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Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-20-2005, 11:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Can someone tell me about their experience with this brand, im shopping on a budget and I have seen many AB users but none that use White Lightning ones.

Im from México and I have heard about AB's but not the other ones.

Any info is appreciated.
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-20-2005, 11:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The White Lightning systems are made by the same people as the Alien Bees. The WL's are more powerful, and more heavy duty. Here is a link:

http://www.white-lightning.com/

Many of the components are interchangeable between the system, like the remote controls, the battery power packs, etc.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-20-2005, 11:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So you mean is better spent money on the WL??
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-20-2005, 11:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It depends on your budget and your needs. The Alien Bees (AB) are lighter units, and produce less Watt seconds, but recycle much faster. The White Lightning is bigger, heavier, and recycles slower, but has more Watt Seconds in general. Personally, for a small studio, I'd go with the AB's. For a big studio where I would sometime need a great deal of power, I might go with the WL's. But you can also mix the two. If you but the radio remotes, you can then control each unit from the camera location for all functions. Just compare the specs on the AB site and the WL site and you'll be able to get an idea of the differences.
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-21-2005, 12:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Lets say you have 3,500... what would be your choice?

By the way...just checked your portfolio...great images!!!
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-21-2005, 01:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well it somewhat depends on what you want to do.
I have been using an old novtratron powerpack and 4 heads for the last 30 years and that's mostly what I still use in my studio. I work with the AB's in other studios.

But I'd probably buy 4 of them: Something like the Busy Bee package:

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

But I'd sub the radio remote package for the wired remotes. Then I'd add the battery pack system to the whole mix.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-21-2005, 01:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If I didn't have any lights and was going to spend $3,500, I'd look at Dynalite, Elinchrom, Hensel, or ProPhoto. The biggest difference I've seen between expensive lights and inexpensive lights is color consistency from low power to high power. The afore-mentioned manufacturer's equipment typically varies less than 150 degrees kelvin from low power to high power. I've seen inexpensive lights vary by as much as 600 degrees kelvin from low to high. What this means to you is that you're not constantly compensating for changing color balance as you change your lighting. I've also found more expensive lights to be constructed more ruggedly. They are more likely to withstand years of use and abuse.

The new Hensel Integra Pro Plus 3 light kit (monolights) would be especially attractive at ~$2250. You get a radio transmitter, built-in radio receivers, small softbox, reflectors, stands, and (I think) 1 grid. I'm not sure how well constructed the stands or the softbox are, but you'd have about $1250 left in your budget to accessorize. If you don't have a flashmeter, get one before you do anything else. With the remainder you could buy stands, softboxes, grids, snoots, gels, additional reflectors, or maybe even a 4th. light.

"What would be your choice" is hard to answer because it would depend on what I needed. If I needed a compact, lightweight, flexible generator and heads I'd probably choose Dynalite or Hensel. If I needed monolights I'd choose Hensel or Elinchrom. If I needed a tremendous selection of accessories I'd choose Elinchrom or ProPhoto. If I wanted wireless sync, I'd choose Dynalite, ProPhoto (both PocketWizard compatible), or Hensel (proprietary). If I needed outright flash performance I'd choose Elinchrom or ProPhoto.

But at the end of the day, If I were just starting out and had a budget of $3500, I'd go with the Hensel kit I mentioned above and accessorize like crazy.

-Chip
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-21-2005, 02:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The Alien Bees appear to have no problem with consistent color temperature. The standard flash tube is 5600K and color balanced. The White Lightnings use the same tube. They're good for 250,000-500,000 flashes and cost $30 to replace. Its basically just plug and play. AB's have a 2 year warranty and WL's a 5 year warranty. I have seen no sign of lack of color consistency with the the AB's and WL's at any power setting. I've used both at all different power settings.
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-21-2005, 11:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Can someone tell me about their experience with this brand, im shopping on a budget and I have seen many AB users but none that use White Lightning ones.

[/ QUOTE ]

Jose,

First of all, welcome to GG!

As a long-time owner of White Lightning equipment, lemme give you some of my experience.

I bought my first units in 1988, two Ultra 600's. A year later I added an Ultra 1200. They're still in use, now, though I sold the 1200 a few years ago to a friend.

Yesterday, I had to replace a 6amp fuse on one of the 600's. That's the FIRST thing I've had go wrong with the units (other than replacing the modeling lamp), and other than needing to re-seat one of the flash tubes that had probably had a bit of oxydization on the leads. I'm still on the original flash tubes, and their color temperature remains consistent.

I can not say the same for other equipment that I've used, though none has been in the Dynalight / Profoto / Hensel category.

I can say that the White Lightnings are over-engineerd with components that don't suggest that you should baby them. They are rugged, mechanically and structurally.

Can ya tell I like 'em?

I don't think you'll be unhappy if you wind up purchasing the White Lightnings.

I'm definitely sold on the monolights versus power-pack type of flash units. If one goes down for some reason, you're not dead in the water as you are if your pack craters.

And, Jose, consider purchasing used WL units... If you talk with Buff, they'll check them out and bring them up to current specs for a very nominal fee. That's the great thing about buying WL's... the folks that back 'em up.

Lemme know if I can tell you anything more, Jose.. and again, Bienviendos!

Wayne
Fort Worth, Tejas
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Re: Comments about white lightning systems
Old 07-21-2005, 11:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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For sometime I used two X800 White Lightnigs as my "front" Lights. I really liked the 250w Model Light. I had a Alien Bee 400 for a Hair Light and two Alien Bee 800's for my Background Lights.

It was a very nice set-up and served me well. I did move onto a more professional Light and sold off the Alien Bees, I will be selling the White Lightnings as soon as I pick up a couple more Lights.

The White Lightnings have:
Longer warranty (5 years vs 2 years)
Better case (Metal vs Plastic)
Brighter Model Light (250w vs 100w)
More Control over your Model Light

I would recommend getting at least one, as you can mix and match with the Alien Bees..

This was taken with them:


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