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05-07-2020, 10:39 AM   #1
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Portability vs Power (Battery Powered Strobe)

In researching battery powered strobes this is what weighs on my decision . While it is great to have a light like the Godox 1200pro that has lots of flexibility (over powering ambient light) it weighs 18lbs on itís own. The following are some approximate weights of some of the systems I have been looking at.

1. Godox ad1200pro 18lbs plus stand (2lbs) and bag(16lbs) = 36lbs approx.

2. Godox H1200B 14lbs (2 x 600ad heads) stand (2lbs) and bag (16lbs) = 32lbs approx

3. Godox ad200pro x 4 10lbs(4 units) 4 stand (8lbs) and bag (8lbs) just a guess = 26lbs approx


As you can see the weight of the bigger units is certainly something to consider if you are taking out in the field to do shots of trucks, tractors , boats and large subjects. The Ad200 pro set of 4 weighs less but how would you ever make up for that lack of power if you were interested in lights of 1200ws? And I guess my next question is having never used a strobe how many times would the average hobby photographer need 1200ws of power?

To have more latitude to work with the ambient light is certainly an advantage of the larger units, but shooting the same subject in either blue hour, sunrise or sunset seems to me would not require as much flash power. The obvious advantage of the 1200ws system is you can shoot in much brighter ambient conditions and still be able to get the exposure you are happy with.

How did you guys come to a final decision on portability vs power ? As a beginner I would be very interested.

Mike

05-07-2020, 11:36 AM   #2
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The average hobby photographer never "needs" any flash (let alone 1200 W∑s flash ) at all. The high ISO performance of modern cameras is so good that ambient light suffices for almost all shots.

That said, some hobby photographers use flash (including 1200 W∑s flash) all the time. Some photographers really want to control exactly what gets lit and how much it's lit (regardless of the ambient).

It's up to each photographer to think about whether they prefer ambient lighting or totally-controlled artificial lighting (and in what proportion).

Personally, if I were beginning the journey into strobes, I'd buy something inexpensive just to learn whether you like using strobes. But if you are the sort of person that goes all in on a vision, then "go big." People hike thousands on miles with 70-90 pound backpacks -- 36 lbs of flash equipment isn't a show stopper.

Note: It may be true that blue hour, sunrise, or sunset have less ambient light to overcome, but the "look" of scene has it's limits, the ambient light has color balance issues, and the lighting changes quickly which puts a stressful premium on perfect choreography of the shots.
05-07-2020, 12:46 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by rml63 Quote
In researching battery powered strobes this is what weighs on my decision . While it is great to have a light like the Godox 1200pro that has lots of flexibility (over powering ambient light) it weighs 18lbs on itís own. The following are some approximate weights of some of the systems I have been looking at.

1. Godox ad1200pro 18lbs plus stand (2lbs) and bag(16lbs) = 36lbs approx.

2. Godox H1200B 14lbs (2 x 600ad heads) stand (2lbs) and bag (16lbs) = 32lbs approx

3. Godox ad200pro x 4 10lbs(4 units) 4 stand (8lbs) and bag (8lbs) just a guess = 26lbs approx


As you can see the weight of the bigger units is certainly something to consider if you are taking out in the field to do shots of trucks, tractors , boats and large subjects. The Ad200 pro set of 4 weighs less but how would you ever make up for that lack of power if you were interested in lights of 1200ws? And I guess my next question is having never used a strobe how many times would the average hobby photographer need 1200ws of power?

To have more latitude to work with the ambient light is certainly an advantage of the larger units, but shooting the same subject in either blue hour, sunrise or sunset seems to me would not require as much flash power. The obvious advantage of the 1200ws system is you can shoot in much brighter ambient conditions and still be able to get the exposure you are happy with.

How did you guys come to a final decision on portability vs power ? As a beginner I would be very interested.

Mike
My flashes are not there on your list, but here is my thoughts based on my kit what I have.
I have elinchrome quadra set with 2 flasheads. Youíll get plenty of power. They will need extra bag, and tripods, clamps, light shapers to get they work beautifully. I can get they work pretty well. When you NEED the power you know it.

That said, I did buy FGZ360AFII Pentax. Just for smaller size( perhaps AD200) And WR(can shoot in the rain too). Plenty of power, for most of the times when youíll need the fill or so. Going to buy one more to get more of choise when using these flashes. Best part is that they will work well enough when Iím out and about and I can put them in my camerabag(no extra bag needed). Iím sure that AD200 has plenty juice. If you want to be sure, just get AD300 or so, explore what you can get out of that. My Elinchrome quadra donít have 1200ws, they have 400 and it is quite rare that Iív even used them at full power (going to upgrade them to ELC 500, when time and monet allowable) unless you want to shoot high action and you have really high end need for light, go with smaller ones. I donít know what you are shooting. Lot of strobists has small flashes, once you master those(I donít yet) you can move up. even if the weight is not the issue. Just my 2 cent
05-07-2020, 02:15 PM   #4
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I have the Godox AD200 and it is capable of covering a lot of situations. Two of them would probably cover most situations where you would need fill, and with 3 you could have the back light covered also (behind subject/hairlight). As to using one light for considerable power, the Godox AD600BM (which I also have) is quite capable of that. The AD200 and the AD600BM both perform P-TTL (Pentax TTL) functions if needed while using a trigger such as the XPro-P, which as you can see has the "P" in its title signifying it is the model designated for Pentax.

The larger lights you mentioned are powerful, but may give you a lot more than you may ever need. If you start off with the AD200 models and possibly an AD600 (or 300/400 models) if you need it, you will be able to discover what exactly you are satisfied with, and go from there if you feel that you require any more power.

After you gain experience with one AD200 and an XPro-P trigger for example, you are going to see how the trigger performs and what the light can produce/handle, and you can proceed from there to decide on your flash power needs as you need them. The amount of flashes that are possible with the Godox units is amazing. The battery units also charge up in a reasonable amount of time.

Good luck with your decision.


Last edited by C_Jones; 05-07-2020 at 02:24 PM.
05-07-2020, 06:46 PM   #5
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Some good reading with pictures. About using basic flashes.
Strobist: Lighting 101: It's Not (All) About Flash

Strobist: On Assignment: Reed Quintet

Strobist: Learning to See Light: Exploring Blue Hour
05-08-2020, 08:14 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
The average hobby photographer never "needs" any flash (let alone 1200 W∑s flash ) at all. The high ISO performance of modern cameras is so good that ambient light suffices for almost all shots.
Flash photography is not about increasing light levels.

It is about controlling the light. Natural light can be really useful but it can also be unusable because it comes from the wrong direction, does not have the desired quality (softness), etc.

QuoteOriginally posted by rml63 Quote
And I guess my next question is having never used a strobe how many times would the average hobby photographer need 1200ws of power?
I'd say almost never. That kind of power is only needed when you want to compete with bright sunlight, using a large modifier, and requiring larger then normal distances between light modifier and subject, while using HSS.

QuoteOriginally posted by rml63 Quote
How did you guys come to a final decision on portability vs power ?
The AD200 is very hard to beat in terms of versatility and applicability.

I used it to counterbalance sunlight during golden hour with a modifier without running out of power. In harsher conditions, more power can be useful. The new AD300 PRO only offers a modest increase and is hence only of interest to those who want to use the proprietary Godox mount modifiers which are somewhat more compact than Bowens mount light modifiers.

The AD400 PRO is rather popular as it provides a full stop more compared to the AD200 PRO, has a higher battery capacity (~780 AD200-equivalent flashes compared to ~500 for the AD 200 PRO), and supports both the Godox-mount and the Bowens mount (via a fixed adapter) without requiring an S-bracket (like the AD200 PRO does).

The AD600 PRO has even more power, even more battery capacity, a stronger modelling light, but is also a bit bigger and heavier than the AD400 PRO.

I chose both AD200 (for ultimate mobility and supporting lights) and AD600 PRO (for uncompromised performance). The models in between are compromises that did not appeal to me but I can completely see that specific usages can make any of the intermediate models more attractive.
05-09-2020, 04:39 AM   #7
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I love the AD400 Pro so much I have 2 now, with a 600 Pro and a 200. The 400s get the most use; the 200 next. The 600 is a beast and heavy - but when you need a powerflul light, it's the one.
05-09-2020, 05:23 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Professor could you elaborate in what scenarios you use each of your lights?

Thanks
Mike

05-16-2020, 11:33 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I bought my studio ligting a couple of years ago now and went through exactly the same dilema. In the end I plumped to buy Bowens stobes second hand on Ebay. Rather than something that just adopted their mount.. (Bowens Gemini.) Hundred's of good offers. So much so I ended up with 6.. A mixture of Gemini 500r and 400r models with Pulsar triggers.

On the plus side... I have a multitude of diffuser's to choose from...?
Never want for power...
Have very strong modelling light's
never wait on recycling times...!

On the downside...
Not as easy to use outside as the battery lights... To weighty for carrying...
Leaving trailing cables.. And when you kick a lamp over on a stand it breaks...

I would certainly consider the new Bowens strobes now they are manufacturing again...!

I Love these light's and have never been let down by them. If I used them more would certainly

PS photoptimist that's rubbish.!! What when you want to change the direction of the natural light...?

Last edited by stub; 05-16-2020 at 12:51 PM.
05-16-2020, 01:02 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stub Quote

PS photoptimist that's rubbish.!! What when you want to change the direction of the natural light...?
LOL! As a landscape photographer, I change the direction of natural light by coming back at a different time of day, during different weather, or wait for a different time of year! I've never found a flash capable of changing the direction of the natural light on the clouds, mountains, oceans, cityscapes, etc. that I photograph. Maybe a well-positioned nuke (GN 1,000,000) could do it but B&H does not carry those!

I also take a lot of photos in public places where a flash is either prohibited (cathedrals, museums, etc.) or distracting (streets, candids, etc.).

That said, you are absolutely right that there are genres of photography where the photographer cannot reposition the subject for the existing light or cannot change the time/day of shooting to get better natural light. If unnatural lights are permitted in that location and with that subject, they will use them to get better images.

There used to be a time when the poor sensitivity of film forced photographers to use flash in all but the brightest of natural lighting. Now the high-ISO performance of digital cameras means photographers can often rely on natural light (plus moving the subject) more often although using artificial lighting may be preferable where permitted.
05-17-2020, 08:45 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
... Maybe a well-positioned nuke (GN 1,000,000) could do it but B&H does not carry those!
LOL back to you. Be sure to use a really good UV filter.
05-20-2020, 09:22 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rml63 Quote
In researching battery powered strobes this is what weighs on my decision . While it is great to have a light like the Godox 1200pro that has lots of flexibility (over powering ambient light) it weighs 18lbs on it’s own. The following are some approximate weights of some of the systems I have been looking at.

1. Godox ad1200pro 18lbs plus stand (2lbs) and bag(16lbs) = 36lbs approx.

2. Godox H1200B 14lbs (2 x 600ad heads) stand (2lbs) and bag (16lbs) = 32lbs approx

3. Godox ad200pro x 4 10lbs(4 units) 4 stand (8lbs) and bag (8lbs) just a guess = 26lbs approx


As you can see the weight of the bigger units is certainly something to consider if you are taking out in the field to do shots of trucks, tractors , boats and large subjects. The Ad200 pro set of 4 weighs less but how would you ever make up for that lack of power if you were interested in lights of 1200ws? And I guess my next question is having never used a strobe how many times would the average hobby photographer need 1200ws of power?

To have more latitude to work with the ambient light is certainly an advantage of the larger units, but shooting the same subject in either blue hour, sunrise or sunset seems to me would not require as much flash power. The obvious advantage of the 1200ws system is you can shoot in much brighter ambient conditions and still be able to get the exposure you are happy with.

How did you guys come to a final decision on portability vs power ? As a beginner I would be very interested.

Mike
My studio lights are box and cable, not watermelons on sticks. This makes for a very portable system. The power pack and 4 heads fis easily into a medium sized Samsonite suitcase. If I need more power than I can get from my old Metz 60 series flash with the Mecatwin head, I take a small Honda Generator on site.
05-31-2020, 05:42 AM   #13
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I have only had a couple times where my AD600 wasn't enough light. But this was easily overcome with changing modifiers (taking out internal diffuser for example) or compromising on settings. But I am more often surprised at how my AD200 is enough light for what I need.
06-07-2020, 06:24 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I'll just share my progression through on-location flash photography.

I started out cheap -- 3 Yongnuo 560IVs and a 560-TX(for Nikon) and the cheapest light stands I could find. I eventually got 3 more 560IVs and another 560-TX. The reason for the two transmitters...I would frequently use two body lens outfits with the flash controllers at events where one was set up to use for formal portraits and the other was used for candid shots during the event with the four flashes set up around the room. I also have amazon high capacity rechargeables and battery packs which give me more flash pops than I've ever needed.

I used the yongnuos for a couple of years before deciding I wanted to take advantage of HSS for those daylight hour portraits where you want to open up the lens. I ended up with flashpoint(godox) AD600s manual version plush the Pentax controller. While they are heavy I never regret having them with me for portraits. They are great for both power and consistency.

I still use the yongnuo's today -- as recently as this past weekend. The great thing about them is that mishaps are more affordable. During a portrait session, one fell over into the water. I haven't replaced it yet, but don't feel the loss since it was only $60 and I've got more than $60 use from it.

I have the AD200's on my list for a lighter kit to take with my well off the beaten path. Lenses are on my list before getting the flashes though.

The below was done with three yongnuo's ganged up behind an umbrella. So you can compensate for the light even with these cheap flashes. This works here because my subject is much smaller than what you mention as your subjects. If you are talking about lighting up and overcoming daylight with subjects the size of tractors, vehicles, etc, you'll probably want to lean to something with more power. I'm definitely no expert at this as I still learn something each time I go into the field. I think though, the bigger struggle for you may be with your subject size. Lighting something like a car during bright daylight hours and what distance the flashes will need to be from the subject to keep them out of frame. I've never tried it, so I can't really say much about that, but the framing and flash distance are the first things that come to mind when going through the setup.

Sorry, I got a little long-winded, but I hope it helps.

myFlickr

Last edited by rtmarwitz; 06-07-2020 at 06:28 AM. Reason: corrected spelling from gained to ganged -- clarity
06-29-2020, 08:22 PM   #15
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Don't forget the AD-B2 and using 2 AD200's for 400ws for a little less than AD400 Pro plus more versatile

2X eVolv 200 + AD-B2 = $537
AD400 Pro =$549
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