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02-24-2011, 04:25 PM   #1
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QQ250 Studio Strobes any good?

Forum member D4rknezz has posted a bit about his experience with the QQ250 studio strobes from Gadget Infinity at the Cactus V5 review thread.

I created this thread in order to discuss these strobes without losing focus in the Cactus V5 review thread.

QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
I have purchased the QQ250 studio strobes from gadget infinity last year, i would advise against them.
Interesting. I was wondering whether their lighting equipment was worth looking at.

QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
They are not very powerful strobes, and my speedlights can easily overpower them by 3 to 4 stops.
Are they less powerful than the guide number 48 they are advertised for? There are of course flashes that are more powerful than this. A guide number of 48 seems low considering that light modifiers, such as a softbox, will eat quite some light. Is it too little power in practice?

I guess the ability to dial the output power continuously rather than in jumps and the facts that they have modelling lights are points in favour for them. Too bad that one cannot dial them lower than 1/16 power. Or is that really dim already?

Does the intensity of the modelling light change when you adjust the strobe power? It would be very helpful if it did.

Their recycling times seem good. Have you compared it to your speedlights?

QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
My units are a little funny too, they make screeching noises when dialed less than full power. ( I emailed them and was told this was within normal perimeter).
Uh, that doesn't sound good (no pun intended ). Is it a faint sound or easy to hear from normal distances? Is it a constant noise or does it only occur while they are recharging?

QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
Since the accessories sold in stores over here supports the mainstream strobe brands such as bowens, profoto, elinchrome, etc, I was faced with the dilemma of buying light diffusers and softboxes from gadget infinity for a QQ strobe that i already didnt want anymore. I ended up using it naked.
I guess incompatibility of light modifiers between different brands is just the unfortunate normal case. Or can one swap over any modifiers from one brand to another among those you listed?

QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
That said, I am pleased with cactus V4s, and have purchased other stuffs from gadgetinfinity and they have been a great seller otherwise.
Fully agree.


Last edited by Class A; 02-24-2011 at 04:51 PM.
02-24-2011, 09:05 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I guess the ability to dial the output power continuously rather than in jumps and the facts that they have modelling lights are points in favour for them. Too bad that one cannot dial them lower than 1/16 power. Or is that really dim already?

Does the intensity of the modelling light change when you adjust the strobe power? It would be very helpful if it did.
The intensity of the modelling light does not change with the strobe power. Its just a yellow bulb, and not exactly very bright at that. I realized this after purchasing a couple other strobes.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Their recycling times seem good. Have you compared it to your speedlights?
Truthfully with strobes I have never had any problem with the recycling time.
But, in all fairness, I am very certain that the recycling time is very good. My speedlight noticeable charges slower as I get to the end of the shooting session. While my speedlight will not fire as it charges slower and slower, these QQ strobes has never not fired.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Uh, that doesn't sound good (no pun intended ). Is it a faint sound or easy to hear from normal distances? Is it a constant noise or does it only occur while they are recharging?
This screeching noise happens when i dial lower than full power. It happens with both units, and it will disappear for a little, or occasionally, when I dial up just a little. So the practice becomes...dial down...then tweak up just a little.
It screeches all the time, and if there was a ready beep, i never heard it.
It can be heard from normal distance, but truthfully, i am quite tolerant for noise; and I learn to ignore it and blast lady gaga while i am shooting. But it is not faint at all, and some of my friends who are more sensitive to sound are not pleased by it.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I guess incompatibility of light modifiers between different brands is just the unfortunate normal case. Or can one swap over any modifiers from one brand to another among those you listed?
Well, i am new to this; but the camera stores here in canada are not much help to me. Henry's over here only carries Bowen brand, and I think their sales rep dont know how to answer that when I asked them. I dont even know how a bowen modifier latches on to a bowen light.

Vistek carries elinchrome, profoto and other major brands, and again i dont think their sales rep can reliably answer that question. I think the only way I can have that question answered is to actually bring a QQ250 head to the store and show them. (which i didnt do, in restrospect i should have...).

The unit themselves did have a hole to put an umbrella through, of normal size. So i bought myself an umbrella to diffuse the light.


QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Are they less powerful than the guide number 48 they are advertised for? There are of course flashes that are more powerful than this. A guide number of 48 seems low considering that light modifiers, such as a softbox, will eat quite some light. Is it too little power in practice?
I wrote a long reply on this subject, cautioning that I am not an expert on strobes. While doing this, I researched some more on the subject too. I am going to have to be honest, as much as it pains me, please take a look at the two following photos.

Gadget Infinity :: Digital Camera :: Light Source :: Value Combo :: Jinbei QQ250 Studio Strobe Combo 110V

Jinbei QQ250 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

As you can see from the photos, the pictures from gadgetinfinity website has the bulb protector on. The picture on the flickr side has a reflector on and no bulb protector.

I dont know how to say this and not look or sound stoooopid :ugh:, but anyway. The novice that I am, I did not know that the black thing is a protector that is supposed to be taken off when shooting. In fact, i just realized it while writing this. Naked bulb? duuuuuhhhhhh......protect it so that i wont break it accidentally!

To be fair to me, i dont...think there was instruction to take it off either.
But to be double fair to the QQ, I bought a pro level strobe the other day, and it didnt have instructions to take off the protector either. I just did it cuz with the pro level strobe I can't mount a softbox any other way.

With the QQ i can mount umbrella just fine with the protector on.

So, all other questions answered correctly, in regards to its power i will have to do more testing to be fair.
I have the units in my friend's basement, along with my other strobes, and will post here as soon as I have my findings. Hopefully this weekend.
02-24-2011, 10:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
The intensity of the modelling light does not change with the strobe power.
Oops, that's a major bummer. Makes it impossible to judge how a mixture of light sources will look like unless they are all at the same power.

QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
Its just a yellow bulb, and not exactly very bright at that.
Not bright with or without the protector?


QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
It can be heard from normal distance, but truthfully, i am quite tolerant for noise;
I'm not.

QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
I did not know that the black thing is a protector that is supposed to be taken off when shooting.
OK, taking it off is bound to very significantly increase the power output. I guess the modelling light will also be OK (it seems you haven't tried it without the protector either).

QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
I have the units in my friend's basement, along with my other strobes, and will post here as soon as I have my findings. Hopefully this weekend.
Looking forward to hearing from you again.
02-25-2011, 12:20 PM   #4
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At that price point, one might want to investigate the Adorama Flashpoint FP320M and FP620M - those units seem very well regarded (I have been VERY tempted to order a set.)

02-27-2011, 04:23 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
At that price point, one might want to investigate the Adorama Flashpoint FP320M and FP620M...
Does their modelling light power adjust with the strobe power setting?
02-27-2011, 08:48 AM   #6
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So um,

I had a little time to meter the QQ strobes again.
So at ISO 80, approximately 2 arms length and 160 shutter speed, we are getting f7.1 ish.

Which is pretty good, actually.
Now about the screeching noise...., I have gotten Elinchrome strobes, and they make noises too when working. I believe its the fan. The elinchrome ones hum...

Although its weird, the QQ one screeches only when its not on full power.

There ya go But if you dont mind the noise (which may only be my 2 units?) , i am retracting my comment on its power, its definitely usable.
02-27-2011, 04:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
So at ISO 80, approximately 2 arms length and 160 shutter speed, we are getting f7.1 ish.
Thanks for the update. Was this without any light modifiers?

I guess the Elinchromes are more powerful?
Do you know how much?
What model do you own?
02-27-2011, 08:17 PM   #8
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Hi , thanks for the questions, i keep forgetting information. :ugh:

This was bounced off a silver reflective umbrella. The 2 arms away length was from subject to the umbrella center.

The elinchromes should be a lot more powerful, though i am not sure by how much (back home again, my lights are not home with me).....i found out strobes are typically measured by Watts, and speedlights by guide number.

So the elinchromes I own are the 600 RX Elinchrom Style 600 RX Flash Head (120V) Dark Grey Housing Self-Contained Strobe 20726.1VS - Vistek Canada Product Detail ..., 600 watts compared to the 250 watt QQs. Though, for the difference in price point, as you can see, the QQ is a lot cheaper.

If you are serious about looking for strobes, i think you should start with the accessories (softboxes, octaboxes, beauty dishes, etc), and see what you would like having. (by the way, take my advises with a grain of salt, i am a novice...>_< )

For example, I wanted a beauty dish and an octabox. So i searched for these within the brand names out there, and came up with several. Then using their price point, i then look at the brand's strobes. Then i add the prices together, and came with what i purchased.

If you start with the strobes first, you will find out later that accessories may be hard to come by, or very expensive, or does not exists. For example, take the QQ...it doesnt have an octabox or a beauty dish attachment to it. Which means if I really like the look that an octabox gives, that purchase is moot.

After looking at the attachments, then i will look at the connection to the camera. Am i using a cable to trigger the strobes, or a radio trigger, or optical ? If using radio triggers, will it be compatible with what I own? If I use optical, will it accidentally trigger with the pre-flash? Or in the case of elinchromes, will their radio trigger work with other strobes i may have?

Finally, I have 2 different models of elinchromes. While the modelling light does increase in intensity with the power; the different models have different intensities themselves. So....if you are going to use the modelling light for your ratios, you better have the same type of strobes all across the board, or invest in a meter....

02-28-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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Seems like light modifiers may adhere to some sort of standard mount after all. The description of the Jinbei QQ250 Soft box 90cm x 60cm says the mount is "a standard 10cm bayonet-type mount". I'll have to look into whether other strobe systems also support that mount.

BTW, I emailed Gadget Infinity regarding the modelling light and they confirmed that it doesn't change intensity with the flash power. I think that pretty much rules out the strobe for me. They did, however, say that the screeching is not a known issue. Was it there from the beginning or did it develop over time, perhaps because the strobe overheated?
02-28-2011, 03:49 PM   #10
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It was there from the beginning. For both strobes in the kit. I msged you their reply to my inquiry...
02-28-2011, 07:42 PM   #11
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So after comparing notes with Class A, it seems that there may have beeen a misunderstanding between me and gadgetinfinity, where they may have assumed I was referring to noise stemming from QQ250 charging up its power prior to firing.

Ironically, my units make no noise when is at full power, charging state or not, and have constant screeching noise when not in full power, unless dialed up in power a little. So i.e; if I had set it to 1/3 power, it will start screeching, and I would tweak it so that its at 1/25 power. The noise will then stop until i fire the strobe, at which point the noise will start again, so i will have to dial it up to 1/2.

I have no reason to believe that I may have just gotten unlucky with these units (I just got a replacement unit for my METZ 58-2 that was DOA...even german engineering fails now and then...hahah).

Besides the annoying screeching noise, the QQ strobes have little charging time, and is perhaps a good solution for starter photographers wanting to play with strobes and not wanting to spend thousands. Watch the shipping costs, as these units are heavy, and the savings may not be that much in the end.
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