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Thread: One strobe - Which?

  1. #1
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    One strobe - Which?

    I'm digging shooting with my Hasselblad 501C, finally got things worked out kink wise with the previous body.

    I'm looking to setup a small "studio" in my house and really have everything needed but the strobe. Have tons of stands and C-Stands for the background etc. from my video production, but as far as a light I don't have much.

    I do have have access to two Canon 580EX's. However, they aren't mine and I much rather have my own equipment. I've been looking into a Paul Buff Einstein and a shoot through umbrella as my option but haven't been able to find a used one which would be ideal to cut some costs. Also I would want to get a power pack with it as I need to be able to use the setup outside as well, that is key!

    So I need something that will not overpower a small studio space in a house but really pump it out when needed from a one light setup outside.

    Is the Einstein a good option for this? Will it be to much power, or can I scale it down easily and have better options down the road?

    So to sum it up I'm looking for a one light setup that I can add to later on as far as rim light as I could just probably get away with my reflector indoors for fill. However it can't be too bright for indoors or too weak for outside.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: One strobe - Which?

    I'm surprised nobody has offered any replies.

    If you're specifically using this with the Hasselblad 501c, then you would need a PC cable and a light/flash meter. Paul Buff's Einstein is a remarkably useful light that offers PW capability with the MC2 module and 9 stops of adjustment. Add the vagabond mini and you have a really portable option that also useful for charging phones, laptops, etc. For this scenario you would need a cable for the PW transmitter to your 501, but at least you won't be tethered to the light. Some of PB's modifiers are quite good too, however the PLM shaft adapter is not as robust as it could be, as that's my only real caveat to PB. I've used the PB E640 in very cold, remote locations with good success, but I'd love to have a stronger (modifier) mount, and nothing beats the Profoto design for that.
    Other options could include the Profoto acuteb2 Air, that also offers an adapter to use 2 lights (300w per) or a decent 600w with one light. Profoto modifiers are really good, albeit, expensive, and as mentioned before, nothing beats their mount. The Acute head/b2 Air is also sealed with no fan for cooling and personally, that appeals to me because there's less of a chance that moisture can get in, and both offer adjustments, so you can power as needed. Both can be used as studio lights.

  3. #3
    Senior Member aztwang's Avatar
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    Re: One strobe - Which?

    My 2cents, being a loyal Profoto user, I would go with Profoto's D1 Air, probably the 1000ws head. It goes down to 15 ws and outside you can easily overpower the sun @ 1000ws. You can add the Profoto Air Transceiver later on and can add other heads, 250ws,500ws 0r another 1000ws head as your photography needs require. The D1's are a sturdy unit and as Johnny said Profoto has the best selection of light shaping tools available with a rock solid mount. For outdoors you will need a power source for the D1. Profotos BatPac is a bit pricey but a great alternative which will work seamlessly with the D1 is PCB Vagabond. It packs allot of power and can be bought for $250.00 AND will power a second head when you get one.
    Good luck with your hunt.

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    Re: One strobe - Which?

    A few thoughts if you are still reading this:

    IMO, forget about using speed-lights in place of a real strobe. They do not have the juice to "pump it out" when working outdoors in bright ambient conditions, or strong back-lit situations in the sun. Most top speed-lights are roughly 80W/s compared to the average strobe of 320 to 500 W/s. Be aware that most speed-lights have thermal protectors to keep the unit from over heating in full power or rapid shooting situations. The speed-light simply shuts down and can take up to 15 minutes to cool down enough (this includes the Canon 580EX). Lastly, the range of creative light modifiers while available, is anemic compared to strobes ... and when you use some well diffused soft-boxes and/or grids for control, the amount of light required increases a lot.

    Reconsider reliance on a shoot through umbrella. First off, it inefficiently reduces the light reaching the subject, and it is promiscuous in the distribution of light which goes all over the place, making it quite difficult to effectively control in studio, especially a smaller one.

    Finally, use of just one light may severely limit how you use a directional light. At a minimum, a strobe used as the key directional light coupled with an on-camera speed-light for TTL fill will provide more options.

    As to recommendations, The Paul C Buff options are very cost effective with the caveats that Johnny has clearly indicated. Perhaps the most important of which is the modifier mount, especially for outdoor use.

    Personally, after trying to limit spending on lighting, trying different brands, and repeatedly coming up short, I realized I was being penny wise and pound foolish. I moved to Profoto and stayed there. Best modifier mount there is ... not only is it the most secure, it allows adjustment of modifier along the body of the light to alter the beam spread. As I upgraded my mono-lights I was pleasantly surprised to recoup more percentage of money for used Profoto than any other lighting tools I had tried to sell previously.

    Profoto modifier tools are indeed more expensive than many others, however 1) they have recently introduced a more reasonably priced line, and 2) you do not have to use Profoto Brand modifiers ... most every maker of modifiers offer their products in Profoto mount (as well as many other brand mounts). For example, I use quite a few Elinchrom Rotalux modifiers on my Profoto lights because they fold up like an umbrella, but are true soft-box solutions when opened up.

    If you just cannot swing the cost of Profoto (including used), then the Buff stuff may be the way to go.

    Best of luck,

    - Marc
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    Re: One strobe - Which?

    Can't really fault a single thing Marc has said. The mount on the Einstein will not hold a larger softbox outdoors if there is even a bit of wind. You don't use a speedlite to replace a strobe. You can use it to do speedlite and strobist kinds of things but not to replace a strobe. I burnt through the bulb on a 580ex in an hour of shooting studio type stuff with the strobe on full power. They are just not designed for that kind of usage. We have two Profoto D1's in work (repro studio photographing documents), they shoot 2000 pops at almost full power every single day, most shots within 3 second intervals of each other for 3-600 shots at a time. They've been doing that for over a year. They don't even get hot. Heck we don't even bother switching them off at night. Use a strobe to do a strobes job. A speedlite is a PJ or wedding photographers tool, not a studio photographers. As Marc says, you can use huge amounts of different modifiers on the profoto, we have a couple of $50 ebay strip boxes on aftermarket speedrings on our profotos.
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    Re: One strobe - Which?

    One light setup for studio and outdoors?

    I would recommend a Profoto AcuteB2 600 AirS and a Beauty Dish (with sock and a grid when needed). This modifier can be very versatile and used as a key, a rim or a kicker.

    That would be my first choice if I was allowed to keep just one modifier (I have a white BD). Second choice would be the Pro Fresnel Spot with barndoors (I just love it) Third place? Difficult to decide, probably a Magnum or an Elinchrom Deep Octa (the small 70cm one) or a medium softbox.
    Keeping film photography and printing alive!

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    Re: One strobe - Which?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tibor View Post
    One light setup for studio and outdoors?

    I would recommend a Profoto AcuteB2 600 AirS and a Beauty Dish (with sock and a grid when needed). This modifier can be very versatile and used as a key, a rim or a kicker.

    That would be my first choice if I was allowed to keep just one modifier (I have a white BD). Second choice would be the Pro Fresnel Spot with barndoors (I just love it) Third place? Difficult to decide, probably a Magnum or an Elinchrom Deep Octa (the small 70cm one) or a medium softbox.
    Ditto, I have one in it's own travel case and I use it more than any other lighting kit I own. It is amazingly versatile and very easy to take to any location.
    Ciao,
    Giorgio Niro
    www.giorgioniro.com

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    Re: One strobe - Which?

    Quote Originally Posted by Giorgio View Post
    Ditto, I have one in it's own travel case and I use it more than any other lighting kit I own. It is amazingly versatile and very easy to take to any location.
    I have Hensel lights (which I can highly recommend), but I would definitely second getting a beauty dish no matter which brand of lights you use. It is an amazingly versatile modifier. Gridded, socked, or fired through a diffusor, or any combination of those give a you great light.
    Martin Ranger - Seattle, WA
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