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What Lighting
Old 05-22-2006, 05:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi. I am relatively new to photography and I have some lighting questions that may seem elementary to some of you. My friend and I have been using continuous light thru two shoot thru umbrellas and we want to up grade. We want to get studio strobes, but arenít sure how to use them. For instance, if we were to get Alien Bees SB800ís will we need to have sync cords, or can a remote transmitter trigger both at the same time? If so, what kind of transmitter do we need? Do we need receivers for the strobes, or is it built in? I guess I am looking for a breakdown on how strobes work, and how to get them to work from your camera. Can you guys help or know where I can look?
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Re: What Lighting
Old 05-22-2006, 06:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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akasluggo,

I really like the A/B lights I have 3 ea. 800 and 1 ea. 1600, you will need a remote trigger and a receiver at least one of each, the lights do have a built in slave sensor so you can work with only one receiver. Though I do recommend getting more than one receiver because the light may not fire if the back of the light is not facing toward one of the others. DO NOT get the remote wireless trigger and receiver that is sold by A/B it is a hunk of junk and has many problems!!!!! I bought them and it failed to fire about 25% of the time and that is not good!!! I use pocket wizard receivers and transmitter they work well and have not failed to fire ever, though they do fire without me triggering once in a while.

Hope this helps...

Happy shooting....
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Re: What Lighting
Old 05-22-2006, 06:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First off , You need a camera that has a way to trigger the strobes. If you have that the bee's will come with sync cords. The radio remotes will work if the the sync cords work. I only need one trans and one recever and let the other lights act as slaves. You will need a light meter also.

Good luck..

Mike
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Re: What Lighting
Old 05-22-2006, 06:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's Alien Bee B800's (not SB800's)...

Each light comes with a pc sync cable. And the lights also have an optical slave mode, meaning that you only need to plug the sync cord into one of the lights and your camera. The other light(s) will fire when they sense a flash firing.

You can also get the Alien Bee WIRED remote control, which connects to up to four lights via standard telephone cable (the remote comes with four 25' cables). That remote would then allow you to make all light adjustments (power level, turn on/off the modeling lamp or set it to proportional mode so it changes brightness as you change the light's power output) from one central convenient location. (So that you don't have to climb a ladder for example, to adjust your hair light output.)

You could plug the sync cord from your camera right into the wired remote control.

But for even better flexibility and a wireless (camera to flash that is) experience, add a set of Pocket Wizard remotes. Put the transmitter on the camera and the receiver on the wired remote. That way you get the best of all worlds. And the PW system allows you to do other things as well, such as fire your camera remotely (self portraits, etc.) if you need to.

Hope this helps...
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Re: What Lighting
Old 05-22-2006, 06:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I appreciate you guys taking time on this. I still have a lot of reading to do, but now I have more of an idea, Thanks!
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Re: What Lighting
Old 05-27-2006, 10:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have a set of AB 400s and trigger them with one of those cheap wireless transmitters I bought on eBay for only $10 (plus $20 shipping from Hong Kong). My camera fired the first AB from 50ft away, even around corners! All my other storbes (my other AB plus my five head Norman pack) have optical sensors, so they all fire at the same time. Sure, I'd LOVE a Pocket Wizard, but this cheapo wireless transmitter works like a charm. (OH ... don't buy the battery operated transmitter, get the inline "no-battery" one)

Good luck,
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Re: What Lighting
Old 05-27-2006, 11:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Marty, two things about the cheap wireless transmitters off eBay... I've heard that most of them cannot handle as high sync speeds as the Pocket Wizards. Some of them (the worst ones I've heard of) max out at 1/60th. Others might get 1/125th. The PW's go right up to 1/250th (for sure, and maybe even faster).

This generally isn't an issue if using the lights in a studio environment, but if used outside with high ambient light chances are that it won't be enough. The other thing that the cheaper systems often lack is the versatility to control almost anything. Some of them won't be able to control a camera for example.

Other issues I've heard about include unreliable or inconsistent firing and insufficient range.

Not saying they're all bad, just that someone needs to evaluate the pros and cons in the context of what they might want to do.

Eldor
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Re: What Lighting
Old 05-27-2006, 11:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Most of everything has been covered, but 2 more cents may not hurt.

if we were to get Alien Bees SB800ís will we need to have sync cords, or can a remote transmitter trigger both at the same time?
://You would use one transmitter plugged into the back of one of the AB lights. When you press your shutter the transmittier will make that one light go off and all of the other lights will go off due to the 'eye' on the back of the lights. When they 'see' a flash, they also go off. So, only one wireless transmitter is needed. As for the 'eye' not seeing the main light go off, there are ways around this. (you can buy those little 'eye' sensors on the end of a cable and plug it into your light and put the eye where you would like to)

Like someone else said, the AB lights come with a sync cable where you can plug it into your camera (if it supports flash sync) and then to to one light Then you are hardwired to that one light.


If so, what kind of transmitter do we need?
://SOmeone said the AB one isn't that great, which I have heard myself before. I bought one from our local store, it was about $180.

Do we need receivers for the strobes, or is it built in?
://Again, All AB lights have an 'eye' sensor on the back to when they 'see' light they also go off. But, you have to have one light go off to trigger them all either by remote or a sync cable, again which comes with the lights.

I guess I am looking for a breakdown on how strobes work, and how to get them to work from your camera. Can you guys help or know where I can look?
://I use 2 AB B800's and love them. Never had any problem what-so-ever.

-joshua
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Re: What Lighting
Old 05-27-2006, 01:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks again for all the advice, We are getting one AB1600 and two 800s. Hope we can figure them out in a reasonable amount of time.
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Cheap wireless triggers
Old 05-28-2006, 08:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'll agree that Pockett Wizards are great, and if I had the money they would definitely be on my top 5 list of new equipment I'd like to buy (right behind another strobe, a light meter, a portable power pack and a scond camera body).

Since I own one of those cheap eBay wireless transmitters and have used it on about 25 shoots so far, I can tell you that I have NEVER had any issues. I sync my Nikon D100 at 1/160 and it always triggers perfectly. When I drag the shutter at slower speeds, it works perfectly. When I used my strobes outside it worked perfectly. Maybe the problem other people are "hearing" is with the battery operated model, but I have the AC version (same cost) and it's worked flawlessly with my AB 400s! If budget is a concern, I'd highly recommend checking these out.
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