A&P AlienBees light Sets

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Ty Webb, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb You don't have to go to college. This isn't Russia

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    As I am growing with my photography - I need better light setups. No more off camera flash/Pocketwizard combos. Too unreliable.

    I have been looking into the Alien Bees B800's. They had these combo's i'm sure most of you know about.

    http://www.alienbees.com/digi.html

    That, combined with two B800's and a vagabond would be a pretty solid setup I can imagine, yes? Of course I would still use my transcievers.

    Anyone use a setup like this? Any particularly better values out there?
     
  2. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    how is off camera flashes with pockwizards reliable? Thats crazy talk.

    I mean the pocketwizards fire the flashes, and they put light where you want it. What's unreliable?

    If you want real lights, go Dynalights or go home. Everything else is just a step between the dyna's and your flashes. Not to mention, the Dynalite Roadmax sets come with a fucking built in pocketwizard receiver. Doesn't get any more awesome than that, does it...

    But really, I can't understand your issue. I've heard, and understood a lot of complaints of standard flashes not having the power to do what people want, and it's justified. But unreliable? No offense man, but my initial thought is user error.
     
  3. dmora

    dmora Guest

    Its a pretty legit set up... i need shopping tips for this as well. :hs:
     
  4. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb You don't have to go to college. This isn't Russia

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    very well could be user error. My problem is my flashes are not consistent. I use anold DG 500 Super sigma because it won't work on the 5D2 and I will also use my 430EX. The 430EX shuts off or "sleeps" after a few moments of no use. So that gets very frustrating. The pocketwizards are fantastic.

    That's really my only gripe, along with a hackjob method of keeping them on my stands.

    I just want some more consistency. These seemed like a fairly reasonable option.
     
  5. s14brent

    s14brent Active Member

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    No problems with my alienbees ever. I'm using 2 ab800s, 1 abr800, ab1600 and vagabond2. These things are my bread and butter for reliable power. then again i use 3 sb800s and elinchrom skyports (cheaper than pocketwizards) with no "reliability issues" ever either.
    PCB is just great bang for the buck and especially if planning to use "on location" I really need to look more into the new PLM (parabolic light modification system).

    btw 430ex/580 users can set it to stay on in custom functions.
     
  6. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    Yeah, i'd say you are having some issues...

    What's the 'hackjob' method of keeping them on stands? Do you not have hotshoe to lightstand mounts? http://www.amazon.com/Umbrella-Adapter-Hot-Shoe-Mount/dp/B000TL3IPY

    They're pretty reliable... they're exactly like the mounts you'll find with any other light system, except you have to plug your flash in... Shouldn't be unreliable...

    For the 430EX, set your custom function #1 to 1. It will turn off the sleep mode.

    No experience with the Sigma 500...
     
  7. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb You don't have to go to college. This isn't Russia

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    Thanks for that link. Those looks like a great solution to my issues, at least for now. As far as the power department goes... we'll see what happens in a few weeks or so.
    I had been using some ace hardware clamps to hold the flashes on. :lol:

    I'm going to be doing a shoot of a buddy's mustang on saturday so I can nail down some more light angles, so we'll see what comes of it.
     
  8. Total Xenocide

    Total Xenocide OT Supporter

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    You could also use the stand that comes with the 430 to mount to your flash to the lightstand. Be careful if you do that though... I broke the threaded part off on my 580's stand, haha
     
  9. johan

    johan Active Member

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    I like my AB's. They're good lights. Cheap.
    Will upgrade eventually, but for now, they do fine.
     
  10. twinturboteddy

    twinturboteddy Bling Bling!

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    I have an entire collection of Alien Bees.

    A+++ would buy again.
     
  11. IntheWorks

    IntheWorks windin film.. takin pics Moderator

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    I find myself using only 1 light 90% of the time, and wishing I had a little more power. I'm toying with the idea of selling off my Dlite kit and picking up a single B1600 and a vagabond :hs:
     
  12. HighTachPres

    HighTachPres New Member

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    This will solve your problems
     
  13. Fucker

    Fucker out of the fast lane, bitches

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    multiblitz also makes nice kits, made in germany. not well know in the usa but very well known in europe.
     
  14. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    alien bees are fine, but investing in some 580's would be far more versatile, if you learn to use them properly.
     
  15. johan

    johan Active Member

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    this is very true. The AB's are great, but if you do a lot of location shooting you'll get tired of lugging around a set of AB's, and batteries.

    And if you need the AB's power, the appropriate stands and modifiers will also be large and heavy.

    Maybe I'm reading into this, but aren't most of your 430 issues due to lack of proper mounts/stands and the sleep mode issue?



    I personally love the AB's but for pure convenience, you can't beat speedlights.

    I use a set of SB800's for everything, unless there's a specific job that requires either huge power, or hundreds of pops in rapid sequence.
     
  16. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb You don't have to go to college. This isn't Russia

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    Well, I think for now after listening to reason and taking your insights into account, I am going to pick up a 580 and some of those hotshoe stand adapters and be efficient right now until I get the cash on hand to be able to safely afford more lights.

    I'll just have to invest in more rechargeable batteries. :)
     
  17. someonenew

    someonenew He's Dangerous

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    AB's have lots of stories of inconsistant intensity and color.

    Photogenic makes some great lights though. I'm looking at a couple of those in the near future.

    does sound like your big issue is your flash going to sleep, if you turn that off and use a PW you'll be fine.

    I do most of my work with 1 light (SB900) and PW's.
     
  18. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Personally, for the money, I'd buy three Sunpack 383's instead of one 580. The Sunpacks give consistent results and feature adjustable power output. They are intended to be used in manual mode whereas the 580 offers ETTL mode but to be honest, manual mode is just as easy to use when you're not pressed for time, like in wedding work.

    The downside to Sunpacks, or any speedlight, is that you have to wait for the power to recharge if you shoot full or half power, and they're not a powerful as a dedicated monolight.

    I use Photogenic's for most location or studio type work when power is available and my Sunpacks for location work when power isn't available. I also have my two 580EX's for wedding work when I have to work quickly. That's where ETTL comes in handy.
     
  19. wizeguy4

    wizeguy4 New Member

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    I honestly think for the money - the 540EZ is great manual flash.

    less than 100 bucks and you get a zoom head, 7 stops down to 1/128 power and a very fast recycle time. and you get a GN of 177. and you are going to use manual mode off camera anyway.
     
  20. SonicYan

    SonicYan Active Member

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    Wow, I'm surprised people here are recommending a strobist setup over an AB setup. But yeah, I also shoot with just a strobist setup, all I can afford. :hs:
     
  21. PackingMyBags

    PackingMyBags New Member

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    Strobes are cheap and easy. The hardest part is running more than one and having them put out the same amount of light on your subject when they aret the same make. That is frustrating.
     
  22. tetsuo

    tetsuo And shepherds we shall be...

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    i got rid of my b400 because i find that its just too much hassle dragging it out to shoot when i can easily throw my 550ex on a stand with an umbrella. :dunno: i never had the battery pack to use the b400 outside though.
     
  23. wizeguy4

    wizeguy4 New Member

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    personally, as much as I like teh AB stuff, PCB and all his whining and crying and everythign else associated with that company, I dont wish to buy anything there - well except maybe the ringlight
     
  24. Ty Webb

    Ty Webb You don't have to go to college. This isn't Russia

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    I'll check into this. Thanks!
     
  25. tetsuo

    tetsuo And shepherds we shall be...

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    i wish people would stop recommending them, i'm trying to pick up 2 or 3 of them cheap on ebay. :mamoru:
     

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