AB800 alternatives

Started Jul 7, 2013 | Discussions
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Albino_BlacMan
Albino_BlacMan Senior Member • Posts: 1,003
AB800 alternatives

Recently I've been looking at starting a home studio. I've been looking at picking up some AB800's but PCB only does UPS shipping to Canada which I'm not a big fan of. Long story short I'm looking for alternatives.

Don't need a huge amount of power. I'll be shooting indoors with Oly 4/3 gear so ISO 200 and f4 - f8 through a big softbox (like 5 foot softbox) should do it for me.

I've been looking at Elinchrom D-Lite RX2's and RX4's. Would this fit the bill? Are they the same as D-Lite 4's (I can find info and reviews of the D-Lite 4's but not the RX4's but it might just be a matter of me not knowing what to search for).

Also available from BH are things like the Novatron M300, and Smith-Victor flashlite 320. Does anyone have recommendations (are any of these better than the AB's or just more expensive?) or should I just suck it up and deal with the insane UPS fees?

Thanks in advance,
Chris

Side question: When choosing a speedring do I need one that matches the softbox and the monolight or just the monolight (e.g. would a chimera softbox attach to a photoflex speedring or do I need a chimera speedring for a chimera softbox?)

Pentax Optio M30
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SEBOUNET Regular Member • Posts: 355
Re: AB800 alternatives

i m in canada and use the option ups worldwide saver, and for a flash , batterie and plm around 700$ it cost me just 9$ at delivery.

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Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Veteran Member • Posts: 9,272
Re: AB800 alternatives

I strongly recommend you read this thread before buying Elinchrom.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3511119

My recommendation would be the B800 with the 30"x60" softbox if you can afford it, even with the USP shipping cost. The 30"x60" softbox can be used horizontally for head shots or for waist up portraits of one person or a small group. Vertically it can be used for standing portraits.

If you can't afford the B800 then check the Flashpoint DG600 from Adorama. Like the B800 it has 6 stops of power control and it has a digital power readout. Note that the power control is NOT calibrated, but it does make it easy to tell how much you have changed the power or to return to a setting you have used before.

Adorama Flashpoint DG600 300 w/s Monolight, Blue FP600DG

Adorama Learning Center - Product Review: Flashpoint DG600 Blue Monolight

Speedrings are specific to the monolight. Most softboxes will fit any speedring.

Be careful mixing different brands of softboxes. Some of the cheap ones don't use proper diffuser fabrics and can cause color & WB shifts to the light. You are best sticking with quality brands and to a single supplier.

For more information I suggest you read my article of equipment for a small home studio.

Sailorblue - Digital Photography Review - Equipment Guide for Setting up a Small Home Portrait/Glamor Studio

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Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

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Albino_BlacMan
Albino_BlacMan OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,003
Re: AB800 alternatives

I've read that.

Two comments.

First I'm in Canada so Manfrotto isn't the distributor (a company called gnigami is). Second (and I'm still waiting to hear back from gnigami about this one) it would be awesome if I didn't have to ship across the border for service (no matter how good Buff's is, I still have to ship across the border which means extra expenses if anything goes wrong).

If Elinchrom's warranty is international and I don't have to ship back to the US if something goes wrong that would be a huge benefit to me.

jimbo51 Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: AB800 alternatives

The quote below from the Paul Buff site should help your decision. I found it in the Technical Forum.

We are pleased to recommend our new authorized service and repair center in Canada, Service Camera Pro. Located in Quebec, Service Camera Pro is authorized to perform both warranty and non-warranty repairs on Paul C. Buff™ products. Using this repair center in Canada allows our Canadian customers to have quality service for their equipment without the added expenses and extended turnaround time involved in shipping the equipment across the border to our facility.

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DotCom Editor Veteran Member • Posts: 6,796
AB's ARE the alternative

Sorry you have UPS problems. But, that would be a short-lived, episodic issue compared to the many years of service you'd get out of the Bees. I use six Einsteins and wouldn't go any other way. But, the Bees are great. Don't buy more power than you need. For many people, AB400 units are enough.

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Albino_BlacMan
Albino_BlacMan OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,003
Thanks!

jimbo51 wrote:

The quote below from the Paul Buff site should help your decision. I found it in the Technical Forum.

We are pleased to recommend our new authorized service and repair center in Canada, Service Camera Pro. Located in Quebec, Service Camera Pro is authorized to perform both warranty and non-warranty repairs on Paul C. Buff™ products. Using this repair center in Canada allows our Canadian customers to have quality service for their equipment without the added expenses and extended turnaround time involved in shipping the equipment across the border to our facility.

Thanks for this. Definitely makes my decision harder (or easier depending which direction I decide to go...)

historianx Senior Member • Posts: 2,342
Re: Thanks!
1

go for the Bees.  you'll be glad you did.

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