Speedotron d1604 looking for advice

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by nmaynard, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. nmaynard

    nmaynard TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking into buying a light setup. Have been trying to learn as much as possible so I can make a good decision based on my needs, and my wallet. Anyway, I came across a Speedotron d1604 with 2 m11 lights. Has a case as well. Comes with all the cables but no stands or anything. The lights need a modeling light and reflectors.

    Just wondering if $500 is too much for this or if it's a great deal. And if they are quality units.

    I'll still need to get the reflectors and all my umbrellas and boxes. Plus a battery pack of some sort to make this setup portable. Any and all info is appreciated!
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think $500 is a bit too high high for a D1604 and two M11's. I own a lot of Brown Line lighting equipment and have bought most of it from e-Bay...I feel that in 2010, $500 is more than a 1604 + 2x M11 with NO reflectors is worth. It's just a bit too expensive, IMHO.

    M11 lights are very versatile--they use the Speedotron Universal Mount accessories, like the Black Line light units do, so reflectors, beauty dishes, the focusing spots, and ALL the Black Line light modifiers just bayonet and twist on to M-11 light units. M-11's are convection-cooled, so they will work with an inverter on-location and not kill your battery running a fan all the time.

    The 1604 is a bit more-powerful than you might want for people photography unless you have a camera that goes down to ISO 100 or lower and you work in a large studio using larger light sources. I've owned a 1602 pack since the late 1980's,and it was great using ISO 64 film, but in this day and age of ISO 200 d-slr's I honestly would much rather have a D402 pack, or two D402 packs than one,single newer 1604.

    The M11 lights are nice,and very dependable, even under abuse. I suppose, compared to Alien Bees, the $500 for a true 1600 watt-second, 4-outlet pack and two heads, $500 seems okay. And it is an "okay" value. How suitable it is depends a bit on what kind of shooting you want to do with it...for larger groups it's one thing--that is also a roughly 27 pound power pack...
     
  3. nmaynard

    nmaynard TPF Noob!

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    I shoot a lot of cars and almost strictly outdoors. Such as race teams and personal cars. Just now starting to do more people though. I figured it was way overkill on people but thought it may be perfect for those late evening/night car shoots. And I was comparing them to the alienbees. Just figured that was a lot of power for the $. But like you said is it even usable for me?

    My camera goes to iso 100 and couldn't I always get some ND filters? I may see if he will come down on the price some. Thank you.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Oh, for outdoor use on large items like CARS, a 1600 watt-second, 4-outlet power pack is the place to start. If you want to overpower the sun, an M11 head with an 11.5 inch reflector and only about 400 watt-seconds of flash power will overpower bright, August sunlight with a southern exposure and a large house providing fill,at a distance of about 15 feet. So yeah, for shooting automobiles, 1600 watt-seconds of power is a great amount to begin with....at closer distances you will need depth of field,and you can simply mount the power pack on the bottom of a wheeled hand truck, and bolt the battery/since wave inverter above it. With the 27 pound power pack as ballast, the hand truck will be very stable, and you can mount a couple of simple round "rings" on the hand truck, and then put a monopod "riser", and have a 27 pound + 18 pound Tronix Explorer sine wave inverter as counterweight to a 13 foot telescoping light stand that will mount an M11 and allow you to bring your own sun with you, on wheels. The pack + inverter will give you roughly 45 pounds of weight to counter balance the extension of a light stand shaft--enough to make wind not much of a factor.

    YES, for late evening, a 4-outlet 1604 pack would be wonderful for cars. Plenty of power. As I suggest, mount it on a wheeled hand truck,and you've got yourself a system where you can pull it by hand,and have the pack and the inverter be its own ballast and counterweight AND form the anchor point for a telescoping light stand. I hope my idea is clear--it's a hand truck with a light stand's shaft mounted to it, with power pack and inverter as ballast. And yes, compared to Alien Bees, ONE M11 with a full 1600 watt-seconds channeled through it is a LOT of flash power, for only $500.

    Pack and head systems are far cheaper when you need ONE very powerful head, but also the option to have say two,or three, or four lesser-powered heads. The D1604 is a huge value for large objects like cars or night-time,light-up-the dark work.
     
  5. nmaynard

    nmaynard TPF Noob!

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    Dang man... You are full of all kinds of useful information. I very much appreciate it. I'm gonna talk to the guy on the price and see where we go from there. Thanks again.
     

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