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Gear & Apps

DigiBees | Paul C. Buff Releases Digital Counterpart To Popular AlienBees

By Shivani Reddy on July 20th 2016

AlienBee’s hotter younger brother has arrived, and boy does he have promise. With a full power recycle time of 0.5 seconds, the new Digibee flash units designed by the Paul C. Buff Company offer the latest in strobe technology, and as always a sensible price tag.

AlienBees: America’s Favorite Flash Units

alienbee-flash-unit

Now, before we throw aside it’s trusted predecessor, let’s talk about the reputable qualities of the AlienBee. Since it’s creation in 2001, AlienBees have served as “America’s favorite flash units” proving most popular for portrait photographers around the world. They were developed to be the perfect balance between price and quality in addition to having durable build, and record-breaking power at that price point (at that time). Offering up 160ws to 640ws of power, AlienBees (B400, B800, B1600) still rank as the Buff Company’s “hottest products, combining powerful performance with intelligent design and simple controls.”

DigiBees: See What the Buzz Is About

Although AlienBee’s still prove to be both versatile and indestructible, the Buff Company brings us DigiBees, a digitally-controlled, self-contained flash unit that gives us an upgraded look and functionality. Available in two-output models, the DB400 unit (160ws) and the DB800 unit (320ws), each unit offers “consistent output, short flash durations, fast recycle, and true “What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get” modeling lamp accuracy with a new digital interface”.

digibees-alienbees-flash-unit

The clear aesthetic difference between the two can be seen in the transformation of the analog knobs to digital LED screens, endorsing greater accuracy in adjustments and settings. The flash manufacturer maintains a consistent brand theme by creating four dynamic, vibrant color options for the new digital flash units. The DigiBee is designed for heavy duty use, but the Buff Company boasts of its un-bee-lievably “tiny size and lightweight frame making it ready for travel.”

Currently, orders can be placed for the new self-contained flash units on the Paul C. Buff website, and shipping will begin the week of July 25th, 2016. The DB400 comes in at around $310 while the DB800 prices for $350. Searching for other options for high-powered strobes? Here are some of our recommendations:

Bolt VB-22 Bare-Bulb Flash
Profoto B1 500 Air TTL
Profoto B2 250 Air TTL
Interfit S1 500Ws HSS TTL Battery-Powered Monolight

[REWIND: Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Review: The Beauty of This Beast

Want to see the new DigiBees in action? Watch Fstoppers writer Nino’s review of the product below:

Shivani wants to live in a world where laughter is the cure to pretty much everything. Since she can’t claim “Serial Bingewatcher” as an occupation, she’ll settle for wedding/portrait photographer at Lin and Jirsa & marketing coordinator here at SLR Lounge. For those rare moments when you won’t find a camera in her hand, she will be dancing, eating a donut, or most likely watching Seinfeld.

Follow her on Instagram: @shivalry_inc

Q&A Discussions

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  1. J Cortes

    Nice aesthetic , but I would like for PCB to push the envelope . As Brayn Dockett mentioned The Godox AD 600 and Flashpoint equivalent are better alternatives.

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  2. Bryan Dockett

    After a lot of recent research and debating I’d like to suggest an additional alternative. The Godox AD600 (also rebrand by the big retails under their respective house brands)
    When compared to the Interfit S1 which I considered
    The Godox has a bigger battery; higher power output; has all the same features; weights the same; and is $400 cheaper w/ the HSS trigger. The casing is a hard plastic vs a metal one on the interfit unit
    Important to note that only authorized deals in the US sale the TTL version so the price in a bit more maybe $150 difference; unless you want to check ebay. Amazon model; bowen mount, manual, hhs & trigger = $595

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    • Alberto Cabrera

      Actually the Manual version of the AD600 is $600 and the trigger set is little over $100 together. This is also two different strobes. The AD600 was made for location/outside and the Digibees are studio strobes, thou you can use them for location with the external battery pack. You also have the powerful LED modeling light for the Digibees that can do continuous light vs the AD600 which is barely visible.

      If you are going to do a comparison the AD360 bare bulb flash would be the one. No modeling light, but for $350 you get the same power output, ease of use and the trigger system. Not to mention it includes the external battery pack too.

      Thou I am curious why they didn’t include Adoramas Flashpoint version. BHPhotos Bolt version is highly over price.

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  3. Ryan Bartels

    We just picked up four more Einsteins, but I also preoredered one of these to see how it would replace an AB800 for international travel.

    I like the push button rear design, addition of the CyberSync Transceiver port and domed optical slave, but I’m also intrigued by the 400 watt LED modeling lamp that can be used with the Vagabond pack. In addition, the LED (5600K balanced) can be used as “hot” light if one so desired. Not sure if there will be a flicker issue, but if not, this could make a nice 2-in-1 photo/video setup for on-the-go work.

    I travel to Africa every summer and have been packing 2 AB800s. If I can cram 2 of these in basically the same bag space as one AB AND get the benefits of the LED, this will be more than worth it for my travel needs.

    If it works for my needs, I’ll pick up at least one more.

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  4. Max C

    It’s 2016, we need HSS and on-board battery. Did they design this strobe 5 years ago?

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  5. Max C

    Paul C. Buff died why are all reviewers talking like he is alive and created the strobe. His company created the strobe but he has passed on.

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    • Holly Roa

      Max, the company is called Paul C. Buff so unless they change the name, that is what reviewers will say. Though, now that you mention it it does sound a little eerie…but that’s an issue for the company, which is probably not a priority for them given the amount of name recognition they’ve got now.

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  6. Erika Pinkley

    Very solid review here. I love that he gave us a solid breakdown of both pros and cons on his mind.

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  7. William Carter

    If these had been released 2 months ago. I might have tried them out. Especially since I already have a Vagabond Mini (which I love). Instead I went with the Elinchrom ELB400 and the new Skyport Plus HS for location work. No complaints. The freedom to shoot mid day without an ND filter is amazing!

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