Alien Bees

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by FrankieTDouglas, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    Anyone have experience with the Alien Bees lights? I'm pondering getting a two light kit for studio usage. I had considered getting a Nikon sb600 to act as a slave for my sb800, but the power and pricing of the Bees seems too good a deal to pass up.

    My main subject is artistic portrait work. Upper torso and head.
  2. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    Alien Bees are excellent lights. THE standard which all other "budget" lights are compared to. Another good budget light are Interfit Stellar lights.

    I have an Alien Bee B400 and I really like it. Really the only thing to watch out for is that they have a tendency to have color temperature shifts below 1/4 power.
  3. cgratti macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2004
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    I have the AB800's, love them. For the price you can't go wrong. If your going to buy them buy at least the 800's, 1600's if you can afford them. The build quality is good and sturdy, Alienbees support is second to none!

    Going to purchase the ringflah in the spring, they are having a few minor issues with it and hopefully by spring they will be worked out.
  4. Unorthodox macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2006
    Not at the beach...
    Aww man...
    This thread title had so much potential.....
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I bought a used Norman setup for a shade less than the prices I see on the above web site. But I got 20 year old used stuff. The alienbees stuff looks to have everything you need: Powerful strobe, model light and way to attach light modifiers.

    Yes you are right studio lights are the way to go. Not just because these are low priced but because they have so much more power and versatility. But buying a lighting system is like buying an SLR. You are committed to buying all their stuff when you expand the system.

    The ONLY reason to use an on-camera strobe like the SB800 is if you need the portability. If you have time to set up lights the results will be much better.

    One thing. Buy a hand held flash meter. You can get buy making test shots and looking at the histogram display on the back of the camera but a meter makes it easier.

    My setup is older but looks a lot like this:
    but paid about 1/3rd that price.
    This kind of gear is so durable that it will outlast four camera systems. It can be repaired forever as they used standard parts.

    I'd say go with what you found unless you get lucky lie I did and can find an industrial grade outfit at a comparable price

    Speedotron is another old brand you can look for.
  6. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    I use the digibee kit with the two 400 lights and the 150 power system The 150 is the large battery for location work. I also use another set of monolights that were cheap and readily available but the AB are the deal! They can't be beat. If you have more cash than my office did get the more powerful set. Even though for digital work with a Nikon D2h the 400's are great because I usually dial the way down to shoot anyway. The AB's have a great ratio slider and are very portable. The battery pack seems to be a general unit branded for Alien Bees. The research I did showed all the battery packs to be the same shape, size and power output. I actually took ours apart, easy but don't tell my boss and think you could fab one up easily. It is a small battery and inverter built into a carry case with a large grounding screw. I carry a power strip and easily run the lights as long as needed. I use a softbox with my set up and it works nice. It is large and easy to compact into a carry case.
  7. dllavaneras macrumors 68000


    Feb 12, 2005
    Caracas, Venezuela
    :D this made me spill my coffee! But I agree, I expected some sort of mutant bees :p

    I've heard many, many good things from alien bees, they seem to be one of the top choices in lighting, based on things I've read in different forums (dpreview, fredmiranda, etc)
  8. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    May 26, 2006
    Gainesville, FL
    We have 2 AB 1600s at school and we couldn't live without them. We're probably getting some 400s and 800s, possibly a few more 1600s too.

    Fantastic for conventional portraits, though we've adapted them to many other uses as well.

    We typically use them with umbrellas, but we also have a big octabox that works amazingly well.
  9. FrankieTDouglas thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    Pulled the trigger on them! This was actually my belated graduation gift was 2005. Works out well, since I didn't start on the photo MFA until just now!

    The breakdown of the gear... and the photo results should be coming in next week!

    2 - AlienBees B800-Alien Green
    2 - AlienBees Carrying Bag
    1 - 10-foot General Purpose Stand
    1 - 13-foot Heavy Duty Stand
    2 - Radio Flash Trigger One Receiver
    1 - Radio Flash Trigger One Transmitter
    1 - Large Softbox (with LGSR)
    1 - 48? Silver/White Umbrella
    1 - 48? Shoot-Thru Umbrella
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location

Share This Page