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Briese /Broncolor /Profoto

PeterA

Well-known member
Well I have decided to take the plunge and start climbing the learning curve with lights.

I am fascinated by all the different effects one can get with those large parabolic dishes.

I understand that all three makers above have their versions and takes on the matter. What I would like to know is - do they all have the Briese moving light within the parabola capability?

Also if anyone has a strong opinion based on use regarding the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various makers listed above - please let me know.

I understand that I will be up for some serious cashola -but over time I want to build a system which will allow me to do full scale people shots /portraits/and product lighting

I think a 20x60 foot shed will be ample sized studio space.

Thanks
Pete
 

Brett Moen

New member
The Broncolor is my favorite of the umbrella's and packs.. The Briese packs and heads are very hard to put together and they brake allot. I've been working with them for years and they do make great light, but so does the Broncolor. I would stray away form the Profoto if your looking for a great umbrella.

Here is NYC most people use B2PRO witch is VERY similar to the briese lights but allot of the issues where fixed by making there own packs and heads but leaving the design almost the same.

The focusing on the Bron umbrellas is allot easier than the Briese or the Profoto. its done with a little knob on the head.

The flash duration on the Bron is going to be faster than the Briese and the Profoto as well...

B-!


Well I have decided to take the plunge and start climbing the learning curve with lights.

I am fascinated by all the different effects one can get with those large parabolic dishes.

I understand that all three makers above have their versions and takes on the matter. What I would like to know is - do they all have the Briese moving light within the parabola capability?

Also if anyone has a strong opinion based on use regarding the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various makers listed above - please let me know.

I understand that I will be up for some serious cashola -but over time I want to build a system which will allow me to do full scale people shots /portraits/and product lighting

I think a 20x60 foot shed will be ample sized studio space.

Thanks
Pete
 

VICTOR BT

Member
pete... more or less all companies have more or less same stuff. and broncolor, profoto, hensel and alike, all do great stuff for what it is, some have more "unique" tools, that are actually not so unique, but are different from what become standard in still photography over the year. all do softboxes, and they are about the same, all do reflectors and they are about the same more or less. profoto zoom reflector (esp the new one) is great, Balcar has the best 30cm (12") metal reflector which is better than profoto magnum, and really Focusable, almost like Fresnel or Briese. Hensel has nice beauty dish that can give slightly more modifications than others.
but again, they are good, and about the same more or less...

there are two companies that make Idiosynchratic stuff - like no one else...
Briese, and Dedolight. here we are talking about the real masters tools. Briese have the master already Built-in, and maybe, if there is any drawback to this system is that its "look" has something pre-dominant, even if it spectacularly beautiful. Dedolight from the other hand, needs more work, but nothing is more focused and controllable as their Spots. they come only as continuous light though.

another very good company is Bacht-studio from germany. they adapt typical movie spot lights so that it can work with flash - fitted to any generator. The Fresnel (medium and small) that profoto has, are actually made by them. these are top quality classic Fresnel lights, that u can use Directly or Indirectly, but classic means that nothing special about them, except that fact that a flash tube is fitted inside sucessfully. Hensel also has a big Arri fitted to flash, but that one is really big. broncolor has very big Flooter, beautiful, but nothing special beyound classic Fresnel in terms of light quality. it just allows u to put the normal pulso head into the Flooter house.

as for umbreallas, it depends, if u just need soft broad light, then profoto and bron-para can do it too... if u want the best master tool in this type of light - Briese.
 

PeterA

Well-known member
Thanks Brett and Victor - I think I am going to have to have a few demonstrations with all teh gear.

Victor I was considering Dedolights a while back - but I want the parabolic dish style of light to start with -can dedolights be used in such a large scale dish?

I also understand that there are different strategies for focussing the light within one of these large dishes..I have seen teh Briese approach and I like it...but is is hard to buy the stuff down here Australia..

PS - Some great portraits you have on your site..

Pete
 

VICTOR BT

Member
pete, thanks...
i doubt u can use any parabolic dish with dedolight.... dedolight spots can hardly be used with softboxes, because their light beam is SO precise that no light splits around, no bouncing etc. it is a perfect tool for use with reflective and diffusion panels instead of softboxes/para-umbrellas.
Dedolight makes dedicated soft lights, with specially adapted softboxes... i have not tried them yet, but talking with dedolight just while ago about their new 1200spot and 7foot pan-aura, it seems that the 7foot octobox quality is dedolight, but the character is far from Briese.
as for different strategies... Profoto is simply not a match for the mastery and quality u achieve with briese... im not all that familiar with bron para, but it seems somewhat inbetween briese and profoto, but still far from Briese... a special attention is usually given to huge umbrellas, but try out the medium and small ones to see what a wonder they can do, i think it is here where Briese is without any equvalent.
 

TRSmith

Subscriber Member
A recent demonstration by a NYC Fashion photographer encourages me to make this reply. I would not question in any way the value or virtue of the strobes/lighting you describe as your goal for understanding lighting. But just to offer another possible pathway to understanding artificial lighting, I'd like to suggest you not overlook the simpler (and far cheaper) "hot" lights.

The fashion pro who provided the demonstration wanted to impress upon our local group of amateurs that lighting doesn't have to cost a fortune and can often be accomplished very successfully with materials at hand. He demonstrated three "sets" that used "found" materials to modify his lights. One was lit with lowepro hot lights, one with a utility light setup you might find at a construction site, and the third was lit by an old movie-set "Baby" spotlight purchased for $25 at a flea market.

Each set had a background (simple muslin) and with the exception of the baby spot, used large pieces of reflector material into which the lights were aimed. Those reflectors (both of which were 8-10 feet high), were comprised of two panels of reflective material formed into a "V" that bounced the light back onto the subject beautifully and evenly. He kept the lights/reflectors close to the subjects and modified them as necessary with diffusion (an old piece of white parachute material) and/or reflectors.

The results were beautiful, professional, and very easy to see right through the viewfinder as you framed the shot. Very impressive and a great way to learn lighting since what you see is what you get. Plus, everything included in all three sets would probably be cheaper than even one of the strobe units you've listed. Not as portable perhaps, but if you're building a shed to act as studio, that's not an issue.

So, just a thought. Best of luck with your new direction.
Tim
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
Excellent comment Tim, and one I'd basically agree with. The big reflectors are nice -- but really shine (pun intended) in a big, open studio environment with high, industrial ceilings. Actually pretty difficult to put them to optimal use in a restricted space like a garage or great room.

That said, owning pro quality packs and heads is probably worthwhile simply from the added control and output quality (and consistency) available. So now that I'm here I'll add my .02 recos:

For battery-powered location work, I prefer Elinchroms since they're environmentally sealed and readily available and have lots of accessories. Hensel makes great stuff too, just not stocked around here. Profoto battery units are fine indoors, but I've seen more than one fry when exposed to a light drizzle outdoors.

Indoor AC units. Here I think Profoto makes the best packs, heads and modifiers available, hands down. However, Bron is probably as excellent, again, I just cannot get my hands on them locally. (Heck, I couldn't even get firm pricing from the rep when I tried to buy some!!!) I would rank the rest as seconds or thirds to the above. That said, I personally now shoot with Elinchrom packs because that's what I chose for my battery-powered sets and like not having to mix and match modifier mounts.

Monos or packs? I like both for different applications. Monos are nice when you have to schlep them any distance, but they are a huge PITA when they're the light up on a tall stand -- much nicer to have a pack on the ground for the tall lights. Then there is power. Most packs have more power than most monos, plus it's easier to place a pair of heads in a large box for more even output than it is to place two monos in a box.

A note on power -- yes you can have too much! While most of us probably think more is better, many of the more powerful units will not dial down enough for an ISO 100/f8 exposure at tabletop lighting distances. (there are tricks around that, but beyond the scope of this discussion.) So be sure to pay attention to maximum as well as minimum output.

FInally, if possible I'd buy used. Lighting takes a pretty good hit after time, and buying a generation or even two old lighting will save you tons of cash, and yet they probably hold their resale value well enough you can get your money out after a couple years of use.

Best,
 

VICTOR BT

Member
Tim, i started photography and lighting just like that... in fact, even today i have discomfort using flash accessories... i feel that i should "shape my own light", and not be restricted to this or that light-shaper...
i learned the theory of photography from Ansel Adam's book, that is it... then my own experiments, passion... with table lamp and white paper and silver foil on a card to see how it bounces, diffused etc.... there are many photographs from that time, with so called studnets camera like pentax-mx and that light, nudes and portraits and some conceptual stills that im still proud and exited to look at, and even surprised.
i have lots of portraits made with simple transparaent umbrella, or simple compact soft box... if i was to "say" to Briese 77cm super-umbrella that i've made photographs with simple transparent umbrella and that the light looks equally beautiful, the 77 would laugh like crazy.
if needed, any photographer that loves light will do it with table lamp, or simple tungsten unit and simple umbrella. but, if there is briese and it excites for light-quality and maybe even for fanciness, why not ?
why use one of the medium format backs ? more or less the same reason, quality of what it can produce, and fanciness too. it is not the only condition for good photography, and sometimes not even the main... but it is epitome of equipment finesse for the art and craft.
 

TRSmith

Subscriber Member
Victor, I agree 100%. It is up to each individual to choose his or her own path to their goal. I love to read about the new ground that many break here and enjoy the excitement vicariously through their (often) expensive new directions.

But just occasionally, and with nothing but the best of intentions, I like to suggest that there are other alternatives to simply "buying the best". It does nothing to undermine the secure stature of the best equipment, and who knows, it might accidentally inspire someone to do something with what they've already got instead of thinking they have to wait until they can afford the very best.

Having said that, I am not ignorant of the fact that for those who are not challenged by a budget, there is joy in owning and using the best. Why the hell not?

Tim
 

AnthonyFlores

New member
Damn Peter you beat me to it!!!! I was just going to literally start a thread with all three light manufacturers in the title. But seriously thanks, I would like to better understand the strengths and weaknesses from real pros who've actually used the stuff -- this forum is MUCH more serious than so many of the others you might find online.
 

AnthonyFlores

New member
Actually, you guys are helping me a lot in discussing the creative low budget options as well as the "best" ... actually, my plan is once I get the S2 to get more acclimated with it in every way at first for a couple months, not invest in lighting right off the bat. But shoot outdoors, experiment with the kinds of things you are discussing using the light around me ... and only later invest in high-end lighting.
 

AnthonyFlores

New member
Guys, I'm hoping we can also isolate the strengths and weaknesses of each brand,
although I'm guessing it's subjective as well. This is my impression from reading lots
of forum posts and speaking to several pros who work with a lot of lights.

Briese

Pros:
- Brand cache like Leica (can give your set "prestige")
- Very sturdy/solid
- More possible adjustments
- Better performance (?)
- More consistent performance (?)
- More subtle/artistic quality (very subjective, but heard this from several shooters)

Cons:
- EXPENSIVE
- Hard to order
- Hard to find accurate pricing
- Few dealers/support
- No stock stateside
- Not easily rentable
- Bulky/heavy

Broncolor

Pros:
- Closest to Briese in performance
- Good reliability
- Lots of options
- Great availability
- Better dealer support

Cons:
- Still very expensive

Profoto

Pros:
- Best overall "value" (lowest prices)
- Still delivers solid performance
- Best availability and stock
- Best US support (company and dealer)
- Lots of options
- Best packs and generators

Cons:
- Not quite as high quality
- Not as sturdy/robust on certain items
- Not as adjustable as some of the Briese or Broncolor gear

Of course I'm sure MANY will have different experiences ... and it also largely depends
on which items we are comparing. Briese may produce the best reflectors/umbrellas but
not the best generators, etc. I'm basically just summarizing what I've heard to begin the
discussion. Curious as to what others have actually experienced here ...

Anthony
 

PeterA

Well-known member
Victor, Tim and Jack thanks for your thoughts.

Tim I have a number of DIY ElCheapo deluxo setups tried and true involving nothing more than small all white reflective encolusers made out of large construction foam - thes ecan work well for half person shots but difficult to iclude more thna one person - still yes necessity is the mother of invention

Jack I will have access to 20' high ceilings - we make 'real sheds' down under :ROTFL: still your thoughts re equipment ar emost welcome - down here ALL the gear you mention is as difficult to source as any other gear and I wil lbe buying from E%%%Y place or importing.

One of the first set-ups I want is a simple white table and approariate lighting - it shoudl make it easy for me to make photographs of all the gear I want to sell - because I dont use it!

Finally ( Anthony) - sorry if I inadvertantly 'stole' your idea for a thread !
 

P. Chong

Active member
Btw, anyone know and can recommend a collapsable reflector, like Profoto's zoom reflector? I love my zoom reflector, but its inconvenient to pack for travel.
 

Kirk Candlish

New member
Curious place to post your question, on the end of a year old thread.

Put the Zoom reflector in your luggage and stuff it with your socks.
 

KETCH ROSSI

New member
Okay, let me jump in here... ;)

I have used and own few of this brands, now in the process of reading my self of two brands in favor of the ultimate one, BRIESE.

Make no mistake, that lighting it is your PEN and INK, if you don't have a good Pen you might be able to write just the same but if the Pen looses INK left and right, and or its strokes aren't the same over and over, then your story wan't read properly and look like crap on paper, well... LIGHTING IS THE SAME!!

Many lighting companies offer different things, not al company build the same lights, not all companies build within the same margins, and definitely not all companies and or products have the same results.

I like Broncolor, and I like Profoto and own several of their systems, but when it comes to the light spectrum direction and reflection offered by the control FOCUS system of the BRIESE FOCUS there is nothing like it, and I mean NOTHING LIKET IT!!


BTW: B2PRO were sued and lost against BRIESE for having stolen and copied their products, not a good business in my book.

The BRIESE FOCUS CINEMA Lights, which I only use in HMI, I just DON'T use Tungstens, and also for Flash use, but lately I have come to much prefer Continuos light yet still immensely enjoy the Look, Fill, and texture given by the Briese Focus system and their Materials.

So much so that I am shooting my next Movie with this Fixtures with Continuos HMI lighting, as well as shoot the RED EPIC for Frame Grabs extraction for a Fashion Project for Print, in which I will also might use some Profoto Flash units.

They are yes Very Expensive, and not easy to find around, but the BRIESE web site is very comprehensive in their description and ordering is been super easy for me Anthony, possibly you have gotten some crap by low end dealers, other then that, you choose you order you pay and they deliver... ;)

In over 30 years of Still Photography and most recent 15 in Cinematography, I have used just about anything to light up a scene, form Candles to House hold light bulbs and you name it, Tungstens, LED's, HMI's, Gas lights, Chinese Globes, and so on and on, yet at the end of the day, every application has its needs, but for my type of work and what I like most, aside form few Super Powerful 18k HMI's to punch thru as the Sun or Thru the Sun, I prefer LED's and mostly now moving completely to the BRIESE FOCUS CINEMA system.

We all have our preferences, and most, like my self in the past, have BUDJET constrains, now fortunately I don't have them any more so I can afford the absolute very best, and that is BRIESE.

This again is my Expert Opinion, after I have been working on all available lights for years now, in different fields, form Still Photography to Cinematography, both in 2D and in 3D, and the way BRIESE allows me to light up my Subjects and my Scenes is just Marvelous!!

Oh, and if I was to make an example... Comparing other lights in question here to the BRIESE is like comparing the 35mm cameras to the MF ones, there is those that see it and those that don't, I DO... ;)

Yeah I am a freak of LIGFHT... ;)


BTW: Good seen you here Anthony... ;)
email me if you need any assistance in ordering the BRIESE.

Yvonne Kappes has been great... ;)

Briese Lichttechnik [email protected]
 
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Dustbak

Member
Sh*t, sh*t ..... shut up.. I have been offered a Briese setup not too long ago and was very upset about it. It is really expensive but unfortunately not so expensive I could put it out of my mind right away.

I don't want to read this!

For now I am using the new Profoto 240 and very happy with it but the Briese is still calling like a siren.

There was also no problem converting the Briese lighthead to my Profoto pack which made it even more interesting.

Maybe I will get the Focus180 instead of the new Profoto 6ft...

How do you mean MF is expensive? Try lighting.
 
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