Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?

Started May 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
CraigBennett Contributing Member • Posts: 699
Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?

UKphotographers wrote:

CraigBennett wrote:

I'm getting ready to order the following this week: ..........


The two main arguments I have against the Quantum's are:

1) Cost versus power

2) Maintenance cost for repairs over their life.

When you eventually get a lighting system cobbled together by taking aspects from numerous different company's and you DO get a chance to experience the use of that and the "Maintenance cost for repairs over their life" - assuming you DO buy some lighting AND you do incur some cost over their lifetime... let us know what you find out after you have ACTUALLY used that system.

Most any photographer in business for a few years have a hobbled together collection of equipment.  I've been professional photographer since 1997, shooting since 1972...I have gear from 1936.  So what's your point?  I do not consider a select collection of equipment that works well together...hobbled together. (I owned a studio for 12 years, had a lot of light equipment...this is not new to me.)

I have seen no real negative reviews on Paul C Buff.  I am an electrical engineer as well (retired).  He brought low-cost, well build lighting equipment to the market place.  You and others sound like that is a sin.   The reviews I've seen on PCB's service department is outstanding, yet here and other boards, I see complaints on Quantum's service repair pricing and upfront costs.

As an owner of about ten Quantum heads and having used them numerous times on numerous occasions in numerous locations, been soaked by rain and dunked in cement cyclones and them being battered around in cases over numerous miles travelling and erected and packed away again, again, again.. I will point out two things:

Good.  I too used Speedlights for years with several different models working flawlessly with my Nikon cameras.  Never had one break or damaged along the way.  BTW, how did your camera fair in that environment?

1) The TTL facility you seem fond to own by way of your 900 and 910 speedlight ownership continues with the Quantum system all the way up to 400Ws which you will lose with any other system forcing you into lighting decisions limited by your equipment (in)capabilities - and not by your choice. The Quantum's cost more - but for that you do ACTUALLY get more.

Not that fond of TTL, but it has it's uses though.  Glad the Quantums carry that on.  When I need more than 400WS, I don't use TTL.  That was the question that the OP was asking.  There are many times I've used my 1200WS monolights with my trusty lightmeters.  To me, 400WS is limited as well, might as well use 4 or 5 speedlights.

I do not advocate that Speedlights are the only solution.  I think they fill a good niche and provide a good service for what they are designed to do.

2) I've had one breakage over around six years with the Quantum's, the maintenance cost was $0 as I was supplied a spare part FOC. Had I in fact experienced some breakages in this time, then I would have felt them well deserved considering the use they get.

That is good to know.

And good luck too.. my SB900 overheated BEFORE I even managed to use it on a shoot (in association with PW ControlTL). I've had, used and discarded both those in the past.

Yep, the SB-900 design is weak.  An external powerpack will stop that overheating though.  I much preferred the SB-800.   Same GN, if not a little more powerful.  My SB-910's are okay, alway use an external pack with them.

I might add that your approach is typical of lots of people going the... Speedlight.. another Speedlight.. another Speedlight.. TTL triggers.. more Speedlights.. add a studio flash.. route. Your limiting factor initially is your Speedlights' inadequate output - which you bought TTL triggers for.. then, based on your underpowered speedlights and your desire to compensate their inadequacies by increasing their output - you are now deciding your next purchase based on the radio solution to your original problem, your (inadequate) speedlights. I don't think thats a basis for any impartial look at any lighting requirements, its just a consequential result.

There is nothing wrong with Speedlights.  100k's have been sold and used everyday.  Far more than anything Quantum has sold.  Some of you sound like it is a sin to use one of these.  There is a point you must say no more to Speedlights though, and that point for me is 3.  When I need more power, I use my monolights.  Now, I will add an Einstein to my equipment list for 600WS of camera adjusted lighting.  It's portable, excellent color stability, darn fast switching, low what's wrong with this?

Some folks just need to have one system....and that seems to be you.  Nothing wrong with that, but you pay the price for that and you are locked into that one company's future.  I have three manufacture's light systems.....all work fine with each other.

Cost?? Those PW's are expensive. It's a pity that none of them include a focus assist for that extra cost. It's a good job the D800e has a focus assit light on the body otherwise you'll forever need to use your SB9xx's on top of your transmitter to be able to focus on many occasions.

Yep, they are costly, no argument there, so is Quantum.  That is not correct on focus assist,  I don't use focus assist,  I shoot with my Nikon in AF-C mode and Focus Assist is disabled in that mode.  I don't have a problem with the D800e focusing in almost complete darkness, but if I do, have a little LED light I always carry with me.

I would prefer to use only the SB-910 on my camera with no supplement lighting.  With high ISO, low noise camera's this is now possible.  This is the mode I am now working in.  So this is a mute argument.


... "Colour white balance 'all over the place' with my SB910" - but I don't suppose you'll be proposing to use your E640 on your hotshoe when you get it, or relegating the 910's to the 'never use them bag' will you?

A lot of it is the venue's I'm shooting, the wall paint used and my experimenting with high ISO with the Flashbender.  This week I plan to run a couple of tests to see if my SB-910's are really all over the place.  I suspect that the last venue I shot in and the fact that I choose not to light up the reception like daylight is the reason I had this issue.  It was easy enough to correct in post though.

The SB910 equivalent in Quantum speak is the Trio. 80Ws, 150Ws, 200Ws, 400Ws Quantum versions are all the same colour balance.

What's the spec's on their color balance?

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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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