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A lighting question
Old 01-18-2006, 11:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi,
So I'm near ready to spring for the Alienbee lights and I thought I'd check on eBay to see what's available there and I found this:

http://tinyurl.com/bpybr

It seems almost too good to be true. I could use some feedback here.
Whadyathink?
Thanks,
David davidenglish@gmail.com
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Re: A lighting question
Old 01-18-2006, 11:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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David:

I have spent far too many hours planning my purchases for 2006, which are to include a set of strobes. I've read a lot of VERY mixed reviews of the Britek systems, and have decided to spend a little more the first time (getting only 2 lights rather than 3 or 4 right away) and getting some quality. The bottom line is this: You may think you are saving $$$ now, but in the end, you WILL end up spending the real $$$ for a better system. While many seem to think that packages like this are good to get you going, I have read too many times how these kits end up in storage within 6 to 12 months as the photographer quickly outgrows the bargain light package.

So... with all that said, I plan on spending on a better system now, and adding rather than replacing!

Regards and Best to all!

Norman J. Wilson
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Re: A lighting question
Old 01-18-2006, 11:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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As long as you realize these aren't Alien Bee's they look okay. This one looks better than what I bought. I purchased a kit off of e-bay last year. It works well but I'm reaching the limit of it's capabilities and will probably end up buying an Alien Bee this year.
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Re: A lighting question
Old 01-19-2006, 12:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Josh,
I'm re-thinking the idea of going cheap after Norms's comment. I know too well you get what you pay for. I didn't scrimp when I bought the D2X nor did I cut corners for the lenses I have. So I think I will return to plan A and go with the Alienbees one piece at a time.

Thanks,
David davidenglish@gmail.com
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Re: A lighting question
Old 01-19-2006, 12:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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you will be SO happy with Bees.

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Re: A lighting question
Old 01-19-2006, 12:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I believe, I believe [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

and I will post the first fair model I shoot with them right here.

David davidenglish@gmail.com
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Re: A lighting question
Old 01-19-2006, 12:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
I didn't scrimp when I bought the D2X nor did I cut corners for the lenses I have.

[/ QUOTE ]

Without light, there is no photography. It's all ABOUT light. Don't skimp on light. If you want to get serious about studio photography, you'd be far better off spending $600 on a Nikon D50 and $4500 on lights, stands, modifiers, meter, softboxes, etc. than you would spending $4500 on a D2X and $600 on lights, stands, modifiers, meter, etc. Nevermind that $4500 worth of lighting and accessories would probably confuse the $h1t out of you if you purchased it all at once.

Look at lighting like you would your lenses. Bodies come and go - the D2X will be technically obsolete in 2 years (Canon shooters will probably argue that it already is obsolete [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] ). But if you choose a good lighting system it can last you decades. Light doesn't obsolesce. Sure, new stuff comes out with neat features, but light emitted from a flash tube is light emitted from a flash tube. I still have, and use, the first power pack I ever bought back in the late 80's.

The AlienBees gear is good gear. They've got great customer service, a decent number of modifiers and accessories, and reasonably priced replacement parts and repair costs. Their gear is well built and has well thought-out controls, better than anything else in the price range. They are a great way to get into studio lighting without busting your bank account. They won't frustrate you with erratic behaviour and poor design. Many people never need anything else. If, in the future you find something about them limiting, you'll know enough about lighting to look for a system that meets your new, expanded or specific needs.

In my opinion you get what you pay for when it comes to studio lighting. Consider anything cheaper than the Bees as disposable. It sucks when you blow out a flash-tube after 8,000 exposures and realize that the cost of the replacement tube is 90% of the price of the light, if you could replace it yourself in the first place.

-Chip
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Re: A lighting question
Old 01-19-2006, 01:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks, Chip,

Good advice. I'm glad I asked this question 'cause now I feel clear on the direction to go for my studio and I got to connect with some of the folks in the group. An impressive bunch.
Thanks for the feedback.
David
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ditto
Old 01-19-2006, 01:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Ditto Chip's comments. Especially in the studio, almost none of the features of advanced camera bodies will help you - 8fps? Fancy metering patterns? weather seal?. A basic body will work just as good, spend your money on the lights. I have a set of big Norman packs and heads that are all more than 16 years old (some pieces go back 30 years) and work just great (with a little occaisional help from my repair guy). In the last year I broke down and bought some new lights for location work (as I get older, I get tired of lugging around the Normans). All that time I used simple, low-level Nikon cameras, the last one being the F100 and it was just as reliable and sharp as can be. Anyway, the system you posted is not very powerful - 160ws in one head is NOTHING. I have a 400ws Norman battery unit that was barely strong enough for flash fill at the beach, and that was with a direct head. As others have said, spluge on the ABs. I bought some used White Lightnings which are from the same company, and found them to be great as well. You DO need to keep some money for light modifiers like softboxes, reflectors and grids, and that stuff is not cheap.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: ditto
Old 01-19-2006, 01:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks Andy,

My initial buy which could happen next week is the AB1600, their heavy duty tripod LS3900 and the octobox OB35. The lot totals out to about $530.
Whadyathink?

David davidenglish@gmail.com
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