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Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-11-2006, 02:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I could use some lighting equipment advice...

My background is a couple of years experience with Alien Bees (2xB400 and 4xB800) with Photoflex umbrellas, several softboxes and a 5' Octodome. I also have the Vagabond battery pack.

I'm ready to move up to more serious lighting, particularly for use on location where there might not be power available. My main frustration with AB lights is that the power output is not consistent at low output (neither is the color temperature) and it's been confirmed by AB tech support that more consistent performance is only when using 1/8th power or more. And I really like less power because I favor large apertures and shallow DOF for portraits.

Anyway, I think I've narrowed down my selection to either the Hensel Premium Porty or the Elinchrom Ranger RX AS. Neither system is available locally (Montreal) and I've also not found a source in Canada so I'll probably end up ordering from B&H (which I've done many times before).

Does it make any sense at all to use either of those systems in the studio as well as for on location stuff? I guess the weakness is with the modeling light more than anything else (in that there's no proportional modeling light output).

With the Hensel, is the radio receiver compatible with Pocket Wizards?

It looks like the Hensel might be a better deal (the kit includes TWO batteries it seems) than Elinchrom but that more accessories are available for Elinchrom. I'm particularly interested in the fact that Elinchrom softboxes (and octo-boxes) are SUPPOSED to assemble/disassemble easier than anything by other makers, which sounds like what I want for location use.

Anyway, I guess I'm confused, but since I'd basically be "buying into" a system/brand I'd like to make the right choice.

I'm targetting an initial purchase of three heads and an assortment of accessories like barn-doors, filter holders, beauty dish, various reflectors, etc. as well as some new softboxes or octo-boxes. It looks like with either system I'd have to get TWO of the battery pack systems so I could use two lights with one of them and another light with the second one. Gets pretty expensive quickly.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions/advice on this. Thanks!
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Re: Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-11-2006, 05:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have Hensel porty stuff, but do have 6 of their new monolights, they are NOT compatible with pocket wizards (which I use) and once you use the Hensel beauty dish, you won't go back to Softboxes...

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Re: Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-11-2006, 06:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had the pleasure to work with a Hensel Porty, some other Hensel lights and light modifiers last weekend. Steve is right about the Pocket Wizards, the Hensel system is NOT compatible and the Hensel remote offers additional functions. You can adjust the output power and turn the modeling light on/off/proportional via the remote as well.
I talked to a Hensel Rep and understood that the Porty is available in a package with the remote (transmitter and built-in receiver). The Hensel remote works nicely and even if you bought it seperately it seemed to be cheaper than the Pocket Wizards (at least here in Europe).
Oh, and the beauty dish is something else... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
Robert
PS: This image was shot with a Briese Light...
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Re: Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-11-2006, 07:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
I don't have Hensel porty stuff, but do have 6 of their new monolights, they are NOT compatible with pocket wizards (which I use)

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm a little confused (like that's something new...) here. If you can trigger a Hensel via a standard sync cord, how can it now be compatible with the wizards? Are you just talking about the integrated Hensel radio feature? That I could understand...
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Re: Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-12-2006, 02:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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no problem, what I mean is, that the Pocket Wizards are not on the same frequency as the Hensel wireless devices, you can use one or the other...
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Re: Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-12-2006, 09:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks Steven...

It's a shame that the radio system in the Hensel isn't compatible with PW... I usually shoot with two cameras in the studio and have two sets of PWs so it's real easy - just grab the camera/lens combo I want and shoot. Guess I'm going to have to find out how much a second Hensel transmitter costs.

That is, if I go the Hensel route instead of Elinchrom.

Yours isn't the first good comment I've heard about the beauty dish... I can't wait to get one myself.

One thing I didn't mention in my first post is that I'm also interested (sooner rather than later) in getting a fresnel system so I can use gobos. I see Hensel has one that works with the Porty.

Cheers!

Eldor
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Re: Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-12-2006, 09:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for commenting, Robert. Nice shot! (Personally I favor more catchlights in the eyes though.) But what's a "Briese" light? Is that a brand or type?

Gee, yet another vote for the beauty dish... I've heard so many good things about it (and the Elinchrom version) that I'm just about drooling with anticipitation to get one of my own.

Ok on the Hensel transmitter costing less than PW, but I already own two sets of Pocket Wizards. Sometimes I use a transmitter on each of two bodies with the receiver on my lights, and other times I use one set to trigger the camera and the other to trigger the flash. Looks like I would have to buy an extra Hensel transmitter if I go that route.

No one has yet commented on the practicality of using the Hensel Porty (or Elinchrom Ranger) system IN the studio as opposed to out on location. Is it feasible?

Cheers!

Eldor
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Re: Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-12-2006, 09:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah Scott, that's the way I understand it. But since the Hensel Premium Porty includes their radio receiver built-in, as well as a transmitter, it's a shame not to use it. I already own two complete PW sets though, as I like to have a transmitter on each of the two bodies I regularly use in the studio. Not that big a deal I guess, but it looks like I'll have to buy an additional Hensel transmitter in order to do this. The good news (as I understand it) is that the Hensel remote allows some light control as well while the PWs would only allow remote triggering.

Cheers!
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Re: Portable light advice & Hensel vs. Elinchrom
Old 02-12-2006, 09:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi Eldor,

as far as I know the Hensel Porty is available with or without the radio system so you don't have to pay for stuff you don't need. I am not familiar with the Pocket wizards but I would guess the the Wizards receiver has a sync connection with a 1/8" (is it an 1/8"?) standard plug and will trigger almost any professional studio strobe. The Porty Generator does not have the 1/8" sync socket as Hensel has a special watertight connector on the Porty BUT the heads have the standard connector! You could connect you Pocket Wizards via the 1/8" connector to one of the lights and trigger the system without any problems.
Using the porty in the studio is no problem, you can leave the battery charger connected to the mains and won't have any troubles running out of batterie power in the middle of the shoot (we ran the Porty like this last weekend without any problems). The only "disadvantage" I could see is that battery powered generators tend to have a little bit longer re-charge time. If this is a problem depends on your type of work and your shooting style...
I would just rent one for a day and play with it. And did I mentione the BEAUTY DISH??....OMG!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
Oh, Briese is a german manufacturer of studio lights, very durable, very powerful and unfortunately very expensive....
This was shot with Hensel lights (can't remember whether the Porty was one of the lights or not?):
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Hensel & Pocket Wizards
Old 02-15-2006, 01:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You can use PW's on any Hensel light. Both their Monos and Porty. We do it all the time. You need a cord with a 3.5mm (PW receiver) to a 1/4" mono plug (plugs into the back of the head).

This will fire all strobes attached to a porty pack. If attached to a Mono attach to 1 strobe, and set your others on optical.

All very simple

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