Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Studio Lighting, Flash & Other

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 9, 2004, 5:42 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
ZPCreations's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2
Default

Ok, i know thissubject is like beating a dead horsebut after doing months of searching and reviewing i have yet to be able to decide between the two.
Maybe if i describe how i'll be using them someone can help me decide.
I'm shooting digital (10D).
Shoot 99.9% glamour / nude.
Small studio ( 18' x 20').

I want a 3 light set-up for now and was considering 2 800's and a 400 for backlight. I will be using large Chimera softboxes with gels and filters.
My main concern with the 800's is that i want to know that i can still shoot with a large aperture (2.8 or so) without having to move the lights 10 or 12' from the model?
Or, could i get all 400's and be satisfied with power output to shoot up to f11 or so if i like with the big light banks and gels attached?
If you need more input then just let me know. I am just tired of beating my brain over this and really need some help deciding.
Thanks in advance,
Alan
ZPCreations is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Oct 9, 2004, 6:16 PM   #2
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

You can always dial down the power on the 800's. If you get 400's, you can't dial up power you don't have.
  Reply With Quote
Old Oct 9, 2004, 9:21 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 171
Default

I basically agree with Kalypso on this. However, you can reach a point where dialing the 800's down to obtain f/2.8 with the lights close and not heavily diffused may be difficult. They are strong lights and you may need to move them some, diffuse them more, ND filter, etc. I use 800's up close (2 - 4' from model) and often thru diffusion panel or softbox/umbrellas. I usually stay in the 5.6 - 8 range and rarely go above 1/2 power. At 2.8 you will be pretty powered down, but so what?

I would still prefer them over the 400's. As Kalypso says, there is no way to increase power you don't have and you will probably need it eventually.
flint350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 10, 2004, 2:10 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
minutephotos.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 344
Default

I had this same delima, I went for two AB800's. Even if I get a third light I will still get another AB800 the price defference is so small. I find it easier to set ratrios with all flashes having the same power.

Getting an f2.8 is no problem with AB800. The setup I use with my 50 1.8 is strobe 1 @ 1/16 power, strobe 2@ 1/8 power maybe6 -8 feet from model. Both strobes with large umbrellas. Shutter speed at 125, ISO 100 aperture should fall right at F2.8. Strobe at 1/8 power is set at max height which adds anothercouple offeet in distance.

By the way I absolutely love the Alien Bee strobes they are fast, light weight, and create beautiful images. I have even knocked them over at least once with no damage.

Good Luck.
minutephotos.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 10, 2004, 3:54 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 171
Default

minutephotos.com wrote:
Quote:
I have even knocked them over at least once with no damage.Good Luck.
Wish I had that luck. The only time I knocked one of my 800's over, the light was fine -- but the reflector got dented where it hit. I was able to pry it back to near original shape and it still takes the accessories. But, scared the hell out of me.
flint350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 11, 2004, 2:14 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
PeterP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,396
Default

Get a few sandbags to hold down the stands, 70 pound bagsare not an uncommon findin studios. Especially if using monoblocks with heavy or awkward attachments like booms and or large softboxes.

flint350 wrote:
Quote:
minutephotos.com wrote:
Quote:
I have even knocked them over at least once with no damage.Good Luck.
Wish I had that luck. The only time I knocked one of my 800's over, the light was fine -- but the reflector got dented where it hit. I was able to pry it back to near original shape and it still takes the accessories. But, scared the heck out of me.
PeterP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 11, 2004, 8:51 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
CastleDude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 321
Default

One of the coolest things about Alien bees is the upgrade policy ... So if you want to start with 400's go ahead and then upgrade later.

[from their web page]

Quote:
The AlienBees Easy Upgrade Policy
Quote:
Within two years of your purchase date, our factory will upgrade any AlienBees flash unit to any higher power model for a charge of $25 plus the price difference between the original model and the model which you upgrade to. Example: To upgrade a B800 unit to a B1600, the charge will be $25 plus $80 ($359.95-$279.95) for a total charge of $105. Included in this charge is a new housing (you may change colors if you like, at no charge) and any factory warranty service that might be needed. If you desire only a color change without upgrade, the cost is $25 and includes a new housing and any factory warranty service needed. The normal turnaround time for upgrades, color changes or factory warranty service is 2 to 4 days from the receipt of your unit and payment arrangement
.

[align=center][/align]

[align=center][/align]
CastleDude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 14, 2004, 7:43 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
minutephotos.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 344
Default

I think you will be very happy with either choice on the Alien Bee Strobes. I am continuing to be amazed at how much better my photos are comming out with these new strobes. I have had my Digital Rebel for about a year now. At first I thought the camera was only so so and wish I had waited for the Nikon D70. Then I was going to go buy better lens L -series or Primes or both prime, L-series lens. As you can guess that was going to be very expensive.

Then I discovered lighting.... YoooHooo! Simply adding light and closing aperture from 4.0-5.6 to 8.0 and increasing shutter speed made a BIG difference in sharpness.

I have sooo much more flexability and speed now its incredible.Of course I still want a 70-200 F2.8L IS but I am doing fine with a 50 1.8, 55-200, 18-55 and my AB800's


minutephotos.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 15, 2004, 11:51 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
ZPCreations's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2
Default

Thanks everyone. I'm gonna get2 of the 800's and 1 400.





Alan
ZPCreations is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 20, 2004, 3:01 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
minutephotos.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 344
Default

I think 2 800's and a 400 is a perfect combination. I originally tried working with just one AB800 and it causes shadows on the opposite side of the strobe. With two 800's and a 2:1 ratio everything looks perfect. I have not had a need yet for a third light because in most cases I am trying to get rid of the background not highlight it. When I do want more light on the background I just increase power on ab800's.

I think a third light as a hair highlight though would be nice or being able to put different types of honey combs or gel diffusers would be nice...



Overall, you will love these strobes they are pretty good.
minutephotos.com is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:25 PM.