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Author Topic: Opinions on strobe brands - Elinchrom, Bowens, etc  (Read 10825 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« on: December 18, 2011, 18:40 »
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I have a couple of Alien Bees AB800s and they've worked OK but I've never been overly impressed with the quality.

The new Einsteins look pretty impressive and I was considering going that route but after adding up all the costs I found I could get a midrange pro setup from Elinchrom, Bowens, or Hensels for the same or less. So I'd like to see if I'm missing anything with another system and I'm leaning toward the Elinchroms.

Anybody use any of these lights or just the brands in general? Pros/Cons?

Bowens Gemini 500R
Elinchrom BX-Ri 500
Hensel Integra Pro 2


« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2011, 19:00 »
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What about Profoto ?

« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 19:04 »
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I have the Elinchrom D-Lite 4 set and I've been very happy with it.  I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to studio lighting and I've had no problems with it - very easy to set up and use, sturdy stands and it integrates with almost all of the other Elinchrom items so when I'm ready to expand I won't be left with something I can't use.  I have a former co-worker that went pro with his photo work and he's a big fan of Elinchrom.  I think he's using the BX line.  After about a year of using them with no problems I'd definately recommend them.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2011, 19:22 »
0
What about Profoto ?

Would love to have those or Broncolor but I'm not trying to go top end quite yet. Just want good quality without frustration as this point.

ETA: Actually, good question. Is there a reason I would want to spend almost twice as much to step into a 500ws ProPhoto setup?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 19:32 by PaulieWalnuts »

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2011, 19:28 »
0
I have the Elinchrom D-Lite 4 set and I've been very happy with it.  I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to studio lighting and I've had no problems with it - very easy to set up and use, sturdy stands and it integrates with almost all of the other Elinchrom items so when I'm ready to expand I won't be left with something I can't use.  I have a former co-worker that went pro with his photo work and he's a big fan of Elinchrom.  I think he's using the BX line.  After about a year of using them with no problems I'd definately recommend them.

Cool thanks. Do you have the Skyport and if so do you like it?

« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 20:23 »
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I've been using Hensels products for over 15 years, and have used the Integra Pro 2 for the last 2. The quality of the built is great and they give a very clean light. If you went with the Hensels I don't think you'll be disappointed.

« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2011, 20:41 »
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I have the Elinchrom D-Lite 4 set and I've been very happy with it.  

Same here. I have 2 sets of the D-Lite 4 (the original version and also the later version with the integrated TX/RX) and have been using then since 2007. I must have undertaken well over 100K shutter operations and have yet to experience any issues. I've not even had to replace a modeling lamp, flash tube or fuse so far. Very consistent light output. They are so much better than the cheap rubbish I bought off Ebay when I started doing microstock __ those turned out to be a very expensive mistake in retrospect.

jbarber873

« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2011, 20:56 »
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   Elinchrome has a great reputation. Depending on how much you use the lights- meaning how important they are to your workflow, you're better off buying the best you can afford. In the long run it will pay you back. I use comet 2400ws packs that i bought back in 1990. I used them at least 4 days a week ever since then. I replaced some modeling lights, and every now and then bought new flash tubes, but they just keep going. Good quality is never overpriced.

Ed

« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2011, 21:05 »
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I've used the Elinchrom you mention in a studio I rent every once in a while and they work just fine.  I have a Ranger RX Speed AS and I absolutely love the setup.  I've used both with pocketwizards instead of the skyport system.

I've used different things around town at different studios I rent from...my opinion is they all work.  Paul C. Buff and White Lightening seem to be very popular.  If/when I buy my own dedicated studio set, I've decided I'm going to spend the money on Avenger stands, and whatever light set I do use, I'm going to make sure they are pocketwizard compatible, they have an internal fan (I've seen non air-cooled monolights overheat, smoke, and smolder to a slow death), and have a fast enough flash duration where I can stop dancers.  I don't do much with dance, but I'd like to have the opportunity.  I've been checking out Profoto lately but I have not used them.

Edited to add:  I would get as much power as you can.  The flexibility will be worth it.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 21:10 by Ed »

traveler1116

« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2011, 22:16 »
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What's your problem with the quality?  If it ain't broke don't fix it, isn't that how the saying goes.

« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2011, 22:38 »
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I have the Elinchrom D-Lite 4 set and I've been very happy with it.  I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to studio lighting and I've had no problems with it - very easy to set up and use, sturdy stands and it integrates with almost all of the other Elinchrom items so when I'm ready to expand I won't be left with something I can't use.  I have a former co-worker that went pro with his photo work and he's a big fan of Elinchrom.  I think he's using the BX line.  After about a year of using them with no problems I'd definately recommend them.

Cool thanks. Do you have the Skyport and if so do you like it?

Yes, the kit came with a Skyport and it works just fine - I just had to open the box, set it up and a half hour later I was ready to shoot without having to get anything extra.  I shoot a lot of food shots, smaller tabletop images, etc., so this set works for me since I haven't yet needed more power.  It's worked consistantly from day one.  I would have gone for the BX line but it just wasn't in the budget and knowing I could add to the set was a big plus.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2011, 22:52 »
0
What's your problem with the quality?  If it ain't broke don't fix it, isn't that how the saying goes.

The power switches sometimes take a couple or more flips to turn them on or off. The power cords loosely fit into the connectors and can come out if I move the stands. They seem to not fire a bit more than for my liking. The Alien Bees stickers on the side are falling off. Having handles would be nice. Nothing really major but a bunch of small stuff that adds up to not the greatest of quality.

I've been using my Speedlights more.

So I'd like to see what else is out there to compare.

« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2011, 01:11 »
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I've done a lot of reading up on Einsteins, as I'm looking at maybe buying 4 of them in the future. From what I understand, they are in a TOTALLY different ballpark for Paul Buff gear. There's three big reasons I'm looking at them:

1.) Fast - as fast as any battery powered strobe. You could call them strobes on roids, and not many monolights out there can do what these units do speed wise.

2.) Constant color mode

3.) Cybercommand. What I really like about the cybercommander is the ability to dim any lights modeling light in real time from my camera. That's just sick and I would make huge use of that feature. You actually have full control over the entire fixture, power up, power down, dimming, settings, EVERYTHING.

There's my 2 cents.

CarlssonInc

« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2011, 01:18 »
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Used to have Bowens 500s which were ok. Compared to Elinchrom though they don't stand a chance...not even compared to the old model D-lites 2 or new model D-lites 4.

The Elinchromes have NEVER giving me any problems and they have been worked hard, in and out of the studio. Knocked over from full height god knows how many times - rock solid quality from their "cheap" range to the "expensive" range. Amazing availability of accessories, both original and third-party. Ability to function anywhere (voltage).

Only other brand really rivalling Elinchrom in my opinion when you factor in everything is Profoto, but they are REALLY expensive.

Had a quick look at the Einsteins and they do look quite impressive in terms of specs. Don't know how the quality is and the support in Europe and/or rest of the world (outside U.S.).
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 01:39 by CarlssonInc. Stock Imagery Production »

lagereek

« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2011, 01:55 »
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I have used them all. Profoto, are cumbersome stuff, useless for portabillity but great for products, Broncolor is what I use nowdays, the new series Elinchromes seem terrific and really they are enough for todays digital photography. They are also very portable units with a massive back-up of spares and accessories.
They are also good prices on these units.

« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2011, 02:02 »
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I got a used Acute2 2400w Profoto kit, yes expensive, but these are work horses and if and when I decide to upgrade to the more higher end model, the light shapers are the same.
In addition they have great resale value, so one can buy them used and sell them a few years later for virtually the same price +
Add to the fact that Profoto gear will most probebly out live you...

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2011, 08:31 »
0
I've done a lot of reading up on Einsteins, as I'm looking at maybe buying 4 of them in the future. From what I understand, they are in a TOTALLY different ballpark for Paul Buff gear. There's three big reasons I'm looking at them:

1.) Fast - as fast as any battery powered strobe. You could call them strobes on roids, and not many monolights out there can do what these units do speed wise.

2.) Constant color mode

3.) Cybercommand. What I really like about the cybercommander is the ability to dim any lights modeling light in real time from my camera. That's just sick and I would make huge use of that feature. You actually have full control over the entire fixture, power up, power down, dimming, settings, EVERYTHING.

There's my 2 cents.

Yep, they have some pretty impressive specs and that's what I was considering at first. But after adding up the costs to replace the bees, get Cybersync, it would be about the same cost as the Elinchrom and Bowens systems I mentioned.

I'm just checking out different systems to see what I'm going to stick with so I may buy an Einstein at some point to evaluate it.

« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2011, 10:27 »
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I sold my B800s and B1600s (great re-sale value) a year ago  and purchased 3 BXRi500 thinking about the same plus I already owned their Quadra portable one. Tell me I had bad luck, two of mine BXRis already needed services. To get the service in US, it's pain in the butt. You need to plan to have no light for a month or two when that happens. For only that part alone I won't recommend Elin. Plus, their skyport is a joke. If you can rent or find used ones, give that a try before you finally commit your investment. I wish I had done that homework.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2011, 11:20 »
0
I sold my B800s and B1600s (great re-sale value) a year ago  and purchased 3 BXRi500 thinking about the same plus I already owned their Quadra portable one. Tell me I had bad luck, two of mine BXRis already needed services. To get the service in US, it's pain in the butt. You need to plan to have no light for a month or two when that happens. For only that part alone I won't recommend Elin. Plus, their skyport is a joke. If you can rent or find used ones, give that a try before you finally commit your investment. I wish I had done that homework.

Good to know thanks. I was curious about the service.

What's wrong with the skyport?

I'm going to hold on to my Bees while I try out other stuff.

« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2011, 16:56 »
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Had a quick look at the Einsteins and they do look quite impressive in terms of specs. Don't know how the quality is and the support in Europe and/or rest of the world (outside U.S.).

From what I understand, PCB has amazing customer service for repairs. All you do is mail the unit to them, which might be a hassle for overseas people, but I've heard they do not charge more than cost of parts for repairs. So a fix that is only $5 parts is all you'll pay. I once saw a video tour of their facility and Paul showed off the repair center, pretty impressive.

« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2011, 17:02 »
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Another thing I like about the cyber snyc system is the clean integration it has with the strobes. You really can't beat that kind of design.

The only reservation I have about the Einsteins is build quality. I've never held one before. I'm used to using film lights made out of steel and aluminum. Heck, I actually hate how my SB-800 feels... I wish speedlights were made out of metal instead of plastic.


 

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