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3 light combo kit from Paul Buff

Wink11Wink11 Member
edited July 2013 in flash & lighting
Hi, I'm excited and giving serious consideration about buying a lighting kit. I will be using it in a small home studio and possibly take it on location.


It includes 2 AlienBee 800 and 1 AlienBee 400 w/ softbox, umbrella, stands, triggers. I will be using it in a small home studio and possibly take it on location.

Does anyone here have the AlienBee system and what do you think about this kit? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks ;)


  • I don't have any PCB stuff but I generally only hear good things about them. The question I have is whether you want to do this entire kit of stuff, some of which you may not want/need, or buy pieces?

    Example: If you wanted three lights, do you really want two of them to be AB800's and one to be an AB400? Do you really want the 64" umbrella? Do you really want the Cybersyncs, or would you rather some of the other triggers out on the market? Etc.

    I think it might be better to build a system than to try to buy a pre-built one. My $0.02 only though.
  • Wink11Wink11 Member
    Hey, Nikonguy!! I totally get where you are coming from. I'm finding the whole kit/want's/needs overwhelming! I'm very new to gear and not 100% sure what exactly I need. It is almost paralyzing at times.

    I did want pocketwizards at first. I called B and H and he said I prob need 3 of this model http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/925118-REG/pocketwizard_801_129_plus_x_transceiver.html

    If I go w/ the kit, they have triggers already included. I get that the wizard is more versatile...but that is money I really don't have.

    What I do know, I want 3 lights. I will be shooting newborns/young children and possibly taking on location for model type head shots.

    I am open to suggestions. If you had a different choice for the 64" umbrella and the AB400 I'd love to know what it is. These were the two items I was thinking of switching up. This kit umbrella offered has Extreme Silver, I was wondering if soft silver would be a better choice? Or just forgo the umbrella and get another softbox??

    I'm looking forward to a setup!!

  • Wink:

    I only have the AlienBee B1600 and Vagabond Mini and use a Radio Popper JRX to control the B1600, it works perfectly. The only reason I don’t have more AlienBee’s is that I already have a set of moonlight and modifiers from another manufacture. If I was starting over I would get the same set you order. When I get additional or have to replace equipment I’ll get more Paul Buff equipment.

  • I guess I would go with only AB800's and skip the 400 (the 800 is twice the power for a little more money). For the triggers for them, maybe look at the Yongnuo YN-622N (I will assume you shoot Nikon). These can do full TTL which are better than the Paul Buff Cybersyncs. So you can use them with Nikon flashes if you want, or as a dumb trigger for strobes like the AB800. I think you can get 4 for like $150 (they are all the same transceiver, rather than a separate part for the transmitter and one for the receiver). So one on your camera, and one connected to each AB strobe. I would probably go with softboxes rather than umbrellas. I don't know, maybe if you add up all that you get to a similar price to what you were looking at...
  • Wink11Wink11 Member
    edited July 2013
    Thanks for your responses! Quin, I'm glad to hear you like the AlienBee. I used them 2 years ago in a photography class at the local college. They seemed to be pretty good.

    I think I will keep the kit as is and change the one umbrella to a soft silver. I may change that 400 to a 800. The 1600 isn't in my budget.

    I'm so excited to get started! 3 lights, a softbox, umbrella, stand, triggers, diffuser panel!! My poor family will never see me again. Either that, or they will run from me so they don't have to model for my test exposure.

    I'll take a look at the yongnuo because yes, I do shoot Nikon! :) Thanks
  • Wink:

    You may want to consider the Radio Popper JRX system, you won’t have TTL but you’ll be able to manually adjust the power on the three AlienBees independently from your camera. The Radio Popper JRX can manually adjust Canon and Nikon flashes from your camera, to do this you’ll need a $30 adapter for each flash. You can also use the Radio Popper JRX as dumb triggers like the Pocket Wizards. I have both Radio Popper JRX and Pocket Wizards II, as dumb triggers there is no difference both are very reliable. I would recommend the Radio Popper JRX over the Pocket Wizards as you can manually adjust 3 flashes from your camera and Radio Popper JRX are less expensive. If I had known about the Radio Popper JRX system earlier I would not have gotten the Pocket Wizards.

  • Wink,
    I have to agree with Quin. The Paul Buff triggers only work with Paul Buff products. I have both the Radiopopper JrX and PX systems. At weddings I use a combination of both and have found them to be very reliable. Heres a link to a Radiopopper being used with an Alienbee:

    The Alienbees work very well and there customer support is very good. Think about where your heading in the future and what your needs might be. Spending a little more now may save you money in the future.
  • MatrixphotoMatrixphoto Member
    edited July 2013
    Hi Wink
    I wound't get the Aliens Bees... I would go for Einstein instead. Even if you can only afford one or two. The colour and power output is much more stable at any setting you can use these flashes for years to come. Also I would get PWs even if its a basic Receiver /Transmitter much more reelable and you can grow with them.I found the Paul C Bluff kept killing the batteries.

    Lou Recine
    Matrix Photo
  • Wink11Wink11 Member
    Thanks for the comments and links!!

    This is making me reconsider!! Good stuff, everyone. I need a little more help digesting the equipment. AB vs Einstein? If I buy and Einstein as my first light setup, can I add AB's as secondary? I'm not sure because of the color power output.

    Also, what is a basic PW receiver/transmitter? B and H was trying to selling me on plus x 10. I have a sb700 speedlight I would like to fire along w/ a main light. They said I need 3. I think I understand that! But, can someone please help me understand how many PW's I would need, say I had my camera, and a 3 light set up from Paul Buff. You know, just looking at cost down the road. This whole transmitter and Receiver stuff is over my head.
  • The triggers I suggested previously, the Yongnuo YN-622N, are less than half the price of the PW Plus X and also do full iTTL. If you are willing to buy from eBay, you can get a set of four for $150.
  • The Yongnuo triggers are excellent. The build quality is not up to par (6 out of 10) but they sure work and are extremely easy to use (10 out of 10)...
  • Well, I went w/ the Einstein and the 47" octabox! I only shot a newborn so far and I'm loving it. Very easy to use!! For now I'm firing w/ the sync chord and still shopping for triggers. I was also thinking of adding the battery pack to take this puppy on location.

    Thanks for all the responses! As much as I was wooed w/ having 3 lights, I decided to buy once cry once. ;) I'll add more when I can.

  • MatrixphotoMatrixphoto Member
    edited August 2013
    Great Plan.....
    You'll be happy next year when you don't have to traded in and loose 1/2 your money.

    You should get Zack Arias" one light " DVD You will be amazed what you can do with just one light.
    So Far as triggers , Here is the line I always here in all videos , You can use less expensive triggers ,however for this Video I'll be using Pocket Wizards so I wont get any misfires.

    Food for thought

    Lou Recine
    Matrix Photo
  • Thanks, Lou!!

    I tried looking for the the DVD "one light" and was coming up w/ results of retired! Bummer. That would be right up my alley. Just today someone asked me about a group family shot of 13 and I was wondering if this light and my 47'' octabox would do the trick. If so where do I place it?? Ahhhh...growing pains!

    I'm thrilled so far!! I have lighting fever for sure.
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