Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Battery Powered Monolights

The Editors Published in Photography Lighting
Battery Powered Monolights

Paul C. Buff

Paul C. Buff offers a number of monolights that can be plugged into AC or used with the Vagabond Mini Lithium, a third-generation, true sine wave current-limited portable power system.

Paul C. Buff AlienBees B800
Paul C. Buff White Lightning X3200
Paul C. Buff Vagabond Mini Lithium

The all-digital

Einstein E640 has a built-in fan and microSD slot for firmware upgrades. Four AlienBees units (160, 320 and 640 W-s, and a 320 W-s ringflash) offer power settings from full to 1/32. Three White Lightning units (330, 660 and 1,320 W-s) offer dual power, high adjustable from full to 1/32 and low from 1/4 to 1/128. All offer quick recycling and built-in slave triggers. The Vagabond pack weighs just 3.5 pounds, but can operate up to four Paul C. Buff monolights (there are two outlets, but you can use a power strip to connect up to four heads). The quick-connect, rechargeable lithium battery provides 200 to 250 full-power flashes with 1,280 W-s of heads connected, 800 to 900 flashes per charge with 320 W-s. The Vagabond Mini can power all the above-mentioned monolights.

Interfit Stellar Xtreme Kit


Interfit's Stellar Xtreme AC/DC Monolights are 300 W-s units. They have built-in slave sensors for flash and IR, modeling lamps and user-changeable flash tubes. Recycling time on AC is 2 seconds to full power, on battery power, 3 to 10 seconds. Power is adjustable from full to 1/16 in 1/10-stop increments. The units include cooling fans. A full battery charge with the Mark II battery provides about 200 full-power flashes.

Broncolor Minicom 160 RFS


Broncolor makes AC-powered monolights. We've included them here in an article about battery-powered monolights because the company also offers a battery-powered inverter that works with the mobile Broncolor monolights. Broncolor offers six AC-powered Minicom monolights (300, 600 and 1200 J, with or without RFS radio control from a computer with eight-channel RFS interface). All can also be powered (up to 900 W-s worth) by the Power Box 900/W Battery Power Supply, which is a stand-alone inverter power supply. The Power Box can also handle modeling lamps up to 450 watts. With a single 300 W-s monolight, it can provide 240 full-power flashes. The Minicom monolights are available from 300 to 1,200 joules, with built-in photocell, IR receiver, and in RFS 2 units, radio remote control. The monolights can also be powered (up to 900 W-s worth) by the Power Box 900/W Charger, a stand-alone inverter power supply.


Visatec makes several AC-powered monolights that can be plugged into the Broncolor Power Box 900/W. The Power Box 900/W is an inverter with a lead battery that converts its DC battery power to AC. Three of Visatec's four Solo monolights (400 B, 800 B and 1600 B) and all five Visatec Logos monolights (800, 800 BC, 800 RFS, 1600 and 1600 RFS) are compatible with the Power Box 900/W. The RFS units feature RFS radio control.

Priolite MB500


Featuring exchangeable lithium-ion batteries built into the back of the lights, Priolite's MBX500 and MBX1000 provide studio control and power without cords or external battery packs. With the power of 10 to 20 speedlights packed into one unit, the MBX have sufficient output for use on location on sunny days. Both units feature a quick duration of 1/4500 at full power, modeling lights, optical slaves and bidirectional radio controls.


Hensel offers monolights that can be operated with AC or battery power. The Expert D (500 and 1,000 W-s) features built-in radio receivers (Hensel Freemask Wizard or Hensel Strobe Wizard, both 3-channel, or Profoto Air receiver, 16-channel). The Integra Plus FM units (250, 500 and 1,000 W-s) incorporate a Freemask Strobe Wizard radio transmitter and Freemask (part of the Hensel hardware), which allows the photographer to take two shots on a white seamless and drop in any background. The first shot is a normally lit foreground image and the other is a silhouetted background image that allows for easy masking in Photoshop. This eliminates the need for bluescreens or greenscreens and the problems they cause. The compact Integra Mini units come in 300 and 500 W-s versions; the Speed Max can deliver flash durations as brief as 1/66,660 seconds and up to 31 flashes per second. All can be powered (up to 2,000 W-s max) by the company's two-socket Power Max L mobile power supply, which can deliver up to 880 flashes at 250 W-s, 440 flashes at 500 W-s. The Power Max L can also be used to power the company's continuous lights.
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