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Thread: Output

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    Member JGH's Avatar
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    Output

    Good Evening,
    I need some help. I want to buy some studio strobes that are a bit more powerful than the Metz 50 AF-1 speedlight.
    The room i shoot in is 16ft x 12ft and the speedlights work well in this size of room but they have no modelling lamp and im finding i require the need to have them now as guessing where the shadows are falling is hit and miss and alot of wasted shots to get it right.
    I have just bought a stripbox with double diffusion panels and it is very soft light which is great however i find that the speedlight has to be at full power for iso 100 shots and the subject must be 1ft away for F8 which is not always practical.(i know i can up the iso but thats not the issue)
    I was going to buy some 200ws strobes but i have found a few places that list guide numbers for them (i know studio strobes dont have guide numbers) but the GN's for 200ws are listed from 42 to 56 which is marginally more powerful than the speedlight and hence would be underpowered.
    My question is: Has anyone used 200ws strobes and/or compaired there output to a speedlight? I concerned that if i buy a 400ws strobe i will have too much light then im screwed.

    Thanks

    J

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    Re: Output

    I'm not experienced with studio flash, however consider this:

    "A top end speedlight in an umbrella (24mm flash zoom to fill it) will meter one stop less intensity than a 160 watt second Alienbees B400 placed in the same umbrella."

    from Wayne Fulton's website: http://www.scantips.com/speed2.html

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    Re: Output

    Quote Originally Posted by JGH View Post
    Good Evening,
    I need some help. I want to buy some studio strobes that are a bit more powerful than the Metz 50 AF-1 speedlight.
    The room i shoot in is 16ft x 12ft and the speedlights work well in this size of room but they have no modelling lamp and im finding i require the need to have them now as guessing where the shadows are falling is hit and miss and alot of wasted shots to get it right.
    I have just bought a stripbox with double diffusion panels and it is very soft light which is great however i find that the speedlight has to be at full power for iso 100 shots and the subject must be 1ft away for F8 which is not always practical.(i know i can up the iso but thats not the issue)
    I was going to buy some 200ws strobes but i have found a few places that list guide numbers for them (i know studio strobes dont have guide numbers) but the GN's for 200ws are listed from 42 to 56 which is marginally more powerful than the speedlight and hence would be underpowered.
    My question is: Has anyone used 200ws strobes and/or compaired there output to a speedlight? I concerned that if i buy a 400ws strobe i will have too much light then im screwed.

    Thanks

    J
    J, there are a couple of things to take into consideration.

    Output levels: In strobe systems, output is measured in watt seconds (w/s). In comparison, a good speed-light like the Metz 50 typically puts out roughly 80 w/s of illumination.

    So a 160w/s strobe is twice the output ... or 1 stop difference ... a 320 w/s strobe is two stops difference, and the more common 500 or 600 w/s strobe is almost 3 stops difference. Some makers also provide guide numbers, but they are essentially useless because the light modifer used strongly effects that number.

    All strobes offer full control of the output levels from weaker to stronger, so you are not screwed with a 400 w/s strobe. However, you do have the 400 w/s when you want it ... and you would be surprised how often that can be as you start modifying the light, using the lowest ISO and stopping down.

    The other effect is that a speed-light set to maximum output puts a huge strain on the unit ... basically you are pounding the crap out of a speed-light when doing this. However a 400 w/s second strobe set to 1/2 power not only puts out more light, it does it without breaking a sweat and can be used all day long this way ... plus usually recycles faster than a speed-light set to full power.

    In addition, strobe lights are more efficient when used with almost any light modifier because of the shape of the bulb is usually a bit bigger circle not a small rectangle. Most light modifiers from umbrellas to octa-boxes to soft boxes are designed to make effective use of strobe heads.

    Hope this helps a bit,

    -Marc

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    Re: Output

    Burnt out a 580exII flash recently trying to use it as a strobe with abut 120 full power pops in 20 mins, these guns are just not designed to be strobes.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Output

    Marc, Thanks for your respnse that was very helpful and made me think about getting 400Ws instead (wifes not gonna be pleased tho !!!)
    I contacted the manufaturer of the strobes for more info and they helped with respect to output of their 200Ws units. I understand what you are saying about loading up the speedlight at full power and i sympathize with Ben and his deceased 580exII and thats one of the reasons for the studio strobes plus a 400Ws strobe is just a tad more than the Metz 50AF-1. Just dont know how to justify this to the wife?

    Thanks again for your food for thought.

    J.

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    Re: Output

    An Alien Bee B800 or a Elinchrom D-Lite 400 would be a similar price wouldn't they?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Output

    You get what you pay for.

    The Metz 50AF-1 is not their most powerful flash ... probably about 60 or 70 w/s ... and is $200.

    An SP Studio Systems 160 w/s basic strobe is $187.50 with a stand and umbrella.

    A Paul C. Buff Alien Bee B-400 is 160 w/s for $225, and a B-800 is 320 w/s for $280.

    Not exactly heavy duty units at those prices, but probably good enough for casual use.

    Not sure many strobes could handle Ben's 120 full power pops in 20 minutes, except the more robust ones that cost much, much more.

    However, a 320w/s unit set to 70w/s probably could without breaking a sweat.

    -Marc

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Output

    If I remenber, EU standard is 230V so J needs to make sure any recommendations will work with that voltage.

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    Re: Output

    David you are quite right and also the fact that Alien Bee's are not here in Europe. Well they might be in the UK but here in CZ? no chance. Its not worth importing as the taxes and shipping dont make it worthwhile. The company in question is www.Quantuum.pl. I rather fancy the Fomex models but i cant justify the price at the moment. These units are made in Korea i believe and dont look too bad.

    J.
    Last edited by JGH; 19th December 2011 at 07:21. Reason: serious spelling mistakes

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    Re: Output

    Any decent strobe should manage 120 full power pops in 20 minutes, that's one every 10 seconds, not close to being a problem, heck it's technically in the specs for a speedlite even...
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Output

    How about an Elinchrom D-Lite? You should have decent service there for it.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Output

    The elinchrom D-lite is a great little light and would be perfect however the 200ws D-lite2 is the same price here as the Quantuum Fomex 400ws strobes and those are ot of my price range. I could justify it if i actually took portraits for money but i don't, its just a hobby.
    If anyone looks at the Quantuum site or looks them up on You Tube, please give me your take on those units.

    Thanks

    J

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    Re: Output

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Any decent strobe should manage 120 full power pops in 20 minutes, that's one every 10 seconds, not close to being a problem, heck it's technically in the specs for a speedlite even...
    Sure Ben, but it depends on what conditions you are working in. I've had Nikon and Canon top end speed-lights at full power shut down in less that fifteen minutes of rapid firing in hot summer shooting ... but that was no where near 120 shots. If the shots are perfectly spaced out at 10 seconds apart maybe it'd work ... but they usually aren't.

    Heck, my Sony's hooked up to Quantums shut down to protect themselves 10 minutes into a kid's shoot once in 72F ... the key light shut down first because it was manually set to full output ... and I never got anywhere near 120 shots ... I was shooting a MFD camera. (BTW, this was the last time I ever used a speed-light for this type work, waiting 10-15 minutes for the damned thing to cool down really put a damper on shooting little kids.)

    Many of the cheaper mono strobes aren't fan cooled and the heat dissipation isn't so great. Heat is the enemy. That said, if set to 1/2 output, they should do a heck of a lot better than any weaker speed-light, that's for sure.

    I had an old SP Systems 150w/s strobe that was my first one to use in the studio to light GM wheels when I first started ... maybe 15 years old or so. It never gave up, and I finally just gave it to my assistant. But I never shot it super rapidly either.

    My pal rents Profoto locally here. A Pro shooter rented 4 Profoto Pro 7a boxes for a commercial shoot, and all 4 had blown capacitors when he returned them ... Profoto 7as, the top of the food-chain ... proving that nothing is immune to abuse.

    As far as the OPs situation and supply chain, it may just be better to stick with speed-lights knowing the limitations and work around them. It doesn't sound like there is a heavy demand that will be put on the lights.

    I don't know anything about the Quantuum lights ... unless he meant Quantum with one U. The regular Quantum puts out about 150w/s but I doubt that is the light he's talking about because they are a lot more expensive than a regular mono-light.

    -Marc

  14. #14
    Landshark
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    Re: Output

    don 't forget that speedlights have built in reflectors and lenses which concentrate and narrow down the light, most studio type strobes have bare heads with light direction, concentration and intensity are controlled by the light modifier, So when you put your speedlight in a softbox it is not light the whole box all of the light is being thrown forward, with the studio strobe you are filling the box from the sides as well as straight thru. It makes for a much better look to your light. 400ws would be minimum starting point for overall use in that space

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    Re: Output

    Thanks Landshark for your reply. I was thinking the same thing as you wrote and have ordered the 200Ws strobe on the basis that i dont use the whole room when i shoot i only use half at most and alot of the time my softboxes etc are within a metre of the subject (due to space) so maybe the 200Ws will be ok. If not i can throw it on ebay and get the 400Ws.
    Also i like high contrast portraits so i need my light in close.

    Fotografz (Marc) I did mean Quantuum with 2 U's. They are in Poland and their equipment appears to be good quality but the truth is in the pudding so i will attempt to write a mini review on the 200Ws strobe after i have tested it out.
    There doesnt seem to be any reviews on the net in English about Quantuum gear. I found 1 on the 300Ws battery/mains powered strobe but thats it.

    Thanks J

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    Re: Output

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Sure Ben, but it depends on what conditions you are working in. I've had Nikon and Canon top end speed-lights at full power shut down in less that fifteen minutes of rapid firing in hot summer shooting ... but that was no where near 120 shots. If the shots are perfectly spaced out at 10 seconds apart maybe it'd work ... but they usually aren't.

    Heck, my Sony's hooked up to Quantums shut down to protect themselves 10 minutes into a kid's shoot once in 72F ... the key light shut down first because it was manually set to full output ... and I never got anywhere near 120 shots ... I was shooting a MFD camera. (BTW, this was the last time I ever used a speed-light for this type work, waiting 10-15 minutes for the damned thing to cool down really put a damper on shooting little kids.)

    Many of the cheaper mono strobes aren't fan cooled and the heat dissipation isn't so great. Heat is the enemy. That said, if set to 1/2 output, they should do a heck of a lot better than any weaker speed-light, that's for sure.

    I had an old SP Systems 150w/s strobe that was my first one to use in the studio to light GM wheels when I first started ... maybe 15 years old or so. It never gave up, and I finally just gave it to my assistant. But I never shot it super rapidly either.

    My pal rents Profoto locally here. A Pro shooter rented 4 Profoto Pro 7a boxes for a commercial shoot, and all 4 had blown capacitors when he returned them ... Profoto 7as, the top of the food-chain ... proving that nothing is immune to abuse.

    As far as the OPs situation and supply chain, it may just be better to stick with speed-lights knowing the limitations and work around them. It doesn't sound like there is a heavy demand that will be put on the lights.

    I don't know anything about the Quantuum lights ... unless he meant Quantum with one U. The regular Quantum puts out about 150w/s but I doubt that is the light he's talking about because they are a lot more expensive than a regular mono-light.

    -Marc
    Marc, I don't know what you're talking about, think you're ridiculously overexaggerating and oh I didn't take yet another 580ex in for a new bulb today in any way whatsoever...

    2nd flash that's needed a tube this year

    I lent my flash guns to my friend for the dancing at a wedding last week, dual 580II setup both set to 1/16 power, he blew both of them into overheat standby in 10 minutes flat. Admittedly he shoots like a demented machine gunner but that shouldn't have happened at that power level, the gun I took in today was also working fine till I lent it to a friend who shoots far more and faster than I do. I've shot these units on 1/2 power for the externals and full bounce on the on camera for years and the only time I burnt out a tube was when I shot 194 frames on full power in mid Jerusalem summer in under 20 minutes. I think it is very dependant on your shooting style as to whether you can use speedlites as strobes or whether you'll just kill them and often.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Output

    Hey Ben, I hear ya.

    So, today I was setting up and testing the new Phottix radio system I just got based on a good reco ... one of the only ones that offers the Sony proprietary flash mount and has pass-through TTL.

    You mount the sender in the hot shoe and the flash on top of that ... then the receivers have standard shoe mounts on the bottom and a Sony on the top for stand mount or a light stick mount. Just for some simple stuff once in awhile.

    I start shooting and in pretty quick order, one of the HVL-F58AM speed-lights fails to trigger ... damned! The radio failed already?

    NOPE, upon inspection of the flash LCD, it indicates over-heating shut down !

    Now Nikon has introduced the new SB910 which helps avoid heat shut down ... by progressively lengthening the recycle time ... how useless is that?

    I simply do not know why I even bother.

    -Marc

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    Re: Output

    On the other hand as I launch a new business (wedding) with a partner shooting far more modern weddings than has been the norm for me (www.studiobeniisrael.com) we have come to the conclusion that with modern cameras and using iso 1600 almost as a default these days, we're using lighting pretty much as accent only or for portraiture with a brolly/softbox for key and on camera as fill. With 4 off camera speedlites between us, a dual setup each on a stand (you saw his setup on the blog post, mine is less DIY ) we've not used a strobe in over 6 months. It does make wedding shooting extremely versatile and more importantly, FAST!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Output

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    My pal rents Profoto locally here. A Pro shooter rented 4 Profoto Pro 7a boxes for a commercial shoot, and all 4 had blown capacitors when he returned them ... Profoto 7as, the top of the food-chain ... proving that nothing is immune to abuse.
    Or perhaps more accurately it shows how rental gear gets abused by people who don't know the gear and then it goes back out again without being checked after a rental.

    I've been shooting with Pro6 and Pro 7 packs and heads since they were introduced and have never had one fail yet. But I own the gear and know where it's been. So far the Airs are performing perfectly as well.

    It sounds like guys are all pushing small strobes pretty hard. If that's your game then the Quamtum Trio is the workhorse you need.

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    Re: Output

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Candlish View Post
    Or perhaps more accurately it shows how rental gear gets abused by people who don't know the gear and then it goes back out again without being checked after a rental.

    I've been shooting with Pro6 and Pro 7 packs and heads since they were introduced and have never had one fail yet. But I own the gear and know where it's been. So far the Airs are performing perfectly as well.

    It sounds like guys are all pushing small strobes pretty hard. If that's your game then the Quamtum Trio is the workhorse you need.
    As I said ... nothing is immune to abuse. In this case my pal immediately gets it repaired and it doesn't go back out until it is.

    I own my own Profotos and in all the years, had one outlet on one of my D2400Rs flake out and one Compact head go belly up and need repair ... and Pro boxes are a lot more robust than my stuff.

    The pushing of small speed-lights is mostly for wedding work especially when working alone and in a rush. I gave up on that concept some time ago and now at least use a couple of Quadras. Speed-lights are okay for a pop of fill or using them with higher ISOs ... otherwise it's abusing them to death.

    -Marc

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