AlienBees B800 Studio Flash Monolights

AlienBees B800 Studio Flash Monolights 

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

  • USER REVIEWS

    Showing 1-10 of 29  
    [Feb 01, 2016]
    kmickey08
    Beginner

    Strength:

    Not sure

    Weakness:

    Not sure

    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?

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    [Sep 23, 2010]
    Shannon
    Intermediate

    Strength:

    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.

    Weakness:

    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.

    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.

    Customer Service

    Not necessary so far.

    Similar Products Used:

    None

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Jun 17, 2010]
    Paul Kepron
    Expert

    Strength:

    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.

    Weakness:

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

    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!

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [May 12, 2010]
    cron90
    Expert

    Strength:

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

    Weakness:

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

    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.

    Customer Service

    Responsive to inquiries so far.

    Similar Products Used:

    Inexpensive Chinese-made monolights.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    [Dec 01, 2008]
    Jason
    Professional

    Strength:

    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

    Weakness:

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

    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!

    Similar Products Used:

    profoto, broncolor, etc

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Jun 18, 2008]
    way2funni
    Intermediate

    Strength:

    Rugged, Durable. Incredible value, service and support.
    Made in the USA!

    Weakness:

    Until recently - their marketing. It's nice to see them running some good pro ads now.

    I started with 1 B400 about 4 years ago and built up from there.

    Today I'm using 2 B800's 2 B400's and the AB800 Ringflash.

    Also the barndoors, grids, gels, Octobox, heavy duty stands, boom arm w/counterweight, dish, wireless trigger and moon unit.

    Pretty much the kitchen sink.

    (knock on wood) - NEVER a problem.

    Have not even had to replace a flashtube yet. Figure 50k flashes on the oldest unit by now. Wore out the shutter on my 20D but not these.

    Great stuff . No regrets.

    I keep hearing that you are limited in versatility, artistic expression or some such other dreck as opposed to other brands and it's possible that brand X which is 3 times as expensive could be better built. I don't know about all that.

    I've never felt the need to look for anything else. I just love, love LOVE my bees.

    I've had the usual plastic knobs crack and pop here and there but that could just be because I'm a monster and don't know my own strength.

    And I'm too lazy to call AB who's service (MADE IN THE USA!) is legendary.

    So. Bottom line my readers - if you are shopping for lights and have never owned any and don't know what to get .....

    Get Alien Bees or White Lightnings. Period.

    If you have been around the block 10 times and are already engaged, sworn and beholden to brand X - go buy them at 3x the cost.

    BEE HAPPY.!

    Customer Service

    Best anywhere.

    Similar Products Used:

    zip. Never had a need to go outside the bees family.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [May 12, 2008]
    Rex Buenavista
    Professional

    Strength:

    lightweight, reasonably small, rugged and durable, alien bees offer simple, efficient design. they're inexpensive. the light modifiers employ smart design and are also inexpensive.

    Weakness:

    the alien bees could use a ready sounder and a small BUILT IN wireless radio remote with a SMALL radio transmitter.

    rarely do i post reviews, but when i saw that there was a chance to review this product, i couldn't resist.

    these lights get the job done, and then some. sure i like using lights made in sweden or germany, but i don't like paying 5x or 6x more for the same results. the simple design of the alienbees is well thought out. simple things like honeycomb grids fitting into the stock reflectors are a stroke of genius. with other lighting systems, you're bled to have to buy a separate reflector and possibly a barn-door assembly at maybe $100+, just to house a reflector. i have the large octobox which i purchased for around $170. my friend is using the profoto system and spent about $700 for the same thing. the side by side comparison of results is mind blowing in that they are identical. don't forget aside from the $700 for the octo a profoto monohead setup will run about $1500.

    if you've got tons of cash where you can budget $10,000+ for lights, by all means, do so. it's easy to get caught up in the "arms race" mentality of acquiring camera equipment. but if you are the type of photographer that stil believes that the image is still a collaboration between photographer, camera, and subject, alien bees might be for you.

    Customer Service

    paul c. buff inc.'s people are on the ball. they give you real answers and do what they say, when they say they're going to do it. i don't know if paul c. buff is standing right behind these people to make sure they do their job, but he's on to something.

    Similar Products Used:

    norman 2400 packs & heads, calumet travellite 750s, calumet elite 2400 kit, speedotron 2400 black line system, broncolor mobil pulso kits, arriflex tungsten, westcott lighting, white lightning.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Dec 06, 2007]
    Photoshutter
    Professional

    Strength:

    super customer service, first class, great mount, all you need is 3,5" hole.

    Weakness:

    NON

    First class studio light, cheap, but very reliable, light, great attachment mount, smart location for umbrella on the top, 6 f stop (not 5) super customer service

    Similar Products Used:

    Broncolor mobil (garbage if you need to repair it), profoto, novatron, aurora, comet, elinchrom (awful baionet),

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Nov 29, 2007]
    patrujo
    Professional

    Strength:

    affordable, light ,durable, reliable.

    Weakness:

    cheap inaccurate slide control of power, poor made reflectors got damaged after a month( the modifiers are cheap enough to justify new replacements), tungsten 100w household bulb for modeling light(this may or may not be a bummer for some)

    For the money the best little studio flash you can get. IMO

    Customer Service

    the service is awesome.prompt, very friendly and helpful. also, service charges are reasonable.

    Similar Products Used:

    hensel studio strobes,

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    [Nov 09, 2006]
    OttoPilot
    Professional

    Strength:

    High quality unit, consistent light quality, fast recycle, cheap, MADE IN THE USA, fun, fair, phenominal customer service.

    Weakness:

    Can't really think of any.

    As a semi-pro wedding photographer, I have used the heck out of my AlienBee B800 over the last nearly two years. When it comes to equipment I have purchased, there is no other item for which the benefit/cost ratio is higher. Despite heavy use, the B800 has performed exceptionally. I did have a problem with the flash sync plug, but that only occurred after tripping over the cord enough times to sort of get the plug out of whack - so long as I tied up the cord to put upward pressure on it, it was fine - again, not the fault of the unit. In October, I was shooting a group outside with the unit and a big softbox, when the wind caught it and knocked it over - not the first time it had happened. Unfortunately, this time, it came down hard on a concrete surface, cracking the case and the bracket. When I plugged it it, it would only click off again. Oh well, broken equipment is just an opportunity to upgrade, so that evening, I ordered a B1600. The next day, when AlienBees reopened, I called to see if they could repair the B800 so I could use it for back up. The nice person I talked to told me to send it in and since it was under warranty, they would probably fix it for free. I told them it was my fault, and I didn't think they should do it. I did send the unit in, and included $100 check to pay for the shipping and repairs. I got a call a few days later to tell me they would repair it, but were ripping up my check. Again, I insisted that it was my fault and I didn't expect them to pay for it. Didn't matter - they refused to accept any money and sent me back a new unit. Has any other company EVER gone that far out of its way to ensure customer service? I don't think so. DON'T EVEN CONTEMPLATE BUYING FROM ANY COMPANY OTHER THAN ALIENBEES!

    Customer Service

    OMYGOD - the best.

    Similar Products Used:

    B1600; SB600; SB800

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Showing 1-10 of 29  

    (C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

    photographyreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

    Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

    mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com