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Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:18 pm

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The reason for this pre-production announcement is that I don't like to be like other companies like Apple that let you buy something today, then suddenly introduce a new version the next day at a lower price. So I try to balance letting you know what's on the the horizon and give you some idea of what to expect when.

I wanted to test the final production samples and make sure the products were real and working as expected before I made any serious announcements. Just finished two days of testing in the studio. The products are real, work sensationally and we have been quoted 30 days production time for first shipment. You have to add shipping time across the sea (we use Fedex air freight on initial shipments, and have to allow for unknowns, so I'm not going to state an absolute ETA yet, and we aren't going to take pre orders until we have a date certain.

So here comes the cat out of the bag:

We are releasing 12 new versions of PLM™, in two categories. The first category is a straight 8mm shaft version that opens like an umbrella, without speedrings or the more complex setup of the present PLM™V2. This makes it easier to use, but results in slight off center placement, which actually has little effect on the real world performance. Sorry Elinchrom users, it won't fit the oddball 7mm umbrella mount. The shaft is much shorter than V1 and the knockoffs so it won't hit you in the eye! The shaft only protrudes a couple of inches behind the light. The shaft also has an internal reenforcing shaft so it won't sag.

No, this is not a repeat of V1 in any form. We made considerable changes to the arc shape from V1 to V2 that result in more even coverage, higher output, better catchlights, smoother shadows and better overall performance. The new PLM™ 8mm umbrella style models produce exactly the same superior patterns as the present V2 and use the very same fabrics, front diffusers and black outer covers.

All the knockoffs simply copied V1, have poke-you-in-the-eye shafts, have inferior patterns and output, and the white knockoffs (Westcott, Adorama Flashpoint) we have tested fluoresce horrible and produce blue/magenta light. The Viewfinder (UK) actually pirated our original PLM™V1 from the factory we gave our designs to for manufacture exclusively for us, and even have "BUFF" engraved on the sliders.

The next big deal:

As PLM™ users are aware, there are vast differences between the bright silver and white versions. The bright silver has won the hearts of many shooters for it's extreme output, narrow grid-like coverage and distinctive specular-yet soft result. The white versions have very wide coverage, much lower output, the need for spill control, and low contrast - very soft results.

I felt the need for a fabric that retained the best features of white and silver. Working with our exclusive vendor (Who is not a conventional umbrella vendor and will not supply to competitors) we developed and had specially manufactured, a fabric we designated "Soft Silver".

It has a black outer surface so doesn't require outer cover for spill control, retains the controlled beam spread of the bright silver, but with a considerably wider area of coverage and less severe, feathered pattern cutoff, exhibits the desirable specularity of silver, but with less severity than the bright silver, produces absolutely perfect patterns without any anomalies and easily provides full body coverage from 8' to 12' distances without the need for critical focusing. It's output is higher than white umbrellas or softboxes but lower than bright silver PLM™s.

Most important, it is designed to be used direct, without front diffuser or outer black cover. When thus used, it produces approximately the look and splill control of a gridded giant OctaBox, but with about twice the output, easier mounting, less stand weight, and the added punch of the soft silver fabric. The catchlights are nice and round and essentially spoke less and the shadows are soft and free of multiple shadow effects.

Adding the optional white front diffuser results in perhaps the most even of all soft boxes and soft lighters, in the desirable essentially round shape, very wide, low contrast coverage and output comparable to soft boxes and white umbrellas.

We are still doing product and coverage angle shots for publication and will announce firm shipping dates soon.

So the 12 new products are:

8mm straight shaft umbrella style PLM™ in 51", 64" and 86", in White, Super Silver and Soft Silver (nine products), and PLMV2 speed ring on-axis style in the same three sizes available in the new soft silver fabric. All current PLMV2 models remain available. All accessory fabrics are interchangeable between the speed ring and straight shaft versions.

Prices will remain approximately the same, with slight adjustments of about $5 up or down for the different models. The Soft Silver 86" 8mm straight shaft version is $69.95 and can be used with or without the optional PLM reflector or Spill Kill for elimination of side spill. (Back spill, lens flare and forward spill control is inherent in the design.)

So if you want to pay $100 for an inferior knock off of early Paul C. Buff, Inc. designs, endure inferior color balance and general performance and poke your eyes out, be my guest.



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Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:23 pm

Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:41 pm
Posts: 102
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Awesome! Although the light output is greatly appreciated on the silver pm v2's, there is still quite a bit of a center spotlight effect. Hoping that the new version addresses that with a more diffused material in the central area. also, i read some reports that the 64" plm v2 silver had some pattern issues which I'm hoping the next version will remedy that.

as always, keep it up! I'm very satisfied with the plm v2's.



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There ought to be a CCHDK (cybercommander hack development kit) for the einsteins so that users can create and run scripts.


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Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:44 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:49 am
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PLMV2 pattern is quite smooth on Einstein because of the frosted dome. Some spottiness occurs on open flashtubes but is not generally severe.

Soft Silver is very smooth and considerable wider and should have no spotiness. We will publish some shots soon.



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Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:20 am

Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:41 pm
Posts: 102
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Image



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There ought to be a CCHDK (cybercommander hack development kit) for the einsteins so that users can create and run scripts.


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Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:07 pm

Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:02 pm
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Age: 34
Location: New York, NY

Luap wrote:
......All the knockoffs simply copied V1, have poke-you-in-the-eye shafts, have inferior patterns and output, and the white knockoffs (Westcott, Adorama Flashpoint) we have tested fluoresce horrible and produce blue/magenta light.


I don't doubt that they are excellent products, but do you really need to knock other retailers in order to persuade people to buy them?



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Helen@adorama.com


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Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:18 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:49 am
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HelenOster wrote:
Luap wrote:
......All the knockoffs simply copied V1, have poke-you-in-the-eye shafts, have inferior patterns and output, and the white knockoffs (Westcott, Adorama Flashpoint) we have tested fluoresce horrible and produce blue/magenta light.


I don't doubt that they are excellent products, but do you really need to knock other retailers in order to persuade people to buy them?


Yes I do. When a person such as myself spends $100,000 and months of his time creating and making, then improving, an important new technology only to watch knock off artists take it to a China umbrella shop and say "copy this and put our name on it" it stifles creativity and borders outright theft of intellectual property.

In one case the "vendor" even went to our supplier, with whom we had an exclusive development/sales agreement, and talked them into actually selling parts we had paid to develop . . . complete with the name "BUFF" physically engraved on the metal parts. We have since terminated our relationship with that factory.

In another case, an "American manufacturer" had the gall to put "Designed in Ohio" on a product that was, indeed, designed by myself in Nashville. In the case of this product and the one you peddle, there are serious fluorescence issues that render unacceptable blue/magenta casts . . . an utter lack of testing and customer concern. I will publish actual shots and measurements of our products VS the knockoffs very soon.

This sort of unethical practice has destroyed the music and other industries. I realize this is the way business is done these days, and if people want to watch the world degrade into international anarchy and unethical practices I guess there won't be any more innovators.

Helen, this forum is not here for people like Adorama to come on and knock our company and protect knockoff artists, and we don't lead the industry with real innovations for the purpose of inviting other companies to outright copy our products for their own profit. This sort of comment belongs on Adorama's website . . . not ours.



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Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:28 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:49 am
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c2thew wrote:
Image


These look like PLM™ V1s.



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Luap C. Ffub


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Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:41 am

Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:25 pm
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I get what you're saying 100% - while you're perfecting your design, their "R&D" is to just steal your old ones. I'm assuming these problems are what led to the long delays and the vendor change...

I do want to ask though if this new design change - let's call it "the stick" - is something we can use on the v2 I just got not so long ago?

That's been my only gripe - and my only wish during set-up and break down - that it could have a shaft there ready to go when I want to use it in a quick and portable setting and don't have the time to screw together the adapter or just have my speedlights going.

Thanks




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Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:18 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:49 am
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volwitzer wrote:
I get what you're saying 100% - while you're perfecting your design, their "R&D" is to just steal your old ones. I'm assuming these problems are what led to the long delays and the vendor change...

I do want to ask though if this new design change - let's call it "the stick" - is something we can use on the v2 I just got not so long ago?

That's been my only gripe - and my only wish during set-up and break down - that it could have a shaft there ready to go when I want to use it in a quick and portable setting and don't have the time to screw together the adapter or just have my speedlights going.

Thanks


You're correct. The first vendor couldn't get the arc shape how I designed it and had quality problems. After we had completed all of our orders, we asked him to ship the molds for the PLM parts that we had paid to have made to our new vendor. Instead, he produced more PLMs, complete with "BUFF" engraved on the slider, to Viewfinder Camera, UK. After we threatened suit, I believe they eventually stopped directly stealing our product.

As for using the straight 8mm shaft version PLM on Einstein (or AB, etc), it works very well. The shaft does not extend more than a couple of inches, and you just open it like a normal umbrella and put it in the umbrella hole. It can be used with no reflector, producing some sideways spill, or with the PLM reflector to eliminate any side spill.

We tested all styles. The only issue is that, since this mounts the PLM slightly off-axis (as do all knockoffs) you have to aim the flash/PLM a bit off-axis to center the pattern on the model properly. We have found this doesn't have a very significant effect on the evenness of the pattern or output levels. This issue becomes more important on the smallest (51") super silver because the degree of off-axis become larger as the PLM size decreases.

Of course, the on axis speedring version remains the most precise PLM and will continue to be available, but the staright shaft version is easier to use and faster to set up.

The soft silver in either shaft type is very easy to use as it doesn't require the critical focusing and positioning as does the super silver. Patterns from the bright silver PLMs are quite smooth with Einsteins because the frosted dome softens and enlarges the effective lamp size. On ABs and most other lights, the undiffused flashtube can cause a bit of irregularity in the pattern. This all goes away with the soft silver.



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Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:45 pm

Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:06 pm
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Luap wrote:
PLMV2 speed ring on-axis style in the same three sizes available in the new soft silver fabric.


Wow! I"m very happy with my recent purchase of 86" PLMv2 (super silver). In fact I was just about to order a 51". But the soft silver sounds good. Guess I have to wait. :?
man... sounds exciting but I'm a little bummed I can't make my order.
Thanks for the heads up and info. I"ll be waiting anxiously.




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