at the church or on the beach.
I have experience with the Visatek 1200 Kit and Speedo's 202VF from a while back and thought that I'd never use anything but Speedo's. Price is a factor for now and cannot afford $2400 for two lights (Elinchrome Digital Style 600RX Kit). I like the Speedo Force 10 lights, the Elinchrome lights and was also pointed to the Alien Bee Kits by a friend who said they were supposed to be good as well.

My question is.. Does anyone have any helpful pros and cons with the Alien Bees and experience with the high end lights to give me a better comparison. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada and I don't have access to in stock retail or rental equipment to try anything out and compare. I will be ordering online or through the local camera shops blindly and want to make the best purchase possible with equipment that gives the most flexibility for the price.

Any thoughts, advice or info on additional lighting kit options would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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Old 02-26-2008   #2
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

I don't own any of the lights you mentioned, but I can tell you that I've heard lots of high praise for Alien Bees - especially their customer service.

Try here: Paul C. Buff FORUM HOME :: Index for info from current owners of Bees.


Bob S.
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Old 02-26-2008   #3
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

I don;t have AB's, but again, lots of praise here on forums for them, as well as other forums I belong to.
I recently got a kit from OPUS for home protraits. they work well, but would not be large enough power for the on location wedding shots you are talking about
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Old 02-26-2008   #4
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

Thanks for the replies. Alien Bee's have been talked about allot, that's part of the reason why their in my short list. I'm stuck here and want to make the right choice for product/flexibility/cost in that order. It's always a hard decision when putting out money for new equipment. I went through this when I was upgrading my 10D to the 1DMark3, that was a hard decision.
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Old 02-26-2008   #5
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

What are your power expectations and what price range are trying to stay in?? You say that you are considering AB's, what size would these be and how many?? Thanks
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Old 02-26-2008   #6
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

At the moment the price range is not high, somewhere in the $1000-1500 range. Size would be the best for what I need for now (600-1200ws). Maybe 1 or 2 -1000 or 1200ws,
and 1 or 2 - 600ws. Really it's for portraits/groups with a good size softbox or large umbrella. I can use my 580EX speedlight in place of a unit if need be.
I shoot a few full body, white backdrop studio shots for close crop annual reports images once or twice a year, so power and consistent color temp is important.
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Old 02-26-2008   #7
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

Quote:
Originally Posted by rshunk View Post
I don't own any of the lights you mentioned, but I can tell you that I've heard lots of high praise for Alien Bees - especially their customer service.

Try here: Paul C. Buff FORUM HOME :: Index for info from current owners of Bees.


Bob S.
I agree! I have several of the Alien Bee lights and love them. I have the AB800, AB400 with a 20 degree grid to light my background, and also the ABR800 with both moon units. I also have the Vagabond II for when I take my Bees out of the studio and need a power source outdoors. You will never regret purchasing. And yes, the customer service is excellent.
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Old 02-26-2008   #8
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

Check out the Bowens Gemini Kits at Calumet. They have a 500/500 Travel Kit at around US $1600 with the battery pack. If you don't need the battery now, drop about $500 off the price of the kit. Includes the case too. This is not the digital model, but the AB isn't either. Just something to compare before you take the plunge.

t
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Old 02-26-2008   #9
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

Tough call with your requirements.

AB's work for most of what you ask for, except for large boxes. Their method of attaching light modifiers isn't the best for big boxes... speedotron and elinchrome work better.

I would say Speedotron until you mentioned beach.... If this is a large part of what you are doing, then ABs might be better. The lower price means you won't cry as much when it gets sand/ salt damage.

Be careful when order, I think they only ship UPS, and because of outragous brokerage charges the cheaper method costs more then the more expensive method.

Glenn
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Old 02-26-2008   #10
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Default Re: Need thoughts and help on buying strobes

Thanks for your info. How well does the Vegabond work? Do you need one pack for each or does it power multiple lights? How many flashes do you normally get out of a charge?


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