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Old Mar 15, 2005, 3:41 PM   #1
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Hi, all. I'll be buying a Dynalite power supply for portrait work (using the 2040 heads) and I'll be shooting a wider apertures for a shallower depth of field. I'll be using a main, a fill, and a background light. Would a 500 watt power supply be enough? I experimented with a 1000 watt today and even at 1/4 power with the lights placed where I wanted them we were metering at 11.
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 12:23 AM   #2
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My opinion: if you can afford it, get the more powerful unit.

You never know what kind of lighting you will evolve to. Today you might be using normal reflectors where in a couple months you might get into soft boxes.

The Dynalites are nice. I've rented them in the past. But that was before I bought 3 Alien Bee 800WS units.

Advantage to the Bees: cost & no cables running from the main pack. Of course you've gotta have power cables but they are far cheaper and readily available anywhere. Compatible with Balcar accessories.

Disadvantage to Bees: only can use a 150 Watt modeling light. As I use a lot of soft boxes I really need the 250 Watt modeling light the White Lightning lines offer. But at the time I didn't have a budget for 3 WL units.

See some of my work on the set of the forthcoming feature film "Psychopathia Sexualis" at www.psychopathia.com Here I sometimes used the 3 Bees with a black fabric background to create character studies. The rest of the time I used whatever lighting was on the set.

Later,

Terry Thomas

Atlanta, Georgia


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Old Mar 16, 2005, 9:10 AM   #3
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I'd recommend the Bee's as well. :-)

I've never used the dynalite pack, but if it is anything like the speedotron blackline 2400 it weighs a ton (ok, a ton =about 28 pounds), old age made moving it around a real chore. With the mono-blocks you need heavier duty light stands but they are a lot easier to cart around.

You may eventually find you want to add a forth lower powerlight with a snootas a hair light.

Peter.
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 9:48 AM   #4
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Thanks for your advice! I've read about the "Bees" on this message board before, but I hadn't checked them out. I definitely check out the web site before I make any decisions. Either way, you're both right -- I don't know what I'll be doing in the future and I certainly don't want to have to buy another power supply because I underbought now.
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Old Mar 16, 2005, 12:42 PM   #5
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PeterP is right about the Speedotrons - they do weigh a ton.

Which brings up something else, weight. The Dynalite is amazingly light weight for it's power.

If you are going to shoot on location (home portraits, editorial, interiors, etc.) then the total weight you are going to have to schlep around is a BIG consideration. Plus with a power pack you've gotta own/rent cables to run to each head

That's why I like monohead units. You only take with you what you need.

Niss, you are right. What if you get to the point where you want a fourth or fifth light source. Oops! You've gotta buy another *expensive* power pack. With monoheads you just buywhat you need.

So, if you have the budget for a Dynalite pack + 3 heads I think you will find you can afford three White Lightning Ultras. My contact there: Lori(at)AlienBees.com and tell her I sent ya.


They also make a radio control transmitter and also a receiver. One big advantage with these is you can control the flash's output without having to physically touch it. This is a huge advantage in the studio where you will have a hair light high up and over the background. This also means you can stand at your camera and dial in lighting ratios while looking at the subject. For some weddings I put strobes in the church before the services. Then after the ceremony when it comes time to shoot groups all I have to do is wirelessly power up the strobes. (AlsoMom's Instamatic photos won't look super because he tripped my strobes as they wouldif I were using optical slave eyes.) In this kind of situation do you really want the issues of running power cables from the main pack all around the place?

Light Stands: get beefy units which won't bend when you extend it fully and stick a strobe and large softbox on top. For studio use get stands on which you can put casters so you can roll the rig around. It gets to be a real pain in the kazoo when you have to lift up a top heavy light stand rig to just move ita few inches to the left or right. For location work you might want to remove the casters, or not. If you never are going to leave the studio get the heavy duty Manfroto/Bogen stands with casters. Get blackstandsas chromeones inevitably end up reflecting in product shots. Or look into one of the ceiling mounted assemblies onto which the strobe heads are mounted on scissor arms. Expensive to buy & install but no light stands or wires on the floor to trip over!


Terry Thomas
Atlanta, Georgia USA

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