Forums > Photography Talk > Alien bee ringflash

Photographer

Matt Forma

Posts: 373

Denver, Colorado, US

Anyone shoot with it? Thoughts?

Any examples?

Considering this because I can't afford a hensel.

Thanks a million

Feb 26 13 09:21 am Link

Photographer

Ken Marcus Studios

Posts: 8524

Los Angeles, California, US

I had a 'professional' ringlight in my studio for several years . . . It cost about $3,000.oo It weighed a ton It didn't have a lot of power It had batteries that had to be charged every 300 shots, and no modeling light. It was bulky It was such a pain in the ass that I would find every excuse to not use it.

Then I bought the ABR800 . . . . and life changed !

Seriously . . . if it gets destroyed, I can buy 7 more for the same price as the other unit I switched from

It's powerful . . . I've yet to use it on full power and I'm getting f.11 in the studio. The modeling light is bright enough to actually see what I'm getting.

It's lightweight enough that I can handhold it if needed I've found the light quality to be very consistent.

I knocked over the tripod by accident one day, and the unit broke. It was repaired in a matter of days and I never missed a single shoot with it. For $400.oo, how can anyone not want one to play with ? ?

KM


http://onlinepixxx.com/ringlight.jpg

Feb 26 13 09:25 am Link

Photographer

Aaron - photographer

Posts: 35

London, England, United Kingdom

You know, i just got the Orbis and LOVE IT!!!

Feb 26 13 09:35 am Link

Photographer

Matt Forma

Posts: 373

Denver, Colorado, US

Feb 26 13 09:38 am Link

Photographer

Matt Forma

Posts: 373

Denver, Colorado, US

Thanks for the responses. Nice shot Ken!

Any orbis example shots? I've heard of that, it just seemed kinda cheapo to me or like it wouldn't have much power..

Feb 26 13 09:40 am Link

Photographer

fullmetalphotographer

Posts: 2792

Fresno, California, US

I have used it a lot. It is a very versatile light. My one big complaint is that it is made plastic and more fragile than most of my other gear. I will say Alienbees have the best customer service.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8067/8265912496_06d36a6671_m.jpg
EmilyJoDerderian37101809 by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2786/4026757169_c1328bcdbc_m.jpg
Ring Flash by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3359/3175999201_ac5f7ac4e9_m.jpg
GlamShoot335122108 by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2622/3967711631_0849bf246e_m.jpg
Ringlight by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2046/2274000370_5b28d82779_m.jpg
DSC_0099 by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8106/8477723577_c8532bf083_m.jpg
Boots by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3377/3175998853_feba46bece_m.jpg
GlamShoot28121608 by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3337/3245634953_08da0b1f9e_m.jpg
GlamGroup by FullMetalPhotographer, on Flickr

Feb 26 13 09:48 am Link

Photographer

Troy Tribble

Posts: 253

Clemson, South Carolina, US

Feb 26 13 09:59 am Link

Photographer

Red Z

Posts: 2

Denver, Colorado, US

I shoot with it all the time it is very good. The only issue is that when the camera is right up against the back of it it covers the slave sensor. You have to buy a pocket wizard or equivalent radio slave to trigger it and there is no way to attach it to the ring flash casing. I had to tape mine on top. They need to have one with the radio receiver built in.

Feb 26 13 10:07 am Link

Photographer

Matt Forma

Posts: 373

Denver, Colorado, US

Good to know thanks

Feb 26 13 10:10 am Link

Photographer

sultanphotography

Posts: 834

Chicago, Illinois, US

I owned it. Sold it. Dont get me wrong, for the price it's a really good deal. I ended upgrading to a Profoto because I wanted more Power and I wanted it to be metal than plastic as I want to use it as a light option when I travel.

It has all sorts of modifiers, etc. I actually still have those, and you can buy a bag too.

It's ok... i just found it cheaply made and was worried it will get destroyed when i travel.

Feb 26 13 10:12 am Link

Photographer

S W I N S K E Y

Posts: 24319

Saint Petersburg, Florida, US

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6abp9QrCH1qkn83so1_400.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/m8TQi.png

Feb 26 13 10:12 am Link

Photographer

fullmetalphotographer

Posts: 2792

Fresno, California, US

One more thing to note is that it is a little tight to use with pro bodies and f/2.8 lenses. Which is what I shoot, so it can be a hassle to manual focus on occasion.

Feb 26 13 10:14 am Link

Photographer

Ivan Galaviz - Photo

Posts: 891

Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico

For the price of it, I don't think there's a much better choide, get it and use it in every imaginable way, it's so versatile!

Feb 26 13 10:20 am Link

Photographer

You Can Call Me Pierre

Posts: 763

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Orbis with SB900 at 200mm and 1/1, shot at 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600 from 4m:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121224/08/50d881865c39c.jpg
I recently added the ABR800 in my carry-on instead.

Feb 26 13 10:23 am Link

Photographer

Red Sky Photography

Posts: 3390

Germantown, Maryland, US

I use mine all the time, indoors and out. D200 with a battery grip and 17-55 2.8 lens fits fine. I trigger it with the short sync cord that came with it.

A little awkward to hand hold but you get used to it. Great value for the price.

Feb 26 13 10:32 am Link

guide forum

Photographer

GPS Studio Services

Posts: 36957

San Francisco, California, US

I have used one on more than one occasion, and for the money, it is hard to beat it.  But there are realities that you have to come to grips with;

fullmetalphotographer wrote:
I have used it a lot. It is a very versatile light. My one big complaint is that it is made plastic and more fragile than most of my other gear.

+1 on this.  By professional standards, they are not well made.  The bracket used to mount the light to the camera is awful.   It breaks way to easy and isn't at all secure.

sultanphotography wrote:
I owned it. Sold it. Dont get me wrong, for the price it's a really good deal. I ended upgrading to a Profoto because I wanted more Power and I wanted it to be metal than plastic as I want to use it as a light option when I travel.

If you look at this image: 

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110201/01/4d47cf750bb45.jpg


I used the Alien Bee ring flash to overpower the sun.  This image is "as shot."  I didn't photoshop in the sun band.  I had a terrible time balancing the light because it just didn't have anywhere near enough power for me to get the effect I wanted.  I eventually removed the light from my camera and had someone hold the light much closer to her.  At full power, he was just under my field of view, to get the effect I wanted.  I could have still used another couple of stops of light to give me some headroom to work with, but we struggled and got the shot.

fullmetalphotographer wrote:
One more thing to note is that it is a little tight to use with pro bodies and f/2.8 lenses. Which is what I shoot, so it can be a hassle to manual focus on occasion.

This too is an issue.  It is very difficult to get your hand into zoom the lens, even with a mid-sized body. 

Red Sky Photography wrote:
A little awkward to hand hold but you get used to it. Great value for the price.

Something else to consider is that it is large and unwieldy to handle as compared to the much smaller lights, such as a pro-foto.   You get used to it, but it is not a delicate device meaning that you are moving a lot of mass.

Overall, for the money it is hard to beat, but it is by no means ideal.  On the other hand, there are much better solutions if you want to spend $2,500.  Obviously that is out of a lot of people's budgets.

So, if you go in with your eyes open, you will probably be happy.  Just understand that it is an imperfect solution.

Good luck to you.

Feb 26 13 10:44 am Link

Photographer

Robert Jewett

Posts: 2480

al-Marsā, Tunis, Tunisia

It feels like a piece of tupperware.

Yet...






I use it more than just about anything else.

Feb 26 13 11:00 am Link

Photographer

AVD AlphaDuctions

Posts: 10573

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

gl-amour wrote:
Orbis with SB900 at 200mm and 1/1, shot at 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600 from 4m:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121224/08/50d881865c39c.jpg
I recently added the ABR800 in my carry-on instead.

very nice image but without knowing what the ambient was like its hard to tell if this is truly powerful enough.

Feb 26 13 01:18 pm Link

Photographer

Fotografica Gregor

Posts: 4124

Alexandria, Virginia, US

I use mine a ton for daylight / location fashion stories as a fill - 

I hand hold mine - no probs.  Very powerful - using a direct PC cord between my Nikon D800 or D3x and the AB800R I get reliable synch at 1/400  which is a benefit when using for fill in bright light....     

I love the black grid for this -   not so sure yet about the "moon unit"

oh and btw - it makes a great off axis light as well

as far as images on MM here's an example....



http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120808/08/502287ff78b81.jpg

Feb 26 13 01:25 pm Link

Photographer

salvatori.

Posts: 3882

Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, US

I had considered starting a thread on a ring flash but saw this and figured I would ask here.

I do like the look of a ring flash. I have always used natural light when I shoot outdoors and occasionally use a reflector or shoot in bright shade if it's really sunny (or in the middle of the day).

So... how would a ring flash serve me? Outdoors, black & white stuff.

EDIT: forgot to add this: the reason I thought I would post here is that a friend of mine has AlienBees stuff and really likes it.

Feb 26 13 01:36 pm Link

Photographer

Nick Verbenec

Posts: 18

Basehor, Kansas, US

Ive borrowed an AB ring flash a few times and I love it. I actually use it more off camera as a mini beauty dish more than as intended.

Feb 26 13 03:57 pm Link

Photographer

Sentimental-SINtimental

Posts: 1314

Castle Rock, Washington, US

Fotografica Gregor wrote:
I use mine a ton for daylight / location fashion stories as a fill - 

I hand hold mine - no probs.  Very powerful - using a direct PC cord between my Nikon D800 or D3x and the AB800R I get reliable synch at 1/400  which is a benefit when using for fill in bright light....     

I love the black grid for this -   not so sure yet about the "moon unit"

oh and btw - it makes a great off axis light as well

as far as images on MM here's an example....

syncing at 1/400th?  I would like to see that if you're not using it bright light where it may be hiding your black bar of shutter  big_smile

Feb 26 13 04:03 pm Link

Photographer

Fotografica Gregor

Posts: 4124

Alexandria, Virginia, US

Sentimental-SINtimental wrote:

syncing at 1/400th?  I would like to see that if you're not using it bright light where it may be hiding your black bar of shutter  big_smile

Nope - when using it for strongly backlit fill still no black bar -  I've actually tested it in studio on the cyc wall to be sure....   but this works only with a short pc cord between the camera and the AB400R

Feb 26 13 04:05 pm Link

Photographer

MichaelClements

Posts: 1739

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130106/14/50e9fb8dc2ee6.jpg

Feb 26 13 04:06 pm Link

Photographer

Sentimental-SINtimental

Posts: 1314

Castle Rock, Washington, US

Fotografica Gregor wrote:

Nope - when using it for strongly backlit fill still no black bar -  I've actually tested it in studio on the cyc wall to be sure....   but this works only with a short pc cord between the camera and the AB400R

I'm asking about where there is no other strong light filling it... a strong backlight can fill in that bar... try using it as your main with no other lights

Feb 26 13 04:14 pm Link

Photographer

The Effective Image

Posts: 3943

Lansing, Michigan, US

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/29513562

'Borrowed" ABR400. Camera not 'in' ring. ABR400 on a stand.

Feb 26 13 11:37 pm Link

Photographer

Creative Concept Studio

Posts: 2581

Fort Worth, Texas, US

Use it - like it for some shots:

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5087/5336830399_c6f3e8707f.jpg

Outside also:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3565/3372693013_488a0c30cf.jpg

Used handheld:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7168/6648773353_a793140eca.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7165/6648773803_92e2dcb390.jpg

Feb 27 13 06:31 am Link

Photographer

Matt Forma

Posts: 373

Denver, Colorado, US

Robert Jewett wrote:
It feels like a piece of tupperware.

Yet...






I use it more than just about anything else.

Haha well alright then

Feb 27 13 06:38 am Link

Photographer

Matt Forma

Posts: 373

Denver, Colorado, US

Thanks for all of the detailed responses everyone. Much appreciated.

Feb 27 13 06:39 am Link

Photographer

Marty McBride

Posts: 3132

Owensboro, Kentucky, US

AVD AlphaDuctions wrote:

very nice image but without knowing what the ambient was like its hard to tell if this is truly powerful enough.

Shot at 1600 iso...I doubt it!

Feb 27 13 07:11 am Link

Photographer

You Can Call Me Pierre

Posts: 763

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The orbis acts as a nice fill for the ambient sunrise.
My tests estimate around 3 stops of light loss.  It is more suitable with a 24-120 f/4 or 24-70 f/2.8, than the 70-300 used in my example.

Feb 27 13 08:06 am Link

Photographer

Taurus Studios

Posts: 361

BRONX, New York, US

My 2 cents... It  works & a good investment. Image says the rest ;-D
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/090616/22/4a387c0b11fa9.jpg

Feb 28 13 09:12 pm Link

Photographer

R Michael Walker

Posts: 11987

Costa Mesa, California, US

I tried  the Orbis that has been mentioned and after using the AB it SUCKED. Not enough power for anything except indoors. The AB's only problem is the crappy mount. Great light though. And More than enough power for what I do. I routinely run mine down around 1/32nd power and rarely go above 1/16 even outside. But I use a lot of wide angles. I've also used it as a fill off camera outside. Great all purpose light for me.
My favorite is this shot (18+) with a 12-24mm Lens on the D300. I'm actually photographing the inside of the unit to get the vignette
http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/5932563
This is it as a fill flash

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/30035016

Feb 28 13 09:33 pm Link

Photographer

sultanphotography

Posts: 834

Chicago, Illinois, US

They both produce light but that's where the differences start.

Profoto: better build
             More power
              Consistent output
             Easy to install on stands
              Has awesome reflector I use

Aliebee : really affordable
              Had modeling light

Remember that the AB will cost you a few hundred dollars
The profoto will cost you at least $3000 with a starter power pack

I had the AB as a starter and sold it and got the Profoto.

Mar 01 13 05:47 am Link

Photographer

Dan Brady

Posts: 610

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

^ what powerpack did you order with yours?

Am interested in the elinchrom ringflash but would prefer profoto depending how much of a difference there is in price.

Mar 01 13 05:59 am Link

Photographer

Roy Hubbard

Posts: 2906

New York, New York, US

I primarily use mine handheld as on-axis fill. As others have noted, the construction is somewhat flimsy and it can be a pain to make adjustments. A small price to pay for the small price I paid, and I've been very satisfied with the results.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/29393121 (18+)
http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/31755700 (18+)

Mar 01 13 10:13 am Link

Photographer

FKW Studio

Posts: 106

Kew, North Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands

well personally I hate it. I don't like this type of lighting to begin with so take my words with a grain of salt. The construction is very cheap, the way the modifiers mount to the unit is a pain in the ass and also a chore, lets just say in general the unit does not inspire confidence... I mean granted, yeah its $400! Cheap! And you get what you pay for!

As mentioned the camera bracket is very cheaply made (mine already broke), the sync jack is no longer working, it has never been dropped or anything, modeling lights are flickery, etc... its miles apart from my B800s as far as quality goes. The output is consistent and it does its job, but I ended up not liking it. Also as mentioned the hole is a bit tight so don't expect to manual focus anything.

Mar 01 13 06:28 pm Link

Photographer

Andrew James Images

Posts: 10

Portland, Oregon, US

Here's another example of the Alien Bee ringflash.  It's done a good job for me over the years.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/100517/21/4bf21aff00647.jpg

Mar 02 13 12:18 am Link

Photographer

exartica

Posts: 1345

Bowie, Maryland, US

ABR800 with Moon Unit:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/100713/22/4c3d463832b34.jpg

Mar 02 13 01:15 pm Link

Photographer

sultanphotography

Posts: 834

Chicago, Illinois, US

Dan Brady wrote:
^ what powerpack did you order with yours?

Am interested in the elinchrom ringflash but would prefer profoto depending how much of a difference there is in price.

I have the 1200. Works amazingly. Powerful enough to do this:

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/280494_4315387919414_2072514766_o.jpg

Mar 02 13 01:22 pm Link