Alienbees package light setups...

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Montana, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Anyone ever purchased a complete setup from them? How complete is it? I am wanting to get a complete "starter" setup, and its all new to me. Would something like in the link below have everything needed? All the cords to connect to my 40D and everything?

    http://www.alienbees.com/digi.html

    Thanks,

    Derrick
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    The Alienbee 'packages' are just an assortment of items with a small discount on the accessories, you don't get anything extra because it's a package. For the most part, everything you need comes with the items you order, whether it's in a package or not.

    The lights each come with a PC cable that will attach to your camera, so you won't need anything else to fire the lights. Although you may want to look into a wireless system down the road.

    That's a basic two light kit, with umbrellas. If that's what you want, then go for it. Personally, I'd suggest at least one softbox. You might also consider starting with one light and getting good at using that one light, then add more as you need them.
     
  3. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Big Mike, the link was just an example. I am looking at ordering just a single light w/ a heavy duty stand, softbox, and a reflector.

    Also, is it easier to use strobes rather than continuous lighting. Any benifits of one over the other?

    And thirdly, anyone ever use the dynatran continous lighting?

    Thanks,

    derrick
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Depends what you are shooting...but for the most part (and certainly for shooting people), strobes are superior. If you are shooting 'still life' stuff that doesn't move, then hot lights are OK (as you can use long shutter speeds and a tripod)...but when the camera or the subjects may move, flash is the way to go.

    Strobes are probably not 'easier' to use though. You need to have a basic understanding of how they work and how to work with them. A flash meter is recommended, but not neccessarily needed. Once you get the basics down, it's not hard to figure out.

    There have been many threads on this topic, the search function may turn up some good info that is already posted.
     
  5. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Also, the Bees have built in slaves so you can trigger them with the on board flash if you need to.
     
  6. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info guys. I have been searching and reading until my brain hurt, Big Mike. I think I'll go strobes so I won't be as "limited". Appreciate the help.

    Thanks,

    Derrick
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    If Village Idiot hasn't mentioned it already, there is another option...which would be 'hot-shoe' type flash/strobe units.

    Basically, you take a flash that was made to be used on the camera's hotshoe and you stick it onto a light stand (or wherever) and find a way to trigger it. The advantage of this system is that you are completely portable because the flashes use AA batteries...and you can build a decent kit for less than a studio light set up.
    The cons of such a system are that you don't get as much lighting power out of these units, which could be limiting in some situations. Also, running off of batteries can make for longer recycle times, which usually isn't a problem with studio lights because you are plugged into AC power.

    Check out THIS LINK for more info on this type of set up.
     
  8. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    I have already been fiddling with that stuff Big Mike. Using a 580 and tripods converted to hold the flash units and homemade umbrella support brackets that clamp an umbrella and mount to a tripod head too. The only problem is that I can only trip the 580 in slave using the MT-24EX as master with my current gear. But hey, it works. There is a custom Bike (choppers) builder in my town wanting me to do some shoots. He's a new builder and just a regular young guy doin' what he loves. He sees me doin the same and we are going to get together and try some stuff out. We both work regular jobs, so we are not expecting perfection on the first day.

    I'll get it all together and I'm sure I'll have some questions later on. LOL

    Derrick
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you get radio triggers (probably the best invest, imo), you can use them with your speed light and studio strobes.

    I have a mixed kit of several speed lights and mono lights. The mono lights can be a pain, but have much more power. Speed lights need batteries and you can go anywhere. If you were to take the bees to an on location shoot without power, you'd need a large battery for them.

    It's all about portability vs. power.

    If you haven't, check out http://www.strobist.com . There's a whole cult dedicated to getting professional results with speed lights.

    If you have some more money to spend, check out Elinchrom. They have some entry level digital strobes that are more consistent than the Bees. The D400 is a great light and is 400w/s compared to the B800's 320w/s. Elinchrom's modifiers are a bit more expensive, but there's other companies like Amvona that make cheaper modifiers that can work with their lights. I think they're like $320-$350 a light compared the the B800's $270-$280. They don't have as big an issue with color shift at the lower powers. Also, the Bees are wired some way that makes it so they have a shorter flash duration at higher powers. This makes them especially useful if you're planning on shooting sports and action. The downside of the D400's is that at full power, their flash duration is 1/800, which might not be fast enough if you're shooting something that's moving fast. The Bees ar 1/3300, iirc. But the Elinchrom work like a normal strobe should and as the power drops, the flash duration gets shorter.

    In fact, I was thinking about buying a few of Elinchrom's Ranger units is people start paying me more.
     
  10. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Yea, I checked strobist out quite a bit VI. Thanks for the other added info. I still have a lot to learn and using the speed lights are a very usful tool in determining where I want to go with my photography. I never plan to pursue it as a profession, but I am a passionate hobbiest. I see myself playing with the flash units for quite awhile yet as I decide what kind of kit to go with...if any. Now you've got me thinking about getting some triggers and a couple more 580's.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

    Derrick
     

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