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.