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Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,867
Miami Beach, Florida, US


http://www.johnfisher.com/images/1einstein7210fs.jpg

Okay, I want to start today by discussing some of the new technical features included in the Einstein monolight from Paul C. Buff Companies (Alien Bees, White Lightning, Zeus). First, the Einstein is an all digital light, meaning all of your controls are now digitally driven. No more sliders to adjust the brightness of either the modeling light or the strobe itself. This means you have a much more accurate display of exactly what power levels the Einstein is putting out. The (250w!) modeling lamp can automatically track the output of the strobe (half power on the strobe would also give you half power from the modeling light, as an example). This allows a "what you see is what you get" when you are setting up your lights. This is not a big deal to me, I want as much power from the modeling light as I can get as a focusing aid, but there are some applications (primarily product photography) where this is an important feature. The modeling lamp can also be independently adjusted, and typically I just set it to full power. For those who are used to the Alien Bees, having a 250w (instead of a 100w) modeling light is wonderful! (I should also mention at this point that the Einstein's have a powerful fan built in, heat being the enemy of electrical circuits).

http://www.johnfisher.com/images/1einstein7197fs.jpg

The next feature which is of little interest to my American readers, but a big deal to those in Europe or the Far East (or people like myself who travel outside the US), the Einstein will work on either 110v/60hz or 220v/50hz (or any combination there of). And it's plug and play, you don't have to find a switch on the unit, just plug the light in and the Einstein does the rest. Again, this may not seem like a big deal to someone in Omaha, but as I will discuss later, this feature could dramatically effect all of us who want to order an Einstein.

The Einstein in it's current configuration is a 640ws monolight strobe at full power. In many respects which I have discussed endlessly in the past, this is a meaningless number. What you really want to know is at 100 ISO, what f stop am I getting at full power say 20 feet away with a standard reflector? I will have that data for you after I finish my studio tests in the next few days, but I have seen pictures which indicate this strobe puts out a lot (lot, lot) of light. Remember I said the Einstein is an all digital strobe? This is one of the areas where the new electrical circuitry comes into play. In the past with most mono lights, decreasing the power output meant some interesting things would happen. One, you could get a significant shift in color temperature, particularly as you went to 1/4 power or less. Also your flash duration tended to go up (not down!), again you might start to pick up motion blur at the lower power settings. The standard answer to these problems was to have different powered monolights, and you'd switch between them as your lighting solution changed. For most this was impractical (I mean other than my friend Sam Tang, who among us has 30 monolights in their studio? Certainly not me!), so you might buy an Alien Bees AB800 as a mid range light, and if you found you needed more power on a regular basis you might eventually purchase an AB1600 (rated at 640ws). But this was not the best solution. Why not buy the most powerful light available, and simply power it down and still have consistent color and a short flash duration? Today, you can, and it's name is Einstein. (For those of a technical bend, the circuitry that allows all of this in the Einstein is something called IGTB, this circuitry has been in use with speedlights for a number of years but only recently been available for more powerful circuits like those employed in the Einstein. I don't know what IGTB is, I don't understand it, but I know what it does!)

I'm going to digress here for a moment to discuss flash power and it's practical application in the studio. When I started in this business (admittedly a long time ago), if you shot with a 35mm SLR for magazine reproduction you were for the most part limited to using Kodachrome 25 (that's ISO 25!) That was the only film with a small enough grain and a richness of color that the magazines would accept. On some rare occasions if you were shooting outside and you had lighting issues, you might get away with Kodachrome 64. (Now you know why everyone used a tripod! The film was slow and lenses, particularly long lenses, were no where near as fast as they are today.) In those days if I needed f8/f11 in the studio shooting ISO 25 film, I might need a main light with 1200 to 2400ws, particularly if the light had a modifier like a softbox mounted on it. Today your digital SLR probably has a base ISO of 100 or 200, and let's face it, you can't really see any grain (noise) even at ISO 400 with any new DSLR camera. Doing a little math quickly shows us that to obtain the same results at ISO 200 compared to ISO 25, I need three fewer stops from my light source. That means that if I previously needed 2400ws at ISO 25, I now only need 300ws to give me the same result shooting at ISO 200. I own and have used Speedotron 2400 packs for twenty six years, but that kind of power is rarely necessary today.

http://www.johnfisher.com/images/1einstein7215fs.jpg

Okay, finishing up I want to discuss some other new physical features of the Einstein, particularly for those familiar with Alien Bees. One thing you notice as you unpack the light is that there is a dome which covers both the flash tube and the modeling lamp. This dome is UV coated and significantly reduces UV light from being transmitted from the strobe. While at first glance this may seem to offer some protection for the flash tube, the dome itself is fragile and wouldn't offer much protection, but it is there. Secondly the mounting brackets for the light modifiers (such as the new standard 8.5" reflector or the speed rings used to mount softboxes) are much improved over the lighter brackets used in the Alien Bees lights. If you own a newer White Lightning or Zeus, the mounting brackets are the same as they are with those strobes. I have mounted big softboxes on my AB800, including the large foldable Octabox (47") and never had any problems with the mounting brackets, but I have a much better feeling about the new brackets!

That's enough for today, if these were the only features which are a step up from the Alien Bees series, the new Einstein would certainly justify it's current price of $499.95. In the next installment of this report I will cover the actual studio applications that take this light to the next level. Finally, I want to say something about that 110v/220v power thing and why it might be important to you. In the past, if our members in Europe, Australia, or the Far East wanted to buy an Alien Bees strobe, they would have to special order the light because it had to work on 220v. Today with the Einstein's, that is no longer an issue. This alone significantly opens a huge new market for Paul C. Buff Companies. I know they are in the process of building a new facility to manufacture the Einstein's, but keeping up with demand is undoubtedly going to be something to think about in the short run.

And now the disclaimer. I am a sponsored photographer for Paul C. Buff Companies. I am not paid directly, but Mr. Buff has arranged to allow me to use and test some of the new products as they are released. I did buy all of my original Alien Bees lights, including my original AB800 and the original ABR800 ringlight and wrote about them frequently before I was sponsored (most notably "A Ring-ing Endorsement" about the ABR800 ringlight which I posted here in 2006). I make my living and pay all of my bills shooting magazine and advertising work. I enjoy what I do, and I love writing.

Your friendly neighborhood Fish
--
Sponsored Photographer for Paul C. Buff Companies (Alien Bees, White Lightning, Zeus and Einstein)

For additional information about the Einstein lighting system from Paul C. Buff Companies, please read The New Einstein Monolight Studio Strobe (Part II), and The New Einstein Monolight Studio Strobe (Part III).
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida  33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com
Apr 11 10 12:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DMHolman
Posts: 1,867
Lynnwood, Washington, US


John -  Not to threadjack in anyway, but really quickly I wanted to say thanks for taking the time to listen and for including the disclaimer.  Shows me you're a stand-up guy.  Peace.

-=>D
Apr 11 10 01:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
A M Johnson
Posts: 8,024
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Is this unit you are testing the final final or a unit for QC testing purposes?
Apr 11 10 01:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
RSM-images
Posts: 4,226
Jacksonville, Florida, US


.

Watt-seconds are *only* an indication of the storage capacity of strobe capacitors.  Watt-seconds do *not* account for the inefficiencies of electronics, cables, flash tubes, reflector/modifier, etc.

Only a Guide Number (GN) for each combination of strobe, cable (if from a power pack), and reflector/modifier is useful, as you mentioned, above.

I would also like to know the color temperature meter readings for 10% increment power settings (at both t.5 and t.1 as well as the flash duration for each power setting) and the standard deviation of those data points.  The camera shutter speeds for t.5 and t.1, at the various power settings, should also be included as they affect the strobe's color temperature in a camera exposure.

A description of the testing setup(s) would allow one to repeat the testing that you do.

Such repeatable data will be a good start in allowing one to compare the new strobe with other strobes and various graphs could be constructed for easier evaluations.

I am hopeful that your testing will produce such repeatable data.  AB might have to test and publish some of the requested data.

.
Apr 11 10 01:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ACPhotography
Posts: 8,622
Plainview, New York, US


All I care about is F stop full power at ## feet and ### ISO... Then color temperature and t1 and t5 at full and lowest power settings...

Patiently waiting for those #'s... I have 2 AB1600's but they are worthless for anything but a big area or outdoors,  these could very well replace them for me...
Apr 11 10 01:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,867
Miami Beach, Florida, US


A M Johnson wrote:
Is this unit you are testing the final final or a unit for QC testing purposes?

Good question. From what I understand I have an actual production unit (a very early production unit, serial number 5 if I read it correctly!). It is my understanding that (as earlier reported by others on this forum) production will ramp up slowly to allow earlier adapters to put the Einstein through it's paces and report back any significant issues. This was also true of the ABR800 Ringlight, I purchased serial number 8 and it quickly became apparent that the mounting bracket on the light needed to be changed. It was, and all early purchasers were sent the better mount as it became available.

A lot rides on this light, it is a big step and that has been the cause of some of the delays in it's arrival in the market place. Making one light, or even several to demonstrate the technology, is peanuts compared to ramping up to produce thousands of strobes. Simply finding competent suppliers who can reliably produce subassembly components can be frustrating as anyone in the manufacturing business will attest. Given Paul C. Buff Companies well deserved reputation for reliability and customer service, this is something they don't take lightly.

Alien Bees, White Lightning, and Zeus is really a fairly small company located in Nashville, Tennessee. Since the introduction of the Alien Bees line of monolights, their growth has been explosive (it's been reported that they make more than half of all the studio strobes sold in the US, by unit volume if not dollar volume). They actually assemble, test, and ship each light from Nashville. When you take into consideration that they have introduced a whole pantheon of new products in the past few years from ringlights, pack and head systems, and light modifiers, to increasingly sophisticated radio triggers, this new light puts a lot of stress on the folks in Nashville.

I've been thinking there is a lot of similarities between Paul Buff and Henry Ford (the good things, not everything!). I will comment on this when I finish the final report on the Einstein. (Odd fact, my grandmother was briefly Henry Ford's personal secretary!)

Fish
Sponsored Photographer for Paul C. Buff Companies
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida  33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com

Apr 11 10 02:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Will King Photo
Posts: 1,895
Virginia Beach, Virginia, US


I just ordered mine. The salesperson told me they should ship out sometime next week.
Apr 11 10 02:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
nwprophoto
Posts: 13,911
Kalibo, Western Visayas, Philippines


The Einstein in depth at Fred Miranda. Paul Buff answers a lot of questions.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/876748

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/886861
Apr 11 10 02:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Brooklyn Bridge Images
Posts: 9,317
Brooklyn, New York, US


Will King Photography wrote:
I just ordered mine. The salesperson told me they should ship out sometime next week.

Were u already on the pre order list ??? I thought it would be months before there were done filling all the pre orders.

Apr 11 10 03:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Will King Photo
Posts: 1,895
Virginia Beach, Virginia, US


Brooklyn Bridge Images wrote:

Were u already on the pre order list ??? I thought it would be months before there were done filling all the pre orders.

Yes. I was pre-order #27.

Apr 11 10 04:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,867
Miami Beach, Florida, US


RSM-images wrote:
I would also like to know the color temperature meter readings for 10% increment power settings (at both t.5 and t.1 as well as the flash duration for each power setting) and the standard deviation of those data points.  The camera shutter speeds for t.5 and t.1, at the various power settings, should also be included as they affect the strobe's color temperature in a camera exposure.

A description of the testing setup(s) would allow one to repeat the testing that you do.

Such repeatable data will be a good start in allowing one to compare the new strobe with other strobes and various graphs could be constructed for easier evaluations.

I am hopeful that your testing will produce such repeatable data.  AB might have to test and publish some of the requested data.

http://www.johnfisher.com/images/1einsteindatafs.jpg

Well, I'm not qualified to do t.1 testing (nor do I have the equipment), but published data for the Einstein shows that t.1 starts at 1/600th of a second at full power and jumps to 1/1200th of a second at half power. The t.1 flash duration continues to get shorter as power is reduced, exceeding 1/3000 of a second at most lower power settings. This compares with most monolights which start with a t.1 of around 1/400th of a second, then increases to longer t.1 times as power is reduced. Quite an achievement for the Einstein monolight. (With t.1 times this short, t.5 doesn't seem very important, but they start at 1/2000 of a second at full power, then continue to get shorter as power is reduced).

Again the published data for the Einstein in "Constant Color Mode" shows color temperature holding steady (+/- 50 degrees) at 5600K through out the power range (which is from 640ws to 2.5ws!) adjustable digitally in 1/10 of a stop increments. If you really really need the fastest t1 times, you can shift to "Action Mode" where the t1 times exceed 10,000/second at lower power settings, but the trade off is that you get more fluctuation in color temperature (where color temperature rises to 6000k at 80ws with a t.1 of 1/6000th of a second).

Since I'm trying to freeze people in motion, not speeding bullets, the t.1 times for the "Constant Color Mode" are more than adequate for what I do.

Fish
Sponsored Photographer for Paul C. Buff Companies
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida  33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com

Apr 11 10 04:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DMHolman
Posts: 1,867
Lynnwood, Washington, US


John Fisher wrote:
http://www.johnfisher.com/images/1einsteindatafs.jpg

I think it's a mistake for them to lump all those lights together like that.  Profoto and Broncolor in the same group as Bowens and Norman?  Gives a skewed impression of the numbers.  But that's marketing.

The bottom chart, however, makes no sense to me.  How can the combined median t.1 flash duration times actually get longer as power is reduced?  That shouldn't even be possible.

-=>D

Apr 11 10 05:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,867
Miami Beach, Florida, US


DMHolman wrote:
I think it's a mistake for them to lump all those lights together like that.  Profoto and Broncolor in the same group as Bowens and Norman?  Gives a skewed impression of the numbers.  But that's marketing.

The bottom chart, however, makes no sense to me.  How can the combined median t.1 flash duration times actually get longer as power is reduced?  That shouldn't even be possible.

-=>D

http://www.johnfisher.com/images/1einsteindata2fs.jpg

Actually, that bottom chart makes a lot of sense. One of the problems that exists with standard monolights is that as you reduce power t.1 times do tend to get longer because you don't have switchable capacitor banks. The new IGBT circuitry reduces power using something similar to switching capacitor banks (the better pack and head systems have switches on the pack which either add or subtract capacitor banks as you want to reduce power to the heads). This older way of reducing power used in most monolights also results in significant variation in color temperature as power is reduced. As I understand it, we originally saw the benefits of IGBT circuitry in speedlights as they required significantly less power. It is only recently that IGBT devices have become available for devices requiring greater power.

I'm writing like I understand this stuff, which honestly I don't. When I got my engineering degree from Michigan Tech, the periodic table only had four elements in it (Earth, Fire, Air and Water). Then came the dinosaurs. But I do know that color variations and longer flash durations have long been the bugaboo for monolights (and why pro studios relied on pack and head systems for critical work).

Fish
Sponsored Photographer for Paul C. Buff Companies
(And B.S. Metallurgical Engineering, Michigan Tech, 1968!)
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida  33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com

Apr 11 10 06:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
exartica
Posts: 1,317
Bowie, Maryland, US


DMHolman wrote:
The bottom chart, however, makes no sense to me.  How can the combined median t.1 flash duration times actually get longer as power is reduced?  That shouldn't even be possible.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1888

Not all strobes have shorter flash durations at lower power settings. Rather than cutting out capacitors entirely, some popular monoblock strobes reduce power by varying the voltage to which the flash capacitors are charged, therefore allowing for a relatively wide range of power control without compromising the full power flash duration. This is known as Variable Voltage Control.

Apr 11 10 06:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,867
Miami Beach, Florida, US


exartica wrote:

http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1888

Not all strobes have shorter flash durations at lower power settings. Rather than cutting out capacitors entirely, some popular monoblock strobes reduce power by varying the voltage to which the flash capacitors are charged, therefore allowing for a relatively wide range of power control without compromising the full power flash duration. This is known as Variable Voltage Control. [/b]

Hehehehe, you need to read your own quote. It says precisely what I said, with most monolights it is only at full power that you get the minimum flash duration. You do get a wide range of power control, but only get the short flash duration at maximum power.

Fishie Poo
(And I don't need to be a sponsored photographer to be able to read!)
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida  33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com

Apr 11 10 06:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DMHolman
Posts: 1,867
Lynnwood, Washington, US


exartica wrote:
http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1888

Not all strobes have shorter flash durations at lower power settings. Rather than cutting out capacitors entirely, some popular monoblock strobes reduce power by varying the voltage to which the flash capacitors are charged, therefore allowing for a relatively wide range of power control without compromising the full power flash duration. This is known as Variable Voltage Control.

That may be where the discrepency comes from for me.  I forgot they are dealing solely with monolights.  I don't have info on any of the monolights in question regarding their control circuits.

-=>D

Apr 11 10 06:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
exartica
Posts: 1,317
Bowie, Maryland, US


John Fisher wrote:
Hehehehe, you need to read your own quote. It says precisely what I said

Of course it does.  At what point did I say I was contradicting you?  I was simply providing supporting information from an alternative source.  Who put the stick up your ass?

Apr 11 10 06:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DMHolman
Posts: 1,867
Lynnwood, Washington, US


exartica wrote:

Of course it does.  At what point did I say I was contradicting you?  I was simply providing supporting information from an alternative source.  Who put the stick up your ass?

See there now .. no good deed goes unpunished.  smile

I'd like to see that chart broken out by model and not as a median since I know that the Elinchrom RX600 has a t.1 of about 1/700 and Profoto D1 Air 500 of about 1/870.  Would love to see which of the rest are dragging them all down to 1/300 or so.  Of course, it'd only be for curiosity sake in my case.

-=>D

Apr 11 10 07:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,867
Miami Beach, Florida, US


exartica wrote:
Of course it does.  At what point did I say I was contradicting you?  I was simply providing supporting information from an alternative source.  Who put the stick up your ass?

Ah, I seem to be a bit touchy tonight. Having this stick up my ass will do that. Sorry Boss.

Fish
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida  33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com

Apr 11 10 07:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
C s p i n e
Posts: 3,932
Portland, Oregon, US


Personally, I like switches and sliders.
Apr 11 10 10:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Yamin
Posts: 819
New Milford, Connecticut, US


These lights are looking better and better... there's the color consistency, short duration, 9 stops of adjustability, and I just read that - at low power - they kept up with an 8 FPS burst from a D300. A very cool product IMO, especially for the money.
Apr 11 10 10:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SKITA Studios
Posts: 1,564
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Get a chance to try these on a shoot yet?
And are you saying you don't have much use for your Zeus packs any more?  I find it hard to believe the Einstein would be powerful enough in noon sunlight w/ a modifier, which was why I was hoping he'd have a 1000WS version of it...
Apr 12 10 09:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Yamin
Posts: 819
New Milford, Connecticut, US


The Einsteins are as powerful as the B1600s, which I own, so they should be able to handle noon sunlight very well, especially with the PLM or High-Output Beauty Dish.

Testing of the PLM's output: http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/d … 952919015/
Apr 12 10 09:46 am  Link  Quote 
Model
-Jen-
Posts: 46,819
Howell, Michigan, US


Moderator Warning!

exartica wrote:

Of course it does.  At what point did I say I was contradicting you?  I was simply providing supporting information from an alternative source.  Who put the stick up your ass?

Someone needs a refresher of the Forum Rules.


Posting Behavior

- Ours is a culture of respect and tolerance. Please, no hate, drama or SHOUTING here.

- Respond to the ideas being expressed, not the person expressing them.

- Please, no trolling. This is not the right place to antagonize, provoke, inflame, or cause controversy. And don't feed the trolls, because responding in kind only makes things worse.

- Stay on topic. Do not hijack the thread.


The remaining rules are located here:  http://www.modelmayhem.com/info/rules/forums

This is the only warning.  Next, brigging.

Carry on.

Jen
MM Moderator

Apr 12 10 11:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fashion Photographer
Posts: 14,388
London, England, United Kingdom


As for the technology, I have a 25 year old on camera flash which employs the same.

Perhaps the most significant benefit of this monolight is the shield protecting the flash tube. Using equipment (such as the old alien bees) which has the potential to explosively project shards of quartz into the face of a woman whose career depends on her appearance is a risky proposition.

But in any case, I find your review problematic in that it doesn't identify a single area in which the device needs improvement. To that extent, it constitutes a whitewash. I would, however, thank you for your extended description. From what you have said, they sound good.
Apr 12 10 11:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SKITA Studios
Posts: 1,564
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Michael Yamin wrote:
The Einsteins are as powerful as the B1600s, which I own, so they should be able to handle noon sunlight very well, especially with the PLM or High-Output Beauty Dish.

Yep...no problems w/ a good reflector...I was thinking more an octabox...

Apr 12 10 11:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,867
Miami Beach, Florida, US


Hi Jen,

Actually Exartica's original post was in support of the information I was providing about t.1 (and t.5) times normally increasing as you go to lower power levels with monolights (the Einstein actually has shorter t.1 and t.5 times as power levels go down).

I misunderstood what he was trying to say, and gave him an undeserved poke in the eye. His response may have been unkind, but certainly understandable given my reply to his post (and I probably would have said the same thing he did under similar circumstances).

BUT, thanks for watching my back. That is always appreciated!

Fish
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida  33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com
Apr 12 10 11:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Yamin
Posts: 819
New Milford, Connecticut, US


SKITA Studios wrote:
Yep...no problems w/ a good reflector...I was thinking more an octabox...

I said "especially", as in, it'll do the job with anything but the largest diffused modifiers.

Apr 12 10 02:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DBVE Imaging
Posts: 1,907
Fort Worth, Texas, US


These lights look pretty impressive.  If they perform as promoted, these may just be "the" studio lights to own.  Time will tell, but I dont see ANY lights that will out do these.  Now if I can just find the funds to buy em!
Apr 12 10 02:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,358
Salem, Oregon, US


me, too. i have 5 JTLs one of which is digital and i find that one really annoying (very hard to operate blind with one hand whereas i can easily reach across with one hand and twist a knob). now if i were doing something where it had to be repeatable across sessions i guess it would be helpful to be able to dial in the precise power setting.

Cspine wrote:
Personally, I like switches and sliders.

Apr 12 10 02:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rp_photo
Posts: 42,490
Houston, Texas, US


RSM-images wrote:
Watt-seconds are *only* an indication of the storage capacity of strobe capacitors

Is this the equivalent of rating radio transmitters based on input wattage?

For example, CB radio transmitters are limited to 5 watts input power, which typically translates to 4 watts output.

In addition, directional antennas are sometimes claimed as having a higher effective wattage, which I suspect is similar to PCB's effective watt-seconds.

Apr 12 10 03:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fashion Photographer
Posts: 14,388
London, England, United Kingdom


DBVE Imaging wrote:
These lights look pretty impressive.  If they perform as promoted, these may just be "the" studio lights to own.  Time will tell, but I dont see ANY lights that will out do these.  Now if I can just find the funds to buy em!

Why do you say that? What makes these lights better than, say, a standard profoto setup?

Apr 12 10 03:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Alfiere
Posts: 1,562
Portland, Oregon, US


i am waiting for Tesla to come out with his own light kit...

wireless battery packs and remote triggers that work from up to 12 miles..also invisible soft boxes.. you can shoot thru them and they emit light....
Apr 12 10 03:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DMHolman
Posts: 1,867
Lynnwood, Washington, US


rp_photo wrote:
Is this the equivalent of rating radio transmitters based on input wattage?

For example, CB radio transmitters are limited to 5 watts input power, which typically translates to 4 watts output.

In addition, directional antennas are sometimes claimed as having a higher effective wattage, which I suspect is similar to PCB's effective watt-seconds.

That's one of my pet peeves .. talking about the power of a strobe based on the watt-seconds.  As I've said before, talking about the output of a strobe in joules makes just about as much sense as talking about the power of a car based on its gas tank capacity.

As for PCB's "effective watt-second", if anyone can figure out what that is based on I'd love to know.

-=>D

Apr 13 10 12:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bill Sylvester
Posts: 1,463
Cincinnati, Ohio, US


DMHolman wrote:
As for PCB's "effective watt-second", if anyone can figure out what that is based on I'd love to know.

-=>D

Read and learn:

http://alienbees.com/glossary.html

Effective Wattseconds:  This terminology was originally used in 1985 by Inverse Square Systems in conjunction with their "Stroblox" series of high-efficiency self-contained flash units. The term was created because most manufacturers of flash equipment (as well as the press) insisted on the incorrect use of the term "wattsecond" as a definition of light output (in such wrong statements as "This system puts out 800ws of light").  Since the Stroblox system produced on the order of twice the amount of light per wattsecond as did the average "box-and-cable" system at the time, Inverse Square Systems chose to employ the rating "2400 effective wattseconds" as a means of saying "our system puts out an amount of light equal to the average 2400ws system,” even though the actual stored energy of the Stroblox 2400 was only 1200 joules or wattseconds.  Indeed, this terminology gave the user a more clear idea of what to expect from the unit than he would have gotten had they simply stated that it was a 1200ws system.   We publish wattseconds, effective wattseconds, and Lumenseconds for our flash units, with Lumenseconds being the most valuable method of power comparison.

Apr 13 10 09:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DMHolman
Posts: 1,867
Lynnwood, Washington, US


Bill Sylvester wrote:
Read and learn:

http://alienbees.com/glossary.html

Read ... didn't learn anything.  I probably would have, if they had defined what constitutes "the average box and cable system" (or in PCB's case average monolight).

I know exactly what the term means.  The problem I have with it is that it's based on smoke and mirror marketing tactics.  Rating a strobe's output by the input is poor at best due to differences in efficiency in circuit and tube design.  To then compound the inaccuracy by using a unit of measure based on a vague pseudo-comparison of that is ridiculous.

What is that "average" based on?  Are there some of those Asian knock-offs in that list that are rated at 300ws but can't even output enough light to challenge a Canon 430ex?  How about some of the high-end ultra-efficient monoblocs out there?

When AMD did it with their "Plus" rating system, at least you knew that they were directly comparing themselves to Intel Processors.

We already have a unit created specifically to compare the light outputs of different strobes.  No need to use a more flawed one.

-=>D

Apr 13 10 03:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Innovative Imagery
Posts: 2,815
Los Angeles, California, US


DMHolman wrote:

Read ... didn't learn anything.  I probably would have, if they had defined what constitutes "the average box and cable system" (or in PCB's case average monolight).

I know exactly what the term means.  The problem I have with it is that it's based on smoke and mirror marketing tactics.  Rating a strobe's output by the input is poor at best due to differences in efficiency in circuit and tube design.  To then compound the inaccuracy by using a unit of measure based on a vague pseudo-comparison of that is ridiculous.-=>D

Apparently you have a bug up your a** about PCB products.  It wasn't marketing hype or smoke and mirrors.  They never hid their actual watt second numbers, but simply showed that with a similar modifier it would product more usable light than the same watt second head and pack system or as an equivilent amount as a higher rated one.  Since most of us relate to "what f:stop will this give me", this is a very clear way to compare units.

DMHolman wrote:
What is that "average" based on?  Are there some of those Asian knock-offs in that list that are rated at 300ws but can't even output enough light to challenge a Canon 430ex?  How about some of the high-end ultra-efficient monoblocs out there?-=>D

You are either being intentionally obtuse or ignorant of the history.  When this term came about there weren't very many monoblocks around.  While it is still handy to use when comparing to head and pack systems, the rest of the data is better explained by the f:stop at 10 feet with standard reflector and softbox charts.  Photogenic didn't come out with their monoblock until after PCB.

DMHolman wrote:
We already have a unit created specifically to compare the light outputs of different strobes.  No need to use a more flawed one.  -=>D

And what would that be?

Sep 23 10 08:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Feliciano
Posts: 503
New York, New York, US


FYI, this discussion is 5 months old.
Sep 23 10 08:16 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DMHolman
Posts: 1,867
Lynnwood, Washington, US


Really?  From April?  Really?  Ok.


Innovative Imagery wrote:
Apparently you have a bug up your a** about PCB products.  It wasn't marketing hype or smoke and mirrors.  They never hid their actual watt second numbers, but simply showed that with a similar modifier it would product more usable light than the same watt second head and pack system or as an equivilent amount as a higher rated one.  Since most of us relate to "what f:stop will this give me", this is a very clear way to compare units.

No, as was clearly stated I have an issue with using misinformation and obfuscation to sell things to people.  No, they don't hide their actual watt-second numbers, but they use an antiquated unit of measure to give the illusion that AlienBee products output more light than their contemporaries.

It's like putting "80 effective miles per gallon" on all the marketing for a car without explaining to people that you're calculating that number in comparison to an early 70's passenger car.

Innovative Imagery wrote:
You are either being intentionally obtuse or ignorant of the history.  When this term came about there weren't very many monoblocks around.  While it is still handy to use when comparing to head and pack systems, the rest of the data is better explained by the f:stop at 10 feet with standard reflector and softbox charts.  Photogenic didn't come out with their monoblock until after PCB.

So that I'm clear, your point is they are using an arbitrary and antiquated unit of measure with no relevance to contemporary lighting systems, but if you ignore that it's helpful?

Innovative Imagery wrote:
And what would that be?

Read your own message and you can hopefully figure that out for yourself.

-=>D

Sep 23 10 02:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Fryd
Posts: 3,685
Miami Beach, Florida, US


DMHolman wrote:
...
So that I'm clear, your point is they are using an arbitrary and antiquated unit of measure with no relevance to contemporary lighting systems, but if you ignore that it's helpful?
…

The real problem is that Watt-Seconds is not a measure of light output.  it is a measure of input power.

All other things being equal, double the watt seconds and your double the light.  Unfortunately when comparing different brands of light, all other things are never equal.

What we care about is the light output.  Light output is a function of watt-seconds, efficiency, reflectors and other modifiers.

Sep 23 10 04:35 pm  Link  Quote 
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