July 31, 2014, 03:35:25 AM

Poll

Which light system?

Canon 600EX RT
16 (50%)
Paul C. Buff AlienBees
16 (50%)

Total Members Voted: 32

Voting closed: May 22, 2013, 04:12:42 PM

Author Topic: 600EX RT vs AlienBees  (Read 7713 times)

RMC33

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2013, 02:36:50 AM »
RMC33,
Are you hand-holding the lights you describe -- while shooting with the other hand? Or is an assistant carrying the lights by a monopod/pole while another on-camera flash and radio triggers both?

I want to do multi-light event work, so was visualizing your arrangement. The hard part is covering the cost of the two-legged light stand out of the fee if the customer has been price-sensitive.

jonathan7007

I hold the monopod in my left hand and shoot right. I use a 600 EX-RT with a Sto-fen + 8" lastolite soft box (I have a 24 as well). I trigger with a ST E3 RT. Depending I can toss a Gel in too.

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2013, 02:36:50 AM »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2013, 10:02:19 AM »
RMC33,
Are you hand-holding the lights you describe -- while shooting with the other hand? Or is an assistant carrying the lights by a monopod/pole while another on-camera flash and radio triggers both?

I want to do multi-light event work, so was visualizing your arrangement. The hard part is covering the cost of the two-legged light stand out of the fee if the customer has been price-sensitive.

jonathan7007


I'd say that Eric Schwabel has that all figured out:

http://www.petapixel.com/2011/09/05/human-light-suit-a-one-man-band-style-mobile-photo-studio/

Cheers,

b&

RMC33

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2013, 10:10:03 AM »
RMC33,
Are you hand-holding the lights you describe -- while shooting with the other hand? Or is an assistant carrying the lights by a monopod/pole while another on-camera flash and radio triggers both?

I want to do multi-light event work, so was visualizing your arrangement. The hard part is covering the cost of the two-legged light stand out of the fee if the customer has been price-sensitive.

jonathan7007


I'd say that Eric Schwabel has that all figured out:

http://www.petapixel.com/2011/09/05/human-light-suit-a-one-man-band-style-mobile-photo-studio/

Cheers,

b&


Saw him last year while I was at the burn. Great Setup.

jonathan7007

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2013, 02:10:52 PM »
so two-legged lightstand  (photographer) and wheeled cart, support bicycle, wild rig visually... priceless. Wouldn't that be a hoot at a wedding? You'd run over a child for sure. Wearing next-to-nothing would add to the expressions you'd get from the guests.

(Would have arranged the light boxes differently to make the light fall off on one side but the dedication, energy and planning are fantastic. Just a lighting taste issue.)

Thank you for the link!  Some seriously good ideas there.

jonathan7007

Nikolay

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2013, 03:27:19 PM »
All of my lighting consists of Canon speedlights/flashes, and all of my lighting work so far it's been done with the same system. I don't know about the Alien Bee, but I'm a bit disappointed that Canon take so long to came up with such a wonderful system like the  600EX-RT and the ST-E3-RT. Now if you decide to upgrade all of your pocket wizards and older model Canon flashes will cost you a fortune, as the ST-E3-RT wont work with any older model than the 600EX-RT.
Alien Bee is a very good system too and is not that chunky like some other professional lighting kits, and their battery packs are not very expensive.
I don't know if you came across this lights they also look to be good for the price tag.
http://www.paulcbuff.com/e640.php

Thanks.
Nik.
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Another photographer in London ;)
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Chuck Alaimo

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2013, 04:06:31 PM »
So I'm trying to decide what kind of lighting gear to buy in the near future. Currently, I shoot with a 430EX on-camera and some cheap manual flashes triggered wirelessly by radio, but I want to move into wireless TTL OR monolight strobes. I realize that each of these systems has advantages and disadvantages -- I feel that I would benefit from the advantages of both, but purchasing both systems is out of the question due to the cost. I would be shooting on-location portraits and weddings with this gear.

600EX RT advantages:
1) Built-in wireless transceiver
2) Portability
3) High-speed sync
4) ETTL

The main reason I would choose the Canon RT system over 3rd-party speedlites is point #1: no longer do I have to worry about charging dozens of batteries just to use two speedlites, or trying to figure out whether the problem is with my flash or the radio triggers when troubleshooting during a shoot -- everything is in one self-contained unit.

As for point #2: I can fit 2 or 3 of these speedlites in my bag with my camera... I don't have to worry about packing strobes in a separate bag.

Point #3: I'd like to do more shooting in bright sunlight. I'm using a 6D right now which has a terrible sync speed of 1/180 (I've shot at 1/200 with no problem without HSS but I would still prefer a higher sync) so HSS could prove to be a real advantage for me.

Point #4: I'd be able to hotshoe mount the speedlites and use them for bounce flash, which is something I already do pretty frequently with my 430EX. In addition, I might find that I like having wireless ETTL ratio control and use that instead of manual.


AlienBee advantages:
1) Power
2) Recycle time
3) Price
4) Modifiers

Point #1: You can never have enough flash power.

Point #2: Although I haven't had too much of an issue with speedlite recycle times, instant flash recycle times definitely won't hurt.

Point #3: For the price of just two 600EX RTs I could buy four ABs and a Vagabond. WTF is with that price, Canon?

Point #4: Really liking the Paul Buff modifiers. They're inexpensive and seem to work great with the ABs.


So what do you guys think? It looks like I spent a lot of time trying to justify going with the Canon system whereas the ABs are a no-brainer at the price point. Honestly, if I do go with the Canon system I am going to wait for them to release some RT slaves first so I would only have to buy one 600EX... 480EX RT anyone?

hmmmm...  It really depends on what and where you are shooting.  Right now I am rolling with a set of 2 alien bee 800's, and 3 speedlights (580ex2, 430 ex and 430ex2).  I find that the bees are the best for controlled environs.  But, all that goes out the window for outdoor work.  If I am doing location portrait work, I am generally on the move quite a bit...and to use the bee's it would just become tiresome.  So speedlights are the quick and dirty way to do it. 

As to moving to the 600 series...I just don't see the real benefit in it for the cost.  Sure a few things become easier, but, I have not had much issue with cheap triggers and manual setting on the speedlights.  I am using the cactus v5 triggers for the past year.  I really thought I'd need to replace them, but they are actually quite tough!  (had one on a stand with umbrella, just enough wind to send it flying...the to hotshoe ripped off, but other than that, it transmits just fine.  So that one is my on cam unit only now.  For $35 a pop, I can't say they've failed me.  The only issue i have with them is that the power switch is easy to nudge in the bag, so I have to replace batteries more often than I'd like).
Owns 5Dmkiii, 6D, 16-35mm, 24mm 1.4, 70-200mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 85 mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8 macro, 1-600RT, 2 430 EX's, 1 video light

TrumpetPower!

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2013, 04:37:44 PM »
I don't know if you came across this lights they also look to be good for the price tag.
http://www.paulcbuff.com/e640.php

I've got four Einsteins. They're awesome. You can have them when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

But the Alien Bees are damned good as well, and more than a superlative match for the 80/20 rule.

Save the portability factor and ability to do TTL metering, anything Paul C Buff makes absolutely and completely blows away anything and everything that Canon makes, and even their flagship Einstein flashes are cheaper than the Canon 580 / 600 models.

Cheers,

b&

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2013, 04:37:44 PM »

cayenne

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2013, 05:14:24 PM »
I don't know if you came across this lights they also look to be good for the price tag.
http://www.paulcbuff.com/e640.php

I've got four Einsteins. They're awesome. You can have them when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

But the Alien Bees are damned good as well, and more than a superlative match for the 80/20 rule.

Save the portability factor and ability to do TTL metering, anything Paul C Buff makes absolutely and completely blows away anything and everything that Canon makes, and even their flagship Einstein flashes are cheaper than the Canon 580 / 600 models.

Cheers,

b&


On the top of those Einsteins....looks like an antenna.

Are these things wireless (radio) ready?

C

neuroanatomist

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2013, 05:48:28 PM »
On the top of those Einsteins....looks like an antenna.

Are these things wireless (radio) ready?

You're seeing the knob used to tighten an umbrella in place.  But, there's a connection socket on top which accepts a Buff CyberSync receiver or a PocketWizard PowerMC2 (I have the latter).
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2013, 07:55:02 PM »
On the top of those Einsteins....looks like an antenna.

Are these things wireless (radio) ready?

You're seeing the knob used to tighten an umbrella in place.  But, there's a connection socket on top which accepts a Buff CyberSync receiver or a PocketWizard PowerMC2 (I have the latter).

And, to answer the inevitable question...the CyberSync system is awesome, though I've never personally compared it with what PocketWizard offers. But, with the CyberSync, you get full control of everything in 1/10 stop increments, including flashes of different power, modeling lamps, third-party triggering, as many channels and groups and what-not as you could want, multiple setups to save, the works.

Cheers,

b&

cayenne

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2013, 01:44:26 PM »
On the top of those Einsteins....looks like an antenna.

Are these things wireless (radio) ready?

You're seeing the knob used to tighten an umbrella in place.  But, there's a connection socket on top which accepts a Buff CyberSync receiver or a PocketWizard PowerMC2 (I have the latter).

And, to answer the inevitable question...the CyberSync system is awesome, though I've never personally compared it with what PocketWizard offers. But, with the CyberSync, you get full control of everything in 1/10 stop increments, including flashes of different power, modeling lamps, third-party triggering, as many channels and groups and what-not as you could want, multiple setups to save, the works.

Cheers,

b&


Will this work with one of the new Canon radio controllers like the 600EX-RT, or I think the other is the ST-E3-RT?

cayenne

Wildfire

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2013, 03:50:36 PM »
Will this work with one of the new Canon radio controllers like the 600EX-RT, or I think the other is the ST-E3-RT?

No, CyberSync won't work with the Canon RT system. No 3rd party radio system does, and I suspect there won't be one for a while, if ever.

However, I have seen some people use a Canon 580EX II flash in TTL mode on camera, and they velcroed the Cyber Commander to their 580 and plugged in to the camera's PC port. The camera would trigger the 580 through the hotshoe and the Alien Bee's/Einsteins from the PC port, and still use the Cyber Commander to remotely control power of the strobes.

And yes, the antenna on top of the Einsteins in the pictures on the Paul Buff site are the Cyber Sync receivers, but they don't come with the Einsteins and you have to buy them separately. (~$20)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2013, 03:52:38 PM by Wildfire »

V8Beast

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2013, 08:12:03 PM »
A great benefit of the clean high ISO ability of modern cameras that rarely gets discussed is how far they allow you to push the output of a Speedlite. It takes a lot of juice to light up a car, but at ISO 800 - 1600 it can be done, even stopped down to f/8 or f/11.










The big catch, however, is that when used in such a fashion, Speedlites give off some nasty, disgusting light. They're a PITA to use for shots like this, and are extremely finicky in terms of getting your angles just right. If not, you get hot spots galore. 

Aside from the output advantage, IMHO monolights yield a much more pleasing light quality with far superior fall-off characteristics. They're much more forgiving if your light positioning isn't spot on, too.

As for differences in power, this was shot with two 550EX's at ISO 800 at f/8. I was very difficult to light the rear quarter-panel without the front fender being dark, and vice-versa.



I took a similar shot of the car with some AB800s, and the additional power allowed stopping down to f/11 at ISO 400 with the monolights in the 1/2 to 3/4 power range. More importantly, the light quality is sooooo much better with the monolights.

It's not to say that Speedlites are junk. In fact, I use them far more often than monolights. Even so, just because you can make them work, through sheer will power, in situations they aren't well suited for doesn't mean they're the ideal tool for the job in those situations.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 08:20:14 PM by V8Beast »

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2013, 08:12:03 PM »

jonathan7007

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2013, 10:52:30 PM »
I keep reaching toward my wallet when I read about Paul Buff gear. And then I think, "You have those two Norman packs and sets of heads..." and I try to be sane and practical: avoid buying yet another kind of equipment ($$$$).

It's just the 1000 foot extension cord that's hard to carry. <grin>

(No one ever made a battery pack that will drive these old Norman packs, and generators are just too much noise, fumes, gas cans, Ugh.)

So maybe there's an Einstein or Bee in my future.

Wildfire

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2013, 05:01:39 PM »
Well, I've made my decision.

Was shooting some dancers in a theater yesterday after their performance. Had three speedlights set up, and the main light (430EX II) failed. I did bring tons of extra batteries and had two extra speedlights as a backup but there was simply no time to troubleshoot, so I just decided to wing it with the 2 lights I already had set up.

The resulting photos are acceptable and the client will like them but I am unhappy with them. The first few shots before the speedlight failed look exactly how I envisioned the whole shoot and are completely amazing.

And the whole time I was shooting I saw these electrical outlets everywhere. They were all over the stage, they were all over the walls, and I wished I'd had AlienBees instead of speedlights -- they were the right tool for the job.

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Re: 600EX RT vs AlienBees
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2013, 05:01:39 PM »