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As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

Need advice on gear

Hi all,
I'm new to the forums here, so Hi!  I'm hoping I can get some advice on portable, battery-powered strobe systems.  I've done a lot of research and pretty much know what is out there, but I'm just not sure which products might be the best for my particular situation and limitations so I'm hoping someone here might be able to help.  

I used to shoot professionally and ran my own studio portrait business for 8 years, but "retired" about 2 years ago due to busy kids schedules.  I kept one client and shoot for her about 3 times per year.  Her ideas for sessions are always challenging from a lighting perspective, so I would definitely use my new OCF system with her sessions.  And both of my daughters are into acting and musical theater, so I'm am doing headsets for them every 3-6 months.  

I LOVE playing with OCF outside and on location.  I have 3 Strobie 130's that I have used up until now, but after a recent trip to NYC with my daughters, I was just frustrated.  Our night shoots in Times Square and such turned out good, but they just were not powerful enough to overpower the sun in the middle of the day.  So I'm looking for much more power.  I have also used my Alien Bees B800's, but the vagabond battery is huge and heavy and that's just not a very portable system.  

I would love to go with one of the Profoto's, but I'm not sure if I can justify that expense with only 1 client at this point.  I could probably make it work in the budget, but I'm trying to get by with not spending so much since I won't be as heavy a user as, say, a wedding photographer.  So I'm looking at the Impact Impact LiteTrek 4.0 system.  Would love to hear what others think of this system before I pull the trigger.  But I also need advice on light modifiers for this.  I have, in the past, used my Alien Bees B800's with a huge parabolic on them.  My first parabolic was destroyed within minutes of setting it up, and I've not even been able to use the other one for fear of ruining it.  I live in Texas and there is ALWAYS wind here - that one that was destroyed happened on what was considered a VERY calm day here in Texas.  LOL  So I want as big as possible softbox/soft light, but I don't know what the best way is to achieve that and still have it be very portable and where the wind won't be a factor.  I'm considering Impact's 27" beauty dish with a diffuser sock, and the 36" Rapid Box (is it correct that this is the only size that can be used with strobes as opposed to speed lights?).  Thoughts on these?  Any others I should be considering?

Thank you so much for reading and for any advice you might be able to impart!  I'm looking forward to all that I know I'm going to learn in this forum!



  • I think my next purchase will be some Dynalite Baja's.

    A friend has a two-light kit...nice build!

    Does HSS with Canon and Nikon is planned.

    Takes the S-Type reflector like my Bowens.


  • Thanks!  I'm going to look into the Baja's further.  This and the B1 both weigh in at 6 pounds.  And then would be even heavier with a softbox on it.  Would love to hear from those who shoot with either of these if this is a big negative for them in terms of portability?  I want to be able to easily walk around and change location during a shoot.  Even in Neil's video for the B2, he mentions how the B1 is top-heavy on a light stand.  Do I need to worry about this?  Or does the B1's awesomeness outweigh that concern?  LOL
  • JTfromKCJTfromKC Member
    edited October 2015

    The Impact LiteTrek 4.0 does have an advantage that the  2 lb battery pack could be lower than the head, lowering the CG.

    One drawback of the Dynalite- the LED focusing light ( not really a modeling light) can't be turned off. It's pretty dim so may not be an issue.

  • Thanks again!  Ugh - the more research I do, the more I'm drawn to the B1...
  • JTfromKCJTfromKC Member
    edited September 2015

    Correction- the Dynalite Baja's "modeling light" CAN be turned off.

    It is really dim. Probably too dim to use as a focusing light in a softbox in a dark studio, but that's where my AC powered lights would be used so...

    Was at a mentor's studio on Friday and he's going to rig his with a small flashlight for a focusing aid.

    I still like the units and am still considering a purchase after my friend blesses them.

  • Hi, 
    JTfromKC have you picked up the Baja yet? If so, how do you like it? 

    Neil, have you had a chance to work with it yet? What are your thoughts on it?

    Right now I'm trying to decide between the Baja and an Einstein. I like the idea of the Baja but I have not seen a lot of support for it.


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Nope ... I haven't had the opportunity to test the Baja yet. 

    That said ... I settled on Profoto a while back, and there isn't any interest on my side to diverge from that. 

    The problem that you mention in your original post - the wind snagging your soft box. (And umbrella).  I've found that a beauty dish (with a sock on it), is the most steady and less likely to get pulled by the wind.  However, a beauty dish gets dinged easily -- a soft box will most likely recover when it hits the ground. A beauty dish will show the impact damage. 
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