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AlienBees B800 Studio Flash Monolights

4.83 star rating
                      4.83 / 5 (29 Reviews)
MSRP : $280.00

Product Description

  • 320 true wattseconds (800 effective ws*)
  • 1/3000 second flash duration
  • Fan cooled
  • Standard 100 watt modeling lamp (150 watt quartz lamp optional)
  • Built-in slave

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    Reviews 1 - 5 (29 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by kmickey08 a Beginner

    Date Reviewed: February 1, 2016

    Strengths:    Not sure

    Weaknesses:    Not sure

    Bottom Line:   
    So i cant rate them yet. ok so I would really like some help for I am new to lighting. I'm thinking of buying some from a lady who is getting rid of all her studio equipment. My only concern is how long do these last? She has an ab800 and 400 and 2soft boxes she's selling, 2 stands and one transmitter and 2 receivers. For $900. I guess my fear would be that they only last me a year or 2. What advice can anyone give me as to buy them used. Is it worth it?

    Expand full review >>

    Type of photography:   People

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Shannon a Intermediate

    Date Reviewed: September 23, 2010

    Strengths:    They're light, sturdy for their construction, consistent light output (haven't checked color consistency, but I see no problems with my naked eye), easy to set up and break down, easy to use, and easy to transport.

    Weaknesses:    I wish they came with a bag to carry everything in one... I also wish the stands went higher. But that's easily solved by using backdrop stands.

    Bottom Line:   
    I'm about 10 years in with photography. In some areas, I'm probably much further along than intermediate, but when it comes to studio lights, intermediate is apt. I have to say that I have not had a lot of opportunities to use my lights (a B400 and a B800, so far) but where I have used them, they have been quick and easy to set up and break down, light for carrying, and so far so good on sturdy, although I haven't had them fall or anything.

    I have used them to shoot mobile portraits, school portraits, as fill light and with a light tent. So far, for the price, I see nothing wrong with them that is not my fault. And by that, I mean I kinda wish I had purchased all black units to look more professional. However, they are plastic housing, which isn't screaming professional regardless, and it does differentiate main from fill pretty nicely, so it's not all bad.

    I give them 5 stars for value, and 4 stars overall, simply because I know they are basic and entry level units, and there are better units out there. However, for the price range, I definitely would give them 5 stars.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

    Price Paid:    $289.00

    Purchased At:   Factory

    Similar Products Used:   None

    Type of photography:   Other

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Paul Kepron a Expert

    Date Reviewed: June 17, 2010

    Strengths:    Tough, light, compact and powerful and they won't empty your bank account. If using more than one unit you can buy different colors and color code your different flsh outputs. A great idea if you are using multiple units.

    Weaknesses:    None yet, except when people see them they consider them to be toys because of their compact size.

    Bottom Line:   
    I can't see how any body can have anything bad to say about AlienBees Flash Units. These units are fantastic. Made of high-impact Lexon polycarbonate (think bullet-proof glass) Alien Bees units are tough, light, compact and powerful self-contained AC powered studio flash units. Plug them into a three prong power outlet or a Vagabond II power pack and you're set to go.

    One of the cool things about Alien Bees is that they use a standard 150 watt bulb for a modeling light. If your modeling light burns out, just go to your local hardware store, pick up a 150 watt bulb and you're set.

    The back control panel on Alien Bees is so simple a child could use it. If you have used an on camera flash set to its manual mode, you can use an Alien Bees. Like your camera flash, when set to manual, Alien Bees can be set from Full power down to 1/32nd of its total power, in whole f-stop increments, using a slide fader control that shows marked f-stop increments. This control allows simple and fast adjustments to the units output, and makes using the unit as a studio flash or a fill flash easy.

    Perhaps the coolest thing with Alien Bees is that they come with a built-in slave tripper, so when using multiple units you only need to connect one unit to your camera. The other units will fire at the same time via their built-in slave trippers. If you don't have a sync cord, no problem, the slave will fire the unit whenever it detects light from another flash. Have a pop-up flash on your camera? You got it, you can use it to trip the slave. This allows you to use your camera's flash as a main flash and the Bee as a fill or vis-versa, and tripping a units slave from 50+ feet away, like it says in the Alien Bees Operation Manual, really works.

    Do I like my Alien Bees? No, I love them!

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   21+ years

    Price Paid:    $409.00

    Purchased At:   Paul C. Buff Inc.

    Type of photography:   People

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by cron90 a Expert

    Date Reviewed: May 12, 2010

    Strengths:    Light weight, consistency of output except at lowest levels, reputation for customer service.

    Weaknesses:    Power chord are throw-aways, sync port should be beefier.

    Bottom Line:   
    These are my initial impressions of the AB800 (I purchased the Digibee kit and upgraded). The ABs seem like the Volkswagen Beetle for studio lights: they get the job done and lots of people have them, but a Lexus they are not. No doubt about it, they are cheaply made, and were it not for the company's excellent reputation for service, I'd probably stay away from them. However, the plastic body and light weight does help in the studio with maneuverability--having used heavy metal monolights recently in a rental studio, I cursed them as they drooped on their mountings. The ABs don't have this problem. My testing indicates good consistency at higher power levels, but less so at the low end. At 1/32, readings could vary by as much as .3 stop, although I could pop them multiples times and get identical readings before this happened. (If you suddenly need to turn them down from full power, make sure you allow time for the extra current to dump). I have not yet tested for color consistency, though for my use it doesn't concern me at present.

    Before you compare the price for a kit, you may want to figure in hidden costs. The supplied power cable is junk--just like a cheap garden hose, it has no flexibility, is impossible to wind up neatly for storage, and the connection to the head is mushy. Apparently it is a standard computer-type connector, so plan on probably $60 to upgrade. Also, plan on some kind of carrying case for the kit. I'm not sure why Buff cannot procure some kind of decent case like Dynalight or others. They do offer a light stand bag, but I find it too long for the 10' stands that come with the kit, and they will not fit the heads. The available hat boxes don't appeal to me--just too many things to schlep on location.

    Power measurement is f11.5 at 10 ft with supplied 7.5" dish, taken with a Sekonic 558. I doubt they would rival an 800 ws head. Unfortunately, they made a marketing blunder and call them "800"--were they to back-peddle in the future and just call them "AB320", they'd look even sillier.

    My last concern is the miniphone sync plug. I'd have preferred to see a 1/4 inch socket for.

    All in all, a decent value that work.

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   21+ years

    Price Paid:    $279.00

    Purchased At:   manufacturer

    Similar Products Used:   Inexpensive Chinese-made monolights.

    Type of photography:   People

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Jason a Professional

    Date Reviewed: December 1, 2008

    Strengths:    Inexpensive
    Professional Results
    Useful functions
    Easy to pack and transport
    No power packs - plugs right into the wall
    Apparently great customer support, though I have never needed it

    Weaknesses:    not "name brand"
    won't find replacement parts in a rental studio
    won't impress high end clients that work with many photographers

    Bottom Line:   
    I have worked with profoto and broncolor setups on fashion sets, and I have worked with Alien Bees in school photography. Using the name brands that fashion photographers use will come in handy when you are renting a studio for your shoot, something breaks, and you need to replace it with a rental for the day. On the other hand, if you don't shoot with high end clients and don't use rental studios, then you don't need to worry about that. I don't know too much about the type of modifiers for Alien Bees, but you can get so much from a reflector, umbrella, and/or softbox that I am more than happy with the results when I shoot parties, family gatherings, indoors, etc. My favorite thing is not lugging around those heavy packs!

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   0-1 years

    Purchased At:   use for business

    Similar Products Used:   profoto, broncolor, etc

    Type of photography:   People

    Reviews 1 - 5 (29 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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