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Profoto B1 and B2, vs Nissin Di700 vs. Canon 600 Ex vs Sony HVL43m


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Hi guys,

So I've been using  the Nissin Di700 for awhile and its my only real flash experience.  I had a Sony HVL43m but sold it eventually not having much experience with it.

 

Question:

 

I was wondering how powerful these all compare to eachother? 

 

I'm looking to buy the B1 as soon as the Air 1 Sony releases, but thought about the B2 instead.  The B1 I believe is 500 Watts while the B2 is 250 Watts total.  To be, I don't know what those watts number mean because I don't know what the Wattage on the Nissin Di700 is.  I can't seem to find info on it, or its being measured in some other way.

I'm not a very technical shooter and flash power is foreign to me.

 

 

What are the power comparison to each of these flashes I listed? I want to know to see if It is better to just get the B2.  I do prefer the B2 because of the portability, but at the same time I want something strong enough to power the sun and won't burn out on me like the Di700 constantly do for me when I shoot full power.

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The ratings between the camera-mounted flashes and the Profoto flashes are significantly different, and there is no easy way to make a comparison.  Camera mounted flashes are usually rated by Guide Number (GN), which is an indication of the intensity of light leaving the flash tube.  Monolights are rated by Watt seconds, which is an indication of the energy entering the flash tube.

 

The Nissin Di700 has a GN of 177 feet at ISO 100.  To make sense of this, divide the GN by the distance between the camera and the subject, and the result is the approximate f-stop to use for the correct exposure at ISO 100.  For example, with the Nissin flash and a subject at 22 feet, the approximate aperture setting would be f/8 (177 feet divided by 22 feet).

 

The comparison to a monolight becomes more complicated because of the variation of light modifiers available.  The difference in reflected light from the subject when using a bare bulb or a parabolic reflector is significant.

 

Short answer: It's not easy (for me) to make any comparison between the two sources.  Also, depending on location, I don't think you will be able to overpower the sun with a 250Ws monolight.  There are too many variables to consider in order to provide an answer.  For example, what are the exposure settings for the ambient light?  Will your camera and the monolight sync at the shutter speed required to balance the ambient light?  How far away from the camera is the subject?  You might be able to overpower the sun using the 250Ws monolight from a distance of one foot, but I suspect that is not how you intend to shoot.

 

Before you buy anything, I recommend doing a lot of research to ensure the the proposed equipment meets your requirements.

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Despite all the technical difficulty already mentioned,

you're probably thinking "Isn't there at least a really

crude connection between Guide Numbers and Watt

Seconds ?" Yes, very crude, but usable. Figure a top

of the line OEM shoe mount flash as approximately

100 WS. So, you can see that with an efficient bright

reflector a 250WS monolight is a bit more than twice

the power, and therefor about 1 stop brighter.

  

Usually you will have 2 small monolights, but that is

NOT 500WS for the main exposure, unless you use

the side-by-side [which is ridiculous]. Only the main

light governs exposure. The other is for effect.

 

Also, realize that you most often do not use a bright

efficient reflector on a monolight as a direct source.

Light modifiers will cost you at least 1 stop. 

  

Today's remarks were brought to you by the word

"CRUDE". Best to keep that in mind :-)   

   

   

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

 

  

Feeble monolights are for casual indoor use. If you

use monolights for commercial use, 800WS is just a

basic minimum. Much commercial work is shot with

small apertures. Even head shots are shot with fairly  

deep depth of field, none of that f/1.2 BS. You need

to get most of the whole head in focus, not just one

eye. The soft-look background effect is achieved by

distance, plus longer FLs. Such DoF at modest ISO,

especially with power-sucking light modifiers, needs

several hundred watt seconds at the main light.  

  

Since commercial work leans toward small apertures

and lower ISO speeds, there isn't much griping about

too-slow synch speeds for a daylight-and-flash blend.

Shooting at wider stops is what provokes complaints

about too-slow synch speed.

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...........  I didn't realize monolights and

speedlights are that much different.

 

That is understandable. Not only is there some

common ground between monolights and shoe

mount speedlights, but advertizing by speedlight 

makers shows things like umbrella lighting being

powered by pairs and trios of speedlights. 

 

While this does have some realistic 'historical'

precedent, there's huge cost difference between

a pair of cheap reliable SIMPLE Vivitar 283 shoe

mount flashes and the current fantasy of using

"Speedlights" ... a word whose meaning has now

come to mean powerful expensive computerized

fully automated multi-featured versatile "creative"

grandchildren of those simple cheap 283s.

  

Ganging up 283s was actually cheaper than using

monolights for similar output. Ganging up digitally

automated "Speedlights" is hugely expensive and

requires major user education ... to learn to speak

"Speedlightese".

  

The extreme automation of speedlights obviates

any need to understand manually calculated flash

exposure. This appeals to many users who have

been DECEIVED or brainwashed into abhorrence

of any sort of basic operational skill acquisition.

  

It's ironic that highly flexible versatile automation

presents a maze of options that demands more

user education than it would've taken to just do

everything "the old, hard way". That's the irony,

but it's worse than just irony: Learning the "hard

stuff" is not only easier than learning to control

multi-mode speedlights, but learning the "hard

stuff" almost guarantees that the user will learn

basic principles, while relying on speedlights is

a major impediment to acquiring a grasp of the

basics.    

  

IOW, the marketers have managed to portray

a need for a grasp of the basics as some sort of

boogie man dripping with rabies and ebola, that

automation will protect you from. And, like other

protection rackets, it sinks its claws deeper and

deeper into its victim population. 

  

OK, so I'm sounding like some grumpy oldtimer.

Fair enuf. If you can't grasp the value of advice

from your elders, I have only offered what I can.

I cannot defeat the forces of nature. Darwinism

always culls the herd. You choose to thrive, or

become foodstuff. Freedom of choice.

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Here's one workable plan. Get two affordable,  

thus low power, monolights. And accept their

limitations. Learn what you can by using them.

  

The only features needed are variable output

and modeling lights. Convenience features as

a battery power option and wireless triggering

will not impede the learning process. Exposure

automation is just unnecessary complexity and

it WILL impede your progress ... enslaving you

to cumbersome control systems that mask the

reality of what's really going on.  

  

Depending on time, budget, skills progress,

and the type of use you use monolights for,

the simple, low power pair may be all you ever

need, or you may grow beyond that. But you

never actually outgrow them. If you choose to

upgrade your lighting system, that low power

pair remains a useful part of the system to be

hair light, fill light, background wash, etc etc.

  

So, buy some simple monolights. If the budget

allows, a pair of 400WS. A compromise would

be one 400 and one 250. Don't get just a pair

of 250s ... thaz like assuring defeat in advance.

If all you can afford is a pair of 250s you should

just admit defeat and use the $$ for something  

actually useful.  

  

You can use your camera's playback as your

flash meter. Or you can get a flash meter, but

acoarst you'll still be checking the playback to

get a best assessment of your lighting's effect

No shame in that. The top shelf professional

approach used to be using $50 to $100 worth

of instant Polaroid film for "playback", even tho

proper exposure was a given, no problem, and

taken-for-granted. IOW a separate flash meter

is now optional. But, it can be educational fun !

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