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Old Sep 17, 2005, 11:37 PM   #1
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I've been researching for quite a bit on this topic, so I thought I'd ask for some opinions here, hopefully this is the right place to post it. I'm shooting a bunch of student models, and I decided after a lot of research, and budget, ($1000 max) to go with a pair of AB800 lights. Now I know that AB sells their own umbrellas and stands and cases, but I'm wondering, is it necessarily worth the price, or is it worth looking at some alternatives?

From the site, I noticed that from the site, they give you 10' light stands in their packages, but they're not appropriate to use if you upgrade to the softboxes/octaboxes, but the 13' would be fine. Now that's a great deal, to have 13' at 69.95 a piece, which is looking like an awesome deal, but I'm wondering, could I get the same type of deal for a better price out of say, an 8' or 10' stand? I'm noticing that bogen/manfrotto/avenger stands have an awesome reputation, but at 8-10' they are double the price.

So that moves to the background set. I've bid on a dynatran/amvona one on eBay, but I'm open to some other ones. I thought the DaLite system looked very flimsy, and the ones at the local photo store, where they sell Manfrotto Autopoles and the like and it'd be $250 minimum to get the system and I don't even have paper or muslin yet. Anyone have a recommendations? I'd like to keep it below $150 if possible.

I realize you get what you pay for, but until I start getting more work, this is the best I can do for now, and with the scope of this project, it could easily afford me some better gear, even into upgrading my lights and bg system. Thanks everyone in advance for your recommendations. I just wanna start off on the right foot.
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 7:00 AM   #2
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I use both White Lightning and Alien Bees and both units are very good and very reliable. So yes, I do think they are worth the price.

Unless you plan to get a large softbox right away (or a boom arm), stick with the 10ft stands. You can buy a larger heavy duty stand at a later date when you buy a large softbox. You can never have too many stands :-).

Another option is to go to home depot/lowes and look at the large work lights they sell with a stand. Last time I bought some of these they were about $30 or $40 with a very heavy duty stand. They might work as a background stand, if they go high enough.

Declan
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 10:52 AM   #3
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I recently bought one of the Alien Bees' systems. The one with the battery power supply for location work. I also added on the radio control units for wireless flash. It set me back about $2000 but they are awesome. It came with 2 13ft stands and a much shorter "backlight" stand. The backlight stand it pretty wimpy so I will probably be adding another heavier stand later on. The lights and stands are easy to setup and do an excellent job. I've used them for a wedding and a junior high dance so far with great results. I did learn that if you are going to use the battery power unit, you can't use the modeling lights. It runs the batteries down too fast. In both of my situations so far, there has been AC power available so I didn't screw myself up too bad while learning how to use the system:?
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 1:22 PM   #4
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Unless you plan to get a large softbox right away (or a boom arm), stick with the 10ft stands. You can buy a larger heavy duty stand at a later date when you buy a large softbox. You can never have too many stands :-).

That is a GREAT point. Never too many stands =)) I completely agree with you on this one. I was thinking about getting a softbox, but I think I'll wait since I'm getting one of the shoot-throughs along with the silver reflect.

Maybe I'll search Home Depot upon your recommendation to and get one of those worklights and use it as a hair light of some kind, or get a cheap 6-8ft stand and clamp a lamp on top of that. Considering this will be a shoot for the Paul Mitchell brand, the hair definitely has to be accentuated. Thanks again!
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 1:26 PM   #5
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dboarder wrote:
Quote:
I recently bought one of the Alien Bees' systems. The one with the battery power supply for location work. I also added on the radio control units for wireless flash. It set me back about $2000 but they are awesome. It came with 2 13ft stands and a much shorter "backlight" stand. The backlight stand it pretty wimpy so I will probably be adding another heavier stand later on. The lights and stands are easy to setup and do an excellent job. I've used them for a wedding and a junior high dance so far with great results. I did learn that if you are going to use the battery power unit, you can't use the modeling lights. It runs the batteries down too fast. In both of my situations so far, there has been AC power available so I didn't screw myself up too bad while learning how to use the system:?
Glad to see it's working out for you! How is the range on the radio control? That's where I'd like to go next, for sure. I was looking at Pocket Wizard, but I hear that with the AB unit you can actually change the settings of each light on the unit, which is awesome.
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Old Sep 18, 2005, 8:49 PM   #6
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The range has been fine so far. My biggest venue was a large church and I had no problems with the radio controls. And yes, you can dial each light up or down from the transmitter at your camera.
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