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Any Alien Bee users have the AB wirless system?
Old 10-04-2004, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am thinking about going wireless and the AB system looks very cool.

If anyone has (or had) it, I would like to know how you like it and how it works?

thanks..
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Re: Any Alien Bee users have the AB wirless system?
Old 10-04-2004, 05:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I like my AB’s however the wireless remotes are another thing. They work as advertised but the don’t have a convenient way to connect to the strobe and the transmitter has no adaptor to fit on the camera so you end up with a pc cord between the camera and the transmitter therefor you are not shooting untethered. To do that you need something like a pocketwizard hooked up to the transmitter, which is starting to get silly.

Your mileage may very.
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Re: Any Alien Bee users have the AB wirless system?
Old 10-05-2004, 04:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll soon be ordering a 6-light AB setup. I'd also like to be untethered, ie nothing connected to the camera. I've read mixed reviews about the AB Wireless system, but I'm so new to the whole wireless thing that I'm not knowledgable enough to choose something different. I have heard good things about the PocketWizard though.

Can some kind soul who's knowledgable of AB lights and the PocketWizard system please provide specific (like EXACT names of what I should be buying) info on what to get for my 6-light setup?

Most important to me is to be untethered. But I note that with the AB Wireless system, it's possible to set output levels individually from the one transmitter... is this possible with the PocketWizard?

To ronmark: To untether your camera, would it possible to use an IR trigger in the hotshoe, vs using the transmitter? For example, take a look at www.adorama.com/Refby.tpl?refby=rflAID049243&sku=PAIIRT In such a setup, one can use the transmitter for setting output levels and use the IR trigger in the hotshoe for shooting.

Thanks a million in advance.
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Re: Any Alien Bee users have the AB wirless system?
Old 10-05-2004, 08:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well I am no expert on lighting equipment and I could steer you wrong and not mean to.
The problem with the inferred transmitter is you would need something like this http://www.adorama.com/WNHSXLD.html?...wein&item_no=8 plus a connecting cord or two to get from that to the AB transmitter. Then there is still the problem of the preflash maybe or maybe not pretriggering your strobes and the inherent unreliably of the whole inferred thing this is not an attractive solution. I have used both the pocketwizard and the AB radio transmitter and in my opinion if the most important thing is to shoot untethered go with the pocketwizard. No you can’t set the strobes from the pocketwizard like you can from the AB transmitter. The real solution is for Paul Buff to fix the AB transmitter to mount on the camera and the AB receivers to physically attach to the Strobes.
You could use the pocketwizard to trigger the AB transmitter but as I already indicated that is getting expensive and there are a lot of things that could go wrong.
Good luck with what ever you do, remember this whole thing is supposed to be fun.
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Re: Any Alien Bee users have the AB wirless system?
Old 10-05-2004, 06:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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O.k.

I am actually getting the Busy Bee Package with some add ons really soon. I called the Alien Bees folks today and here's what I got.

You can use the radio transmitter to fire your lights. You can even control them. If you get the package, you can have each light fire remotely. The catch is that the transmitter will not sit in your hot shoe. You have to connect it to your camera via a sync. I asked the tech how people get the transmitter to work with no wires from the camera and she said that what a lot of people do is to mount a Pocket Wizard transmitter to the camera's hot shoe and connect the Pocket Wizard received to the AB transmitter, which then fires all of the lights like you desire.

NOw, if you want to be able to control all of your lights on the fly from your hip and you want to do it wirelessly, you not only have to have your AB radio remotes, but you also have to have a seperate remote and receiver attached. Sounds to me like it's a lot more to carry than I feel good about.

Hope this helps. If not, PM me and I'll try to do better. Or you can call the AB folks and ask them like I did.

Mike
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Re: Any Alien Bee users have the AB wirless system?
Old 10-15-2004, 10:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have the AB/WL Radio Remote One system. I love it, use it everyday, couldn't imagine working without it, go into withdrawal when I am at the rental studio without it, and highly recommend it. It is that good. If you can afford it, buy it. You will not regret it. If for some bizzare reason you don't like it, return it. The folks at Paul Buff's company are great and their customer service re-defines a 10/10.

You could say I am a big fan.

The remotes allow you to both control (adjust levels) of the lights and fire the lights. This speeds up my switching from one lighting set up to another.

I do have one recommendation though - I use my WL1600s (3) and AB 800 (1) with the Remotes. My D100 doesn't have a PC sync connector, so I have to use a hot shoe adapter - the Nikon AS15. I had Paramount Cords (paramountcords.com) make a custom 2 foot cord to go from the transmitter to the PC sync on the AS15. This cord has a right angle 2.5mm stereo phono plug on one end (for the Transmitter) and Nikon screw lock pc connector ont he other (for the AS15). The Nikon Screw Lock is nifty - it does just that - screws the PC sync connector into the AS15 snc port very solidly, eliminating any intermittant connection.

Finally, there is talk about the fact that the Transmitter doesn't fit onto the hot shoe. So what? Sure, if I were re-desinging it, I would change its form factor, but it hasn't slowed me down.

My Transmitter sits in a small rectangular zippered nylon sack which attaches to the left side of my D100. I have a small split key ring on the left hand strap holder on my camera and the nylon sack connects to it. The sack has a clear plastic window in the front so I can make adjustments on the transmitter without removing it from the bag. The dangling bag doesn't interfere with my shooting, and doesn't even look silly. Really.

I hope this helps!

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