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Getting one flash--Alien Bee 1600 or Flashpoint 1820

Alex Huttleston , Dec 13, 2005; 08:47 p.m.

I'm a photography student on a limited budget, and am interested in getting a monolight. I'm between the Flashpoint II 1820, and Alien Bees B1600. I was interested in a moderately powerful flash unit because of the versitility it would offer when using modifiers along with lens filters, and other situations when the amout of light reaching the film would be reduced. Does anyone have an opinion of advantages one might have over the other, as they are in the same price range, and seem to have similar features.


Edward Vargas , Dec 13, 2005; 09:31 p.m.

Visit White Lightning at http://www.white-lightning.com I favor the X-series as a monolight system. I would spend the extra for the x3200 for the light output which would be helpfull when using slow film speeds and softboxes or shoot thru umbrellas. I use an Ultra 1800, an older version, with a Larson starfish as a one light source for my work.

Good luck,


Kirk Darling , Dec 14, 2005; 08:09 a.m.

When contemplating a lower-priced system, it's important to get as much information as possible to make a buying decision. It's also important to be sure there will be satisfactory customer service after the sale.

Check out the websites of each company and compare the amount of specific and general information each manufacturer provides.

Then call each manufacturer and ask questions about the products. Ask about return and repair procedures.

Make your choice from the results.

Dennis Price , Dec 14, 2005; 05:04 p.m.

Alex, Kirk offers excellent advice on how to go about the selection process.

I can tell you from personal experience that Paul C Buff, Inc, which is the company that makes and sells both Alien Bees and White-Lightning units, offers exceptional customer service, both pre-sale and post-sale.

Some differences between the brands: WLs have a better build quality compared to the ABs, with stronger attachment fingers and beefier mounting hardware, and carry a 5yr warranty vs 2yr. Some WL models have a 7-stop adjustment range rather than ABs 5 stops, and the WL is rated for a higher max wattage modeling light.

However, if you are on a limited budget, I don't think you can go wrong by starting with an AB or two. And they offer a 10% student discount which you might possibly qualify for.

If you start with ABs and decide to get WLs in the future, be aware that almost every accessory (modifiers, speed rings, snoots, grids, etc) is interchangeable between AB and WL. The only exception is the replacement flash tube itself and the sync cord (mini vs phone plug).

Whatever you end up getting, hope you enjoy it and shoot a lot!


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