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Thread: Studio lighting--strobe??

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 1999

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    I am considering to purchase a studio strobe around 2400watts power. I went B+H in NYC and checked a couple of different ones such as, Comet, Sunstar, Speedtron, and Prophoto. But, I didn't really get their differences besides a number of plugs to be connected to the light heads. Also, their prices are almost same(around 1500 dallers). Can anyone recommend a good strobe? I don't use many heads--most of the time 2 heads are enough. And, I don't want to get heavy one since I go on location often. Also, I don't want to spend a lot of money!! thanks ric

  2. #2

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    I like Comet. They are compact and very reliable. This is not to say that the others are not. One thing you might want to consider is, what types of strobe units do your friends use. This would make borrowing a third head, or another accessory rather easy.

  3. #3

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    I have been using Dynalite 1000X packs for about 15 years now and love the lightness, durability, small size and the clean light that they put out. Remember to look at the availablity of the acessories that you will need also. Highly recommend them because I do ALOT of location stuff also. Cheers

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    Check out the Calumet travelites the are great for location work and have many accesories for their products. They are only rated at 750 watt seconds, however most companies exagerate their ratings. As for speedotron they are very sloppy, great numbers but if you get into digital you will notice how sloppy they are. Profoto is a great product and probably be the best choice if you can afford them. Clean effecet power and their monolights are comparable to their highest line packs {pro 7}. Also if you are in the new york area try renting at Calumet before you buy to see if you are comfotable {the most important part of your final decision} with working with any of the systems. I believe that part if not all of your rental fee is applicable to your purchase. Also check out the profoto website at

  5. #5

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    For lightness and ease in location work, and big-time savings over some of the other units mentioned, might consider Adorama's monolights. They sell an 1800 Watt-sec unit for ca $600 I think, 1200 and 600 Watt-sec units are considerably less. If you're only using two heads, might try a 600 and an 1800, and you'd probably still save on $ and weight. Not quite as versatile as a power pack with multiple heads, but I've been very pleased with the results on my 1800 Watt-sec monolight from them. Enough light to shoot 8 X 10 transparencies pretty easily.


  6. #6

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    I recommend Speedotron. They are heavy duty workhorses, but the Speedotron customer service is just excellent if you ever need them. I also use Novatron and for anything under 1000 watts they are great. Consistant, dead on dependable and inexpensive. They also have a great customer service department. I had busted one of my flash heads and sent it to them and they repaired it and had it back in four days.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    So. California

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    White Lightning (1-800-443-5542) Pat

  8. #8

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    I went to a pro workshop this past week where Will Crockett (Chicago based commercial photographer) was speaking about color correction. He put up a slide showing how different strobe units can vary color temp as a funtion of their power setting. The results from best to worst were very interesting. At the top of the heap was a very expensive Broncolor Grafit A4 (370K shift over 2812WS range). Next was the Profoto Acute 2400 giving very good results (220K shift over 1125WS range). The poorest showings were from the White Lightning Ultra 1200 (470K shift over 581WS range) followed by the Excaliber 3200 (270K shift over 263WS range). If your using transparency film and are doing critical portrait work, or product work where color match is important, there are some other attributes which should be considered. It was Will's contention that a 100K shift can be seen on transparency film.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    I have used Balcar, Broncolor, Calumet Travelers (aka Bowens), Comet, Dyna-Light, Elinchrom, Norman, Novatron, Profoto, Speedotron and White Lightning. Of these the only one I won't recommend is Norman because it is an extremely inefficient system in terms of converting raw power to usable light and the Calumet Travelers because it was the clumsiest system I've ever used. If you'd like to see a comparison chart in terms of output go to Chimera Lighting's website. I use monolights and pack and head systems.

    Things to consider when choosing a system besides power and price are flexibility, ease of use, accessories, light modifiers, safety, repair costs, mobility (if you travel) and light quality. Balcar, Broncolor, Comet, Dyna-Lite.Profoto, Speedotron and Elinchrom and Dynalite are atthe head of the class as far as accessories and light modifiers and scope of system are concerned. Because the White Lightning Ultra series (now discontinued),X and Zap units also use Balcar accessories they are also strongly to be considered. Profoto, according to several independent repair places I've talked to, is the most expensive to repair once out of warrenty. Dyna-lite, and Speedotron since they are based in the USA have excellent service in the USA and Canada.

    From the parameters you mention I think the winner is Dyna-Lite and Speedotron. If you want to go with a monolight system, than White Lightning and Elinchrom need to be strongly considered.

    For the record I currently use Balcar and Elinchrom.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Redondo Beach

    Studio lighting--strobe??

    The previous postings name some excellent strobes. There are a couple of things you should consider that I don't think have been mentioned. I don't know where you plan on using the strobe you plan to buy but consider this. Strobes unless you're talking about the portable ones have a certain amount of amp draw from a wall electrical socket. The rating for electrical wall sockets in the average home here in california is 15 amps nominal and actually just over 16 amps. Use anything over 16 amps for an extended period of time and these wall sockets and the adjacent wiring will start to get incredibly hot and eventually you're talking FIRE!

    You should check out the amp draw of a particular strobe you plan to use and the amp draw rating of where you plan to use it or you might be asking for a lot of trouble.

    Also there is another consideration which was a bigger problem a few years ago but isn't so prevalent now. A strobe can send voltage back through the sync connector to your camera sync and fry your sync and or your shutter. Many manufactures have a filter incorporated in their units but I wouldn't automatically assume this to be the case. It's something you should check on before deciding on. I have White Lightning and Profoto and have no problems with either strobe but I use the Profoto system a lot more now.

    Jonathan Brewer

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