Einstein 640s – First Impressions

After almost an entire year being on the grind and saving a small percentage of every portrait or event photog gig, I finally went ahead and splurged on real studio lights – the Einstein 640s.

Hoozahh for me! Boo for my wallet!

The past two weeks I’ve been pretty much playing the role of a mad scientist – chasing my cats around and trying to get them to pose or tricking Myriam with ye olde, “can you spare *just* a minute I need to try something” line then proceeding to move lights around in five degree increments all around her head. Fun stuff.

Even though I bought two sets of strobes, I’ve only really been kicking around with one so far until I get a handle of how they work. Like a foodie savouring a delicious meal, I have been taking morsel sized bites out of my studio light learning experience and trying to really be academic with my learning. When I got my first real DSLR camera, I tried to do everything all at once and never really figured out how to wield the camera with control until about a year of shooting really bad pictures. While it was a great learning experience just to run and gun everything, this time around, I’m taking my time to really understand what I’m doing with the hope that I would actually spend less time going back trying to re-learn what I’ve been doing wrong.

Well enough with the boring stuff, here are my initial first impressions in easily to digest point form list:

The Good

Quality of Light – it looks great. The lights came with a manual full of graphs that is supposed to explain to whom I am assuming scientists (read: not me) why it produces better light than other strobes but for most people (read: me), the eyeball test is more than sufficient. There is a constant light temperature mode which is amazing. We’ll see if it actually stays within the indicated range the more I use it.

Price – The price of one Einstein strobe is just slightly under the amount that I paid for a SB900 speedlight. That is amazing since one Profoto D1 Air is about $1000. Also the modifiers for PaulCBuff’s strobes, are significantly cheaper than Profotos (ie. beauty dish being 1/3rd the price without sacrificing quality).

Works right out of the box – Plug the wires in, plug my camera into the strobe, fire for test, then adjust lighting! Fun!

Compact – After playing around with the Profoto strobes earlier in 2013, this strobe is much more manageable to transport. I’m no longer carrying around bazooka-like lights and now instead square cinder-blocks!

Knobs tighten really well – I’ve started having recurring dreams where I didn’t tighten the strobe to the light stand well enough and of course having the strobe come crashing down into little tiny pieces. Seems like the knobs are fairly well built… *fingers crossed*.

The Bad

The UI – holy crap can you make the interface even harder to understand on both the strobe as well as the cybersync off-camera controls? I imagine that the interface was designed by electrical engineers trying to provide the most clear-cut way to navigate between menus but very clearly failing. If I have to go online to figure out how to navigate the menu system, that is not a very good UI.

Cannot rent modifiers – While I know that you can get most light modifiers to work with any strobe, I’m lazy and want to use the ones that is designed specifically for that strobe.

Plastic – The casing for the strobe is made of plastic… which means that I would need to buy really strong carrying cases… which means more paper down this rabbit hole.

All in all I’m pretty excited about the different projects I can work on now for 2014. I’m always looking for interesting concepts to shoot so if you have some ideas, give me a shout and perhaps we can collaborate!