The DigiBee good lights to start with?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ToddLange, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. ToddLange

    ToddLange TPF Noob!

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    I was curious if anyone has experience with the Digibee package?

    is it worth the money?

    and can you post some example pics?

    thanks all
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Not me. But I've been around the lights in other studios.

    Yes! Paul C Buff and Alien Bee's has a great rep for their products and their customer service. Just use the search feature to discover other testimonials.

    Why? The lights, modifiers, and stands work well. How good images are, depends on the skill of the photographer, the set up, the subject, camera settings, etc.

    You bet!

    Love the up the nostril gangsta avatar shot. :thumbup:

    Here's a different 400 w/s, 2 light kit that is just about as good. http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/CF0514K1/ and also worth the money!
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Alien Bee lights have been discussed many times on the forum. Search for 'Alien Bee' and you should come up with lots of info to read.

    As for the 'Digibee' package...it's just two lights with stands & umbrellas. Actually, anything you order from them could be considered a 'package' because you automatically get the same 'package discount' on anything you put in your cart. (it's a certain percentage off the accessories for every light you add).

    Alienbees are a pretty good 'entry level' studio strobe light. They are reasonably priced and their customer service is top notch. They are certainly not the only lights in this price range and there are certainly better (more expensive) options...but a lot of people use them and love them.

    As for the two-light kit.
    What are you planing to shoot? If it's portraits, you may want three or even 4 light....but you can also use reflectors in place of some lights. Actually, many people find that it's best to learn studio lighting, starting with only one light. It's much less confusing to use one light and it forces you to get creative. Then you can add more lights as you see a real need for them.

    You might want to consider a softbox or two, in place of the umbrellas. They are both very useful, but many people find that they like softboxes more than umbrellas, but it really depends on what & how you shoot.

    Also, I don't really like the 'general purpose' light stands that they have. They are pretty flimsy. I much prefer the heavy duty ones.

    You can usually get accessories like stands and softboxes cheaper than their prices.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Alien Bees do a lot of active promoting of their products,and have gained a reputation for repairing their products when they conk out. Have you considered buying two or three of these monolights? These have been on the market almost 10 years now. The price is basically $99 per light, with a stand and umbrella thrown in for another $29. The way I see it, you can buy three lights, three umbrellas, and three light stands for about the price of one single 'Bee. JUst wanted to point out that there are other options. The Genesis lights KmH recommended are also available in 200 watt-second kit for about half as much as the $699, two-light kit he linked to.

    FP320K Flashpoint II 320A Monolight Kit, 150 Watt Second, One Monolight Kit with Stand and Umbrella.

    Interestingly, I see now that Adorama has JUST BEGUN offering this same basic model as an AC/DC powered option!!! Similar, I assume, to the SP Studio Systems monolights which have been on the market for well over a decade (more like 15 years or so), and which can be powered by Quantum batteries for location shoots.
     
  5. willli

    willli TPF Noob!

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    I have them and they are really good for an entry to pro level if you know their capacities and defects in overall really good.

    Paul Cuff customer service is unbeatable
     
  6. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    i asked a good pro i know what he would recommend to me as a decent set of first studio lights and his response was the B800.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen an add for Alienbee. Maybe in a magazine, but I can't recall for sure. I haven't bought a magazine for several years.

    Just about everything I've 'heard' about AB (& P.C.B. products) comes from people on internet forums. However they did it, the have a great reputation with amateur and advanced-amateur photographers...which is a great target market for a product like this.
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    In the AB line up, the B800 is a good deal because it's a fair bit more powerful than the B400 but only $50 more.

    As mentioned by a few others...there are certainly plenty of other good options besides Alienbees...so look around.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, Alien Bees are still being advertised in the USA photo magazines. The "major" USA gear magazine named Shutterbug is where Buff got his start advertising the original White Lightning "coffee can" monolights over 20 years ago. He continued advertising in magazines with the White Lightning Ultra and Ultra Zap models, and then the Alien Bees were advertised full-page in Shutterbug's huge, oversized format, for pretty much five years,every issue. LOTS of product information, really good ads too.

    A few years ago, Paul C. Buff was on the dPreview Lighting technique forum, but he began to get testy and railed,repeatedly, against what he called "Euro-Flash" manufacturers,and in general became very agitated when the performance of the Alien Bees reflectors was found to be quite uneven and poor, and after a short while he was banned from dPreview. He then started his OWN forum on the Buff web site, siphoning off quite a few devotees from the dPreview forum,and things went very well there for a while, until his promised and very heavily HYPED-UP line of new products never materialized, and he began to get questions from forum members, so he closed down the entire forum in what most people would characterize as a "huff". Closing his own lighting forum caused many of his fans to become very, well, upset with his personal behavior and his constant blame shifting to his suppliers for the design failures of the AB Max and his new triggering system. Buff also began a European sales and distribution program that lasted less than a year,and ended with "bad blood" and another "huff" type situation.

    There is at least one "sponsored" shooter still on dPreview's lighting technique forum, Lawrence K, who has in at least one post I have read, admitted that he is "sponsored" by Buff's company. Some consider this to be a form of "shilling", by approaching an elderly,retired hobbyist who showed an affinity for photographing young "models", and outfitting him with a full compliment of equipment, and then watching his skills grow over several years. Buff's web site has also featured shots e-mailed in by many,many owners, so that's another very clever way to promote by viral marketing they have used. Overall, the Buff family of companies has bought millions of dollars worth of print advertisements in American photo magazines over parts of three decades, and they have harnessed the power of the internet to market directly to hobbyists--which is something the "other" flash makers have pretty much FAILED miserably at. And I mean miserably! Two American companies, Speedotron and Photogenic Machine Company have been making studio flash equipment for well over 40 years longer than Buff has been selling flash gear; Speedotron more or less "invented" studio pack and head systems in 1939, and Photogenic was not far behind in the 1940's--and yet both companies have failed miserably to promote their products, and failed for decades. Paul C. Buff is an amazing entrepeneur who took "nothing" and built it into a major something,and has done an amazing job of promoting his products, ever since the 1980's. Not without controversy, but still, all publicity is good publicity (some say). EDIT: Paul C. Buff has recently re-opened a user's forum on his web site! Good news for those looking for all sorts of info on Buff products and technical information.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  10. willli

    willli TPF Noob!

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    Not only because I have them (AB) I also have a profoto pack with 4 heads.
    But let me tell you something about the AB Monolight

    First, the recycle time is very fast 2 seconds at Full power with the AB1600 wich is a 640 WS

    Second lights are very work horses and can stand for the whole day of shooting I know that by fact testing on the field

    Third the Flash duration is very short making the contanst F ratio

    Fourth service and waranthy are really good in order that one of my light get broke they sent me a new one 2day and I sent back the defective one with the shipping label that they provide me

    Fith and very Important right now the AB has the line of wireless transmiter calling Einstein boy those work really good and it let you control all your lights outputs from your camera.

    Considering that for the price I think that is the better option for you is true that there is another brands but Look for the Power output and the recycle time also look for the Flash duration and the T+ light and you will see the difference

    As Derrel mention they also been though a lot Bluff and failures but right now for starters and amateurs I thinkg is the best Light that you can get for the price.

    Now if you want to go pro I will recomend Profoto
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I'd heard reference to the Lawrence K story but hadn't gotten that much of it. :thumbup:
     
  12. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    FWIW, I have had zero issues with my Alien Bee products. Sure there are better products out there, but for more money. And you will not find better service from another company. Heck, they bend over backwards for you.
     

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