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Pack heads vs monolights
Old 03-10-2004, 11:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ok, we scoured the archives, and didn't see this question so hopefully someone here can give us some insight.

We're looking at either buying a Novatron 1000 (or 1500) pack & 4 head kit or 4 Alien Bee (or White Lightning) 1600 monolights and other accessories comparable to the Novatron setup.

So the question is, given these two setups what is the benefit or difference of using a pack head setup vs a monolight setup.

Also, we are planning to use a wireless xmitter/receiver to fire them, but we're curious if using the built in sync of the AB's would work as well.

Thanks in advance...

Steve & Cindy Johnson
 
 
Re: Pack heads vs monolights
Old 03-11-2004, 03:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've played with both. Have owned Novatrons since late 70's. I'd go with the Alien Bees today since you can vary each ones power independantly. You can't really do that with the Novatrons even with multi-stop heads (if you reduce the power of one head, all the other heads become more powerful, etc). The level of control is much better with the bees in my view. You can also control each of the bees remotely from a central position which is nice. I don't know how rugged they are thought. My Novatron powerpack and 4 heads are still working 30 years later.


Shot with 4 novatron heads on one powerpack.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Pack heads vs monolights
Old 03-11-2004, 03:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've also used both types of systems. It's much easier to contro your ratios with the monolites. The main advantage to the seperate pack and heads is the heads are much smaller and lighter. I have used the alien bees a few times and they are nice lights for the money.
Mark
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Re: Pack heads vs monolights
Old 03-11-2004, 07:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Another consideration is that, with 4 monolights versus 1 power pack, if the power pack malfunctions, you have no lights, whereas if a monolight dies, you have a 3 light setup.
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Re: Pack heads vs monolights
Old 03-11-2004, 01:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yep, that just about settles it...

Thank you all for your replies/input.

Steve & Cindy Johnson
 
 
Re: Pack heads vs monolights
Old 03-11-2004, 03:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Steve & Cindy

Not to talk you out of Alien Bees -- but two other options you should consider. For a similar price you can get Calumet Travelites. I've been using Calumets for a while. Look into the sets that they sell and you'll get stands, bags, umbrellas, reflectors, etc for one price.
Calumet's Web Site

I'd also think about Dynalights. The Dynalight Uni400 monolights are not cheap -- but if you attend one of Rolando's workshops (San Antoino on April 24th for example) you can buy Dynalights at the educational price. That brings them closer to the price you're talking about and they're very nice monolights. And the Uni's go on battery as well as AC.

Keep Shooting -- Have fun!

Bob

Done with 3 Calumet Travelites and a bit of attitude!

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I use packs.
Old 03-13-2004, 12:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Me too. I've used Novatrons for 20 years.

I use separate packs.... Usually 400ws or 600ws packs running only 1 or 2 heads each. You can get used Novatron packs and heads cheap off eBay. I have a 1500ws, 800ws, 2)600ws and 2)400ws.

Be sure to get VR (voltage regulated) packs... more consistent output.
 
 
Re: I use packs.
Old 03-14-2004, 01:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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i love my dynalite packs...i have one i use for my main lite only and one for back light /sep light [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
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Re: Pack heads vs monolights
Old 03-17-2004, 10:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I personally dislike monoblocks. For a number of reasons, some technical. But the biggest of which is the fact that they are an exceptionally top-heavy set-up. All the weight is at the top of your lightstand. You've REALLY gotta get a good amount of weight near the base via sandbags and a nice steady stand (Matthews C-stands, though expensive, really are the best). Knocking one over is a fantastic way to ruin your day, believe me.

The one (and in my view only) plus side of a monoblock set-up with mulitiple heads is that each head in independently controlled as to its output. If you've got a big pocket you can do the same with pack systems, dedicating a single pack to a single head if need be for ratio control. But then you're talking large sums of money for all those packs.
 
 
Re: Pack heads vs monolights
Old 03-17-2004, 10:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Don't rule out the big guys Speedotron. #1 in the country, easy to rent just about anywhere, easy to buy accessories for and built like tanks. Beautiful quality of light too! You can go Brown Line or Black Line. Used Black Line's are very good deals, if you know what sort of use they've had. Check them out before you make your final decision.

(I also like the Dyna's) I'm so so with White Lighting/Alien Bees. What's also nice about Speedotron and better gear like Dyna is that they hold their value better.

Speedotron makes a nice monolight too.

My Two Cents

Robert Jensen
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