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Einstein 640 monolight now shipping with 150W modeling lamp installed  
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | by Rob Galbraith
Starting about two months ago, Paul C. Buff began shipping the Einstein 640 with both 150W and 250W modeling lights, with the former now being installed in the monolight at the factory and the latter bundled alongside it.

From one modeling light to two

Previously, the Einstein came with a single 250W modeling light. The change to two bulbs, and the installation of the 150W in place of the 250W, came about to help alleviate certain instances of the flash heating up to the point that its thermal protection would kick in, shutting the light down temporarily, says company founder Paul Buff.

He stresses that those instances are exclusively ones in which the Einstein is being pushed beyond what it was engineered to handle; while early units of the 640ws flash did have a tendency to heat up prematurely when the modeling light was used, a redesigned version of the Einstein, shipping for about the last 14 months, corrected this. All Einstein 640s produced since the redesign can dissipate heat properly, Buff says, and most photographers will not experience any difficulties with the 250W lamp when used sensibly.

If, however, the 250W lamp is left on at full for long periods inside a downward-facing softbox, and the Einstein is at the same time fired repeatedly at high power levels, the circuitry towards the front of the flash is all but guaranteed to reach the 185F/85C threshold that trips the thermal cool down feature. The 150W lamp emits less heat at full brightness, and is therefore much less likely to invoke a heat-related shutdown, even in this extreme example scenario, says Buff.

As a result, it has become the default modeling light for units shipped from Paul C. Buff's direct sales headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, while the 250W is included in the shipment as well for those who require its higher brightness (and can also manage its higher heat, which for us has presented no overheating problems at all, perhaps because we mainly use reflectors and umbrellas).

Paul C. Buff in Europe and Australia are implementing the same change, though as of this writing we haven't confirmed if these subsidiaries have already begun to ship both the 150W and 250W bulbs with Einstein 640 orders.

Dressed in Black: The Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 monolight. Click to enlarge (Photo by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

The 150W modeling lamp is also available as an optional accessory, for US$7.95 when purchased direct from Nashville.

Ultra-low wattage option

This isn't the only news on the modeling light front from Paul C. Buff. The company has also introduced an ultra-low wattage modeling light for the Einstein 640, which is aimed at location shooters who run the flash from battery-powered sources such as the Vagabond Mini Lithium. The 25W/100VAC bulb (which puts out the equivalent brightness of about a 35W bulb because it's being operated at 120VAC) is available now, also as a US$7.95 accessory.

Illuminating: From left to right: the Einstein 640's 250W, 150W and 25W modeling lights (Photos courtesy Paul C. Buff

As of Einstein firmware version 29, it's not possible to alter the modeling lamp watts figure reported on the rear LCD. It says 250W, regardless of the bulb installed. A future firmware update will address this, by providing the option to specify 250W, 150W or 25W for the modeling light. A date for the new firmware's release has not been set, says Buff.
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