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Thread: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

  1. #1
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    I'm going through the decision process in my head, and maybe some of you can help me think this through.
    I have the chance to get either two Einstein 640 units, or two Profoto Compact monolights (600 w/s each).
    The Einsteins are like new, the Profotos have some wear but work well. Both are at almost the same price, the Einsteins being slightly more expensive.
    These will be used for commercial work, i.e., corporate headshot, location portraits, and they'll travel somewhat.
    I use mostly soft boxes, reflectors and grids.

    Einstein:
    • compact, portable
    • advanced electronics
    • modifiers and accessories are inexpensive
    • can be used anywhere in the world with a minimum of fuss (of least importance, but a nice feature, nonetheless).
    • customer support


    Profoto:
    • high-quality build and light source
    • simpler electronics
    • more consistent colour output


    I owned a few Alien Bees heads until recently, and while they were compact and practical, the quality left a little to be desired (build quality and quality of light).
    But I'd use them again if I had to, and I'm hoping someone will tell me the Einstein is vastly superior to the Alien Bees.

    With that in mind, do they come out more or less equal, or do you think one is a better buy than the other?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2

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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    We use Profoto 500 and 1000 Air monolights in our studio. The fact that the color temperature remains constant over the entire range of adjustment is a big plus, as is the ability to control the units from the hot-shoe wireless sending unit. Accessories are not cheap, and the heads do not take abuse very well. (I'd say they're a bit delicate.) Repairs are expensive and are done at Profoto HQ in New Jersey. Ours are used by students and as in-house rental gear. They take a beating sometimes, and don't take beatings very well. Quality of light is excellent, and the unit are generally very dependable. Just treat them nicely.

  3. #3
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    What are you lighting?
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari View Post
    ... These will be used for commercial work, i.e., corporate headshot, location portraits, and they'll travel somewhat.
    I use mostly soft boxes, reflectors and grids.

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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    Ari... Have you ever given any consideration to the various Photogenic PowerLights?
    They 'strike' a very nice balance... Between the Paul C. Buff Einstein Units and the Profoto Units.

    Like they say... 'Just a Thought!'

  6. #6
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    I own and use 4 Einsteins. 20 years ago I was impressed with White Lightnings.

    I am planning on getting their battery pack, which sounds good.

    I use the PCB Cyber gizmos, but the Commander is a little difficult for me. So many functions in a small device. No 'off' switch! Bring spare AAA Duracell, it will not run on rechargeables. 2 AAA are good for a full day shoot.

    I find Einsteins are very linear and once metered i can simple change power without re-metering.

    That's PCB's claim and it works for me.

    I don't shoot color film, so I cannot comment.

    DSLR color is fine for me.

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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    Worked with two sports shooters who are lighting gyms and using the Einstein units. Also for large groups(football teams for Universities) and they love the lights.

  8. #8
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    If those are the only two you are looking at, I would recommend the Profoto. I've used them and liked them. No experience with Einstein. I went with Bowens and am very happy with them.

  9. #9
    Foamer
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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    If you ever try to add more lights, the Einsteins will more likely be found for less money. I have not tried Pro-Foto, but have been using Paul Buff lights for about 10 years now. I bought a couple of Einsteins and really like them. They are lightweight and solid. I bought them for their immediate recycle time. In the end I sold them to buy a couple more White Lightning X3200 monolights. These are big & heavy but pump out twice the power. I mostly use monolights outdoors, especially in winter. The Einsteins held up very well in below zero F temperatures.


    Kent in SD
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  10. #10
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Monolights: Profoto or Einstein?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taija71A View Post
    Ari... Have you ever given any consideration to the various Photogenic PowerLights?
    They 'strike' a very nice balance... Between the Paul C. Buff Einstein Units and the Profoto Units.

    Like they say... 'Just a Thought!'
    Thanks, Tim; I've considered everything, and bought or tried many lighting kits. I've narrowed it down to these two.
    I recently rented an Elinchrom D-Lite 2-monolight kit, and while the lights were ok, the accessories were terrible. The soft box never took less than 15 minutes to assemble (while quietly cursing a blue streak), and gave the worst hot spots I've yet seen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    I own and use 4 Einsteins. 20 years ago I was impressed with White Lightnings.

    I find Einsteins are very linear and once metered i can simple change power without re-metering.

    I don't shoot color film, so I cannot comment.

    DSLR color is fine for me.
    Thanks, Randy; again to use the D-Lites as an example, the colour temperature was all over the place on my last shoot, and it couldn't have been simpler: h&s portraits lit by one soft box.
    My last kit of Alien Bees was a little all over the place, not as bad as these D-Lites, but still uneven.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    Worked with two sports shooters who are lighting gyms and using the Einstein units. Also for large groups(football teams for Universities) and they love the lights.
    Thanks, Willie; I like the practical/portable/DIY feel of PCB lights, I suspect a lot of people like them for those reasons too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Davis View Post
    If those are the only two you are looking at, I would recommend the Profoto. I've used them and liked them. No experience with Einstein. I went with Bowens and am very happy with them.
    I'm leaning toward the Profotos because, as much as I like the Einstein on paper, I don't want to wrestle with white balance on every shot, and I suspect the high-quality (more expensive in the long run) Profoto will deliver consistently.
    My best assisting days were with a guy who used only Profoto packs and heads, and I do like the system, pricy as it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    If you ever try to add more lights, the Einsteins will more likely be found for less money. I have not tried Pro-Foto, but have been using Paul Buff lights for about 10 years now. I bought a couple of Einsteins and really like them. They are lightweight and solid. I bought them for their immediate recycle time. In the end I sold them to buy a couple more White Lightning X3200 monolights. These are big & heavy but pump out twice the power. I mostly use monolights outdoors, especially in winter. The Einsteins held up very well in below zero F temperatures.
    Kent in SD
    That's the kind of practical information that keeps me from buying the Profoto outright; not that I plan on shooting much in subzero Canadian winters, but it's a testament to their solid build.
    Good to know, thanks Kent.

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