Our 2 Favorite Medium Strobes | Transcription

It is time for our two favorite medium strobes. What are these? Well, these are four to five times the power of pocket strobes yet they’re still more portable, than a full studio strobe. We’re not even covering really studio strobes in this course, it’s going to be saved for later down the road but we will be doing quite a bit of medium strobe action. Why? As you guys are going to find out flashing with a flash not like – flashing people that are walking by you on the streets- but for purposes of photography. When you are in midday sunlight and you are trying to add light to a scene, if you want to overpower the sun and use a light modifier, a pocket strobe is not going to be enough.

That’s where we have to turn to at least medium strobes, if not going to full strobes. Medium strobes, for the most part, will be able to overpower the sun even with modifications so long as they are held at least somewhat close to the subject. Whereas, the pocket strobe you going to need three to five of them to be able to do the same thing and that gets cumbersome.

Let’s talk about our two favorite medium strobes. These are strobes that we’ve taken on many, many shoots. These are brands and well … brands as in Profoto that we’ve used a lot and Bolt that we’ve used a lot. Under Bolt in different names and so forth, but these are just two flashes that we’ve used enough to recommend wholeheartedly.

Let’s start from this side, we have one option … Basically we are presenting two options to you, one is a high power manual flash. This is a manual medium strobe, the other one is a high power, this is a full feature medium strobe over here on the right side, the Profoto B2 okay, so manual full feature. Over here on the left side, you can see we have the Bolt VB-22.

This guy right here, the Bolt VB-22 it looks like Frankenstein, looks like this crazy thing, it’s an open bulb flash, which is kind of nice for several things. If this bulb burn out you can replace them very very easily they’re very inexpensive and you can be to go again. The unit is very well built actually but you’ll notice that this is branded under BOLT, but if you buy this through BNH it’s sold under the BOLT brand. If you buy this from other brands – like you can actually but it from Cheater and it will be branded under Cheater, there also Godox I think the original brand was actually the Godox, G-O-D-O-X. Regardless of the brand they’re actually made in the same place and they just you know brand them accordingly based on wherever they’re going and so forth in the world and whatever retailer.

I don’t know it’s confusing, frankly as a consumer I find it kind of irritating but whatever. This worked extremely well. Now to have or basically power this guy you’re going to need the battery pack. This is the Cyclone PP-4000DR with the most ridiculous name in the world.  I don’t know why. What is the VB-22 even mean? I don’t know . I don’t know why they can’t give them more simple names whatever.

With this you’re going to have to have a little cable that’s going to connect you to the battery pack. Now I’m going to show you that cable without hopefully dropping my battery pack. There we go. This is the little coil cable that it comes with, you can also get a double headed cable, okay. You can get get a cable that’ll actually go to both these ports when you’re firing one single flash that will reduce the recycle time by about half. The recycle time when you’re using full power is about 7 seconds now that’s sounds like a lot, it is actually a lot, but with that cable it takes down to 3.5 seconds or around 4 seconds.

The other thing you need to remember is that you’re firing at one over one power is equivalent to four to five pocket strobes. Which means that you don’t have to use this at full power but if you do, you’re going to be looking at a minimum of 4 seconds up to 7 seconds and so forth to recycle depending on which cable you’re using.

Price point is 509 bucks for the VB-22 along with the battery pack. That’s for  your…a single flash head. Now we have to add on third party radio systems or you can also I believe Bolt.. at least the other brands. Godox has their own radio triggering system we didn’t get it for the Bolt because I don’t know if it was available at that time, but it is available. They have their own third party system … they have their own factory system that you can get to trigger those.

We were using pack wards of plus three which if you get two of these, that’s 300 bucks extra. 809 bucks for basically one off camera flash head. Now if you want to stack two heads you’re looking at another $400 – $500, so around $1300 is your price point if you want two heads for double the power off of that single battery pack. Just remember recycled times will suffer the more time you try and run through a single battery pack. Okay, you’re looking around that rough price range but you’re getting four to five times the power so while it sounds like a lot … If you were to get 4 Phottix Mitros or five Phottix Mitros flashes to match this you’re looking at far more. You’re looking at $1600 to $2000 even if you’re trying … I mean and that becomes very cumbersome. I mean how are you going to fire those five flashes together to match the power of these?

If you need the power it’s a great option okay. It’s very simple to use , it’s one of the pro’s, it’s super simple to use. The interface in the back is very easy, just open it up and start going. Just open it up and start going. It’s very powerful. it’s rated at 300Ws. I always say be cautious of factory settings okay or factory ratings, because it’s roughly four to five pockets strobes which puts it around like maybe 250 -300Ws . I don’t know about 360 but whatever, it’s always based on how they decide to measure it, there’s not really a standardized system to go across the board on that. It’s relatively inexpensive for the power that you’re getting . We have a high capacity external battery. It’s simple to use and we have replaceable bulbs. Now, the cons it’s that it’s a manual flash only okay. You don’t have rear curtain sync , you don’t have high speeds sync or any of that which means that you’re going to need to use neutral density filters.

If you’re using a manual flash and you don’t have high speed sync with that manual flash then … which you wouldn’t because only full featured flashes have that then you need to be using neutral density filters to cut down the light so that you can slow the sync speed down to something that will actually sync with the pocket wizard or other radio trigger. Okay, so the other cons was this slow recycle time without that other special dual headed wire, that cable. Also the output and color consistency can vary a little bit from shot to shot , you’re going to notice this with inexpensive flashes. The color temperature and output can vary slightly between images. For most people this is not going to make a huge difference, but if you are shooting professionally and you need consistent color and power output from image to image, you need to go with something more professional like a Profoto or anything above that range, because that’s what these are designed for basically okay.

We require third party radio triggers, there’s not a radio trigger built in or you can use the factory one but you still have to buy that one separately. Also the selection of modifiers is the other con to this. Basically, you’re going to need to get modifiers for your unit here, and the factory themselves have a certain number of modifiers but outside of that, I mean, there’s not that many modifiers that they offer that. You could get like a beauty dish, you could get like you know it comes with a few different types of reflectors and so forth. Outside of that you’re going to need to look to third-party devices that actually work with these and because it’s an open source bulb head you have to do a little bit of testing and see what works. The one that we found that works the best is the Profoto R-5 speed ring, it will allow this to mount. We will demonstrate it later and it can fit all the way inside and power that. Okay, let’s go on to our high power, or basically our medium strobe that’s a full feature flash, and that’s this guy.

This is the Profoto B2 all right. This is just actually barely been released which is quite awesome. Now of course with this guy we have our sync port right here, but the great thing about the B2 system okay, the great thing about Profoto is that it works with the air TTL remote system. Which is this guy. Now I have shoes on all these things by the way just don’t be surprised when it arrives and it doesn’t have a shoe. This is how it comes okay. Just a quick little note there I just want this to stand up and to look pretty, and to shout to you, “I’m here look at me.” They wouldn’t do that if they were just lying in their sides. All right so this guy is absolutely fantastic.

Why, because we have full TTL functionality, we have full feature functionality, we have high-speed sync, rear curtain sync, we have everything controlled grouping all that kind of stuff from this simple user interface, and look I still have the plastic ‘thingi’ on here too. On everything, keep nice people , keep it nice. We can control all here and it’s an extremely elegant design. Again, I always test any of this items that come to me. My first test is, can I take it out of the box and use it without reading a single manual. If I can, then I consider it the user interface and the design of it very intuitive.

This follows that to the tee. This is the most intuitive radio system I think have ever used and it’s absolutely fantastic, it has a beautiful display as well. With this I can control power settings, I can control everything on those on the B2, I can control all the settings and so forth just directly from here. I don’t need anything externally so this already has the radio built into this, so I don’t need any additional cables and so forth. All right with this system what are we getting?

The downside to the B2 obviously is the price point okay. We are looking at $2200 just for the B2 kit but that doesn’t even include this air TTL system okay. You need the air TTL remote and that’s never $400 dollars. For your first off camera flash your looking at $2600 dollars if you want to get a second head for the B2 your looking at another $800 which puts you at $3400. In total you’re working at roughly three times the price of the both the manual flash option over here on the left side. You have a good budget manual medium strobe option and you have a great kind of investible professional full feature option over here on the right side. The benefits are of course TTL first curtain, second curtain sync we already mentioned. We have a powerful four to five equivalent pocket strobe output, which again this is rated around 250Ws this is 360Ws honestly they are extremely similar I would not say that this puts out any more light than this guy. They’re very similar on that rage so I would just say that roughly around 5 pocket strobes in power.

We have fantastic full power recycle times and we don’t extra cables, you don’t need anything. This guy this battery pack … This is one of the things that you get when you go Profoto, when you go with the professional series options you get better recycle times, more consistent color temperature, more consistent power from shot to shot. We’re getting 1.4-second full power recycles on this guy that means we’re putting off five times the power of pocket strobes and it’s recycling three times as fast as a pocket, two or three times as fast as a pocket strobe consistently.

We get a beautiful simple radio system a polished designed operation, every thing on this is incredible to use its very polished, very well made. The rubbers and the materials used are extremely high quality. You drop this guy it’s going to keep working, but don’t drop it. Seriously why would you want to drop this guy? It’s expensive, don’t drop it.

We get consistent flash recycle power and temperature outputs. If you’re … The way that’s matters is that if you want to get everything into post production, lets say we did a product shoot, we have a 100 images, we want to batch process everything you better the power and the temperature is consistent to able to butch process all of those. If it’s not then you have to make small adjustments between every single image and it’s a work full of problems. It creates more time. Yes, you can still get the same results with one of these guys but you going to save a tremendous amount of time with one of these guys. Also with Profoto we get the whole lineup of Profoto modifiers. These heads are designed to fit all Profoto modifiers so you get that whole line of heads and modification on that will fit your flash head. The lineup that Profoto has is [inaudible 00:11:44] probably the most expensive line of flash modifiers you can get so they are fantastic for that.

The main con, really the only con that you’re going for here is again three times the investment. I always say that it’s not three times more expensive but because you’re getting three times the quality, and the usage, and the workflow savings, and everything you’re getting all that with this but it is three times the investment okay. This isn’t overpriced, what it is it’s a value based on what you getting but it’s expensive. It’s an investment that you going to have to make but if it’s one that you can make, it’s highly worthwhile to do so.

All right, so that’s it for our two favorite medium strobes. I gave you guys two options both of which we’ve used extensively. They’re both options that we stand wholeheartedly behind, one on the budget manual medium strobes side which is the Bolt VB-22 one on the professional full featured side which is the Profoto B2.