How much brighter are studio strobes than speedlights?

Started May 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Brent Allen Thale
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How much brighter are studio strobes than speedlights?
May 12, 2013

I've had a Paul C. Buff White Lightning X2400 studio strobe that I've used lightly for a few years and would like to start using it more outdoors where a lot of flash power is needed. In my initial tests, which I expected to show the X2400 was vastly more powerful than my Nikon SB-900 flash, I didn't see the huge increase in brightness I was expecting.

So, I did a side-by-side comparison of my SB-900 and the White Lightning X2400, the results are available here:

Comparing histograms, the 1/8 power X2400 shot plus 1/3 stop looks about the same as the full power Nikon SB-900 shot. So the X2400 is not quite 3 stops more powerful than the SB-900. Does that sound about right? I suppose 3 stops is a lot, but I was expecting a bigger win for the X2400.

 Brent Allen Thale's gear list:Brent Allen Thale's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR +6 more
Leica X2
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