DaveWeav 11:20pm, 3 May 2010
Is anyone upgrading to the Einstein and getting rid of their Alien Bee's or White Lightning's? I am trying to decide if I am going to buy some or just rent something.

I've got 3 days of shooting that I will need them for.
ShutterCraze (NUEL) 8 years ago
I went to their website to find a "Compare" link for their different lights. What are the main differences between the three of them?
DaveWeav Posted 8 years ago. Edited by DaveWeav (member) 8 years ago
From what I have read the Einstein's constant color temp and flash duration for stopping action are the main differences. On the Einstein you can switch between a color setting mode and flash duration but you can't have both at the same time. I don't know much about the White Lightnings.

I am shooting group and individual portraits (about 200 kids in multiple groups). Has anyone used the Alien Bee AB800's in this type of situation?
dath1974 8 years ago
I don't have any to get rid of, but I thought I'd chime in on the differences.

The *key* difference between the Einstein and most studio lights (unlike speedlights) is that a typical studio light will reduce the output by varying the voltage which goes to the flash tube. Speedlights and the Einstein (and some other high-end studio lights) actually use transistors (IGBT) to literally turn off the output to the flash tube in order to vary the output. That is somewhat over simplified, but is pretty much the gist of it.

This gives you several key advantages on the Einstein:
1 - As the power is reduced, so is the flash duration and thus the ability to stop motion. The exact opposite is true on a traditional style studio flash -- as the power is reduced, the duration increases.

2 - They were able to provide a constant color mode that keeps the color temperature very accurate while reducing power. The output will warm up as the power is reduced on a traditional style studio light.

3 - Output power is able to be reduced *very* low on the Einstein. On a traditional studio light this is not possible as the light warms up too much and also because there is a minimum voltage required to fire a xenon tube.

4 - Recycle times as the power is reduced are phenomenal.

5 - Much of what they do is firmware programmable, so features can be added in the future (such as stroboscopic modes, or other nifty things). . .

A lot more information is available directly from Paul C. Buff at:

Oh, and no, I don't work for PCB, but I am a huge believer in this product and his company.


P.S. I have two of these in transit right now. I'll bring them to the next PDX Strobist meetup I attend. I may also writeup something about my experience with these after I've had them for a while.
Nina'S Photography 8 years ago
I use 2 - 3 AB800's for large groups quite often. high & wide camera left & right, and sometimes one high in the center if I'm indoors :)
did you have a specific ??
DaveWeav 8 years ago
For large groups I usually place them in the center and feather them out which I find reduces the shadows cast by the person next to them. I wanted the Einstein's but I couldn't wait for them. I was going to rent but by the time I rented for 3 days I had 2 already paid for.

Have you ever shot groups and individuals with the same setup? I would like to light the large group but then also light the individuals with a little more interesting light. I won't have time to change between the two setups so I was trying to come up with something that would work for both.
GeoFX 8 years ago
Oh... just saw your posting. I already got rid all three of my AB800 for Profoto.

I have preordered 2 Alienbees Einstein 640 (formally Alienbees Max) back in October 2008. Paul C Buff just emailed and notifies me, they are available first to preorder customers as others' are still backorder. Since I switch to Profoto, I no longer need this pre-order. If any of you, are interested, I will pass down the secret order code. Preorder customer’s orders are priority to fill. As I remember in Paul C Bugg’s previous email regard product delay (July 2009), all preorder customers do get 10% discount when Einstein is released. But it wasn’t mentioned in this preorder notification email. I will email them and ask if any of you are interested to order. Order will be shipped within a week, according to my email.
dath1974 8 years ago
GeoFX - You should trade in those nasty Profotos for the Einsteins! :-) So far I'm very impressed with the two Einsteins I received. I'm looking forward to putting them through some abuse!
GeoFX Posted 8 years ago. Edited by GeoFX (member) 8 years ago
Preorder codes goes JayCee Photo.

Dath, I am sure Einsteins has newer & better feature than Profoto, but I am more toward Profoto's portability with battery pack, to save the hassle carrying all gears. Einsteins still needs Vagabond II to power on for on-location shooting. :) But I still want to check out your Einsteins next time.
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