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Old December 13th, 2007, 12:22 PM   #1
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Rifa or Caselite?

I'm going to get either a Rifa-Lite 66 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...6_1_Light.html)

or Caselite 4 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...4_5400K_1.html)

as a key, mostly for interviews. With egg crate and accessories for the Rifa, they're about the same price. I know the Caselite offers better daylight options and is cooler, but putting that aside, is its light quality close to the Rifa?

I'm grateful for any recommendations (or alternatives).

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Old December 13th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #2
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If you are going to get a Rifa-Lite, I would get the new version that has a swappable socket for tungsten or flourescent:
I can't find the link for the 66 eX on the B&H site, but here's a link for the 55 ex:

I don't think Lowel is still making the non-eX version of the Rifas, but I see B&H is selling them. However, even though B&H seems to only have the 44 and 55 eX, Lowel does make the 66 eX and the 88 eX.

To get the best advice on which lite for your use, I would call Lowel and ask what they think. They have been very helpful to me in the past.
Take note that the Caselite kit you link is 24.lbs. and the Rifa kit is 17 lbs. This may or may not be significant for you.

Also, the Rifa is more carry around friendly (with just the light in its bag) to me for a one-person show than is the Caselite.
The most popular Rifa for interviews is the 55 (500 watt), Are you sure you want the 66 (750 watt)? Don't know, just asking.

I don't know how the light output compares between the caselight and the rifa (based on watts). It might be advisable to call Lowel and ask with Rifa (or wattage tungsten in a Rifa) has a comparable output to the Caselite.
What other lights will you use for your interviews. If you don't have anything yet, you might consider one of the Lowel kits with a Rifa ex 55. You can get a whole kit (and also get a set of grids) for the same or less than a Caselight. and everything goes into one case. This is convenient if working alone doing interviews.

However, there are endless options, so here are a few to consider.

In any case, I strongly suggest getting the eX Rifa, even if you don't use different socket, but might resell the light later.

(Note: with the eX system, it is possible to put a 44 socket -- which will accept 12v lamps -- in a 55, 66, or 88, allowing even more versaility for the Riva eX system.)

Regarding quality of light: the Rifa is very nice. I think it probably has more control and is more versatil than the Caselight flourescent.
Do you have a large photo store you can go to to see the lights in person?
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Old December 13th, 2007, 02:27 PM   #3
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The Rifa is basically a softbox, isn't it? The Caselight has barn doors. They are reflective on one side, black on the other. You can adjust them to reflect and amplify the light, or flip them over and use them as regular barn doors to cut the light off the background if you want.

The Caselight is convenient in that everything packs into a single case, even the stand. However, with the Caselight 4, the small stand is a bit undersized for the heavy weight of the light.

Both are softlights without a huge throw, but that's fine for interviews. I shoot most interviews with fluorescents these days, as well as office locations and on camera narrators. I like using daylight lamps better than tungsten because there's nearly always some daylight coming in someplace, and the camera looks better under daylight. Probably the best thing about fluorescents is they don't pull much power at all. You can power two Caselight 4s and a Caselight 2 from about any single outlet and never worry about blowing circuits. You can run all three, and more if you want, off a single stinger with 4-plex box and not worry about the cord getting hot.

I've used Caselights for years but am getting ready to buy Cool Lights for my own use ( http://www.coollights.biz ). Advantages: much cheaper, some better features, better stands available at low cost; disadvantage--the stands don't fold up into the case. Also, you can buy parts direct from Cool Lights. One of the Caselights I used had a blown switch after it was about a year old and I tried to order a replacement switch from Lowel. They wanted me to send the light in so they could install the switch. I had already opened it up and found it completely easy to do myself, but they wouldn't sell me a switch and I didn't want to send the light in because I was using it minus one bulb. What you have to do if you want to repair one yourself is go find a local Lowel dealer who will order the part and sell it to you (for a markup, no doubt).
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Old December 13th, 2007, 03:50 PM   #4
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Thanks Jack & Bill, that's very helpful. The new Rifa looks good.

As of now all I have is a 3 Omni kit, which is OK, but I'm ready to step up. I do want to add one or two fresnels, so I like the combo idea, but don't yet see one at B&H with the new Rifas.

Cool lights looks good too.
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Old December 13th, 2007, 04:15 PM   #5
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If you have three omni lights, the Rifa light would be a good addition.

Yes, the Rifa is just a softbox. However, one advantage is that it sets up in 30 seconds, and it puts away just as fast.

The Rifa can be gelled to match a window light.

Probably, for a single light, the Rifa would be the most versatile and useful and different situations.

As Bill says, flourescent lights are becoming very popular and have excellent advantages for certain situations (which he points out).

To add a dimension to what you have, and have versatility (and resale value), I think the Rifa is the best choice.

If you are building a flourescent setup, there are several options to look at.

You could run the Rifa 55 (500 watts) and two omni's (500w each) on a 15 amp circuit in most cases.

I just called Lowel and asked about the eX. They said the non eX are no longer being sold from them. Any Rifas that are not eX are old stock.

They said for any of the kits you just have to specify that you want the eX version.

A Rifa 55 and a Pro light kit would be nice additions to what you have. You would still be lightweight and very portable. (A Rifa 66 is bigger, and perhaps a bit softer, and it will take either a 500 or 750 watt lamp. And as I said above, you can get the flourescent 1 light or 3 light socket for the Rifa and get some of the advantages of flourescent with a Rifa.)

Look at the Rifa Pro 55 Kit and the Rifa Pro 66 Kit:
This kit comes with a soft or hard case.
Here are the kits on B&H:
The Rifa Pro 66 kit with soft case is $876.95, giving you both lights, accessories, gels and leaving you enough money to buy the grids for the Rifa... all for the same price or so as a single Caselite. As Lowel told me, if should order a kit, be sure to specify and verify that you are getting the Rifa eX version.

The Caselite or other flourescent lights and fresnels are a step up in ways, but they also add a lot of weight and bulk. For a full setup, they also take you into another price range.
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Old December 13th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #6
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Sorry to keep adding, but a couple of more thoughts.

The omnis you have are versatile. They can project patterns on a backgroud for example.

Add a snoot an the omni is excellent as an overhead or backlight.

A couple of omnis with barndoors can be used to add layers to a deep background.

They all work as soft fill with an umbrella.

and so forth.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 10:21 AM   #7
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I have several Rifas, 1-88, 2-66 and 2-55, all with grids. I also have two Caselights-4. Interviews are my bread ní butter and Iíve been experimenting with everything on the market. I also have several Chimeras and 2 Kino Flo Divas. My favorite (for now) is the Rifa, for various reasons. The Caselight has only a light surface of apx. 20x10Ē, the light looks good and it runs cool but doesnít give the so important wrap around effect that you get from a larger size lights. The center bare bulb of the Rifa also gives you a more even light when compared to using an open face light on a Chimera. A Rifa with a fabric grid will give you more control over spills than a Caselight would even with the supplied grid.

For traveling the Rifa is ideal. The entire Rifa light is the size of a Chimera but the light is built-in and that occupies considerably less room and is much lighter than having to also pack an open face light. If you are going with the new Rifa exchange system remember that the new cluster of bulbs will weight more and take much more space. Most likely youíll still have to go with the tungsten module for space and also to color match the rest of your lights. However the availability of daylight bulbs makes the new Rifa EX and smart purchase.
NinoMedia Productions - EFPLighting.com Advanced Lighting and Gripping Workshops
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Old December 15th, 2007, 03:04 PM   #8
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Thanks again Jack, and thanks Nino. Will go Rifa EX.
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