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09-13-2018, 04:27 AM   #1
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Cactus compatible studio strobe "Aurora Dante 400 TTL" announced

Following the sad failure of the Cactus RQ250 kickstarter campaign -- with the predominant feedback being that the unit was too expensive, while Profoto's B10 has just launched with worse specifications (some are better, but the crucial ones are not) for over twice the price -- Aurora Lite Bank have announced the "Dante 400 TTL" which is HSS-capable and compatible with the Cactus trigger system.

The specs are not as good as the ones for the Godox AD400PRO, but this might be a really good extension of the Cactus ecosystem. Pricing hasn't been announced yet.

P.S.: I can't understand why the diffusion disc is so recessed with respect to the mount. This isn't ideal at all for evenly illuminating light modifiers. The RQ250's design that supports both bare-bulb and diffusion disc approaches at the same time was so good, why isn't anyone else using that?


Last edited by Class A; 09-13-2018 at 04:59 AM.
09-13-2018, 05:20 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I will try to get a look on Photokina in 2 weeks
09-13-2018, 12:09 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by klaus123 Quote
I will try to get a look on Photokina in 2 weeks
Nice!

I was able to attend Photokina in 2014 and found it really worthwhile back then.
09-15-2018, 09:04 AM   #4
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After reviewing possible alternatives I am not clear which way to go...
Currently I have several Speedlights, a small Cactus Softbox and some Umbrellas - and in case accesss to a heavy Bowens System with 2 500WS heads (no HSS/TTL).
- One big advantage of bare flash bulbs (like studio strobe or RQ250) is the better light distribtion in big soft boxes (I do not have yet)
- On location the 60x60 SB is not too bad . the easiest and geapest way for more power would be a bracket that can fix 2 speedlights inside
- If I realy extend to a big SB for Studio use the bowens would do the job - I do not need HSS indoor
- many of the Akku-Alternatives are expensive, heavy or need another sender backpacked on the Cactus to enable Pentax HSS.


I think I will do some testing with a Bowens Studio-Flash and Pentax/Nikon Speedlights in a 60x90 Softbox to get a feeling for the needs before Photokina starts

09-15-2018, 06:21 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by klaus123 Quote
- One big advantage of bare flash bulbs (like studio strobe or RQ250) is the better light distribtion in big soft boxes (I do not have yet)
Yes, definitely.

Sadly, the Dante 400 TTL doesn't seem ideal in that regard, unless it has tricks up its sleeve that we don't know yet.

Profoto restricts users to a diffusion disc approach as well, but at least they allow their heads to be pushed into a light modifier.

QuoteOriginally posted by klaus123 Quote
- On location the 60x60 SB is not too bad . the easiest and cheapest way for more power would be a bracket that can fix 2 speedlights inside
I often use this approach (with a three-way bracket, but mostly only using two flashes at the time).

I find that the best softbox type for this kind of setup are backfiring designs, where the speedlights fire into the back of the box first and the light then gets reflected to the front baffle.

QuoteOriginally posted by klaus123 Quote
- many of the Akku-Alternatives are expensive, heavy or need another sender backpacked on the Cactus to enable Pentax HSS.
Hopefully the Dante 400 TTL won't be too expensive.

If you are prepared to change the trigger system (and Godox ever starts delivering units; they still can only be pre-ordered) then the Godox system has some nice and affordable strobes.
09-16-2018, 09:19 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
... Sadly, the Dante 400 TTL doesn't seem ideal in that regard, unless it has tricks up its sleeve that we don't know yet.
Just a random thought, but it could be that it has a spiral flash tube.

If you look at the Flash Havoc announcement of the AD200 round head accessory, it also has a similar fixed/recessed circular diffuser, instead of a bare bulb that sticks out, but the falloff pattern of the light is actually smoother than the AD200's bare bulb head, because it has a spiral flash tube.

Name:  H200R_Head_2d.jpg
Views: 45
Size:  27.2 KB

The spread is still going to be more restricted, but a dome diffuser might help with that. Could also be how the Profoto A1's gettting a spread that isn't as hot-spot-laden as a typical fresnel head.

Last edited by inkista; 09-16-2018 at 09:26 PM.
09-17-2018, 12:03 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by inkista Quote
...the falloff pattern of the light is actually smoother than the AD200's bare bulb head...
I'm not arguing that a diffusion disc design cannot be nice for certain applications. It surely has its place.

However, I don't think the comparison pictures posted to the article you cited are very helpful unless you are trying to create specific smooth gradients on a wall.

In the comparison, the bare-bulb looks worse than the round head but
  1. note that they used a reflector on the bare-bulb design which is not helping (unless one wants to make the diffusion disc look good),
  2. even without a reflector, the bare-bulb would look worse as it wouldn't use any diffusion that's actually better for illuminating light modifiers. For an application in a good modifier you want an omnidirectional point source, not disc that only fires in one direction and less to the sides than on-axis. In particular in a parabolic light modifier, the more the light source approaches a point-source, the better.
Of course light modifier design can somewhat account for the light source characteristics, but you get the best options with bare-bulb designs.

QuoteOriginally posted by inkista Quote
The spread is still going to be more restricted, ...
Yes, that's exactly why I think that every strobe should give one a bare-bulb option in one way or another.
The Profoto designs look slick and seem to support easy mounting/unmounting, but they are less than ideal for many types of light modifiers.

QuoteOriginally posted by inkista Quote
...but a dome diffuser might help with that.
Yes, of course, but such a diffuser will also eat some light (not diffuse it but turn it into heat). You can attach dome diffusers or other diffusion gadgets to speedlights as well but that's just a workaround with disadvantages, not an ideal solution.
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