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Alien Bee B800 Question

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by Jim Strathearn, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. I think I'm getting ready to start seriously thinking about some good, consistent studio lighting. Had an opportunity to shoot w/an Alien Bee B800 in a soft box recently and it looks like I'm hooked! (Thanks John!:wink:)  My question is this:

    Would 2 B800's fired into umbrellas (bounce, not through) be sufficient to illuminate a large group of say 20 people or so? For example, a large wedding group standing at the alter of a large church. I'd like to get lighting that would serve double duty as studio lighting and remote location lighting as well, but would not necessarily be overkill for the studio.

  2. 2 800'S should be MORE than enough for something like that!


  3. Thanks so much for the reply Gary!
  4. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Yes - they pack quite a lot of power. If big groups was something I needed to shoot on a regular basis, I might invest in the AB1600s, but I think the 800's will do fine.
  5. Agree
  6. Thanks Guys!
  7. Jim,
    Did you ever get a chance to use two Alien Bee's B800's with a large group like you initially discribed?
  8. Fred,

    No, not yet. But I am doing some portrait shots this Saturday in a large room so I'm going to see how well they can light up the room after I get done with the portraits.
  9. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I did a wedding group of 10 or so on a stairway a couple of weeks ago. Just used one AB800 with the large AB softbox.
  10. Jim,
    Let me know how they turn out. I'm learning about wedding photography as a second shooter. I know I have to buy something for the “formals” before I can be a 1st or solo shooter.

    Did you balance the AB800 with on camera flash (for fill) at all?
  11. I've got some AB-1600's and AB-800's, and a set of 3 Elinchrom 600RX lights.......

    And the 800's will work just fine for that purpose. I tend to use the 1600's more for sports for power, but the 800's actually have a faster flash duration...

    If you want to do sports down the road, you may want the 1600s, however you can also add to the 800s. A good friend has 4 AB-800s, and his images come out great.....

    The light color from the AB-800s actually look a little closer to my Elinchoms. The 1600s use a different tube and appear a little cooler. The 800s look a little warmer. Either can be adjusted using a grey card to be perfect. If you want to add on, you may want to keep the tube consistent in case one blows out down the road. The 800s and 400s use the same tube.

    One other suggestion......The soft-boxes are great, but for what you want to do, some good white umbrellas will work just fine........and be a lot faster to set up and break down. You can also find some better stands and modifiers from other companies

    Just to give you an idea......(and I know you are talking large groups), but the photo below was shot mainly with 4 AB-800s. Two had Chimera Strip boxes. One had a grid aimed from the back as a hair light, and one to spot light the back-ground. This really shows how well these lights can look....


    Nikon D2Xs ,Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S
    1/125s f/4.0 at 70.0mm iso125
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  12. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    No need. Just one big softbox to camera right.
  13. F/4, 1/60, 80mm at 35 feet away in a pitch black room. Room has white walls and ceilings but also has cubicles that blocked some of the light from getting all the way down.

    Looks like I'll be OK for church formals. I doubt I'll be 35' away in a completely dark (no ambient light at all) church...


    Same distance and lighting, but f/7.1 at 1/80 at 200mm. Had to set the white point in Nikon Capture Curves to the wall behind the subject.

  14. Looks like they will be more than strong enough for what I will need them for.
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