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Started Apr 27, 2009 | Discussions thread
UKphotographers Veteran Member • Posts: 4,320
Buying lighting equipment

Dbrennan wrote:

UKphotographers wrote:

Photomonkey wrote:

The question of service is always relative. As far as I can tell many
if not most flash suppliers give good service. What Buff does is
offer outstanding service.

Providing an outstanding service is always appreciated, but back to basics - the question of service should only ever arise when things go wrong. In over 30 years of using flash equipment it is easy to remember when things went wrong. Bowens Quad3000DX - 3 packs - all capacitors replaced. Quantum X5d-r neck flange on head broke. Bowens Traveller - capacitors burnt out by faulty generator.

Over that long a period, the service centre is hardly something to base a purchasing decision on. If so many people claim that the service is so good - is this a good thing or does it disguise a problematic product ?

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Samples of work: http://www.AccoladePhotography.co.uk
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Theres only one sun. Why do I need more than one light to get a natural result?

I'm just a hair behind the times finding this thread, but many of the comments are still valid, even after three years.

To address the issue of having good customer service disguising a problematic product. Let's first look at production output, error rate and actual number of errors. If Profoto only manufactures six thousand units a year (at this point I'm using random numbers to illustrate the abstract point) and has an error rate of 0.5%, then the number of actual errors is going to be 30, if PCB is producing ten times the number, the number of actual errors goes up proportionally. Personally I think all manufacturing companies should strive to implement the six-sigma process for quality assurance, but even with six-sigma, you're going to still have a failure rate. And for the record, the ONLY product I've ever known to have a perfect operational record is the Lockheed SR-71, and even that beast was a maintenance hog.

Right now, I have no studio lights, all my shooting has to be done with available light or with shoe-mounted flash due to being in a field environment. I am, however, looking to purchase some studio strobes.

I'm looking very seriously at the PCB lighting system to fill my needs. I'm also looking at Interfit, at this point, I can afford, on my allotted budget to get one of the entry level kits for Profoto, but I don't get near as many mods and am basically limited to two lights. I like to buy the best I can, but I also like to maximize my flexibility.

That all being said: What overarching value and flexibility do I get for buying an entry-level kit from one of the old houses versus the PCB line of products?

Just noticed this.

The overarching value and flexibility you get from buying entry-level kit from one of the old houses is that its better built, lasts longer and presents less problems. I'd advocate buying quality used gear rather than new as the quality never goes away.

In my view the 'new' equipment today is less robust and more prone to failing than 90% of the old stuff. Today, there are more bells and whistles, weaker and cheaper switches, cheaper bodies and some even seriously lack basic body requirements and functions. 'Cheap' is the keyword on manufacturers lips rather than 'Quality' or 'Function' and over the years, after initially buying stuff I've never needed to give lighting a second thought other than for using it.

You will however, buy products for specific purposes. Where in the studio you will easily manage with setting lighting manually and triggering by IR, on location you might need the assistance of TTL, remote radio setting or integration into other camera equipment to save time or react quickly so perhaps one system does not exist which can happily exist in both camps.

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Theres only one sun. Why do I need more than one light to get a natural result?

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