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12last
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,779
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Ok, I know the obvious, but.

I sold all my AB1600's to be able to upgrade to Einsteins.
I had convinced myself that 4 Einsteins and various reflectors were all I would ever need. Still valid argument.
However I now have the opportunity to buy back on of my AB1600, lightly used since sold, so I know its condition, for $60 less then I sold it, less then a year ago. They have also added Einsteins so this is a surplus light for them.

This would give me 4 Einsteins, plus one AB.
So configure as
2-background lights.
1-main
1-fill
1-kicker/hair.

If I really wanted to, I could use speedlights as kicker, or even background.
But it is nice to, have all the same, more or less.
And I have the Cyber Commander for the Einsteins, so the AB1600 would be optical trigger.(no I am not spending $90 for the CC adapter for the AB)

If I buy this, something else will have to wait.

And I do realise that only I can define my real needs.
Mar 25 13 04:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Images by MR
Posts: 7,731
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Herman Surkis wrote:
And I do realise that only I can define my real needs.

I agree with this.

Mar 25 13 04:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,533
Salem, Oregon, US


i routinely use 5 (two for background, two for subject, another one for fill ), often 6 (hair light).
Mar 25 13 04:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Digitoxin
Posts: 13,345
Houston, Texas, US


ontherocks wrote:
i routinely use 5 (two for background, two for subject, another one for fill ), often 6 (hair light).

I routinely use one. 

I also use two or three or four.

I have used ten or so too.

OP, there is really no one who can answer this for you other than you.  Amazing work can be done with zero or more lights.  It all depends on our personal vision.

Mar 25 13 04:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mortonovich
Posts: 5,485
San Diego, California, US


This is just too hard to answer. It's too much up to the individual.

I've assisted guys that always used all seven of their lights and were always
asking me to set up another one ("Uh, you don't have anymore lights, boss . . . .)
and I've assisted guys that use one light, max. And all of them do killer work in their own way.
Mar 25 13 04:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 38,380
Portland, Oregon, US


Herman Surkis wrote:
Ok, I know the obvious, but.

I sold all my AB1600's to be able to upgrade to Einsteins.
I had convinced myself that 4 Einsteins and various reflectors were all I would ever need. Still valid argument.
However I now have the opportunity to buy back on of my AB1600, lightly used since sold, so I know its condition, for $60 less then I sold it, less then a year ago. They have also added Einsteins so this is a surplus light for them.

This would give me 4 Einsteins, plus one AB.
So configure as
2-background lights.
1-main
1-fill
1-kicker/hair.

If I really wanted to, I could use speedlights as kicker, or even background.
But it is nice to, have all the same, more or less.
And I have the Cyber Commander for the Einsteins, so the AB1600 would be optical trigger.(no I am not spending $90 for the CC adapter for the AB)

If I buy this, something else will have to wait.

And I do realise that only I can define my real needs.

If I was you, I would NOT buy it back.

Aren't the Einsteins supposed to be better for consistent color temperature, WHY throw one more variable into your mixture that is going to be different than everything else.

Unless you have a specific case where the AB1600 would be BETTER for you than what you have, I would not do it.

Mar 25 13 04:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 7,235
New York, New York, US


I work in a small space so 3 at the most - it all depends on what you want to accomplish.
Mar 25 13 04:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Lynch
Posts: 2,483
Bowie, Maryland, US


DougBPhoto wrote:
If I was you, I would NOT buy it back.

Aren't the Einsteins supposed to be better for consistent color temperature, WHY throw one more variable into your mixture that is going to be different than everything else.

Unless you have a specific case where the AB1600 would be BETTER for you than what you have, I would not do it.

+1

Mar 25 13 04:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L U C I M A
Posts: 942
Los Angeles, California, US


DougBPhoto wrote:

If I was you, I would NOT buy it back.

Aren't the Einsteins supposed to be better for consistent color temperature, WHY throw one more variable into your mixture that is going to be different than everything else.

Unless you have a specific case where the AB1600 would be BETTER for you than what you have, I would not do it.

Perhaps color consistency isn't important? Dunno. Sounds like we are all trying to guess what he is thinking. I play this game with my wife all the time smile

Mar 25 13 04:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 38,380
Portland, Oregon, US


L U C I M A wrote:
Perhaps color consistency isn't important? Dunno. Sounds like we are all trying to guess what he is thinking. I play this game with my wife all the time smile

Yeah, I'm not exactly sure why last year it was an upgrade to sell the AB1600 (and other AB's) and change to the Einsteins...

and now apparently, looking to go back to what he "upgraded" from.

I understand wondering if a 5th light is needed, but if I went through the trouble of upgrading to 4 Einsteins, I don't think it would take Einstein himself to think that if a 5th strobe was being added, it should probably be an Einstein also.

Mar 25 13 05:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Barry Druxman
Posts: 126
Los Angeles, California, US


Almost all my images are shot with a single strobe. On rare occasions, I use 2
Mar 25 13 05:12 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Robb Mann
Posts: 10,516
Baltimore, Maryland, US


Well, since they are Alienbee, a few backup lights cant hurt.
Mar 25 13 05:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bob Helm Photography
Posts: 18,206
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US


You can never have too many lights. On color consistancy  why mix types of lights?
Mar 25 13 05:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leonard Gee Photography
Posts: 16,339
Sacramento, California, US


1. When you don't require a even flood, one background light from top or bottom is enough. If there's room for the light to be far from the background, one light can be even.

2. Reflector is fine for fill sometimes or the hair/spill light can be set to hit the reflector for stronger fill.

3. Don't need kicker/spill light sometimes. Don't need hair light sometimes.

4. Some shots don't require background lights

Because of that, four lights usually is plenty for most setups. Five is nice, but how many times do you use a five light setup? Just depends on your style of lighting.
Mar 25 13 06:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


It is always nice to have a spare. Because sometimes gravity happens
Mar 25 13 06:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


If it's cheap enough that you won't miss the money then where's the harm in having it?

You never know when you might need it. I have 4 main lights and generally work with only 1 or 2. However, the other week I was shooting some "art" nudes for a friend's portfolio and wanted to light the backdrop and the model separately (2 lights each) AND then I needed a front fill! So I had to drag out one of my crappy "backup" lights for that. If I hadn't had it, I would have been in trouble!



Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com
Mar 25 13 06:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SKITA Studios
Posts: 1,564
Boston, Massachusetts, US


DougBPhoto wrote:
Unless you have a specific case where the AB1600 would be BETTER for you than what you have, I would not do it.

More expendable outdoors...$40 repair instead of $120 for an Einstein if you kill it...
But if $80 doesn't bother you, Einstein all the way :-)

Mar 25 13 08:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Yen Studios
Posts: 778
Memphis, Tennessee, US


I would save your money for a 5th Einstein.  It would be ok if it was 2 AB1600s, you could use it for your background
Mar 25 13 08:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 38,380
Portland, Oregon, US


SKITA Studios wrote:
More expendable outdoors...$40 repair instead of $120 for an Einstein if you kill it...
But if $80 doesn't bother you, Einstein all the way :-)

Please forgive me for not bringing up using it as a disposable outdoor light.

For some reason, I was thinking along the lines of his specifically referring to:

2-background lights.
1-main
1-fill
1-kicker/hair

^^^^ which made me think indoors, not outdoor.

However, having a more dispensable/disposable unit for use in questionable circumstances and/or emergency backup does sound like a valid reason, even if I might lean towards a WL3200 for outdoors, but I like more power... uh uh uh.

Mar 25 13 08:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,779
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Digitoxin wrote:

I routinely use one. 

I also use two or three or four.

I have used ten or so too.

OP, there is really no one who can answer this for you other than you.  Amazing work can be done with zero or more lights.  It all depends on our personal vision.

You are no help.
Unless you are referring to my work as amazing, In which case you are either deluded, or my new best friend.

Mar 25 13 08:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,779
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Leonard Gee Photography wrote:
1. When you don't require a even flood, one background light from top or bottom is enough. If there's room for the light to be far from the background, one light can be even.

2. Reflector is fine for fill sometimes or the hair/spill light can be set to hit the reflector for stronger fill.

3. Don't need kicker/spill light sometimes. Don't need hair light sometimes.

4. Some shots don't require background lights

Because of that, four lights usually is plenty for most setups. Five is nice, but how many times do you use a five light setup? Just depends on your style of lighting.

Yep, that is why I am in a quandary.
Worse, most times I only use 3.
But when doing dancers in a theatre, it is nice to evenly light the background from 2 sides and have an even fall off, and it reduces wrinkles in the background. Yes I know, paper has none to nearly no wrinkles.

I have used 6 lights to create a light tunnel for a bird to fly through.

Mint AB1600 is being sold back to me for $250, including the carrying bag.
I'm cheap, and a bargain is always enticing.

Mar 25 13 08:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Joey B Photography
Posts: 235
Syracuse, New York, US


It's nice to have the extra light, but like you said, what are your needs?

Sometimes I contract the sun to come out of the clouds when I need it (if only, right?)
Mar 25 13 08:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,779
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
If it's cheap enough that you won't miss the money then where's the harm in having it?

You never know when you might need it. I have 4 main lights and generally work with only 1 or 2. However, the other week I was shooting some "art" nudes for a friend's portfolio and wanted to light the backdrop and the model separately (2 lights each) AND then I needed a front fill! So I had to drag out one of my crappy "backup" lights for that. If I hadn't had it, I would have been in trouble!



Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

Good point.
Several of us started trading around towards upgrading.
The idea was that we would borrow extra when needed. Well that worked out as everybody predicted. We can borrow to a certain extent if we are all going to shoot at the same time and place, which is not really borrowing but pooling.

In an emergency I suppose we could borrow, but it is feeling unlikely.

Mar 25 13 08:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman Surkis
Posts: 8,779
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Joey B Photography wrote:
It's nice to have the extra light, but like you said, what are your needs?

Sometimes I contract the sun to come out of the clouds when I need it (if only, right?)

I keep trying that, but the sun is an even bigger flake then some models.

But so glorious when it cooperates, like some models.

Mar 25 13 08:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
the lonely photographer
Posts: 1,882
Beverly Hills, California, US


L U C I M A wrote:

Perhaps color consistency isn't important? Dunno. Sounds like we are all trying to guess what he is thinking. I play this game with my wife all the time smile

and you will lose cause they make up the rules as they go. When you win. You lose. When you lose you lose. When it comes to wives expect to lose.

Mar 25 13 08:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D M E C K E R T
Posts: 4,786
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


buy it back. then resell it again immediately for the price you sold it for in the first place. pocket the money. keep saving for a 5th einstein. problem solved.
Mar 25 13 08:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DIGITAL DREAMS OF FL
Posts: 262
Orlando, Florida, US


cant go wrong with spare equipment.  I use a combo of up to five lights, but I usually will use 3 with a bonce reflector or 4 without,
Mar 25 13 08:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
alessandro2009
Posts: 7,421
Florence, Toscana, Italy


Herman Surkis wrote:
If I buy this, something else will have to wait.

Define a priority, about what you think can actually be more useful in a given period of time, based on your projects.

Mar 26 13 01:00 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
dave phoenix
Posts: 1,299
Phoenix, Arizona, US


i think they'll hold their value pretty well, so even if you just put it on a shelf and let it gather some dust, you'll be able to sell it for pretty close to what you pay for it.

might as well have it, just in case you need it.
Mar 26 13 01:06 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,309
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


1. A spare.

2. A second background light.

3. A second kicker (on the opposite side).

4. Use it with that 33.5-inch Mola Euro and just leave it set up on its own monster stand to save time.

5. A six-light setup that I learned from Gary Bernstein back in the 1980's. I would never use it with most models - but if a model has a slightly narrower face, it can be stunning.
Mar 26 13 01:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Fryd
Posts: 3,839
Miami Beach, Florida, US


If you have 1 B1600 and  bunch of Einsteins, you should use the B1600 as your main, and the Einsteins as hair/rim/background lights.

Bees work best when used close to full power.  A strength of the Einstein is that they work well at any power level from 2.5WS to 640WS.

If you dial the Bee more than 3 stops down, you get color shifts and may see shot-to-shot inconsistencies in power.


A 5th Einstein makes a better spare than a Bee as it can easily substitute for any of your other lights without changing your workflow.  Throw a Bee into the mix, and you need to stock a separate model spare flash tube, a separate model CyberSync receiver, separate modeling bulb, etc.

The B1600 has a 150W modeling light, the Einstein 250W.  If you rely on the modeling lights to visualize your lighting results, mixing the two can make this a challenge.


On the other hand, the Bee costs less than an Einstein, so you can have an extra light at a lower cost.
Mar 26 13 03:32 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
RKD Photographic
Posts: 3,265
Iserlohn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany


I have 5 lights and usually use either one or two. But the others are there if I need them. I have on occasion used all five.
Mar 26 13 06:07 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ezhini
Posts: 1,601
Wichita, Kansas, US


As with good friends, you can never have too many lights.

If you can afford, buy more lights. If another item seems more crucial at any given time, buy that item and then get back to the collecting-lights routine!

Best wishes.

p.s.: Dont just collect more number of lights, collect more kinds too. More kinds as in various sizes, color temps, degrees of portability etc.
Mar 26 13 07:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herman van Gestel
Posts: 2,149
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands


one can do already amazing things with 3...if you need more use reflectors or so...

i can show samples of images done with 1 where most would say it's done with 2 or 3...

Would suggest to invest more in modifiers...

other Herman wink
Mar 26 13 01:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mask Photo
Posts: 1,398
Fremont, California, US


Michael Fryd wrote:
If you have 1 B1600 and  bunch of Einsteins, you should use the B1600 as your main, and the Einsteins as hair/rim/background lights.

I don't follow you here. Are you saying that if you have 5 lights of equal max-power, you should put the one that has to STAY at max power pointing at your subject?

I routinely have my weakest light as my key. Background lights need to be a stop or 2 hotter, AND need to fill a large area. The kickers are usually farther away and sometimes have to overpower the key (though not always). The fill is often pointed at the far wall to bounce back an even light source. ALL of these have to be stronger than the key.

Mar 26 13 03:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Fryd
Posts: 3,839
Miami Beach, Florida, US


Mask Photo wrote:

I don't follow you here. Are you saying that if you have 5 lights of equal max-power, you should put the one that has to STAY at max power pointing at your subject?

I routinely have my weakest light as my key. Background lights need to be a stop or 2 hotter, AND need to fill a large area. The kickers are usually farther away and sometimes have to overpower the key (though not always). The fill is often pointed at the far wall to bounce back an even light source. ALL of these have to be stronger than the key.

No, I am saying that Bees work better when used closer to full power.  They have better shot to shot consistency, and less color temp variation.

Thus if you have a few of 640WS Einsteins, and one 640 WS Bee, you should use the Bee in whatever position has the highest power setting.  Typically, (but not always) this is the "main" light.


As others have mentioned, have more lights gives you more flexibility.


There are advantages to having all the lights being the same, and advantages to having a variety of models.  The Einsteins work well from 2.5WS to 640WS.  If you want all your lights to be the same model, the Einstein is a reasonable choice.

Mar 26 13 09:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,309
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Mask Photo wrote:
I don't follow you here. Are you saying that if you have 5 lights of equal max-power, you should put the one that has to STAY at max power pointing at your subject?

I routinely have my weakest light as my key. Background lights need to be a stop or 2 hotter, AND need to fill a large area. The kickers are usually farther away and sometimes have to overpower the key (though not always). The fill is often pointed at the far wall to bounce back an even light source. ALL of these have to be stronger than the key.

Michael Fryd wrote:
No, I am saying that Bees work better when used closer to full power.  They have better shot to shot consistency, and less color temp variation.

Thus if you have a few of 640WS Einsteins, and one 640 WS Bee, you should use the Bee in whatever position has the highest power setting.  Typically, (but not always) this is the "main" light.


As others have mentioned, have more lights gives you more flexibility.


There are advantages to having all the lights being the same, and advantages to having a variety of models.  The Einsteins work well from 2.5WS to 640WS.  If you want all your lights to be the same model, the Einstein is a reasonable choice.

The color temperature of strobes varies from one pop to the next at the same power setting - as well as at different power settings. The farther the power setting is from 100%, the greater the variation in color temperature (from the rated color temperature of the flash tube) is likely to be.

Color temperature variations of 200 degrees K and more (in each direction) at full power are not uncommon. So if you're using multiple strobes, the light from them could vary by 400 degrees K or more in the same photo. At different power settings, the variance can be even greater.

Two features offered in the circuitry of some higher-end strobes are consistent color and constant color.

Consistent color means you can pop off your strobe 100 times, and the color temperature won’t vary by much. Constant color means that the color temperature remains constant from 100% power to the strobe’s minimum power setting.

In the Photogenic line, the only strobes that offer consistent color and constant color are the Solair monolights. The circuitry keeps the color temperature constant (within 50 degrees K) from one pop to the next – and at all power settings.

In the Paul C. Buff line, only the Einsteins have consistent color and constant color circuitry. I don’t know what their tolerance is for color temperature variation, but probably also something like 50 degrees K.

Mar 26 13 11:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mark Stout Photography
Posts: 361
Denver, Colorado, US


Robb Mann wrote:
Well, since they are Alienbee, a few backup lights cant hurt.

Amen... with AB lights there is always going to be one back to Buff for repairs!  So you need a couple extra to keep your full compliment.

Mar 26 13 11:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mask Photo
Posts: 1,398
Fremont, California, US


Michael Fryd wrote:
No, I am saying that ....you should use the Bee in whatever position has the highest power setting.  Typically, (but not always) this is the "main" light.

and what *i* am saying is that my key is almost always my *weakest* light, not my strongest, for the reasons given. You want the key to have the most control, and to have the "hero" exposure in the frame, but that doesn't mean it's the strongest. The background lights are typically the strongest if you're lighting the bg. beyond that, the fill is the strongest for me, because it's almost always back-bounced to increase its spread and make it disappear.
About the only time my key light is the highest power light in my setup is when it's the *only* light in my setup.

Mar 26 13 11:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,309
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Michael Fryd wrote:
No, I am saying that ....you should use the Bee in whatever position has the highest power setting.  Typically, (but not always) this is the "main" light.

Mask Photo wrote:
and what *i* am saying is that my key is almost always my *weakest* light, not my strongest, for the reasons given. You want the key to have the most control, and to have the "hero" exposure in the frame, but that doesn't mean it's the strongest. The background lights are typically the strongest if you're lighting the bg. beyond that, the fill is the strongest for me, because it's almost always back-bounced to increase its spread and make it disappear.
About the only time my key light is the highest power light in my setup is when it's the *only* light in my setup.

Typically the light(s) with the highest power setting(s) in my setups are the rim light(s). More than often than not I underlight the background - or don't light it at all - to let the background go darker. The only time the background light(s) would be the highest powered is when I'm lighting a white background to make sure it's white white.

Different strokes for different folks.

Mar 26 13 11:47 pm  Link  Quote 
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