Comparing various light modifiers

Lots of great conversations about light are going on in various Facebook groups I participate in. Many of them get into discussing the shapes of modifiers and what diffusion does or doesn't do. Fortunately, I have a wide variety of modifiers available to me, so in some moments of free time last night I decided to test a few of them out. I used a mannequin as my subject for consistency from modifier to modifier and to purposely not be able to see the catchlight that would appear in a real subject's eyes. The big difference between many similar size modifiers of different shapes is in the catchlights. But that is a different discussion. Skin will look very different from the plastic mannequin, however this demonstration is about the shadow edges-- the transition from highlight to diffuse reflection to shadow. 

This video clip runs through the following list of modifiers: 36-, 46-, an 60-inch Photek Softlighters, 46-inch Softlighter without its diffuser (10-panel umbrella), 36-inch octabox (with and without the inner diffuser panel), 2x3-foot softbox (with and without its inner diffusion panel and vertical and horizontal), Westcott Apollo Orb (with and without its front diffusion panel), a bare bulb pointing at the subject with no reflector, a 7-inch metal dish reflector, a fresnel lens attachment in two positions (narrow and wide), a snoot, and an optical spotlight. 

Here is a series of the still images of most of the modifiers

Click on the image for a larger version

And here are two slider comparisons of a 46-inch Softlighter with and without its diffusion panel and of a 36-inch octa and a 24x36-inch vertical soft box.

A main point I want to make here is that very often you can use the equipment you already have. We all fall into GAS (Gear Aquisition Syndrome) and/or feel jealous about that wild new modifier the kid down the street just purchased. Yes, as a photographer pixel-peeping at the images we can see subtle differences between the various modifiers. It is up to you to decide if those differences are worth the price tag and storage space considerations. For myself, starting out I would choose a set of Photek Softlighters (at least 46- and 60-inch), an Interfit 2x3 softbox (I really like the quality of the materials, the build, and the price of their boxes), a 1x3 strip box, a 40-inch shoot-through umbrella, and a standard 7-inch metal dish reflector. 

Here is a list of the modifiers used in the photos above:
Interfit S1 flash
Photek Softlighters (36- 46- and 60-inch)
Interfit 2x3-foot softbox
Westcott Apollo Orb
Fresnel lens attachment
Paul C. Buff 36-inch Octa (replaced the Balcar mount with a Bowens S-mount speedring)
Snoot
Optical Spotlight

 

The Honey Badger and umbrellas

Yes, they work well together

This morning I received a comment on a YouTube video asking this question from Daryl Davis: "I've seen reports that the HB doesn't actually play well with umbrellas--no way to lockthe shaft, and the umbrella is cocked at an angle that takes it off-axis from the strobe. What's been your result with the Softlighter?"

Spring tension in the umbrella shaft receptacle holds the umbrella in place

Spring tension in the umbrella shaft receptacle holds the umbrella in place

At first, when I first worked with the Honey Badger back in August 2017 I did initially have a concern about the lack of a set screw to lock the umbrella shaft. In practice this has not been an issue at all. There is some sort of spring mechanism in the umbrella mount that holds the umbrella  shaft securely. I also note that a number of other strobe heads rely on a similar mechanism with no set screw. Those include the Profoto B and D series and the Broncolor Siros L. As I said, in the 4 months I've had these heads this has not presented any problems.

Interfit Honey Badger in a 46-inch Photek Softlighter

Interfit Honey Badger in a 46-inch Photek Softlighter

As for the Photek Softlighter, I don't see any issue at all here. Yes, the umbrella shaft is not as close to the flash tube as on some other strobe heads. But in the Softlighter with its diffusion fabric (which some people double-up), I don't see that making a difference. The Honey Badger has a frosted dome over the flash tube and modeling lamp that helps spread the light 180-degrees within the umbrella. I could see this being more of an issue with lights like the Profoto B and D series that have a flat face on the strobe and limit the spread of the flash to around 75-degrees or so. The protruding dome on the Honey Badger (which is the same on the Interfit S1) is, to me, a very important feature. To add this to a Profoto B1 or D1 you need to purchase the Profoto Glass Dome for an additional $175 or so. And a new cover for the flash tube for $27. Total costs: Honey Badger (320ws) = $299, D1 (500ws) = $1416 Siros L (400ws) $2050 (battery operated).

Here are photos of the Honey Badger with the 46-inch Softlighter, both with and without the diffuser panel. I can see where the concern is coming from, but I have not had any problems with the setup with any of the Softlighters (36-inch, 46-inch o 60-inch). The umbrella fills nicely and the diffuser evens out the light across the fabric. The black ring around the flash tube that is used to connect the pop-up softbox that is is included with the purchase of the Honey Badger does make it a little tight to get the diffusion sock attached, but it also provides a way to keep the fabric from making contact with the flash tube (actually the frosted dome) without having to put a metal dish reflector on the head which would restrict the width of the light dispersion. It isn't an issue with the cool running LED modeling lamp in the Honey Badger, but I have melted the sock when using a Softlighter on an Einstein head with its extremely hot 250-watt Quartz-Halogen modeling lamp.

The bottom line for me is that I think the Honey Badger and the Softlighters play very well together. 

hb-umbrella-3.jpg
hb-umbrella-4.jpg

 

 

 

Diffusion Confusion

Diffusion will be my epitaph

Diffusion? Diffusion!

Let's start with a definition: The spreading of something more widely

Easy enough. In the case of lighting, diffusion spreads the light to cover a wider area. Light diffusers such as the Stofen that are the same size as the light do just that. They let you use your speed light with a wider angle lens with less vignetting. What they don't do is make the light softer. To make the light softer you have to make it larger in relation to your subject. Yes, spreading the light a bit more might let the light bounce off a nearby wall or low ceiling to help fill in shadows a little bit, but the effect is usually minimal unless you are in a very small room with white walls and ceiling.

Adding a diffuser directly onto the flash does not increase the size of the light. It just spreads the light out to cover more area at lesser intensity

Adding a diffuser directly onto the flash does not increase the size of the light. It just spreads the light out to cover more area at lesser intensity

To make a light source softer, that is to make the shadow edges more gradual, the light has to be made larger. A diffuser right on the light doesn't do this. This extends to studio flash heads, too. Some heads come with a frosted flash tube cover/dome. Some don't. How much effect on the quality of light does the frosted dome offer? Let's look at some examples. Here are eight images made with a Paul C. Buff Einstein and an Interfit Honey Badger. Both of these lights come with a frosted dome. The images with the blue card are from the Einstein and the ones with the pink card are from the Honey Badger. One set was made with a 7-inch metal dish reflector pointed directly at the mannequin, the other set was made with the flash pointing into a 46-inch Photek Softlighter umbrella without its diffusion panel (I wanted to see if the frosted dome on its own made any difference). Can you tell which (A or B) has the frosted dome and which doesn't?

Einstein in a 7-inch metal dish reflector

Einstein in a 7-inch metal dish reflector

Einstein in a 46-inch umbrella

Einstein in a 46-inch umbrella

Interfit Honey Badger in a 7-inch metal dish reflector

Interfit Honey Badger in a 7-inch metal dish reflector

Interfit Honey Badger in a 46-inch umbrella

Interfit Honey Badger in a 46-inch umbrella

In each of the above pairs of images A is without the dome and B is with the dome. Here is a slider you can use for closer inspection.

I will let you draw your own conclusion about how much the frosted dome has an effect on the softness of the light. Whether you think it softens the light or not, my preference is for a light that does have the dome for its protection of the flash tube and modeling lamp. It also helps match the look of the modeling lamp to the flash tube. I also expect that the dome will help even the spread of light when the flash has a softbox attached. But that is a test for another day.

A few words about the images here. All were made with a Canon EOS M5 camera with the white balance set to Daylight and the light metered for f/5.6. No adjustments to color were made when converting the raw files to jpg for this post. The Honey Badger showed a more neutral color of the white seamless paper background compared to the cool/blue look of the Einstein (which was set to Color mode and about 1/2 power in the umbrella and lower for the 7-inch).

Thanks, as always, for following along! 

In case you somehow missed it, my book, Anatomy of a Studio Portrait, is available for order.

Cheers!
John

Anatomy of a Studio Portrait

My new book is now available

book-cover2.jpg

I'm happy to announce that my book Anatomy of a Studio Portrait is now available for sale on Amazon for $29.95!

In this book I present the thought processes and steps to go through in planning out a studio portrait session. From knowing where and how the photographs will be used to understanding lighting and lenses and perspective. I've included an extensive glossary of photographic terms and sections on hints and tips on different types of gear available and how they are used in the studio. 

Apple boxes, v-flats, snoots, grids, softboxes, umbrellas, flash syncronization, and more. Inverse square law. Dealing with eyeglasses. Even comparing f/stops to pizza! Includes plenty of photographs and diagrams to help explain the concepts involved. 

If you have liked or been entertained by my contributions as the guy in the background moving lights around on CreativeLive I think you will enjoy this book. 

Do you ever get that black bar across parts of your photos when working with studio flash? Find out what causes it and how to fix it.

Do you ever get that black bar across parts of your photos when working with studio flash? Find out what causes it and how to fix it.

Do you have Diffusion Confusion? Just what does it mean to add diffusion to your lights?

Do you have Diffusion Confusion? Just what does it mean to add diffusion to your lights?

Do you know how to change the color of your background when you take the photo instead of having to do it in post-production?

Do you know how to change the color of your background when you take the photo instead of having to do it in post-production?

Intimidated about assembling your first softbox and speedring? Here's how!

Intimidated about assembling your first softbox and speedring? Here's how!

Frustrated when winter comes around with its shorter daylight hours? Want to be able to make photographs without having to worry about the weather outside or the time of day or night? All this and more in an easy to read and understand book. 

John has always been an encyclopedia of knowledge. When we pros have a question or need expertise, John is always our go-to!
— Lindsay Adler, NYC Fashion Photographer & CreativeLive Instructor

Thanks for taking a look!

John Cornicello
Seattle, WA

 

Looking at HyperSync and High Speed Sync

The same but different

Being primarily a studio photographer, I haven't spent a lot of time looking at High Speed Sync and no time looking at HyperSync (because I didn't see the need to purchase yet another trigger system). But that changed this week. No, I didn't start working outdoors--we seem to have gone from summer directly to winter here in Seattle. But I was browsing through eBay and saw a PocketWizard MiniTT1 trigger for $30 and it made me start to think about HyperSync. Later that same day I stopped in a camera shop and they had a used MiniTT1 on sale for $19. The universe must be telling me something--I bought the trigger.

High Speed Sync (HSS) and HyperSync do a similar thing, yet are very different. Both allow you to make photographs using shutter speeds faster than the usual sync speed of your camera. You might ask, "why would I want to do this?" The main reason for this is to work outdoors with your flash balancing exposure with the ambient sunlight.

High Speed Sync
HSS has been around for a while in camera speed lights. Its main claim to fame is that with it you are able to make flash photographs outdoors at wide open apertures to allow shallow depth of field with a very soft and creamy out of focus background. Normally, balancing the flash with the sun will yield apertures around f/11 or so because the highest shutter speed you can use with your flash is around 1/200 of a second. We can see where that comes from by using the Sunny 16 rule. In full sun, the exposure for your photo will be approximately 1/ISO shutter speed at f/16. If your ISO is 100, that will be 1/100 second at f/16 or 1/200 second at f/11. If you are happy with f/11 you just set your flash power to give the same f/11 reading. But what if you want to be at f/4 to have a more shallow depth of field? Or if you want to raise your shutter speed to make the ambient light exposure darker to help make your subject stand out from the background? If you raise your shutter speed to darken the background it won't sync. If you open up the lens to f/4 for less depth of field and leave the shutter speed at 1/200 (flash sync speed) you have a totally blown out photo from the ambient sunlight. To bring the ambient exposure back to normal you need to speed up your shutter speed. Let's look at the equivalent exposures for 1/200 @ f/11:

1/200 @ f/11
1/400 @ f/8
1/800 @ f/5.6
1/1600 @ f/4

At the shutter speeds faster than the sync speed the flash is not going to register in the image. The flash will not sync with the shutter, so the image will be the same with or without the flash firing.

Enter High Speed Sync!
HSS, as mentioned above, is a feature available in many speed lights and is now available in a number of newer studio flashes (such as the Interfit S1). What HSS does is to fire the flash stroboscopically (pop pop pop pop pop pop pop) as the shutter curtains move in the camera to allow the flash to register in the image. As you are probably well aware, most flashes require a recycle time between pops of the flash. Recycle time ranges from 6 seconds on some speed lights down to less than a second on some high end studio lights. But we need a bunch of pops to occur within 1/4000 of a second. That isn't possible at full power with any of the flash units (well, maybe in some of the $10,000 + Profoto and Broncolor systems). So HSS fires the flash rapidly at a very low power output to that it doesn't need any recycle time. That takes care of two issues. The flash is synced with the high shutter speed and the power is reduced to allow you to work at f/4 or wider. However, the power is so reduced that if you are using a modifier like a soft box on your flash the light has to be in very close to your subject. If you are doing more than a head and shoulders portrait the light will most likely be in your frame and need to be removed via retouching in post. If you need a darker background you raise your shutter speed, but you loose more and more power from the flash (approximately 1 stop per full step change in shutter speed). Other disadvantages of HSS are that it goes through batteries quicker and will shorten the lifespan of your flash tube. But it does what it does when you need what it does.

So, what is HyperSync?
HyperSync is something that comes to us from the PocketWizard company. PocketWizard is a brand of radio remote triggers that has been around for a number of years. A few years ago they came out with a set of transmitters (MiniTT1) and transceivers (FlexTT5) that can be programmed to time the firing of your flash with the shutter in your camera to allow a full power flash to sync at higher shutter speeds. At first it sounds too good to be true. And it sort of is. Yes, you get the flash to register in the image, but the exposure is not consistent across the frame. In most situations I think you will find yourself having to do a bit of post-production to even out the light in the image. Better than having no image at all, though.

Let's look at some examples of photographs taken with my Speedotron 2400 watt second power pack and a Canon 6D camera at 1/800 second shutter speed. I picked this flash unit because it has a long duration flash that I figured would work better with HyperSync than a flash with a fast duration. 

The first image was made using a standard Pocket Wizard Plus III trigger and a MultiMax receiver. ISO 100 at f/11. As you can see the flash only registered a small sliver at the top of the frame. Exactly what would be expected at 1/800 second. The next image was made with everything the same except for the trigger on the camera, which was changed out to the MiniTT1. You can see that the flash registered, but the image is darker at the top than at the bottom. The third image shows what it looks like after applying a graduated filter in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to brighten up the top part of the photo. Not perfect. But with a bit more processing it could be usable and much better than not getting an image at all. For reference, the final image was made with the standard trigger and at 1/125 second and f/22 as it came out of the camera with no adjustments.

Outdoors, where HyperSync is supposed to be used (if the weather gets nice I'll update this with outdoor images) the inconsistency in the exposure might not be as noticeable because the ambient sunlight will fill in some of the shadows. And like HSS, it will allow you to use higher shutter speeds to darken the background. At this point, I don't really see any need or use for HyperSync in the studio.

In the studio
HSS, on the other hand, does have a place in the studio. With most studio lights even at their lowest power settings with the light in close to your subject you will be getting f/5.6 or so. By enabling HSS and working at fast shutter speeds around 1/2400 or 1/3200 the flash power will be reduced enough to let you work at f/1.4 if desired. These two images made at Russell Brown's pre-conference event at Adobe MAX 2017 and show the difference between working at f/4.0 and f/1.4. The HSS option on the Interfit S1 strobe (with a 2x3-foot softbox) that I used here allowed me to open up the lens for the shallow depth of field making a different look between the photographs.

 

Interfit S1 strobe at lowest power giving me f/4 at 1/125 second (normal sync)

Interfit S1 flash in High Speed Sync mode allowing me to open up to f/1.4 at 1/3200 second

I hope this gives a little better understanding of High Speed Sync and HyperSync. For more information about HyperSync check out the Pocket Wizard information site. For more about the Interfit S1 check out Interfit Photographic

Chasing the elusive spot light

I WANT IT! aka "GAS" (gear acquisition syndrome)

I've had this lust for a spotlight for some time. I've kept a web alert in place for a Norman TriLite that I could convert to work with a Speedotron pack. I have a Speedotron Shakespeare optical spot light and a Light Blaster (both available for sale). I saw Zack Arias talk about a new device with a zooming fresnel lens and I got one of those (photo of it appears below). And there is the tried and true snoot.

Profoto SpotSmall

Profoto SpotSmall

But the holy grail for me has been for a small optical spotlight. Profoto has one called the Spot Small that sells for around $1,000. Though it comes with a Profoto mount, I found that I could easily replace the mount with a Speedotron or Balcar mount and probably some other mounts. But the price was out of my range for the amount of use I expected to get out of it.

Bowens Universal Spot

Bowens Universal Spot

Elincrhom MiniSpot

Elincrhom MiniSpot

Then I discovered that Bowens had what appeared to be an identical product they called the Bowens Universal Spotlight Attachment. It cost only $575 and I wouldn't have to change out the mount to fit my lights. I considered it for a while, but still couldn't justify the cost--I kept on saving my pennies, though. Then one day I noticed that it went from Available to Backordered and to Special Order over a few days at two of the big online camera stores and that got me worried a bit. Another day or two later things got clearer as word came out that Bowens was shutting down operations. Now it is listed as Discontinued. There went that opportunity.

That got me looking again and I found the Elinchrom Mini Spot Projection attachment for $500. But I couldn't find one to see in person to figure out what it would take to change the mount to fit any of my studio lights. And $500 was still a bit pricy for something I knew I wanted but didn't know where or when I was actually going to use it. But it did include a few gobo patterns in the price...

WHAT TO DO???

One day in August I somehow typed in the right combination of words in Google and was taken to the Aliexpress site. There I found an optical spot made in China for around $230 -- and it had a Bowens S-mount that would work with my Interfit lights. That was tempting, but I still kept on procrastinating. Finally, I decided my birthday was coming up in September and I would buy the thing for myself. I typed in all my info and pressed the buy button and my credit card was declined. Got a text from my bank immediately asking if it was really me making this purchase in China. I said yes and they said OK, try it again. I did, but accidentally used the wrong credit card and was again declined. But this time the site came back with a "others who looked at this item also purchased..." list that had the same spotlight from another vendor for $160 including shipping. And while the original vendor said it could take up to 30 days for delivery, this vendor said it would be about a week.

Chinese optical spotlight attachment

Chinese optical spotlight attachment

Got out the right credit card, placed the order and waited a day or so for it to process from Alibaba to the vendor. Then I got the shipping notification and I saw it. A typo in my address. I left a number out. The vendor wasn't much help in getting the address corrected, but once it was in the hands of UPS they were able to correct the address (whew!). I watched it track from China to Japan to Alaska, to Kentucky, and finally to Seattle a day earlier than promised.

The item was well packed and arrived in perfect condition. It includes a gobo holder and a few different gobos. It also has a set of 5 plexiglass filters (red, green, amber, yellow, and blue). No instructions are included, but it is a simple device and pretty obvious how to use it. My only "complaint" with the device are that the gobo holder is not standard. It doesn't look like any standard size gobos from various manufacturers will fit in it. They would have to be trimmed down, which is easy to do. As I will be using the spotlight attachment with Interfit strobes which have LED modeling lights that don't get hot, so I can make my own gobos out of black card stock (don't even think about trying this with your 250-watt quartz-halogen modeling lamps) or thin sheets of metal. 

So, does it work? Yes! Here are some images comparing a spot on the background using the optical spotlight, a snoot, a snoot with a grid, and the fresnel device Zack introduced me to. Of those the spot light and the snoot were the most effective for this use. The fresnel just doesn't seem to be tight or narrow enough for what I wanted. Let's go to the photos...

The optical spotlight attachment with 3 sizes of circle gobos and with no gobo

The snoot by itself on the second row (same distance as the optical on the left, moved in closer on the right) and with a grid on the end of the snoot in the third row (again moved in closer on the right)

The NG-10X zoomed out and then in on the second row and moved in closer in the third row

Here are a few more images all made with the optical spot and a variety of gobos and filters.

Gobo patterns and color filters on the optical spotlight on the mannequin and on the background of the selfies (main light on the selfies is a 2x3 Interfit softbox).

Now to figure out how I am going to integrate the spot light into my projects. Do you have GAS? What photo gear are you lusting after? Let me know in the comments below.

And, did I mention the LED modeling lights in the Interfit S1 and Honey Badger strobes? No more burnt fingers or overheating when using enclosed attachments like snoots with the modeling lights turned on. 

 

It is NOT the lens!!

It's the DISTANCE, %&^^^##

Here we go again. If you have read my harangues about this before you can go ahead and skip this one. But again I see photographers talking about lenses and perspective and blaming the lens. Even back in 2012 I was talking about the camera adding 10 pounds to people. So, let's try this again. All lenses show the same perspective from the same camera position.

Wide angle lenses don't expand a scene and long lenses don't compress a scene. The area of a photograph taken from the same camera position with the two lenses that is common to both photographs will have the exact same perspective, which includes the look of the drawing of the face in a portrait. What short lenses do is tempt us or allow us to move in closer to the subject. What long lenses do is make us back up away from the subject to fit the subject in the frame. But that is your decision. The lens suggests things, it doesn't dictate them.

 
Don’t let the lens dictate your camera position. Find your position, then pick the lens that fills the frame appropriately.
 

Let's look at two photographs. One was taken with a 24mm lens, the other with a 105mm lens and they were cropped to match the same size. Can you tell the difference?

Yes, there are some obvious giveaways. The 24mm photo has more depth of field (you can see it in the hair) because the subject was magnified less in the 24mm original. But in general, the look of the face is the same with both lenses. How can that be??? It is because the distance between the camera and the subject didn't change. That distance is what determines the look of the face. Don't blame the lens!

Above you can see the full frame and cropped images from three different focal lengths, 24mm, 50mm, and 105mm with the camera 24-inches from the subject. The perspective is the same in all three.

 
Just because a wide angle lens tempts you or allows you to move in close doesn’t mean that you have to!
 

Below is the same series, but this time from 86-inches away. Again, the perspective is the same for all three lenses. But it is different from the set above because the DISTANCE changed, not because of the lens.

Now let's go back to the slider. This time the two photos compared below are taken with the same lens (24mm), but at two different distances (24-inches and 48-inches). Now you see a big difference in the perspective. But these are made with the same lens--how could that be? It is the DISTANCE.

I really hope that this helps clear up the question about lenses and perspective and adding ten pounds to the subject and on and on and on. 

Yes, it is not practical to make a portrait with a short lens and then have to crop in and enlarge it. But again, that isn't the fault of the lens. You picked the wrong size wrench from your toolkit.  Don't blame the lens.

Thanks!

 

 

Color consistency in studio flash

Einstein Vs Honey Badger for Color

The Honey Badger and the Einstein

The Honey Badger and the Einstein

I recently saw some comments about the Interfit Honey Badger and how consistent color would be from shot to shot because of its price level. I have been using the Honey Badger in my studio for a bit over a week now and had not noticed any issues with shot to shot consistency. But I decided to put it to a test. Many of the comments I read were comparing the Honey Badger to Paul Buff lights such as their Einstein and their new DigiBees. I don't have a DigiBee, but I do have some Einsteins here, so I compared these heads (as I did last week while talking about modeling light power). Up front I will mention that I have recently become part of the Interfit CreativePro group. I have also been to the Paul Buff facility in Nashville and have great respect for them and their products. So that does not affect my testing of these units. I use these lights in my day-to-day studio work, so I wanted to know for myself how things stacked up.

The Test Setup

WhiBal and ColorChecker Passport as my test subjects

WhiBal and ColorChecker Passport as my test subjects

Here is how I set it up. I used a Canon 5D mkIII camera with a Sigma 24-105 lens. The white balance in the camera was set to Daylight (which shows as 5200K +5 tint in Lightroom). The Einstein was set to "Color" mode (it also offers an "Action" mode with faster flash duration, but less color consistency). My test subjects were a WhiBal card and an X-Rite Color Checker. Both lights were used with the same Interfit 24x36 (60x90cm) softbox. Images were brought into Lightroom with no adjustments. I took my measurements for the test from approximately the same spot on the WhiBal card.

My notes

I made 10 exposures in quick succession (but waiting for the ready indicator) with each flash at full power, then at a middle power setting, and then at the minimum power. For the Einstein, I set full power, -4 stops, and minimum power. For the Honey Badger I used power levels 10.0, 6.0, and 4.0. Then, in Lightroom, I used the White Balance eye dropper to set a custom white balance for the WhiBal card. I recorded the original RGB values and then the changes in Kelvin and tint for each exposure at each power level.

The Results

The Einstein put out a light that was more yellow (warmer) than the Honey Badger. Or the Honey Badger put out a light that was more blue (cooler) than the Einstein, but a custom in-camera white balance would have brought them in line with each other. Right now I am looking for the consistency between exposures. 

Both the Einstein and the Honey Badger stayed within a +/- 50K range at full power and at mid-power. The Honey Badger remained within the +/- 50-degree range at minimum power, too. The Einstein was a little less consistent at minimum power, with a range of +/- 100-degrees K. Tint levels were similar. At full and mid power the Einstein remained within a +/- 2 range, but at minimum power that expanded slightly to +/- 5. The Honey Badger was within +/- 3 at full and mid and +/- 4 at minimum. ADDED: I later added the S1 to the tests and you can find the results at the very bottom of this post.

The Interfit S1 battery operated flash 

The Interfit S1 battery operated flash 

In my eyes, the performance of both the Honey Badger and the Einstein are impressive. Going in, I thought this might not be a fair comparison because the Einstein costs $499 and uses IGBT technology (so is more similar to the Interfit S1 flash heads) while the Honey Badger costs $299. Both the Einstein and the Honey Badger are A/C powered, so you need an electrical outlet or portable power source. Neither of them offer high speed sync or TTL exposure automation (the S1 offers both, as well as being battery OR A/C powered). The Einstein does win out over the Honey Badger on faster flash duration if you happen to be photographing people throwing water at each other and you can work at lower power levels. But at full power, the Honey Badger has a 1/900 flash duration vs the Einstein's 1/500 (in both Color and Action mode). You really need to dial the flash power on the Einstein down below 1/2 power in Action mode to start taking advantage of the faster flash durations. The Interfit S1 is on par with the Einstein in having fast flash durations at lower power settings. The Honey Badger uses different technology and offers its fastest flash duration at its higher power settings. Flash duration gets longer as you power down.

Some other features of the Honey Badger are its super-bright 60-watt LED modeling light (that remains cool to the touch) and the built-in radio receiver that works with the S1 remote units. Interfit also throws in a useful 24x24 (60x60cm) softbox with the Honey Badger and uses the Bowens S-mount system for accessories (which I prefer over the Balcar spring mount used on the Buff equipment). 

As mentioned at the top, I am a member of the Interfit CreativePro team and they have given me a discount code for people who purchase equipment directly from Interfit. Use the code CORNICELLO10 for a 10% discount (and yes, I also get a small commission if you use that code, so we both benefit). I also urge you to check in with your local photography dealer and purchase from them if you can.

If you are in the Seattle area in September I will demo the Interfit lights at Glazer's camera on Friday, September 15. I hope to see you there.

Cheers!
John

S1 ADDENDUM

Later in the afternoon I added the Interfit S1 to my testing with these results: At full power the color temp was within +/-25K across the 10 exposures. At mid power (6.0 on its scale) it was +/-50K. At minimum power (2.0) it was +/-75K.