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Author Topic: Location Lighting  (Read 9899 times)
ahbriggs
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« on: December 10, 2012, 09:56:08 PM »
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Hi,

I'm looking to purchase a lightweight location system but I'm struggling to decide which is the most effective kit. I wish to pair the kit with a Elinchrom 69" Rotolux Octa and Manfrotto Stacker Stands. I'm willing to fork out a great deal but if it's not worth the investment then I'm willing to sacrifice quality over practicality. I'm currently looking at the AcuteB2 600 AirS and Acute B Head. I would like to get a second opinion before I make the purchase.

Thanks,

Ashley
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 09:58:04 PM by ahbriggs » Logged
Sheldon N
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 11:33:05 PM »
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Good modifier, good pack/head, good stand. However, the combination of modifier + stand plus the fact that you want to use it on location is NOT a good combination. (I'm assuming by location you mean outdoors)

The 69" Octa is a huge modifier, and any breeze is going to easily tip over the stand. I wouldn't go out with anything smaller than something like an Avenger A635B stand, and even then I'd want to use a lot of weight on the stand... more than the AcuteB2 600 pack weighs... and I wouldn't want to do it in breezy conditions. When I take out my 74" EL Octa outdoors (very similar to the 69" Octa), it's usually with a big steel stand like the A4039CS plus a Ranger pack hanging off the side of the stand, that's 40lbs of stand and counter weight. In moderately breezy conditions, I've even recruited an assistant to hold that stand/pack combo when using just a 53" Octa.

Second, and less important, is the size of the modifier vs the 600 watt seconds of the pack. It's not going to easily allow you to compete with bright sunlight conditions outdoors, it's just too large of a modifier for that. I'm not sure if you're sold on having a big, soft light source versus something a little more punchy. If you're open to other modifiers, consider the smaller Elinchrom 39" or 27.5" Rotalux Deep Octa modifiers. Both are excellent, more efficient/powerful, and because they are smaller they won't require nearly as much stand/counterweight.  The A635B with the AcuteB2 600 as a counterweight would make a nice location stand combo for either modifier, even in slightly breezy conditions.
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ahbriggs
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 11:48:00 PM »
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I'll definitely reconsider the stand but I want the Octa simply for it's soft diffusion. What location kit would you recommend that would best accommodate the modifier?
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 11:50:56 PM by ahbriggs » Logged
Sheldon N
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 12:22:51 AM »
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Something like the Avenger A0040CS stand combined with an Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS pack would do nicely. You could also consider the Avenger A4039CS stand if you wanted a boom. Neither stand option is going to be lightweight though. The Ranger pack will give you 1100 watt seconds, and while it's a bit heavier than the Profoto pack it's still going to give you remote control over power settings, won't require a speedring adapter, and will offer roughly double the output.   

I've found that the Kata 3N1 30N backpack is a perfect fit for the Elinchrom Ranger + head/cord. Makes it a lot more portable.
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ahbriggs
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 12:32:32 AM »
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I've been looking at the Elinchrom Ranger. I suppose it would be better if I phrased the question a little differently and used the desert island analogy. If you could have only one light and one modifier...
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 12:41:55 AM »
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One light stand and one modifier?  I'd probably go with the Avenger A635B stand and a 39" Elinchrom Deep Octa. It would be a nice compromise between smaller and larger.

However owning most of the Elinchrom lineup, the kit that sees the most use seems to be the Elinchrom Quadra + the 27.5" Deep Octa, and the smaller A630B lightstand. When I need to go larger I typically jump up to the 53" Octa and a larger stand.
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ahbriggs
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 12:47:21 AM »
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I meant flash head/strobe. I wouldn't mind hearing the reasoning behind your answer, I was set on the Ranger after a little more searching. I'm curious as to why you find yourself using the Quadra considering the Ranger is surely a lot more versatile.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 12:59:06 AM by ahbriggs » Logged
Conner999
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 07:44:09 AM »
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I know Sheldon favours Eli, but I moved from Eli to Profoto a couple of years ago (full disclosure: have an Acute B600R kit for sale here). Owned various Eli monolights and the Quadra and build quality (or lack thereof) of the Quadra was the last straw (for me). Also grew to dislike the Eli locking system and teh fact always seemed to have to modify the swivel mounts to get them to hold with any bite.

Now run Acute packs, Compacts and D1s and LOVE them. Built like tanks, dead-nuts reliable, will hold ny modifier regardkess of weight/size, the locking collar is (almost) worth the price of admission in and of itself -- and  mods, etc are avail at any rental house on the planet. Only downside is the price, but I buy used 90% of the time anyway. Profoto can also be used with any Eli modifier (they are nicely designed) via the Eli adapter or the new Eli/Profoto speedring.

The Ranger is a nice unit, great rep, two heads, but will be heavy vs. an Acute B or Quadra.

For small HD stands I like the Matthews Maxi-Steel. For an outside large octa-like modifier, I prefer something like the SoftlighterII as if gets ruined, it's small $$$. If I can get by with a beauty dish, I'll use it as they're less likely to go flying if wind picks up.    

Best idea - find a store that stocks some various gear and get some hands on time. It's not small $$, so make sure your happy with percieved build quality, robustness of mounts, switchology, etc. These things are all personal taste.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 07:47:19 AM by Conner999 » Logged
Ellis Vener
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 08:06:47 AM »
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If you want a big elinchrom diffused light , don't get the 69" Rotalux Octa, get the Indirect Lightbank Octa 190 cm (http://www.elinchrom.com/product/Indirect-Lightbank-Octa-190.html and http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/16822-REG/Elinchrom_EL_26158_Octa_Light_Bank_for.html) instead. It has unsurpasssed light quality and efficiency due to the difference in design.

 If you want a standard light at the rear pointing forward octagonal softbox  also look at the Chimera 5ft/7ft (it' convertable) OctaPlus  softbox  (http://www.chimeralighting.com/Products/Strobe-Lightbanks/OctaPlus-Lightbanks ) it produces a beautiful light quality and is arguably more rugged and suitable for location work.

Which ever light modifier in this size range you choose, whether you will be working indoors or out, you'll need a pretty heavy duty stand and if outdooors I recommend sandbags, guy wires and stakes, and an assistant . It isn't the weight of the modifier and the flashhead combination, it is the wind catching surface area - anywhere from 25 ( using the   5 foot Chimera OctaPlus)  to 36 square feet (the Elinchrom 190cm Indirect Octa).  A C-stand would be the bare minimum but a Avenger B6030CS High Short Base Wind-Up Stand  would be better. Also check to see if Kupo makes a similar very heavy duty light stand.  The Crank feature will make it far easier to adjust height once you have the head and softbox on top of the stand and the low base will make it easier to sandbag and more stable.

Re Quadra vs Ranger. The Quadra is a lovely battery powered 400 w-s light. The Ranger (and the Profoto 7B) are lovely 1200 watt-second battery powered lights. The difference in maximum output between the Vagabond and ranger is 1.5 stops more light. Unless you are planning to always work far from electrical outlets, I'd recommend you also look at a Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 and a Vagabond Mini Lithium but only if you don't mind being sneered at by lighting gear snobs. The Einstein  produces terrific quality light ( the modifier used will have a lot to do with this), and short flash duration  and when you are working indoors you'll also have a 250 watt modeling light as well as being left with a lot of cash in your wallet.  

For a big "desert Island" one light light kit my choice would be the Einstein with a Vagabond Mini Lithium,  the Elinchrom Indirect Lightbank Octa 190 cm, the Avenger B6030CS High Short Base Wind-Up Stand,  The Pocketwizard ControlTL remote system with the MC2 module for the Einstein ( this will let you tweak the light's output from your camera position using your camera';s TTL flash biasing controls and also integrate with Nikon and Canon systems "smart" TTL controlled hotshoe mount flashes.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 08:17:19 AM by Ellis Vener » Logged

Ellis Vener
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k bennett
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 08:12:49 AM »
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I chose the Elinchrom Ranger Speed AS over the Profoto 600B when I purchased it about 18 months ago. I've been very pleased with the system: it has plenty of power, in fact I'm not sure I've ever needed full power output and I do a lot of outdoor syncrho-sun photography with it. The battery lasts long enough, and can be charged just about anywhere. I mostly use it with a 3x4-foot Chimera box, but occasionally with an 84-inch parabolic from Paul Buff, or one of his octaboxes that I hacked to take an Elinchrom ring. Flash duration is good and the color consistency is excellent.

I have the Pocket Wizard receiver for the Elinchrom which allows power control from the camera position when used with a Pocket Wizard TTL trigger and control unit. Very handy.

I'd agree on the light stand issue: outdoors I use a C-stand and at least 2 20-pound sand bags along with the 17-pound power pack. I still have someone hold the stand if it's breezy. Last thing I want is to have the whole thing come crashing down on the subject.

The larger Profoto 7b battery pack is also very good, though it costs substantially more. I've handled one, but never owned it.

Ellis, I own two of the Vagabond Mini Lithiums for my Dynalite Uni400JR monolights. They are terrific little batteries.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 09:23:23 AM »
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I chose the Elinchrom Ranger Speed AS over the Profoto 600B when I purchased it about 18 months ago. I've been very pleased with the system: it has plenty of power, in fact I'm not sure I've ever needed full power output and I do a lot of outdoor syncrho-sun photography with it.

One thing not discussed yet about having a 1,200 watt-second battery powered flash and not using it at full power: it recycles a lot faster than a lower w-s flash that is being at or near full power.
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Ellis Vener
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Scott Hargis
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 09:49:36 AM »
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Another plug for the  Ranger AS. I agree that the Quadra is not up to snuff, but the Ranger is quite robust. I shoot arch/int and very often use these packs outside where finding electricity is impossible.

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TMARK
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 10:04:01 AM »
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I know Sheldon favours Eli, but I moved from Eli to Profoto a couple of years ago (full disclosure: have an Acute B600R kit for sale here). Owned various Eli monolights and the Quadra and build quality (or lack thereof) of the Quadra was the last straw (for me). Also grew to dislike the Eli locking system and teh fact always seemed to have to modify the swivel mounts to get them to hold with any bite.

Now run Acute packs, Compacts and D1s and LOVE them. Built like tanks, dead-nuts reliable, will hold ny modifier regardkess of weight/size, the locking collar is (almost) worth the price of admission in and of itself -- and  mods, etc are avail at any rental house on the planet. Only downside is the price, but I buy used 90% of the time anyway. Profoto can also be used with any Eli modifier (they are nicely designed) via the Eli adapter or the new Eli/Profoto speedring.

The Ranger is a nice unit, great rep, two heads, but will be heavy vs. an Acute B or Quadra.

For small HD stands I like the Matthews Maxi-Steel. For an outside large octa-like modifier, I prefer something like the SoftlighterII as if gets ruined, it's small $$$. If I can get by with a beauty dish, I'll use it as they're less likely to go flying if wind picks up.    

Best idea - find a store that stocks some various gear and get some hands on time. It's not small $$, so make sure your happy with percieved build quality, robustness of mounts, switchology, etc. These things are all personal taste.

What Conner wrote, 100%.

I always had assitants hump sandbags and C-Stands, and then had them stand next to/on the stands to keep them down in the wind.
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MarkL
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 11:17:25 AM »
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I have the Profoto Acute B2 600 and the stand you mention (Manfrotto 1005) as my location kit. Even with the free head offer the price made me cringe but it has been absolutely rock solid, everything is very well built and easy to use, I do wish I had remote power control with the Air system at this price. It is about the sweet spot for weight/power/recycle for me: 2 sec recycle at full power, 200 full power flashes per battery and I think pack + head weighs in at 5-6kg.  The stand is a good match since the head is about 1.8kg but if you want to use a modifier that big you may want to go up one because you will have to pile sandbags on it! I use a 22" beauty dish on location.

The ranger was too much weight for power and use of 2 heads which I didn't need. I also like profoto's reflectors.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 11:34:42 AM »
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Let me add another note about the Quadra vs. the Ranger and radio remotes.

 I haven't rented a Ranger recently but the Quadra has a built in Elinchrom Skyport transceiver where as with the Ranger it is an external option that connects via a port. With the Ranger you have the option of either using the Skyport system or the Pocketwizard ControlTL system (you need the PocketWizard ST4 Power Receiver http://www.amazon.com/PocketWizard-ST4-Power-Receiver-Elinchrom/dp/B003YFITCE). With either the Skyport or the ControlTL system being able to control output from camera is a real advantage.

Profoto has their AIR remote system which I am not enamored of - not a lot of range and I found it easy to accidentally change settings on the transmitter. In the USA Pocketwizard and Profoto are distributed by the same company, MACgroup USA. A year or so ago there was some talk of  integrating the Air and ControlTL system but I do not believe anything ever came of it.  If you use a recent Sekonic flash meter there are radio modules built in or available for the standard 32 channel Pocketwizard system

 
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Ellis Vener
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ahbriggs
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 08:03:04 PM »
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I appreciate the advice! I'm still leaning towards the Ranger. I don't mind the weight but I'm not interested in two heads, I thought the system came with a few options? I'm unsure about the suggested alternatives for the modifier as it's hard to judge without seeing a result. If you have work where you've used any equipment mentioned in this thread then feel free to plug yourself. I wouldn't mind catching a glimpse at the gear in action.
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K.C.
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2012, 10:21:24 PM »
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Personally I like red delicious apples. They're not as tart as the Fuji's but they do tend to grow a full stop bigger. Then you have the Pink Lady, a hybrid typically grown in South America, and while rather delicious, is nothing like a delicious, red or golden. While the Pink Lady is both red and golden.

This thread started demonstrates how the choice of lighting gear comes down to personal taste. That taste develops from experience. You'll only get your answer by trying out different brands.

For all the discussion above nobody has mentioned the light quality of either brand. Elinchrom has a bare tube head, though it can be covered with a pyrex glass that's frosted or clear. Profoto head comes with a frosted pyrex glass cover, but can be shot without it or changed to a clear glass cover. These differences are likely to have far more impact on your shot than the weight of the pack or the mount on the head.

And you've never said, nor has anyone bothered to ask, what you're going to shoot. That part's fairly relevent.

Desert islands all have only one light source and they're all the same, except of course until you get next to the equator and then it's completely different light than at the poles. I know because I've shot in both places with both light sources. I know which one I'd choose, depending on what I was going to shoot and what quality of light I'd like to use.

Go shoot, you'll get your answer.


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ahbriggs
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2012, 10:36:21 PM »
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You speak wisdom! I am indeed interested in the light quality but it's definitely subjected to opinion. However, I started the thread to get an opinion and I wanted to know what others are using. I don't have access to rental equipment and I need to make a sound decision before purchasing a certain product. I'm interested in people and I shoot portraiture, I will almost always be on location outside a studio.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2012, 10:38:23 PM »
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Yes, personal tastes certainly are more important. Smiley

As far as samples, I'd be glad to spam you with the few that I have handy... just pulling from my archive of shots already on my photo host.

First... a size comparison of the Quadra and 27.5" Deep Octa with the full size Ranger and the 39" Deep Octa.



27.5" Deep Octa and Quadra



Full size Ranger RX Speed AS and 74" EL Octa with Avenger A635B stand (no wind in the woods). Minimum power setting...



Quadra + 27.5" Deep Octa (close to full power)



Full Size Ranger and 53" Octa (full power, flatter light) note that the modifier is both shading and lighting the subject.



Full Size Ranger 53" Octa Key light, Quadra rim light



Quadra and 39" Deep Octa


Quadra and 39" Deep Octa (Brenizer stitch)


Ranger and 53" Octa

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ahbriggs
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2012, 10:57:04 PM »
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Your samples are fantastic, I'm definitely set on the Ranger. I like the Quadra but the difference in light is most notable not to mention output. I really like the combination too! I think I'm set but I don't know how I want to control the system. I shoot Canon and I've been told PocketWizard combined with the MiniTT1 and PowerST4 is ideal for when using the Ranger RX.
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