Pocket wizard/Alien bees combo?

BanditPhotographyNW

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Ive been reading about the AC9 from pocket wizard on their site but I seem to be just getting even more confused....I'm getting a whole mess of ABs, 2 B800s and 2 b400s and the supporting accessories. And I have heard how good Pocket wizards are from many members here and otherwise but even after reading all the info on the site I still have no idea what to buy to trigger all the lights...The lights say they have built in slaves so does that mean I don't need receivers for each light? Paul C. Buff has their own cybersync set up but I feel the PW's will be way more useful in the long run as long as I can figure out what to get and how to use them. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you
 

tirediron

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The built-in slave they're referring to is, I assume, the built-in optical slave. What is it about the Cyber-sync that you feel won't be as useful. Big Mike IIRC, uses Cyber-sync and White Lightening lights.
 
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BanditPhotographyNW

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What is it about the Cyber-sync that you feel won't be as useful. Big Mike IIRC, uses Cyber-sync and White Lightening lights.

To be completely honest I have no valid reason for that thought process other than it seems like a really basic set up, which translate as bad but It seems like side by side the PW's have more features, though I may be looking at the wrong PW's as well for this set up. This will be my first lighting set up and I really have no idea as to what to get or how it works in general. I read a bunch of guides online and came to the conclusion I wont really ever need more than 4 lights and most likely not over 800/ws, the Alien Bees owners seem to love them. So that's how I came up with my list and how I got to where I am at now lol...I need wise input. I'm not really into learning something then having to wait for more equipment to arrive to continue so I tend to over buy sometimes but I don't really see much of a downside to that. I am taking a lighting class next month at New Space in Portland so I'm excited for that but wanna get started messing around with it now...
 

tirediron

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I think you can do pretty much everything with the Cyber-sync you can with the PW (depending on which one you get of course). You mention not needing more than 800 w/s; you're aware that the AB 800 is a 320 w/s light (I will never understand WHY PCB uses that model designation system)? I've never used anything fancier than the standard PW Plus II. It makes the light go 'flash' which is all I want, and the Cyber Sync will do the same thing. Not trying to sway you one way or the other, just curious about your though process.
 
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BanditPhotographyNW

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I think you can do pretty much everything with the Cyber-sync you can with the PW (depending on which one you get of course). You mention not needing more than 800 w/s; you're aware that the AB 800 is a 320 w/s light (I will never understand WHY PCB uses that model designation system)? I've never used anything fancier than the standard PW Plus II. It makes the light go 'flash' which is all I want, and the Cyber Sync will do the same thing. Not trying to sway you one way or the other, just curious about your though process.

I actually did not realize that and actually clears some things up for me as well. Should I get B1600 to throw in there instead of a second B400 then since the B800s can step down a ways? Just in case I need more light, I will be using these outdoors for like skateboarding shoots and non action shots as well. Thank you for pointing that out I would have never notice until I got them. Also I didn't see the Cyber-Cync, Cyber commander either which is pretty much a PW Multimax equivalent.
 

tirediron

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If you're going to be doing a lot of outdoor shooting, the extra oomph of the 1600 might be beneficial, but as this isn't something I've ever shot, I'm not really familiar enough with the requirements to give you any specific advice.
 

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If you're investing in AB's then the PCB Cyber Commander is a great option. I've used PW's and Cyber Syncs with AB's and both work great. The good thing about cycber syncs is they are designed for AB's. With the Cyber Commander you get a lot of control at your camera instead of having to go adjust each light.
 
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BanditPhotographyNW

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I think I'm gonna go with the Cyberscync with the commander...Just watched a video of it looks ease to operate and less complicated than adapting PW's
 

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Not sure if you saw this link:

I rented a studio a while back that was solely AB and I had to read up on the triggers.
 
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BanditPhotographyNW

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Ya thats pretty cool...I saw a different video but this one is better...I dig the system...
 
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BanditPhotographyNW

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So since you have used a similar set up Do I need receivers for each light for them to work with the commander or just one to control them all?
 

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So since you have used a similar set up Do I need receivers for each light for them to work with the commander or just one to control them all?

If you don't mind walking around to all of your lights to make adjustments, then they will fire with their built-in optical slave function.
 

Big Mike

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I've got Alien Bee lights and Cyber Sync triggers....although, I don't have the cyber commander, I just have the basic trigger transmitter.

The basic transmitter will triger the basic recievers very well. I have a CSRB and one CSRB+. Most of the time, I only need one at a time. The transmitter goes on the camera and one receiver attaches to a strobe unit. When that unit fires, the other units will also fire via their built-in optical trigger. It works very well in a studio location, but outdoors, or over a wider area, the optical triggers may not work well and you would need additional receivers.

With the basic trigger transmitter, it just fires the strobes but has no other control over them.

If you want to control the power of the lights remotely, you would need the Cyber commander, but you would also need the '+' recievers for each light. That really starts to add up.
 
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BanditPhotographyNW

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Thanks for all the help I think I can make an informed decision now...
 

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Even 640w/s is pretty weak for shooting outside unless the light is unmodified and/or close to the subject and that can get sketchy shooting something like skateboarding. I shoot bmx here and there for a friend. I was using 1200w/s but stepped down to 800w/s for a more portable solution. I'll be getting another higher powered pack in the future though.

You can see some of my work at Flickr: VI?'s Photostream

I do use speed lights on occasion, but that's in the evenings and at night where they're actually useful for more than fill and even then you can get ghosting depending on how you're shooting.
 

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