ranking the lighting systems

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by chuasam, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    How would you all rank the different brands of lights?

    Sure in the highest level there's Broncolor followed by Profoto
    and in the still pretty good there's Elinchrom and Hensel.
    In bargainville there's AlienBees.
    How would you place newer brands like Godox?


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think it's quite that simple to be honest... What criteria are you basing the ranking on? I've not had the chance to use Profoto, or newer Broncolor stuff, but by all accounts it is very good, however, it's also very pricey, and I think for most exceeds the law of diminishing returns in terms of value. I would actually rank Elincrhom above both Profoto and Broncolor in practical terms because of it's far greater value for dollar spent. Godox is actually surprisingly good; it's still consumer-grade MiC gear, but a year or two ago, I purchased an AD360II when I needed some easy, portable light for an outdoor project, and have been very pleased with it. It's reasonably priced, decently made, and does the job.

    Overall, I will always rank Speedotron as #1. It's cheap like borscht on the used market, absolutely top-notch build quality, simple and robust, gives me solid, consistent results every time and any time you have a company where you can pick up the 'phone and talk to a REAL PERSON, who answers the 'phone without any "press 1" or "In a few words, tell us what you'd like..." crap...
     
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  3. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I used Speedotron when I was in first college. Hated it...hated the weird ratios and being unable to plug and unplug on the fly. Old timers wax lyrical about the cost benefits of the brown system and the toughness of the black system.

    I was back in College last year and they upgraded to the Profoto ProD4...holy jeeze what a difference. I was in love.

    My personal system is a Profoto Compact. I also have Elinchrom DX series I got as a gift.
    I used the Broncolor when I worked at LifeTouch many eons ago. They're robust as hell but not pretty. I also owned AlienBees (loved the price and customer service, hated the build quality).

    Pondering ditching it all and switching to Godox.
     
  4. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have never used any of the expensive equipment. I currently have couple Flashpoint 1220m's and batteries. I also have 4 chinese knock off 150ws strobes as well (only used inside). Also, I still use speedlights so have over a dozen Nikon speedlights as well. For the most part I go with the speedlights first, unless I need higher power and quicker recycle times.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You title mentions "systems"...Profoto, Speedotron, Elinchrom, Paul C. Buff, Broncolor, all have an entire system behind them, of varying degrees of scope and price. There's a lot in the way of light-shaping tools that I consider part of a flash system, like grids, metal reflectors, variable beam-spread reflectors, mylar diffusers, metal screening material diffusers, background light reflectors (clam-shell or half-shrouds, whatver you wanna' call 'em), barn doors both 2- and 4-door, Fresnel spots, etc.. A lot of the ancillary stuff is where Speedotron shines: there's a LOT that can be done with metal honeycomb grids, and mylar and metal diffusers and barn doors added to lights.

    Flash is complex; these days there is the new-generation High-Speed flash-synch options. I wish @ronlane would weigth in here. I've looked at some of the new, MIC gear. For people who need one or two flash units, and high-speed flash synch for outdoors shooting, etc.. then Godox and some of the other Made in China stuff looks VERY good to me, for a low price. If a person wants to be able to shoot flash at 1/2000 to 1/4000 outdoors at f/1.4 or f/2 or f/2.8, etc.. then the newer, MIC, new-era-feature-set stuff looks good.

    Older studio flash stuff is mostly that: studio-centric, indoor-centric. Godox has some VERY appealing stuff. I've shot mostly old school studio flash from DynaLight,Speedotron,Photogenic,Norman, Sunpak; in monolights Alien Bees, White Lighting Ultras (Buff line), JTL, but all only a small bit; in speedlights, Vivitar, Nikon, Sunpak,Crown, Canon. I dunno...there's a LOT of stuff out there!

    I see new-era-feature-set AKA high-speed flash synchronization-capable daylight outdoor flash as being entirely different from old-style "studio" flash.

    If I were buying ALL-new today, I might look into a high-speed flash syunch-capable monolight setup.
     
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  6. tecboy

    tecboy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I rank flashpoint as #1.:allteeth:
     
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  7. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Can't speak on the higher end, but I love my Bees. Great customer service. I like talking to people who actually use the product they sell.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    For those wondering about GODOX: GODOX – 2.4GHz Flash System Overview | FLASH HAVOC

    And here is one I've watched several videos of....the GODOX-made variant that has been retail-branded as the XPLOR 600, whioch looks very good compared to outrageously priced Profoto units.

    My issue is mainly cost per Watt-second, and the size of the unit--being 600 Watt-seconds, which is more than I would normally want to use through onek, single flash head, so I'd be paying a lot of money for flash power I would lilely not use. For me, 200 W-s per head is normally about all I want. yet still: TTL, high-speed flash synch, remote triggering,etc.. AND a big, powerful battery pack...very,very appealing!

    Flashpoint XPLOR 600

    and as Adorama's page says, "
    • One Remote to Rule Them All.
    • One Radio Remote System to Unify the Flash.
    • One Remote to Streak, Zoom and XPLOR.
    • R2 Flash Imaging Freedom
    • Radio Active. TTL Auto. HSS Master.."
     
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  9. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hahaha, I read the Godox link you posted. It said Canon, Sony and Nikon users could use the strobes at the same time.

    Reminded me of the first time I did a college basketball game for the school paper. I knew there were strobes in the rafters. And I knew they were tripped optically. So, I put my speedlight on my camera and pointed it up. And I was using the lights mounted in the arena. Well right around the end of the 2nd quarter. This photographer with school credentials came up to me and said stop using my strobes. :aufsmaul: hahahahaha. Of course my reply was oh, I thought they were school property since they were permanently mounted. I had school credentials as well. But he was actually the schools official photographer. I just worked for the paper (was a paid position though).

    I used them on several occasions after that time. But never if he was there also shooting an event. :801:
     
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  10. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    @Derrel - thanks for calling me out on this. lol.

    For me, why is is necessary to rank lighting equipment. There is some many choices out there that you can fine a system out there that works for you and will help you produce the images that you want.

    As Derrel mentioned, high speed sync is something that I have been testing and working with. I choose this because, for me, it increases the time that I can shoot. For this, I use the Adorama brand Streaklight 360, which is the same unit that @tirediron has. I can also shoot HSS with my Adorama brand Flashpoint Budget Series studio strobes, which will shoot HSS because of the flash duration that they have.

    I do have first hand experience with the Interfit S1, which is basically the same as the Profoto B1 with the big difference that you can keep about $1300 in your pocket by getting the S1.

    My thoughts about ranking lighting would be 2 questions to answer.

    1) What do you need the lighting to do?
    2) What is your budget?

    Lighting has been a big learning adventure for me and it seems that just when I get what works for me, something else comes out that I wished I would have waited for. This is so true with the strobes, I would love to have one of the Interfit S1's because it has the battery on the unit, so it is really portable.

    Since Derrel mentioned HSS, I thought I would include a couple of images shot with HSS. I used 2 studio strobes and the streaklight 360, all bare bulbed to get this shot. I wanted to 3 things out of these images. 1) to get a beautiful blue sky, 2) freeze the motion and 3) get the subject properly exposed. You can see on the fence, how harsh the lighting was at about 5 pm in July.

    Flash_BD_test-15-Edit.jpg

    Flash_BD_test-16.jpg
     
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  11. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Ron, the little boy has a strange look, almost like an HD image in a normal frame. Was this caused by the use of bare bulb??
     
  12. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    No, I don't think so. I am guessing that you are referring to the first image. I pulled it to PS and have a layer that is most likely where I used MacPhun Intensify which I use to give it more of a clarity layer.
     

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