Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Einstein: First thoughts

My plan to buy an Einstein 640 flash by Paul C Buff hatched as soon as I learned about it.

I finally made the purchase (due to backorders, etc) last week. Last night, my setup arrived.

1x Einstein 640 flash
1x 5' softbox
1x "Heavy Duty" 13' stand

All told: $655

Unfortunately, when I picked up the box with the strobe in it, I could hear something rattling. Something broken. I opened up the box, assuming I would have to ship back the whole unit. I found this.

The "Frosted Glass Dome" that covers the modeling light and flashtube broke somewhere in transit. The box says fragile on it - apparently someone wasn't paying attention. I've emailed the above two photos to Paul C Buff and I expect they will ship me a replacement dome.

I set everything up and did some tests. I am seriously impressed. At its lowest power setting, the Einstein keeps up with my camera at 8 frames per second. The lighting is even in terms of output, but the color goes a bit wonky at that speed.

At full power, the recycle is about 3 seconds. It is insanely bright. When in "color" mode, the light quality is consistent and even.

The einstein has a modified system for attaching light modifiers. The old AB400-AB1600 series has two thingies that you pinch together. They live on the top of the strobe. The Einstein units have a single thingy that lives on the side. Makes things a little easier when attaching large modifiers (like a 5' softbox).

Speaking of the softbox. Wow. It is big. It is also heavy. Maneuvering the strobe with the softbox attached is impossible. I'm going to insert a sturdy metal pole into the umbrella slot and see if I can use that to keep things stable while adjusting it. I'm sure I'll post a video when I get that done.

I will say this much for Profoto - their light modifier system is far superior. The Alienbee system is... lacking in that department. With heavy modifiers, I always feel like it's going to fall off and break my flashtube. Likely because the first time I attached my softbox last night, it did fall off. Nothing broke though. Not yet.

The piece I really like about this whole setup: the wireless remotes.

Check it out.

That's the CyberSync transmitter next to some small stuff for size reference. I feel like I'm going to lose the damn thing because its so small. The piece that goes with the Einstein flash is even smaller. Screw PocketWizards. As long as this system works, I'm good to go. The wireless units keep up at 8fps as well.

The Einstein doesn't come with a carrying case or anything to keep it safe from the world around it. I hit up Wal Mart last night and purchased their foam padded pistol case. $10. It's sturdy and barely closes around the flash. The foam keeps it protected, and I know it's in there good and tight. 

Here's a photo I've been waiting to do. I needed a big even light source to make it work.

This clock slipped out of a dumpster next to my house. I brought it to the shooting range and put a few 9mm holes in it. It is now hanging in the gallery of shot-up art in our entryway.

That's my first impression. As I make modifications and as I start to use it more, I'll post further comments and probably a quick video or two about it.

If you have any questions about it - let me know! I'm happy to address them.