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Calumet/Bowens Elite vs Profoto Acute2

Oren Grad , Nov 15, 2006; 01:32 a.m.

I'm wondering if any of the experienced professionals out there like Ellis Vener or Garry Edwards can offer any insight re the pros and cons of the Calumet/Bowens Elite 2400II vs the Profoto Acute2 2400.

The Bowens kit is somewhat less expensive here in the US. Also, Calumet's catalog provides comparative data indicating that the Bowens unit offers a 1/2- stop advantage in light output - f/64.3 vs f/45.7 - compared to the Profoto, measured through a medium Chimera softbox at 5 feet, which is relevant for my purposes.

The intended use is with large format cameras up through 8x10 and 11x14. I need all the light I can muster to be able to work at middling apertures with the focal lengths and bellows extensions involved. But I can't afford a high- end 4800ws unit like the Profoto D4 4800 nor could I justify such an expenditure in any case for my limited, non-professional use. So I'm trying to figure out what can be accomplished at a more reasonable price. Other important criteria are reasonable portability, and an electrical load that's compatible with an ordinary 15-amp household circuit. I will be working exclusively in B&W, so precise color temperature control and 1/10-stop finesse in power settings are not critical.

I've read the catalogs of every studio flash vendor under the sun (and the moon, for that matter) so I am aware of the offerings from many other brands and have ruled out some because of my price, portability and/or electrical load criteria. What I'd especially value is any insight based on actual experience with these two brands, or otherwise directly relevant to the question of maximum reliable light output for the money, subject to my other criteria.



G K , Nov 15, 2006; 02:27 a.m.


if you have a calumet store nearby, you can rent either one to see the differences. personally, i have been using the calumet/bowens lights for five years, and love them. looking at the two setups you mentioned, the $800.00 difference might be worth it, but i wouldn't sweat getting the calumet setup. it also allows for four flash heads, where the profoto allows three. all the other specs seem to be a wash.

if some form of fiscal responsibility is the main concern (and when isn't it?) i would opt for the calumet, having used their stuff for years, and never having had a problem with them. that amount of juice should keep you in softboxes, with 2x bellows extension at f32 all day long ;=)

Garry Edwards , Nov 15, 2006; 05:35 a.m.

Sorry, I can't help with comparisons as I don't use either of these brands.

Depending on subject, my guess is that you're looking for something like f/64-f/90 so power will obviously be an issue for you - but I notice you mention bellows extension, so perhaps you're shooting still life?

If so then multiple flashes might be the answer - 8 pops will give you 3 stops...

Oren Grad , Nov 16, 2006; 05:04 p.m.

Thanks for the responses.

GK - it's good to hear that the Calumet/Bowens lights have worked well for you. The rental stock at the local Calumet doesn't include the Acute2 line, but one of the MAC promotional days is coming up soon, so perhaps they would be willing to bring in a demo unit so I could at least do a comparison in the store.

Garry - a head-and-shoulders portrait on 8x10, or even a half-length portrait on 11x14, will take one into bellows-correction territory. But seeing as how anyone who volunteers to put up with my fussing and fumbling is committing an act of extreme generosity, it probably would not be sporting of me to assault them with multiple pops. Even if I did have head clamps on hand... ;-)

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