MisterQuill 7:08pm, 1 August 2010
I wonder if the Bowens stalwarts could give me some advice?

I'm looking for a fairly lightweight kit I can take with me on location shoots. Putting aside the subject of available AC power, I found there to be quite a price hike between a 2 head travelpak kit and a studio kit. I'm considering getting the cheaper studio kit and looking at a travelpak at a later stage (although there is obviously a financial benefit in going for the Travelpak from the off).

Warehouse Express are doing the Gemini Classic 2 head studio kit for £800 and include a free Pulsar card and transmitter which sounds like a good deal to me. The 500 heads will give me some decent output options on location should I need a pair of lamps.

Is there anyone here who uses this lamp who has an opinion about it? If you use it with the Bowens Travelpak (the small one comes with the kit) what is the recycling time like?

I have considered the Alien Bees (Paul Duff) Einstein and the Elinchrom DeLite...
G.F.Johnston Posted 6 years ago. Edited by G.F.Johnston (member) 6 years ago
Firstly what type of pictures will you using the kit for?
If you are using the kit outside, you have to carry the kit + camera gear.
Then there is the wind that seems to come from nowhere. The brollys on the lights act like sails!
If you have you heart set on location Photography with no AC power supply. I would buy one head, plus the travel pack, and reflector to bounce the light back on the subject.
Learn to use one light properly, then start to add additional lighting!
PS don't forget the sand bag !
MisterQuill 6 years ago
Sigh; yes. Wind. A nightmare.

I'm used to having to carry gear; I work in television. With photography I'm a keen amateur and I'm working with Canon Speedlites (a 580 EXII & a 420EX) on stands, 420 is a kick at full power (no manual) so sometimes with ND but mostly unfiltered directly as a backlight. 580 with a shoot through brolly. Triggers; Pocket Wizards; I use a Kaiser adaptor for the 420 as it has no pc socket.

I'm using this set-up for portraits...but not in the usual way; I'll try and post something recently processed to add to this over the weekend so you can see where I'm going.
G.F.Johnston Posted 6 years ago. Edited by G.F.Johnston (member) 6 years ago
I also use Canon Speedlites and Pocket Wizards! I can see now why you would be looking at Elinchrom. My Bowens kit consists of Geminis a 500 pro, and a 700 pro. I have a Bowens Remote RC3 to control the lights. I carry all this in a Bowens Gimbit bag. The wheels on the bag are very useful, but it is difficult to store the bag in the upright position, due to the wheels.

Unfortunately the 700 head is away back to Bowens with an Audio Bleep Problem. The 500 head has been away with the same fault.
The info regarding the travel pack batteries can be found the Bowens web site.
However I think there might be issues regarding using radio slaves, with lighting powered by travelpacks! I seem to recall reading about this on Bowens own forum. Sorry I cant be more specific, but its worth checking out if you go down the Bowens root.
MisterQuill 6 years ago
Ta for this, very useful.

JPH76 PRO 6 years ago
However I think there might be issues regarding using radio slaves, with lighting powered by travelpacks! I seem to recall reading about this on Bowens own forum.

I searched the forum with search string "radio slave" and found this:

I've recently installed a Pocket Wizard Radio Trigger Card into a Gemini 750 Pro head. When the light is connected to the mains my Pocket Wizards trigger the light without a problem but when the light is connected to my Travel Pak I can't get the light to trigger. I've taken out the card, replaced it and gone through the set up process again but still no luck. Any suggestions? Sean Malyon

So it seems that the problem is with Bowens' Radio Trigger Card rather than actual radio slaves.
MisterQuill 6 years ago
That is really useful, thanks. I guess I could still trigger from a PW II on a PC connector...
G.F.Johnston 6 years ago
Did you go a head and buy a Bowens Kit?

Guess what my Card, the one I use in my 750 Gemini Pro head it is faulty and is away for repair!

I wonder if any one has had any issues with a Gemini heads the travel pack that Bowens supply, using pocket wizards TT5s to trigger the flash?
MisterQuill 6 years ago
Hi GF,

I'm still weighing up options, but I do think a Bowens kit is more suited to my needs. However, I may stick with my Speedlites for the next couple of weeks and see how I get on. In the meantime I may pop down to Calumet and see if they have a demo kit I can have a play with to see if my PW II's are fine with it.

Re: TT5's, I know that some on the Strobist group have had problems with the TT5's screwing up their 580's. A problem it seems with the 580's which only seems to manifest itself with the MK2 Speedlite and the TT5. Weird.
G.F.Johnston Posted 6 years ago. Edited by G.F.Johnston (member) 6 years ago
Hello MisterQuill

I forgot to mention, regarding the Gemini lights that I own. Depending on the type of stuff you intend use the flash heads for, you should take a closer look at the Gemini range.

Now I know both my lights have been away for repair, getting silly audio bleep problems sorted! Putting this aside.

Here are some of the advantages.
You can now buy a Remote Control, for about £30. I use this for controlling the flash. While I am at the camera.

For example if I am taking a photograph of room of a house with loads of daylight streaming through the windows.
I set the cameras aperture to lets say f16 and the shutter iabout 30th of a second. ( if I were to use 1/4 of a second the affect through the windows would look like close encounters . (I am sure you have seen the film) so by use the remote, to control the flash output precisely. This allows me to balance the Flash light, with the natural day light coming through the window.
I dont have to walk over to the flash head to adjust the power and then walk back to the camera to press the shutter. I just stand there and adjust the flash lighting from the camera position!

The remote works very well, if you have the Flash Head mounted high up on a stand, and you cant reach the control panel without having to lower the stand!

Also if you are shooting pac shots on a white paper pack ground for example. Set the cameras aperture to its optimum setting f16 / f18 then bracket the exposure using the flash heads, instead of the camera. This can be done easily because you can precisely control the Geminis flash output.

Now if only you could use your flash meter to control the lights output.
That would be great, but you cant have everything, i sir-pose.
MisterQuill 6 years ago
Hi GF,

Apologies for the tardy response; lazy of me particularly as it's really useful info. I'm still toying, weighing up costs with my kind of flash photography. I'm enjoying playing around with speedlites at the moment, but I can see which direction I'm heading.


DavidOfBristol PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by DavidOfBristol (member) 6 years ago
I use Bowens Geminis 500 (the older gun-metal coloured ones) with the latest travelpak. Usually just one light. When working outside with breeze and uneven ground I nearly always use an assistant as if you're doing everything yourself it becomes a faff.

The big advantage of the TravelPak/Gemini set up is that it all 'just works' brilliantly and you only need one set of kit for mains-powered use or location use. It means you can cover a lot of bases for - relatively speaking - modest outlay.

However, monoblocks can be more cumbersome and top heavy on location than some sort of dedicated portable pack and head solution like the Bowens Explorer or the other brands and they don't recycle as fast, although perfectly acceptable.

My Geminis are five years old and have been hammered all day sometimes and they just keep on working. Love 'em.
Trevor Dennis PRO 6 years ago
I have that kit with a Travelpack. Recycle time is OK at low power, but several seconds from half to full power. It nearly always gets used on mains though because it is easier to use reflectors and speedlights outside, and no matter how well you sandbag and support them, anything bigger than a beauty dish is going to fall over.

BTW my kit came from Warehouse Express and was shipped back to where I live in New Zealand. The kit cost almost _double_ the amount here!

I was listening to one of the StudioLighting.net podcasts today. Number 61 I think. Anyway, the guy does band shots for album covers, and swore by cheap as chips monoblocks.

Year, I'm pretty sure it was number 61
JustinDallas Posted 4 years ago. Edited by JustinDallas (member) 4 years ago
Heya! Im loving my TravelPak with 2 heads (a Gemini 200 & a Gemini 500r) - use them ALL the time - in studio, on location ... they recycle plenty fast - shoot at f8-f11 ... with less than a second recycle.

Must say though, I prefer the weight of the 200ws with the pack ... not too heavy.

These travelpaks work a treat.... I get approx 1200 flashes out of a single charge - shooting fill flash

I love the funcationaly of monoblocks with a power pack - as I can dial in exactly what power I want ... usually with head/pack setups (like the Acute, or Ranger RX, Quadra or Explorer), you are limited to asymetrical (like 2:1) ratios when using 2 heads.... but, this is NOT the case with the Bowens Travelpak
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