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Old Jun 9, 2002, 11:40 AM   #1
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Default Alien Bees Studio Lights

Well, since Steve made the big software change, I figured this forum might as well start with my personal "thumbs up" for Alien Bees studio lights. For those who are shopping for lights, I've posted detailed photos and information about the Bees on my web page at:

http://davidweikel.com/E20_Page/alienbees/bees.shtml

These lights are small, light weight, fast and have all the power I need (and then some). Best of all they're affordable.
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Old Jun 10, 2002, 11:54 AM   #2
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I'll add a "bee too." I tried a Novatron monolight but find the Alien Bees much more suitable to digicams because of the 5 stop power range. I've got two of the 160ws B400 units but will add a remote and a couple of B800s when I can spare the cash. That will give me the power and ease of use of a more expensive power pack and flash head setup with far more flexibility. Manual flash technology may seem quaint to youngsters who know nothing but TTL automatic but it's how real studio photography gets done. The units are extremely well thought out and engineered, chock full of useful features with nothing that is unneeded. My ultimate setup will work with everything from my Digicams to my Crown Graphic.

Outstanding review. Lots of detail one would never see in a magazine review which is typically a regurgitation of the brocure. I particularly liked the test shots of the honeycomb grids. Now I know which to get.
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Old Apr 21, 2003, 10:06 PM   #3
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Default Studio flash

Hi guys,
I have become the photograph for my church and will be doing family portaits for the directory soon. I have decided to go with the Alien Bees B400 strobes with my D100. I have no experience with inside studio work but Iam looking forward to learning and growing. Guys, what would you do. Do I need a hotshoe adaptor or should I use the flash from the camera also. I plan on buying a backdrop, would you go with 2 strobes, a back light or not? Any help on this subject would be helpful. Iam reading and getting information now and any help is appreciated.

Regards,

Murray
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Old Apr 25, 2003, 2:42 PM   #4
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Murry, I'd really consider going with B800s if you're using a DLSR. The B400s are a perfect match for my Dimage 7 but it only stops down to f9.5 so I can get by with less power. I sometimes shoot medium and large format and I have a single B1600 for when I want to stop down to small apertures.

If the D100 doesn't have a PC socket get a Nikon AS-15 adapter. Alien Bees have low voltage sync ciurcuits so you don't need overvoltage protection. You can also fire with the slaves if you can turn off any pre-flash.

Two strobes is a good start, three is better and four is ideal for flexibility. Coincidentally one of my next projects is to start shooting for the church bulletin and directory.
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Old Apr 26, 2003, 9:06 PM   #5
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Padeye,

Thanks for the info. I have got a backdrop and the lights will be here soon.
I will also be offering a package of photos to members that want to buy them. Do you know of a software that will do like 8x10's then like 5x7 and so on.
Are you going to print your own. I have an epson 825 and good quality, would love to have a 2200. Are you printing your own or subing it out. Iam not sure how long the 825 prints will hold up.

I did a friends son's prom photos tonight and they look good. I used a reflector disc outside and got some nice workable light.

Regards,

Murray
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Old Sep 22, 2003, 6:30 PM   #6
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Sorry I didn't reply to this sooner Murray. We won't be shooting for a few more weeks as the weather is still miserable hot here in Phoenix and I'd rather wait for nice fall weather so people feel like dressing up a bit.

I may have done my last prints on my inkjet except for maybe internal proofs. The local Costco is a mile away and I can get 1 hour service on their Noritsu printer dirt cheap. 4x6 prints are 19, 8x12s are $1.99 and 12x18s are $2.99. For that price I can't justify giving someone an inkjet print that will fade in a few months.

I'm going to be shooting indoors as the last were done outside and poorly IMO. They were under the shade of a walkway but bright sun caused everyone to squint and couples were seated on a bench square to the camera so they ended up looking like strangers waiting for a bus.
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Old Aug 7, 2004, 11:24 PM   #7
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O.K. so I have decided not to get ino trying to slave the 420Ex to a 550ex or 500 DG Super. I am thinking about purchasing the AB begiiner kit with the AB800 and later getting the AB backdrop kit. Many have recommended the Digikit 2- AB400, but knowing me a 2 - weeks and another paydayafter getting it I will wish I got themore powerfullsystem. The price is so small why not...

However, there is a pretty big competitor, what do you think about the JTL systems in the same price range?

http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=417633


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Old Aug 8, 2004, 12:46 AM   #8
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I'll throw my penny in here...I use a Vivatar 285HV with a Wein Peanut fired as a wireless location strobe. I have an Interfit Infrared trigger on my camera to fire the lights. I ususally bounce the flash off of a 42" or 60" silver or white umbrella. If I'm within distance of an AC socket, I might add another fill light using a 42" silver or gold umbrella. (Sometimes this is a halogen hot lamp & sometimes it's a wired 100-400WS Flash Unit...imagine that)!

I am seriously considering adding a Sigma 500DG Super (or another Vivitar 285HV) to use with/or supplement my current lighting abilities. If nothing else, it will add another free-standing location strobe to use in the wild, unplugged places! I've used this same setup, successfully for cameras from a 2MP Olympus C2100, a 5MP Minolta Dimage 7i & a Canon DSLR-D30...I currently use a Minolta A1 & it still works great!

Lighting is easy, having the stands, umbrellas, soft-boxes, scrims, etc. & other stuff on hand is the hard part. The image below was taken with a Canon D30 & a 28-105mm USM lens. The main light being free standing Vivitar 285HV reflected off of a 60" White Photogentic Eclipse umbrella. (Which are great BTW...not too expensive & have excellent qualities: http://www.photogenicpro.com/product...as/eclipse.htm

I had a halogen hot lamp reflected off of a 42" Wescott silver (with a 12" added gold panel) umbrella to her upper left.

[align=center][/align]

Of course, the model is extra...
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Old Aug 8, 2004, 12:52 AM   #9
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BTW...I i'm no way saying that Alien Bees are not excellent lights! I've used them & know many others that do too!
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Old Aug 8, 2004, 2:10 AM   #10
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So which one is it guys? I am hearing two completly different things on power. Someone recommended that if you have a DSLR you should get the Alien Bees B800? Why does it matter if you have a DSL, why does this suggest I will need more power? Whay made me think about this is a higher aperture is only going to make a greater depth of field and a clearer background. In a small studio where the model is very close to the background I wiould use mt 50 1.8 of the 55-200 at F4 or 5.6. With the 50 1.8 I would need much less light, will the B800 be able to reduce this low with only 5 ,1/2 steps (1/32 of320 FP)@ISO 100.

I have already decided to get a couple AB's I just don't know if I should get a B400 or B800 first. I primarily shoot portraits on location at their home or my apartment. I very seldom ever shoot more than 3 people together. Where will the extra power of the B800 be useful?
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