I have had a desire to add some more power to my remote lighting. I have been looking at firing 3-4 flashes into a softbox, one quantum flash would do it. When you consider the wireless remote cost, and adding multiple flashes, the Quantum starts to make a lot of since cost wise.
Does anyone have any experience with the Quantum Flash line (new and old)? I know they at least have newer models that even work with Nikon Flashes to a point - any one have any experience with that?
I also changed to see what people are using with multi-flash into an umbrella or soft box set-ups.
I will be looking at what folks who have used the Quantum are reporting.
The paparazzi seem to like them for their fast recycling times
but are not compatible with CLS
compared to a battery powered studio flash, they are not particularly powerful
I use two SB 900s in one broly
and one SB900 in another, this works in twilight or shade
but unlike a studio flash, this set up does does have the power to balance full day light
They can also (with the right battery) get up to the equiv of a 400 watt light. Balancing day light and even overpowering ambient light though a soft box or bouncing off of large umbrellas is what I'm looking for. It seems 3-4 SB 900s does it at full power but for $700-$1,000 for a 2-3 more flashes puts me in the quantum territory. The recycle times (& over heating) and full blast of the SB 900/910s could be eliminated as well.
My Big goal is to have something really portable that I can have at least a two-light source and overpower anything indoors and a minimum of having a single light source overpower (mostly) Sunny mid-day.
I know alienbees and other flash units are options, but I'm trying to have a compact portable option that a one-man band can use with ease (read not needing 30lbs of sand bags) outdoors and that also wouldn't require me to invest too much more in lighting equipment and or large battery packs.
Two Trios in soft boxes are more than enough power to light even the largest wedding party. The Trios can rapid fire non-stop at 3 frames per second continuously. At 7 frames per second, they keep up for the first five frames and then will miss about every third one. The built-in radios work flawlessly. The menu can be a little confusing at first but it makes sense after awhile.
The most important aspect is the quality of light. The quality of light from the Trios is superior to the SB-800 or the SB-900. Nothing against Nikon flashes but Quantum is slightly better in light quality. Skin tones and dynamic range have an advantage that can only be seen when comparing photos side by side.
I use this system with a D3s, D3 and D600.
Have you used them with Nikon's flashes in a mixed flash/light setting. I was hoping to keep the Nikon's as hair or 2nd & 3rd lighting source.
I have read a lot of negative things about them. It looks like you need to be very careful what your expectations are.
Many people complain that the ttl is innacurate.
Many people complain that the radio trigger system is hopeless (similar complaints are made of every radio trigger system I have looked into except phottix odin) and fails to fire frequently.
They do not have a sleep mode and drain your battery quickly even when your camera is off.
MANY people complain about the trios having issues, which are only slightly more powerful than an sb-900 if at all.
Certain units require certain batteries.
All that said
Almost everyone thinks they have a great quality of light.
There are some great modifiers
The turbo pack recycles fast (the Qpac-x is pretty slow)
They are VERY small compared to studio lights
So, do I want one (or two)? Yes, but I know what they can do and what they can't.
I have been looking at the phottix odin-s as well, and think I will go that route. Good to hear their wireless system is not that great. I have been looking at picking up some used ones, as I would use them manually in the applications I'm looking at.
I am having a heck of a time figuring out the power output they have in comparison to the SB900s. It does look (with the proper battery) can be a 400W flash which is way more powerful. From what videos I have seen with examples they seem to be about 4-5 times more powerful than the Sb900s.
The following are guide numbers for the flashes at ISO100 50mm
SB-900 - 40m (full power) recycle 2.5 sec w/ 4 sanyo eneloop XX (faster w/ pack)
QFT5d-R - 50m (full power) recycle 1.9 sec with Turbo3
QFX5d-R - 50m (200Ws) recycle 1.8 sec with QPAC-X in Ultra mode
QFX5d-R - 70m (400Ws) recycle 3.6 sec with QPAC-X in Ultra mode
People have complained that the battery life on the quantums is FAR below the manufacturers specs on a long shoot (e.g. half a day) as the unit does not go into sleep mode when not in use. But no one says they overheat, which everyone knows is a huge issue with the SB-900.
there are these as well, which seem to tick all the boxes if you can get them;
http://www.cononmk.com/en/cp.asp?sendid=120 (found this on lightingrumors.com)
I do not have the Elinchrome portable units, but the D-Lite system is very nice. My suspicion is the rest of the Elinchrom stuff is good as well.
I work alone, and for this set-up i'm trying to put together is for usually very tight spaces (homes, offices, etc.) and really need to keep stuff to just 1 large bag. I do have a set of lights, so if I really need the power I can take them. At least with just going with 2-3 more speed-lights or 1-2 Quantum products, the cost outside of those is much less from what I add up.
Surprisingly I ran across the Sigma 610s and am trying to see what the wireless control and abilities on that end are. They are really powerful and cheap ($250). I can get 3 of those for less than a quantum and not have a huge investment outside of the flash.
I'm starting think that (or another 3rd party) flash may be the best and take the savings to put towards Einstein or Quadra Ranger system down the road. It would also give me the opportunity to spot strobes (have about 6 strobes then) for some unique lighting opportunities.
So many options....
I like the idea of the Sigma 610. The down side is the recycle time of five seconds. I like to have a one or two second time as usually this is the rhythm of the model.
they provide, a very harsh, powerful, directional light
yes, most have the ability to be bounced and most can be fitted with a small diffuser
but the old rule still applies, the bigger the light source, the softer the light so the bigger, pro flashes, will produce a softer light
but they never produce the quality of proper soft box / brolly
Their are lots of adaptors, that allow a hot shoe flash to be fitted to to a softbox or a brolly
but in practice, if properly diffused , a hot shoe flash is never going to have the power of a professional studio flash In a professional soft box, nor will it have the recycling time
( I agree you might find the top end hot shoes get close to the power of cheap studio flashes )
Pro Photo make what you want , but sorry, they are very expensive
If you want to see what can be achieved with their kit look at Tim Wallace's work
If I were younger, and doing this for day-in/day-out living, I'd have the PCB lights, but I like the CLS and use the SB900s, SB800s, and SB600s now and shoot everything TTL and that's ultra convenient, although more expensive than PCB. I should add the radio transmitters, but I doubt I could justify the cost.
The double flash does spook the subjects sometimes - a drawback for sure, but small wireless, lightweight remote is unbeatable.
I might be persuading you to at least thinking about the transmitters remotes one more time for longer distances and more reliable connectivity and putting your budge for more wireless.
I'm sure you need more uncertainty in your decision-making process. ;-)
The more I look at stuff and price it out and love the CLS, they are actually a cheaper option when you consider being able to have more than one light source for other options. The Quantums ended up being about $1,400 per flash (radio, battery, etc) and the equiv of two SB900s. I like the PCB Einsteins and priced a single kit out at about $1,900, but that will be for a future purchase. The Ailen Bees really are not that more powerful than SB900s so I kind of miss the point. Depending on the output, the max sync speed dropped to 1/640th as well. In my mind, I want to be capable of 1/2000-1/6000 range. The kicker is the wireless add-ons for the various systems, batteries, diffusers and the lack of iTTL (CLS). Being able to control everything from the camera is too convenient. That really skyrocketed the price on the other systems.
I have been working in the price for Phottix Odin TTL receivers with them also for out of sight radio iTTL which makes each 910s about $680 ($200 less for used 900s.)
Two SB 910s (or 900s) will probably be my next purchase (I have two SB 900s and 1 Sb600 now). 3-4 in a light box will give me about a 300w single light flash, and then I will still have 5 CLS flashes for more complex set ups when needed.
I'm actually starting this "kit" from scratch. The basics I have been looking at putting together are below. I left a few things out but the total cost will be right around $2,000 depending on if I can find more off brand stuff for the things I will use less of. When I did the equivalent for the Quantum's, which added adapters etc. It shot the list north of $3,000.
2 SB910s - (already have 2 sb900, 1 sb600)
Phottix Odin TTL Flash Trigger for Nikon, 4 Receivers $657
Lastolite LL LA2455 TriFlash Sync with Shoe Lock
Westcott 43 inch Apollo Orb Speedlite Kit 2340 (Octogon Softbox)
Flashpoint Quad Shoe Mount bracket
Impact Super Collapsible Background - 8 x 16' (White)
Flashpoint 60" x 78" Collapsible Disc Background, One Side Black, One Side White, with Zippered Carrying Case.
Flashpoint 42" 5-in-1 Collapsible Disc Reflector, Translucent, White, Black, Silver & Soft Gold
Adorama 60" White Interior Umbrella with Removeable Black Cover.
(I have picked some cheaper options but these names people will know. If you copy the line, and put it in an amazon search, you can see the item.)
Take care with an SB 910 + trigger + Tri flash bracket. The horizontaly mounted flashes, may put quite a lot of strain on the tiggers' hot shoe . I broke my P/w hot shoe on a Tri bracket and now attach them using a 1/4 spigot
It sits on a fairly heavy tripod with a sand bag
works Ok in good shade or late evening
Good to have the reminder to make sure to remember that.