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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Dynalite Baja 400 battery powered strobe: perfect for SS!!!
Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 11:51 AM on 10.01.14
->> I spent the last two months shooting with the brand new Dynalite B4 strobes, which feature internal batteries as well as an option for total cordless control of the unit from your camera’s hot-shoe. It makes lit portraits super fast in terms of set up and reduces greatly the bulk of gear that you have to bring to a shoot. You can turn the head off and on and control the output of an infinite number of heads without having to touch them. The remote is good to 500’ and makes this the #1 way to light prep sports like basketball, volleyball, swimming, and for making beautiful environmental portraits of athletes on the field, in the dugout, and all without missing your deadline.

Here is a video review that I did for my blog after using these exclusively for the last couple of months. I think it’s the best thing to happen to location lighting in a long time and the price is right at $599 per head. Watch:

https://vimeo.com/107720501

Buy it at Roberts:
http://robertscamera.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=dynalite+baja
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 12:31 PM on 10.01.14
->> I couldn't find specific flash durations for full power and half power - guessing flash duration is longer at less than full power?

Also, what is the recycle time at full power?

Thanks and appreciate you putting out the info.
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 3:46 PM on 10.01.14
->> On paper, the Baja 4B is rated at 1/500th duration at full power but.... I can tell you from experience that it's definitely faster than that. I see the same exact kind of blur with the B4 as I do with my Elinchrom EL500's which are rated at 1/1700th. I think they are rated very low, which is a nice change from what strobe companies usually do which is err on the side of looking better on paper than in real use. Last, these are designed so that as you decrease power, your duration gets shorter logarithmically. The the more you turn them down, the faster they get.

Recycle time at full power is on the slow side at 4.5 seconds at full power BUT!!!!

If you lower the output to 6.5 from 7.0 (which is a half stop) you get around 2 second recycle. Usually in a high school gym, you kind of expect to use between 100-200 w/s for a small and dark place.

Also, there is another feature that is really cool and useful for shooting hoops & volleyball... When you set the unit at 6.0 (200WS is half power), it stores not just one pop but two in the capacitors. This will allow you to trip the shutter for the shot on basket AND snag the rebound. If you only shoot once, it just silently reloads that secondary pop for the future. You can just shoot one frame per second at the half power setting. This is a great feature that I could have used many times throughout my career when I chose the wrong moment and fired, and then had to watch the great shot that I missed in the viewfinder.
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 8:10 PM on 10.01.14
->> PRICE CHANGE AS OF 10-1-14: THE RECEIVER UNIT IS NOW INCLUDED WITH THE HEAD WHEN SOLD AS NEW FOR THE SAME PRICE WHICH IS $599. THE TRANSMITTER IS STILL $75, SO THE VIDEO IS INCORRECT ON THE PRICE OF THE B4 WITH TRANSMITTER AND RECEIVER AT $731. IT IS ACTUALLY JUST $674 TOTAL NOW :)
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 1:52 AM on 10.02.14
->> ALL CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MUST BE A GREAT DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!








(Sorry Pat. I could not resist.)
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 9:04 AM on 10.02.14
->> I just didn't want to have incorrect information out there brother... too bad the infrastructure of the site doesn't allow for editing posts once they are gone ;)
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 10:32 AM on 10.02.14
->> Unfortunately, if their unit is anything like 99% of the other monoblock units on the market, flash duration gets longer.

The question is how they are measuring flash duration. I'm still not sure it wouldn't be better to have a couple of Einsteins with a Vegabond if you need portability. Certainly wouldn't have to carry as much with the Dynalite's.
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 6:09 PM on 10.02.14
->> I recently upgraded to the B1 500's and use their magnum reflectors. Prior to that, I was using a pair of Einstein's. Haven't used them for indoor sports as of yet but plan to during basketball and swimming season.

One of the main reasons I went with the B1's is the fact that they work with the Canon ETTL system ... and now Nikon. At some point, the B1's will also be able to utilize high speed sync (something that has been invaluable to me with my Canon 600EX-RT lighting kit consisting of 4 lights). I know that many shooters do care about ETTL and HSS but it's what works for me and the type of work that I do.

I certainly didn't like the price of the B1's but at the end of the day it's what these lights can do for me in terms of saving non-billable time over the long haul... Battery management, setup, take down, metering, and so on.
One thing is for sure, I'm glad that lighting companies are starting to focus on portability and compact lighting setups. The majority of us don't have assistants to haul our gear around. We fly solo so it's important that we can manage lighting systems ourselves.

So far, I have been impressed with the Profoto B1-500's but still use my Canon 600EX-RT 4 head lighting kit as well. One thing I did learn was that I totally underestimated just how powerful the 600EX-RT lights actually were. I won't be getting rid of these any time soon.

Thanks for your time Patrick for doing the video and for sharing your thoughts on the Baja 400's.
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G.M. Andrews, Photographer
Mobile | AL | USA | Posted: 7:48 PM on 10.02.14
->> Pat, thanks for taking the time to bring this to our attention. This looks like a great setup for prep hoops which is just around the corner, and a whole lot better than hauling around Lumedynes like I used to.
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 1:22 PM on 10.03.14
->> A couple more bits of info on the B4. There are two modes on the flash, F mode and T mode. The F mode is the normal one that all strobes share--this mode just allows power to be adjusted up and down in 1/10th stops.

T- Mode is for flash duration junkies like me. I live in T mode unless I need a full power pop for a portrait as you get 1/3rd more light at the highest setting (7) in F mode.

Flash duration is a tricky business and everything depends on how the unit was made in its architecture when it was designed. The easiest way for strobes to be controlled is by lowering the overall voltage allowed to pass into the capacitors. The more difficult way is to breakdown the caps into groups that can be controlled separately from one another.

T-Mode allows you to do this. So when you are in T7 (highest setting in T mode) there is not that much difference in output (1/3rd less light output and only a marginal change in flash duration. When you step down to T6, you lose just a little output (3/10ths) but you gain a much shorter duration. At T5, you lose another 2/3rds (note not full stops here) and here is where things get really cool. Using a digital meter, there is no output change between 1/250th and 1/1000th shutter speeds... which means the sucker is really fast. The video is all in T-mode which is why it looks like they are full stop increments--not so. Again, I was trying to hit the highlights of the B4 and not put people to sleep with my talking.

Dynalite is working on getting together all these durations for each power setting but the dust is still settling from Phtokina in Germany... As soon as I get that info, I'll post it here.

Some of you have made some great recommendations which I have been passing on to Dynalite. They are very receptive to improving their products and have always been good about listening closely to the needs of shooters as time goes on. Keep it up!
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Josh Merwin, Photographer
New York | NY | | Posted: 4:27 PM on 10.03.14
->> If they could make an adapter to use Profoto reflectors with these monolights, I think they'd be able to double or triple the amount of these that they sell. Glad to see these lighting companies really innovating and pushing each other to make exciting, new products!
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
| | | Posted: 5:36 PM on 10.03.14
->> Is the battery user replaceable?
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 7:07 PM on 10.03.14
->> Yes, the battery can be changed easily. Spares are $168 I think.
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 7:11 PM on 10.03.14
->> http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/199884-REG/Profoto_100712_Telezoom_Re...

here is an awesome reflector from the good folks at Profoto that costs more than the B4 with the remote transmitter!!!!

OUCH!!!
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Josh Merwin, Photographer
New York | NY | | Posted: 12:30 PM on 10.10.14
->> Patrick,
That is an awesome reflector, I have one. But some of the Dynalite beauty dishes are in the $700 range too. I wasn't making a comparison between pricing. I was simply saying that it would be great for dynalite if there was a way to use Profoto reflectors with this light, they'd sell a lot more of them. It would be hard for me to invest in this, having all Profoto modifiers. I could maybe see getting one of them, but I'd rather get something that can work with all the reflectors I have, that makes it more valuable to me. In general Profoto is much higher. It would be great if it was 25% cheaper. But it's top of the line gear. And you get what you pay for. That's why it's basically in every rental house around the world. The stuff just works and lasts, it's durable.

With that said, it's great that there is a lower priced option for people. I checked out the Baja at B&H and it definitely has a place in the portable lighting gear options. For it's price, it's great. But it doesn't seem near as durable as the Profoto B1's.

It really comes down to what each individual prefers. As long as we're all happy with what we have, that's all that matters!
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 2:12 PM on 10.12.14
->> Josh, you are correct of course, in everything you say. I was fortunate to find some Chinese adapters for about $15 that adapts Elinchrom to Bowens S mount that I use all the time with my 74" octas, pan lights, and sport reflectors. I looked on Amazon for profoto but I didn't see any available. That would be a great solution.
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 11:49 AM on 10.16.14
->> A number of you asked for more information about the Baja's "T- Mode" so after talking to five or six of you by phone, I got smart and just made another video. The T mode really sets the Baja into a league of its own in terms of short duration strobes and its ability to have instant recycle at lower power levels even when using an 11 fps sports camera. Watch: https://vimeo.com/109132928
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 11:33 AM on 10.27.14
->> Here are some numbers I got from Dynalite this morning on T and F mode flash durations on the Baja 400:

F mode 7.0 = 1/500th

F mode 6.0 = 1/800th

F mode 5.0 = 1/1170th

F mode 4.0 = 1/1650th

F mode 3.0 = 1/2200th

F mode 2.0 = 1/2560th

F mode 1.0 = 1/2750th

T Mode 7.0 = 1/500th

T Mode 6.0 = 1/640th

T Mode 5.0 = 1/1,250th

T Mode 4.0 = 1/2,500th

T Mode 3.0 = 1/4,000th

T Mode 2.0 = 1/6,400th

T Mode 1.0 = 1/12,800th
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 3:53 AM on 03.08.15
->> Hate to say, but I picked up the 2 head set from Adorama, came in Friday. I've shot 2 games with them and I am NOT impressed with the battery life.

550 full-power flashes? I would like to see that happen. I was using T mode @ t.4 and t.5 (2 different games) and I was lucky to get 400 shots from the battery. When I was done with the game, I went back to the lights and they were lights out. I turned them off and tried to turn them back again, DOA.

Also, there needs to be a modeling light switch. Turning the dial all the way down on the modeling light still leaves the modeling light on, even a tiny bit, it's still enough for me to see it across a basketball court.

I'm also not sure about the power ratings. In a D1 gym where I've used speedlights the last 4 years, I've always used them at 1/4 power, that's a roughly 100w/s light (580EXII or 600RT) So I'm using 25w/s maybe? I set the D4 to t.5 and it doesn't seem nearly as bright (using a 7" reflector as it's the only one I have besides the 6" that came with it and the only difference is the 7" is an inch longer, same diameter.)

I'm getting some new reflectors but a long throw is going to be too tight at 30 degrees, I need something more in the 45 rather than the 60 degree given me by the Bowens (according to B&H listing) our D1 colleges don't have cat-walks and we are reduced to using lights on the rails surrounding the court, I just think 30 degrees is going to be too tight from where we are shooting and able to place lights.

Sorry for the rant, it's been a very long day and finding my new lights dead at the end of the night for a 2nd game in a row is very concerning to me. Seem like a great concept but I'm not quite sure why I'm getting so few pops. Does T use more than C? (I think they've switched that since you posted those numbers... C for color temp constant, T for shortened time)
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 9:16 PM on 03.08.15
->> Reflector is EVERYTHING. You need to be using the 50 degree or even the tighter one for that kind of lighting. For these to be effective, you need to use 1/2 power as a MAX. With the right reflector, this should not be a huge issue.

I'm using Dynalite's 9" long throw reflectors but mostly for high school, not in a D1 arena/gym.

I need some more info to help figure this out....

What is the ambient light for shooting available there????

pm-r
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 10:18 PM on 03.08.15
->> This isn't a huge D1 gym, We don't have anything like you down in TN! This is NW Indiana and I can almost bet the ARC at Valparaiso University is probably one of the smaller facilities around. Honestly the ARC is small, at 5,000 seats which is nothing compared to TN's 20,000+ capacity arena. I shoot at high schools that have the same capacity or more as HS Basketball is quite a big thing here in Indiana. So honestly it really isn't an "Arena" as it is a gym.

I'm over-nighting some "Bowens High Performance Reflector" which are 12.5" and produce a 47 degree narrow beam, so I'll see what happens.

Assuming the reflector helps, I still have the issue that even on t.4 my battery was dead at the end of a HS game I shot Friday night. It wasn't just one light but both.

BTW, I was going to get the Dynalite but NOBODY has them in stock. B&H, Adorama, Samys, hell, even Robert's in Indy (who doesn't even seem to stock them, but do stock the long throw for the arena heads?) are all either special order (B&H) or back-ordered (Adorama) Which is why I went with the Bowens.
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Jeff Kowalsky, Photographer
West Bloomfield | MI | United States | Posted: 10:50 AM on 03.09.15
->> Any idea if Photo-Fax has any of these?
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 2:35 PM on 03.09.15
->> LOL, You are showing your age with that last question, Jeff...

You will find immediate relief from having to be at full power once you set your new reflectors on the Bajas. You should see a 2-3 stop increase in overall output which will allow you to go to half or maybe even 1/4 power and get the same exposure you had when you were blasting away with the 7" grid reflectors.

This should easily get you into 2 game territory.

Reflectors are THE most important thing in lighting gyms. Then flash duration, and last is power. Hopefully you will be good to go. Please post here after you try the new reflectors and let us know how it's going... pm-r :)
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 5:07 PM on 03.09.15
->> BTW, I did find my problem with power. The batteries weren't dead and this is kind of one of those little nuisance things.

If you turn your B4's off via the remote control, even if you physically cycle the power button on the unit they will remain off until you either turn them on with the remote or change the group # on the receiver or pull out the receiver all together. So my B4's still had 1 bar left of power, I must had inadvertently turned the lights off when I was done shooting, not realizing that it stays persistent, even if you power cycle the light.

It would be nice to know that, but didn't see anything in the little 8 page manual that stated that once they were off by remote they were off until you turned them back on by remote. I in my infinite wisdom thought if you physcially hit the power switch and turned them back on they would go back on.

My last problem would be when I do hit a big arena or have to place my lights farther back or higher up. Dynalite makes that 11" 30 degree reflector for the Arena light set but they don't make one in a bowens mount that I could find that would fit the B4.

So, anyone know if something exists like this in a Bowens-S mount? A 30 degree long throw??

And if I have time tomorrow, I'll take my meter with me (if I can find it.. I rarely use it anymore!) and see what the difference on the floor is between the 7 inch and 60 degrees and 12.5 inch 47 degree at t.4.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 7:17 PM on 03.18.15
->> With Pat's enthusiasm here on the ss.com message board, I am really ooking foward to using the Dynalite Baja 400's at out upcoming Sports Shooter Academy workshop in a few weeks!

We have some very cool shoots planned that we'll utilize the great features of this strobe.

(Dynalite president Peter Poremba will be delivering the gear for the workshop himself!)
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Andrew Richardson, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 4:52 PM on 03.23.15
->> Pat you've done a great job on selling me on these. I have some Quadras right now, but I really need to get off of the power packs and stick my heads wherever I need them. Thanks for the great video review!
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 7:07 AM on 03.30.15
->> I noticed on the Dynalite web site that the Baja 400's now support HSS for Canon (not Nikon)using a special a dedicated transmitter. Has anyone given this a test drive yet?
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 10:36 PM on 03.31.15
->> https://vimeo.com/122158279

this is a work in progress and not completed yet but it will help many of you with questions regarding T-mode, HSS with Canon, and reflector offerings. I hope to finish this in the coming weeks.
In the interest of being transparent, this video was paid for by Dynalite and it's intended to be a more complete version of a paper instruction manual. I will add to this as HSS becomes available for other brands like Nikon and Sony. This link will stay put though but don't be surprised if the video gets a little longer as we go forward.... we will update it as needed.

Enjoy! pm-r :)
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 3:52 AM on 04.01.15
->> It would be nice if you mentioned what size the reflectors are that you are talking about. The only one you mention by size is the 7", everything else is, "this is the XYZ reflector" and would be nice to know the size.
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Andrew Richardson, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 8:28 PM on 04.01.15
->> Got my Bajas today! Pat, your most recent video was super helpful, thanks again for all of the free information and for exchanging emails with me.

I emailed Dynalite about when we could expect HSS for Nikon and Peter Poremba emailed me back (does he normally reply to people? Seems pretty cool that the company President answers their general email address) and he said that it would still be a few more months until HSS for Nikon gets here :(

Once that trigger is available, though, this really will be pretty much the perfect strobe for my needs.
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 4:31 AM on 04.02.15
->> Patrick - Could you explain "loosing functionality of the transmitter" in HSS mode at the 31:10 mark on the video. Do you still have control of Exposure Comp and Flash Exposure Comp on the camera itself?
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Troy Taormina, Photographer
Houston (Richmond) | Tx | USA | Posted: 3:09 PM on 04.02.15
->> Very helpful videos. I might pull the trigger on a set of these.
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 10:18 AM on 04.03.15
->> Kevin, once you enter HSS mode, you lose the ability to change the power on the transmitter--you have to do this on the unit itself. Also, there is only two stops of range between H1-H7, not seven stops as in all other modes... Hope this clarifies for you... pm-r :)
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 7:35 AM on 06.20.15
->> Patrick - Any updates on the Baja 400 (features, firmware changes, etc.)?
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 12:01 AM on 06.21.15
->> no, but the new and as yet unreleased Baja 600 units are going to make their debut at the Rich Clarkson Workshop. Peter from Dynalite will be out there in Denver testing them during that week. Hoping to get one to test with afterwards and I will update here...
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 9:05 AM on 06.22.15
->> Well --- I'd say that's pretty good news. I'm still hoping to see more players in the TTL/HSS market space down the road. While I do like my Profoto B-1's I also understand the need for more cost effective and affordable solutions the reach the broader market of photographers.

What's encouraging is that what's currently available seems to be working great unlike previous attempts to harness the Nikon and Canon TTL/HSS systems.

Keep us all posted on Dynalite's progress with the Baja line Patrick.
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Rudy Hardy, Photographer
Houston | Tx | USA | Posted: 9:12 AM on 06.22.15
->> Interesting thread! I'm looking at the Profoto B2 system. Does anyone have any experience with it?
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 6:19 PM on 06.22.15
->> I own the B-1's which operate the same as the B-2. Difference is in the power (250ws vs 500ws) and the battery pack.
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Thread Title: Dynalite Baja 400 battery powered strobe: perfect for SS!!!
Thread Started By: Patrick Murphy-Racey
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