Paul C. Buff, Inc. Technical Forum

Technical Discussion Forum for all Paul C. Buff, Inc. Products


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Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:52 am

Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:16 pm
Posts: 1


I'm (finally) about to order an Einstein setup, but was hoping to get some insight from some current users. Here's is what I currently have in my order:

8.5in High Output Reflector: 2
Einstein E640 Studio Flash Unit: 2
Vagabond Mini Lithium 120VAC
Vagabond Mini Battery Pack
13-foot Heavy Duty Stand: 2
PLM Front Diffuser Fabric, 64in White: 2
64-inch Parabolic Umbrella Soft Silver with Buff Speedring: 2

For the time being, this kit will be used almost exclusively on-location. I know this presents some challenges, and sandbags will be an absolute must. I was considering replacing one of the PLM's with the 47-inch octa and grid, but I'm a bit torn. What would be the pros and cons of switching a PLM for the octa?

Also, I've read mixed reviews regarding the Buff Speedring. Many seem to think it's not worth the hassle and recommend just getting the 8mm umbrella style mount. I'd love to hear any insight anyone has on this.

Lastly, does anyone have a recommendation on bags/backpacks that can accomodate the Einsteins, reflectors, and Vagabond + extra battery? I don't like the idea of having an individual carrying bag for each one of these. I'd prefer to keep everything together in one bag.

Sorry for the long-winded post! Thanks in advance for the help. :)

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Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:20 pm

Site Admin
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 5266

A gridded octabox will have more spill control than a PLM with diffusion fabric.

A bare soft silver would have a similar spread to that of a gridded softbox.

A bare soft silver gives you the option of a higher output (4x) with even coverage, while an octabox will have a hotspot if you remove the diffusion fabrics (and still may not be as powerful).

An octabox may be marginally more aerodynamic, but not to the point that you should not use sandbags anyway.

PLM's would collapse smaller, and IMO are easier to transport.

Deployment time is rather quick in all cases. The speedring version does have at least one step of assembly required, plus fabric. The shaft version opens like a regular umbrella, plus fabric. The Octabox can be opened and collapsed much like an umbrella by only opening one side of Velcro otherwise leaving the fabric(s) and grid in place.

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Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:58 pm

Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:01 am
Posts: 15
Location: JawJa, USofA

You can place the Octa closer than the PLM (except in the shoot through version (which seems inefficient to me, and will throw light all over a room with reflective walls {and back on your subject/set}). Use the black back to avoid that, but it's a much slower setup.
Catchlight from a reflective PLM shows the Einstein, not so with Octa (you might get just ribs with the shoot-through PLM).

Edge light from the white PLM and black back cover is exquisite. I recommend the soft silver for younger faces, or those that benefit from enhanced edges, and definitely on-axis.

Smaller PLMs benefit most from speedring mount, larger... not so critical. Silver PLM likes the center mount even better than the white. Both are VERY nice. I have 84" White with Black covers for front and back. With cover on the back (giving convex illuminating face), you get the flattest light imaginable. Turn it around with the black back, and the edge is super sweet and feathers nicely on a background several yards away.

My favorite at this point for up to three "close friends" people (maybe four, with post tweaking) is the 54" white with black back, speedring mounted. Here's a gallery made with that and a grid on the black background (hand painted by moi). Oh and fill from a white wall about 8 feet opposite the main. ... index.html

I just ordered a 47" Softbox, because setting a large third party softbox on an Einstein is labor intensive, and a little nerve racking. I have a custom made, very secure rig for my 37in Impact Deep Octa (the weight of both soft box and Einstein rests on the speed ring, not the Einstein mounting fingers). viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2520

Gives beautiful light but takes 20-25 min to set up. I use C-Stands and weights for softbox/Octas. Wanted the Buff Octa for faster setup on location, will use the deep (slow) octa in-studio.


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