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A quick look at the revised mount on the Einstein 640 monolight  
Thursday, March 17, 2011 | by Rob Galbraith
Back in January, lighting maker Paul C. Buff began to ship a revised version of the Einstein 640 that addressed a flaw in the monolight's accessory mount, one which resulted in some softboxes and other modifiers not being held securely. We've been using a set of Einstein 640s with the new mount for about two months, and can report that the beefier mount mechanism and reshaped mounting fingers do the job: the Einstein 640 now holds on tight to any speedring or reflector we've put on, including two that were prone to falling off previously.

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

The mount is changed in two ways.
  • First, the engage/disengage mechanism has been retooled so that it should no longer spontaneously disengage under the weight of the attached modifier. It was possible with the previous mount to tug on the modifier's speedring and, with certain ones and a reasonable amount of force, cause the mechanism to release halfway to the fully-open position. The same could happen if the light and modifier were shaken or jostled while repositioning the lightstand. The new mechanism passes the same tug, shake and jostle tests with flying colours. Even with pretty significant force being exerted, the mount's spring assembly stays in the closed position.

  • Second, the Einstein 640's four mounting fingers have been made longer and more curvy. You'll immediately spot the new shape if you compare the previous fingers in the photo below, left with the revised fingers below, right. This change in the mount has made all the difference here, since an older Photoflex softbox speedring as well as the mounting cage for Paul C. Buff's 22-inch Retro Laser Reflector and PLM umbrellas could easily work their way past the fingers before, even if the mount mechanism didn't self-open.

    Now, the mounting cage, various metal and plastic Photoflex speedrings, the speedring that's built into Paul C. Buff foldable softboxes as well as Paul C. Buff's 7-inch Silver Reflector, 8.5-inch High Output Reflector, 11-inch Long Throw Reflector and PLM reflector are all held tight, as they should be.

    Paul C. Buff beauty dishes were also dicey with the previous mount, and online postings suggest they now stay properly in place, but we've not tried one ourselves.
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Old and New: The mount mechanism and fingers of the previous Einstein 640 left, and revised version, right. Note that the spring clips attached to the diffuser dome now hold it more securely as well. Click photos to enlarge (Photos by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)
Getting a Grip: The mounting cage for the Paul C. Buff Retro Laser Reflector and PLM-series umbrellas, attached to an Einstein 640 with revised mount. Click to enlarge (Photo by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

The latest Einstein 640 units incorporate other fixes made to the flash through the latter half of 2010, ones that corrected short range with PocketWizard wireless radio remotes, occasional excessive heat buildup when the modeling light was used and problems related to 220VAC operation.

Colour temperature consistency and crisp freezing of motion are the signature features of the Einstein 640, which was announced in October 2009 and first shipped in April 2010. Other features include worldwide power compatibility, full power recycle time of 1.7 seconds, 2.5-640ws range in 1/10-stop increments, digital controls and compatibility with the Cyber Commander wireless control system (this requires the optional CSXCV transceiver) as well as the upcoming PocketWizard PowerMC2 module.

We reviewed the Einstein 640 in July 2010. Paul C. Buff recently released firmware v26 for the Einstein 640.
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