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Thread: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

  1. #61

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    Jan 2004
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    38

    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    Hi Bernice,
    I just tested my generators and lamp heads. Using an almost perfectly clear tube on an S4000 head (4000 w/s), I get an f45 2/3 at 2.7m from each of my 404 generators (fiver of them, all within 1/3 of an f/stop). Nice.
    I have two 8000 w/s heads with twin tubes. One of them with almost pristine tubes, the other with very cloudy tubes. Both heads produce half an f/stop less than the 4000 w/s head. I see no significant change if I plug in a single or both of the twin-tube heads.
    I did not use a reflector for my tests. I tend to conclude that those twin heads with their u-shaped tubes are less efficient than those that use a single ring shaped tube.
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  2. #62

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    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    Hello Andres,

    Do this same test using a reflector or directional light modifier with the flash meter about centered to the Elinchrom flash head.

    The twin tube flash heads are further away from the dinky semi-reflector built into the flash head compared to the single semi round flash tube.
    The semi round single tube has a light distribution advantage due to the way light is distributed as a bare bulb light source of being slightly more directional than the twin flash tube flash head.

    For those not aware, Elinchrom's later flash head offerings became their "N" series which has a plastic housing in place of metal, off the shelf "boxer" fan instead of the motor with fan blade unit. The A3000N has a shorter flash duration tube with the electrodes 180 degrees apart ands centered on the circular flash tube. The S3000N flash head has the standard semi circular flash tube. Both these flash heads are rated for 3,000 watt/seconds.

    The S3000 flash head has the semi circular flash tube, rated for 4,000 watt/seconds.

    The twin flash tube X8 and X8000 flash head is rated for 4,000 watt/seconds per flash tube. Twin flash tubes allows putting 8,000 watt seconds into a single flash head using two Elinchrom 404 power packs. Elinchrom made a 6000 "classic" and 6000 AS both are rated at 6,000 watt seconds. Both flash tube cables can be plugged into a single 6,000 watt/second power pack to produce 6,000 watt/seconds of strobe light power.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
    Hi Bernice,
    I just tested my generators and lamp heads. Using an almost perfectly clear tube on an S4000 head (4000 w/s), I get an f45 2/3 at 2.7m from each of my 404 generators (fiver of them, all within 1/3 of an f/stop). Nice.

    I have two 8000 w/s heads with twin tubes. One of them with almost pristine tubes, the other with very cloudy tubes. Both heads produce half an f/stop less than the 4000 w/s head. I see no significant change if I plug in a single or both of the twin-tube heads.

    I did not use a reflector for my tests. I tend to conclude that those twin heads with their u-shaped tubes are less efficient than those that use a single ring shaped tube.



  3. #63

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    38

    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    Thanks for you thoughts Bernice,
    I did the experiment again using a standard reflector.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Results are similar; a lamp with"U" shaped flash tubes produces between one third and half a stop less light than a lamp that has "O" shaped tubes.
    At 3m and ISO100. an el404 generator together with a 4000 w/s (single "O" shaped) gets me a tad over f/64
    At same distance, two el404 with an 8000 w/s (twin "U" shaped) gets me f/64 2/3.
    I would have to check with Elinchrome, but I guess that this could be a reason why their latest twin-tubes heads are rated at 6000 w/s
    This is still a lot of light, and sometimes half a stop is the difference that makes a good picture (plate..).
    Andreas

  4. #64

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    Jul 2008
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    3,803

    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    Interesting.. Do not have a fully functional twin tube X8/X8000 head to try this for comparison.

    This experiment nicely illustrates how watt/second rating and all that is merely relative and not directly telling of actual light output from any given flash head.
    It illustrated how important using a good flash meter become the light output bringer of truth..


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
    Thanks for you thoughts Bernice,
    I did the experiment again using a standard reflector.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Standard-Reflector.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	60.4 KB 
ID:	234741
    Results are similar; a lamp with"U" shaped flash tubes produces between one third and half a stop less light than a lamp that has "O" shaped tubes.
    At 3m and ISO100. an el404 generator together with a 4000 w/s (single "O" shaped) gets me a tad over f/64
    At same distance, two el404 with an 8000 w/s (twin "U" shaped) gets me f/64 2/3.
    I would have to check with Elinchrome, but I guess that this could be a reason why their latest twin-tubes heads are rated at 6000 w/s
    This is still a lot of light, and sometimes half a stop is the difference that makes a good picture (plate..).
    Andreas

  5. #65

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Licking County, Ohio
    Posts
    340

    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
    Thanks for you thoughts Bernice,
    I did the experiment again using a standard reflector.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Standard-Reflector.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	60.4 KB 
ID:	234741
    Results are similar; a lamp with"U" shaped flash tubes produces between one third and half a stop less light than a lamp that has "O" shaped tubes.
    At 3m and ISO100. an el404 generator together with a 4000 w/s (single "O" shaped) gets me a tad over f/64
    At same distance, two el404 with an 8000 w/s (twin "U" shaped) gets me f/64 2/3.
    I would have to check with Elinchrome, but I guess that this could be a reason why their latest twin-tubes heads are rated at 6000 w/s
    This is still a lot of light, and sometimes half a stop is the difference that makes a good picture (plate..).
    Andreas
    I always like to clarify results like this because people can write the same information in so many ways that misunderstandings are easy.

    You're saying that your bi-tube head, with 8kWs input via 2 packs, produces a 2/3rds increase in light output compared to a mono-tube head fed with 4kWs from a single pack?

    I'm a wet plater too and have been considering trying to buy a bi-tube head since I have two of the Zeus 2.5kWs packs now.

  6. #66

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    38

    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    Hi Williaty

    I agree that it is not an obvious question. The 8 kw/s head plugged on a single 4 kw/s generator (it doesn't matter if I plug in both or just a single cable) produces less light than an 4 kw/s on the same generator (about a third of an f-stop less). When plugging the 8 kw/s head on two 4 kw/s generators, I only get somewhat over half an f-stop more than a single 4 kw/s head on a single 4 kw/s generator.

    I conclude for now that this has to do with the design of the U-shaped tubes versus the O-shaped tubes of Elinchrom heads.

    My guess is that If the bi-tube heads you are looking for use the same tubes than single-tube heads, you might in fact get an f-stop more when using two generators.

    A powerful single source of light seems to make sense if you use a soft box, but you will lose so much light that it might not be worth it. I would go with multiple heads (direct sources) and use a reflector to open up the shades.

    As Bernice wisely writes, there might be differences between and within manufacturers regarding the watt/second ratings of generators / heads and their effective light output.

    I went for Elinchrom because these were, together with Broncolor, the de facto standard in studio lighting when I learned the trade back in the 80s in Switzerland. As photo assistants we were expected use them almost blindly (they were blinding and the studios not always well lit..). Some colleagues argued later that Briese rigs were even better, but they just weren't as common in advertising back then.

    Wishing you all the best with your strobes and wet plates !

    Andreas

  7. #67

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    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    There was a time when color transparency sheet film was extremely common commercial and related image product produced via strobe in studio or outdoors(less often). This in combo with light modifiers ala soft box or Hugo sheet diffuser on a frame or other was extremely commonly used. These extremely common light modifiers are light consumers and why light output from a single flash/strobe head was SO important. Each f-stop was tough battle to gain, even some fraction of an f-stop could be very helpful due to the small exposure apertures required by sheet film. This problem became increasingly difficult as the sheet film size went up.. with 8x10 being one of the most demanding for lighting and why 4x5 was far more often used and common back then. Much had to do with lighting and all related. In Europe, their very rational method of making the image quality trade off -vs- lighting demands -vs- lens capability -vs- cost and ... became the 13x18cm or 5x7 sheet film format. This also happened in Japan.

    Back in them days, it was Broncolor or Elinchrom as top tier studio flash/strobe systems, both gain hard earned reputations for quality gear. Back then if the strobe/flash system failed, the studio production work came to a grinding stop which was ticking cost with each minute. This means studio gear must be reliable, durable, consistent and hold up to the daily toil of production work.. if there were problems, there better be prompt and excellent service for the busted gear...

    Briese came into the lighting scene later, initially in the cinema industry with their Huge-O parabolic light modifiers and eventually that style of parabolic light modifiers came into still image making.. Today Broncolor makes an excellent alternative to the original Briese parabolic light modifier.. at a price. Briese lighting has a reputation for being problematic, failure prone and not always user friendly..
    https://www.brieselichttechnik.de/ab...es?language=en


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post

    A powerful single source of light seems to make sense if you use a soft box, but you will lose so much light that it might not be worth it. I would go with multiple heads (direct sources) and use a reflector to open up the shades.

    I went for Elinchrom because these were, together with Broncolor, the de facto standard in studio lighting when I learned the trade back in the 80s in Switzerland. As photo assistants we were expected use them almost blindly (they were blinding and the studios not always well lit..). Some colleagues argued later that Briese rigs were even better, but they just weren't as common in advertising back then.

    Andreas
    Last edited by Bernice Loui; 20-Jan-2023 at 13:34.

  8. #68

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    Sep 1998
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    Loganville , GA
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    14,339

    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    There was a time when color transparency sheet film was extremely common commercial and related image product produced via strobe in studio or outdoors(less often). This in combo with light modifiers ala soft box or Hugo sheet diffuser on a frame or other was extremely commonly used. These extremely common light modifiers are light consumers and why light output from a single flash/strobe head was SO important. Each f-stop was tough battle to gain, even some fraction of an f-stop could be very helpful due to the small exposure apertures required by sheet film. This problem became increasingly difficult as the sheet film size went up.. with 8x10 being one of the most demanding for lighting and why 4x5 was far more often used and common back then. Much had to do with lighting and all related. In Europe, their very rational method of making the image quality trade off -vs- lighting demands -vs- lens capability -vs- cost and ... became the 13x18cm or 5x7 sheet film format. This also happened in Japan.

    Back in them days, it was Broncolor or Elinchrom as top tier studio flash/strobe systems, both gain hard earned reputations for quality gear. Back then if the strobe/flash system failed, the studio production work came to a grinding stop which was ticking cost with each minute. This means studio gear must be reliable, durable, consistent and hold up to the daily toil of production work.. if there were problems, there better be prompt and excellent service for the busted gear...

    Briese came into the lighting scene later, initially in the cinema industry with their Huge-O parabolic light modifiers and eventually that style of parabolic light modifiers came into still image making.. Today Broncolor makes an excellent alternative to the original Briese parabolic light modifier.. at a price. Briese lighting has a reputation for being problematic, failure prone and not always user friendly..
    https://www.brieselichttechnik.de/ab...es?language=en


    Bernice
    There was also Multiblitz, Ascor and several others.

  9. #69

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    38

    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    I agree Bernice.

    Reliability of the strobes was one thing, standardization was another one. In the photo-advertising environment I was active in, photographers often lent their gear to each other; you could borrow an extra generator from the guy next door or help with a flashtube when his assistant (it was always the assy's fault) had dropped one.

    That went not only for strobes, but also cameras. You wanted to be able to get that special lens you didn't have from a colleague, and clients came to assume that a reliable professional photographer always worked with Sinar/Hasselblad/Nikons, while Arca/Mamyia/Canons were actually just as good. When I got my first Rolleiflex SL66 I was laughed at, not because it was bad, but because nobody else was using them in town.

    Back in the 80's in Zurich, fashion photographers needed faster strobe time, not more power. Those twin tubes were used in large studios that specialized in furniture sets or cars in 8x10 Ektachrome. One of the them could be flooded with 50cm of water and had an on-location E6 lab that developed film in a vacuum with perfect color consistence.

    Equipment choices are an intricate mix of technology, fashion, economy, status statement and pragmatism. Never one of them alone, would I argue.
    Best

    Andreas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    There was a time when color transparency sheet film was extremely common commercial and related image product produced via strobe in studio or outdoors(less often). This in combo with light modifiers ala soft box or Hugo sheet diffuser on a frame or other was extremely commonly used. These extremely common light modifiers are light consumers and why light output from a single flash/strobe head was SO important. Each f-stop was tough battle to gain, even some fraction of an f-stop could be very helpful due to the small exposure apertures required by sheet film. This problem became increasingly difficult as the sheet film size went up.. with 8x10 being one of the most demanding for lighting and why 4x5 was far more often used and common back then. Much had to do with lighting and all related. In Europe, their very rational method of making the image quality trade off -vs- lighting demands -vs- lens capability -vs- cost and ... became the 13x18cm or 5x7 sheet film format. This also happened in Japan.

    Back in them days, it was Broncolor or Elinchrom as top tier studio flash/strobe systems, both gain hard earned reputations for quality gear. Back then if the strobe/flash system failed, the studio production work came to a grinding stop which was ticking cost with each minute. This means studio gear must be reliable, durable, consistent and hold up to the daily toil of production work.. if there were problems, there better be prompt and excellent service for the busted gear...

    Briese came into the lighting scene later, initially in the cinema industry with their Huge-O parabolic light modifiers and eventually that style of parabolic light modifiers came into still image making.. Today Broncolor makes an excellent alternative to the original Briese parabolic light modifier.. at a price. Briese lighting has a reputation for being problematic, failure prone and not always user friendly..
    https://www.brieselichttechnik.de/ab...es?language=en


    Bernice

  10. #70

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    Jul 2008
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    3,803

    Re: Broncolor Flash Pack Bonanza

    Working photographers sharing gear as needed was common here back then too. If there was a project that needed more lighting than one had in studio, it was very common to hop over to your bud's studio to borrow the extra lighting or gear (bonus if the lighting was the same brand). If that was not possible, next stop was the rental place..

    There really was a community that shared back then. There was plenty of work for all involved. Photographers starting out could get referrals from photographers that has been at this for many years as they would come across work they did not wanna do or take on.

    There was a bulletin board at The New Lab (E6 processing) that was Jumbo sized and packed with notes for all sorts of stuff from looking for work to places to stay to buy-trade-sell, home for a pet and lots more..

    All gone now...
    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
    I agree Bernice.

    Reliability of the strobes was one thing, standardization was another one. In the photo-advertising environment I was active in, photographers often lent their gear to each other; you could borrow an extra generator from the guy next door or help with a flashtube when his assistant (it was always the assy's fault) had dropped one.

    That went not only for strobes, but also cameras. You wanted to be able to get that special lens you didn't have from a colleague, and clients came to assume that a reliable professional photographer always worked with Sinar/Hasselblad/Nikons, while Arca/Mamyia/Canons were actually just as good. When I got my first Rolleiflex SL66 I was laughed at, not because it was bad, but because nobody else was using them in town.

    Back in the 80's in Zurich, fashion photographers needed faster strobe time, not more power. Those twin tubes were used in large studios that specialized in furniture sets or cars in 8x10 Ektachrome. One of the them could be flooded with 50cm of water and had an on-location E6 lab that developed film in a vacuum with perfect color consistence.

    Equipment choices are an intricate mix of technology, fashion, economy, status statement and pragmatism. Never one of them alone, would I argue.
    Best

    Andreas

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