D300, 17-55 f/2.8 Sunset, Bikini, fitness model

Started Apr 27, 2010 | Discussions thread
OP CIASpook Veteran Member • Posts: 5,217
AB-800 vs SB800s

Sorry I missed this question until now.

I bet no one can really tell the difference. I have some really fantastic shots using the SB-800 combo with a small umbrella.

Right now the draw back of having a single light source are some of the shadows. I'm hoping to counter that with the use of a reflector. We'll see how that goes. Having two SB-800s helped reduce that, however, the SB-800 that was on-camera didn't have a softbox or umbrella so it would sometimes cause harsh shadows.

Weakness of the SB800s w/single umbrella

1. Line of sight usually required for the remote flash to fire. Due to umbrella, it was often difficult to achieve line of sight with some lighting positions I would have liked to have used.

2. Slower refresh rate than the AB-800 so shooting is slower as I wait for the flashes to catch up.

3. Umbrella is not wind friendly.


1. Portability; very light and easy to carry. Doesn't require an assistant (unless windy but heavy rocks often do the trick)

2. Can do more "risky" shots near water because of no power cables.


You can now imagine what the pros and cons of the AB-800 is.

1. I use their Cyber Sync triggers so no line of sight required
2. Fast refresh so I can shoot pretty fast.

3. 22" Beauty dish is more wind friendly than an umbrella. Not that you can't use a BD with the SB-800s...finding a mount is going to be the problem. There are softboxes and those are probably more wind friendly than an umbrella. I think the BD is best for potential wind because wind can sort of pass through it. And it's metal. Softboxes are not and with a flat surface will cause issues similar to umbrella.


1. Bulky, heavy requirements. The light itself is not heavy, but because I have a beauty dish I needed a boom arm and weight and a heavy portable battery.
2. Potential danger due to water and electricity.

That's all I can think of right now.

The key thing for me is the AB-800 works faster and has a LOT more power. Because of the SB-800s line of sight requirement, I'd recommend getting some triggers to negate that.

Chris Ventura wrote:

How do you feel the single Alien Bee compared to two SB-800's? I know the Alien Bee will have more power.. curious strengths / weaknesses.. etc.


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