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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hi-Tech Studio: Strobe Packs

These workhorse capacitors are the mainstays of studio still photography

Dynalite SP 1600
Dynalite SP1600
With four outlets and symmetrical or asymmetrical control, the Dynalite SP1600 is a popular choice for professionals who don’t need a full 2400 watt-seconds of power. The SP1600 has a 6-stop range of power adjustment, and it’s adjustable in 2-stop increments. Recharge time is 1.2 seconds at full power, and there’s a built-in PocketWizard transceiver to remotely trigger the pack. Contact: www.dynalite.com.

Paul C. Buff Zeus 2500
Paul C. Buff Zeus 2500 Power Pack
The Paul C. Buff line of strobe packs and heads has become popular in recent years. The units offer excellent performance and reasonable prices. The Zeus 2500 Power Pack gives you asymmetrical power distribution and 5 stops of adjustment. There are two light-head outlets, and the pack has a cool industrial design whereby the sensitive controls and outlets are covered and protected by the carrying handle, which folds over them. Contact: www.paulcbuff.com.

Hensel TRIA 3000 AS
Hensel TRIA 3000 AS
With 3000 watt-seconds of total power adjustable in 1⁄10-stop increments, the Hensel TRIA 3000 AS has the output and control for any shooting situation. Hensel claims that the unit has the most accu-rate repeatability of power on the market, as well as the most accurate color temperature accuracy. For traveling pros, the TRIA 3000 AS has a convenient auto-sensor that detects the voltage it’s plugged into and responds accordingly. Contact: henselusa.com.

Norman Series 900 D24
Norman Series 900 D24
The Norman Series 900 D24 power pack has four outlets that are adjusted through two channels. Power can be adjusted in 1⁄10-stop increments over a 5-stop range. The adjustments are made on rotary dials, which some photographers find more comfortable to use than the digital controls one finds on other packs. Built-in PocketWizard receivers are available. At full power, the flash output is consistent to within 1/20-stop. Contact: normanlights.com.

Triggering Strobe Packs Remotely

RadioPopper JrX
When you're working with a large power pack in a studio setting, it's obviously important that the strobes fire properly on every shot. That's easy enough if you shoot tethered with a cable running from your camera to the pack, but that approach limits your mobility, and it also becomes problematic if you're working with multiple power packs around the studio or especially on location. Optical slaves are notoriously unreliable indoors and even more so outside. Using a radio trigger is always the best choice. Several of the power packs we spotlighted in this article have built-in radio triggers as standard or optional accessories, but not all. If your power pack doesn't have a radio trigger built in, there are a number of triggers on the market that are worth the investment. Here, we've pictured the RadioPopper JrX System, which gives you complete freedom from line of sight. You can get similar functionality from radio triggers made by Elinchrom, MicroSync, PocketWizard and others.


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