Alien Bees vs. Photogenic

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by LarryBoy, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. LarryBoy

    LarryBoy TPF Noob!

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    Sorry if this has been hashed over before. I'm in the process of researching lights for my start up studio. My budget for 3 lights with stands and umbrellas is about $800. I think I've narrowed it down to either 3 Alien Bees B400 flash units or Photogenic 2-AKC320 and 1-AKC160 flash units. Does anyone here have any experience with these units. Thanks for your input!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've got an Alien Bee light, It's great and I plan to get more. Their service was good and I've always heard good things about them.
     
  3. LarryBoy

    LarryBoy TPF Noob!

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    I ended up getting the Alien Bees monolights. I got 2 B800 and 2 B400 units. They seem to have plenty of power for what I'm going to be using them for primarily which is small group and single portrait work. In fact I had to dial the B800 down to 1/16 power to get the f-stop setting I wanted at ISO 100. Could have easily gotten by with all B400 units. So far am very pleased with the performance.:thumbup:
     
  4. Point-N-Shoot

    Point-N-Shoot TPF Noob!

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    I haven't purchased my monolight system yet, but the thing that I like about Alien Bees is their units come with an internal cooling fan, whereas most monolights in the same price range (JTL Versalight 300, Photogenic StudioMax III, Norman Allure DP320) do not.

    The thing I DONT like about AB's is they look like toys...especially the brightly colored neon ones. If I didn't know anything about monolights, and I went to a photographer to have my portrait or event photographed and I saw neon pink and yellow lights...I'd wonder why he's using the same lights that illuminated the kick drums at the Poison concert. I know that's just my humble opinion...but I learned a long time ago that (unfortunately) perception is reality!! I want to be taken serious by my clientele.

    However, its hard to beat their value (dollar for dollar), and since I cant afford Norman's ML series or Photogenic's PL series I'm considering a AB 3-light set-up with one B400 and two B800's (in black, of course).
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've heard (read) plenty of discussion on this topic before. Some people, (you for example) are of the opinion that the neon colored lights don't look professional which may lead people to think that you are less professional. That's a solid argument.
    Other people say that the colors are fun, and if your clientele are families and kids, then the colors may be a benefit. Of course, easy identification of different models is a benefit, however small.

    I think the whole 'Alien Bee' image is about fun. Their logo is a cartoon bee and their web site is fun an plays off the whole 'alien' concept. I've got the product catalog sitting in front of me and the front cover is a cartoon space scene with all the different colors of lights. Of course, you can get white or black if you want.

    Also, Paul Buff (head of AB), also has the White Lighting line...which is more professional and less fun...but I'm curious to know which line gets more business. The Alien Bees certainly seem to get a lot more internet buzz :D :roll:
     
  6. LarryBoy

    LarryBoy TPF Noob!

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    I personally went with a couple of the "fun" colors - Martian Pink for the 2 B400's and Alien Green for the 2 B800's. I hope that no ones customers will judge them on the color of their monolights - in most cases mine won't even see them until the shoot and likely will long have forgotten the color of the lights afterward and when their proofs arrive. Then the judgement will be on the proofs where it should be all along. The Alien Bees so far have performed great and I see no reason to discount the pro quality results I have experienced with them myself. :thumbup:
     

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