Grafic House 4:58pm, 29 November 2008
I've been looking for a while now at portable lighting, my 550 and 580 canon units manage to do the job most of the time, at times lashing two guns together to up the power. I am sure I am not alone in wishing the fat white bearded man will bring me a set of Profoto lights and battery packs this christmas but as we all know this is HIGHLY unlikely :(
my budget is small as I am planning to invest in a 5D mk2 in the new year and a friend pointed me towards the interfit Stellar Xtreme complete with battery pack, it's not an all singing all dancing unit and the battery pack has a limited life per charge but the 300w head should give me plenty of light and for teh most part up to 100 flashes at full power is enough for a lot of commecial jobs and at £300 if I found they were usefull I could get another set in the future and still come in way under budget compared to one of the high end systems.
Has anybody tried or owned one of these ?
www.interfitphotographic.com/Lighitng/Product Pages/Stellar Xtreme Flash.php
Grafic House 9 years ago
nobody??????
Ben J. Boyle [deleted] 9 years ago
Try Ms Knight, she's an Interfit gal :D

www.flickr.com/photos/msknight/
msknight Posted 9 years ago. Edited by msknight (member) 9 years ago
Yep - I originally bought the Venus 300 units ... had problems. (all AC, however)

One would fire from the Pentax voltage protected PC port, the other wouldn't.

They replaced it. The replacement wouldn't fire either.

It was replaced again. That wouldn't fire.

While communicating with Interfit, I had to do a shoot. The one that wouldn't fire from the PC port blew a fuse a short way in to the shoot. I replaced the fuse, hit the test button and the unit rapidly strobed very quickly and then blew another fuse.

Interfit replaced the two Venus units with Stellar X 300 units. Both fired from the PC port but neither fired from the e-bay triggers.

I ran them through another test and shortly in, one of the Stellar X 300 units started firing automatically ... the moment the capacitor charged, it would fire ... and the cycle continued.

Despite only one being faulty, Interfit took both back and replaced them both.

The e-bay triggers wouldn't fire the Stellar X units because they are negative to the centre pin. Not a, "fault," as such, however the sales manager (I was talking to senior management by now) assured me that the design was actually positive to the centre pin, that their manufacturer had got it wrong and they had introduced steps to make sure this didn't happen again. However because it wasn't a fault as such, I had to wire myself some cross over cables for the e-bay triggers.

Interfit have refunded all returns postage and even had the Stellar X units collected by courier.

The current replacements have done about 200 firings each and seem stable. I think they must have had them on soak test or something.

The long story short is that when they are working, they deliver between f6 and f36, reliably at 1 meter with the standard reflector fitted. (measured with a meter) The fan keeps them cool-ish and their recharge time is fast. The audible recharge bleep doesn't grate the ear over a long session and the optical sensor is a good performer. I find the S bayonette system to be great - I can get some really great soft box bargains off e-bay.

You have the option of using the supplied guard, which restricts it to a 60 degree spread, or removing it and running bare, which gives a 180 degree spread. I have velcro on the guard which I use to mount large circles of colour gels.

The modeling lamp, if you use it, adjusts its power in proportion with the flash power setting.

If you're in the UK, there is great deal on the Stellar X 300 units here www.studiokitdirect.co.uk/print.php?cat=Lighting&sub=... Lighting like this ... INT 427 Stellar X 300/300w/s 2 head,2 brolly kit with stands and soft carry bag £297.86

The critical question is whether I feel that the units are worth the hassle for the price paid. I believe that, to this point, yes they are. If these two fail in the comming weeks, then I'll be seriously considering my position with them after such a run of problems ... but Interfit have been an extremely responsible and responsive company ... and when it works, the product really is a great unit for the money.

If going for these units, give them a thorough testing before commiting yourself to paid work with them. In all my tests the units were left to come to room temperature for at least 24 hours after transport through the post system.

I would also recommend light stands of the circular tube type. The flat metal bogen stands that DH uses are not really strong enough to handle the weight and they could tip easily.
msknight Posted 9 years ago. Edited by msknight (member) 9 years ago
If you need to keep track, the whole episode is on my blog - shutter-fug.blogspot.com/ - just search for Venus, Interfit or Stellar and you'll get the posts. Keep watching and I'll be running the Stellar X units on a shoot a week Tuesday so there will be another post about how they hold up in a little over a weeks time.

The contents section is here shutter-fug.blogspot.com/2008/09/contents.html and there is a review section amongst others. I think the only thing seriously missing is the recent trial of the 8x16 Botero background which is near enough to the top of the blog.
msknight Posted 9 years ago. Edited by msknight (member) 9 years ago
By the way, I did previously bring to Interfit's attention what was happening in the Strobist world. The sales manager told me that something was comming, wouldn't tell me what ... in the early part of 2009.
eduardo_frances Posted 9 years ago. Edited by eduardo_frances (member) 9 years ago
@msknight: Thanks a lot for sharing the links to your review :D, I have been eyeballing the Stellar X 600 and the Starflash 650 for quite some time, I know the starflash 650 is pretty awesome in terms of color, how's the Stellar X? I know their softbox suck because they give a horrible magenta cast -interfit 24x24" softbox for EXD-

Edit: BTW I have an interfit EXD 200 and it is pretty nice a shame it doesn't has fan cooling though.
msknight 9 years ago
You're welcome.

I didn't use Interfits softbox - I got my 70x100 units from Stable Imaging stores.ebay.co.uk/Stable-Imaging-Photographic and the results are at the bottom of here shutter-fug.blogspot.com/2008/11/botero-8x16-collapsible....

Long story short is I try cheap and if that doesn't work I resign myself to having to flash the cash, but more often than not I find the cheaper versions to do what I ask of them.

I haven't got any, "postable," shots without the modifyer, but I don't envisage using these without some form of soft box on them. I don't recall seeing any obvious colour cast off the naked bulb when using the flash colour balance.
eduardo_frances 9 years ago
@Msknight: thank you :) really appreciate it.
msknight Posted 9 years ago. Edited by msknight (member) 9 years ago
One other thing - getting the carrying case is probably a wise move. I got an enlarged metal case for the Venus units - cost about fifty quid - www.tomsgadgets.com/products/details.aspx?pc=CASE8&l=22 - ... but the Stellar X are larger than even that could handle and I'm left with no decent means of carrying them.

Inteftit know the situation but they haven't come forward with a case for me, even after all the grief and costing me some paying jobs. So I've got fifty quids worth of metal case doing nothing and no reliable way of carrying the Stellar X.

EDIT - Apart from stumping up the cash for a separate case. Also, appologies for teh "also bought" links in the above product ... it seems that that metal case is also used by paranormal lovers. Following the links will take you through to all sorts of things, from bug and video caemra detecotrs to paranormal environment activity meters and things. Spooky.
eduardo_frances 9 years ago
@Msknight: Dunno about the quality but it seems that this could solve your problem until you could find a better case cgi.ebay.com/Thick-Padded-Flash-Strobe-Light-Carry-Soft-C...
msknight 9 years ago
Eduardo,

Thank you very much indeed for that link. I think I'll get one of those.

Michelle.
eduardo_frances 9 years ago
:) you are welcome
Grafic House 9 years ago
Thankyou very much for the feedback and info, I have a colleague who bought the new stellar extreme head and battery pack so I will try to "borrow" it a few times until I decided AND maybe they will produce something even more usefull (longer lasting battery??) in the new year.
Hi
I've been using these for a month or so now and have written a little review..

dougjacksonphotography.blogspot.com/

hope it helps
gryphon photography Posted 7 years ago. Edited by gryphon photography (member) 7 years ago
As information on the Stellar Xtremes is extremely hard to come by, this is the first result to come up on google, and comprehensive reviews are basically non-existant, I'd just like to chime in a little on my experiences, especially as the unit (or at least the one I own) has a massive, potentially debilitating flaw for what a lot of people will use it for.

I bought this unit to be used mostly as a fill/rim/hair light to my Alien Bee 1600.

The unit is nicely made, with a standard S-type mount, the Interfit pro soft- and octaboxes are very reasonably priced, and the unit is giving roughly the quoted 300w/s, I'm getting about f/16 at ISO100 with the standard 7" reflector at working distances of about 6 feet, pretty much bang on a stop less than my AB1600 (640w/s) - the recycle times aren't great though - 8-10 seconds for full-power.

However, the MAJOR, over-riding issue with this unit if you bought it to use on location is this....when using the battery pack the discharge time is about as quick as a stoned sloth! A shutter speed of >1/100 will see a significant amount of the output being chopped off the end of the exposure by the shutter, by 1/200 you're getting less power than a speedlite. On mains power it's fine.

In the studio this isn't an issue, but if I was going to use these in a studio I would have bought the cheaper Stellar X300/XD300, the whole point of the battery pack (to me) is taking it outdoors, so when you're fighting ambient you want to be using the X-sync of your camera to help the flash out, with a typical D-SLR x-sync of 1/250 sec, you're losing at LEAST 1 1/3 stops of light by buying the Interfit Stellar Xtreme, this, for me, was a deal breaker, my unit is being sent back/sold on ebay, a strobe sold as being "for location work" with t5 times this slow is totally unacceptable and basically makes it unfit for purpose at it's USP, I'd highly recommend buying the Calumet Genesis 300B for an extra £30 instead of this, a battery-powered strobe that's this flawed for outdoors use is a bit of a joke, Interfit - you can do better than this!
eduardo_frances 7 years ago
My first monolight was an interfit EXD 200 which works really fine however the part that has the bolt that goes to the stand went Kaput, I wrote interfit about this problem asking them if I could buy that part... they said to send my address and name that was in December and never got to hear from them again... :/

Interfit USA is in my black list of "they don´t care about costumer support" along with Photek, I bring this point because if you have to deal with Interfit´s client support you may get the same problem I am having now.
Grafic House 7 years ago
I've had one for a while now, the battery life it fair for it's size, the head is pretty solid and fan cooled, bowens fit makes it handy for modifiers.
The problem I had after a while is that it was pretty damn heavy, hard to balance on a boom without investing in a super strong expensive boom arm.
I have since bought a two head 400 watt Bowens travelpak kit which I use all the time, although If I need extra light I wheel out the interfit sometimes, it was still worth buying.
slschlager 5 years ago
Does anyone know if you can use non interfit softbox with the EXD400 interfit strobes? I am trying to decide whether to go with the EXD400 or the Stellar XD300. I know little about strobes and really don't know what the difference is. Is the S-type connector standard? The EXD's from what I have read are proprietary to Interfit.

Any help or advice would be great.
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