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Vagabond Mini Initial Impression

I am a professional live performance photographer specializing in dance and theatrical performance photography. Because my clients want authentic publicity imagery in addition to production photography, my studio needs entail studio¬† and on location equipment capable of capturing fast movement. After researching many brands, I found that Paul Buff’s Einstein units fit my needs in terms of value and performance.

I post this First Impression review in order to illustrate the size and initial testing performance of his new Vagabond Mini inverter system. This is by no means an exhaustive review and if you’re looking for a more in depth analysis of the Einstein lights, I would suggest you visit Rob Galbraith’s review of this system here:

Paul’s Vagabond Mini is about the same size as his Einstein light in terms of weight and dimensions. In my setup I have mounted the Vagabond Mini to a light stand higher than I would in field use for illustration purposes. On location, I will mount the unit at the very bottom of the light stand to offer more stability.

In my short testing I was able to use the Einstein unit at 80ws and successfully shoot 10 FPS in the Einstein’s Action Mode while the Vagabond was able to keep recycling pace. I did notice about a 1/2 stop reduction in light as I approached frame 6 of 10 with the earlier frames a 1/2 stop brighter. At 40ws, no such drop in illumination was noticed.

My primary purpose for this equipment configuration is to allow me the flexibility to make publicity imagery of dance performers in motion in locations where power is not available or very inconvenient to source. By having fast recycle times from the Vagabond Mini it will allow me and my clients to expand what is possible for PR imagery. There are certainly other methods to accomplish this task, but with clients looking for more value in this economy and my staff always vigilant in keeping our margins high, I feel the Vagabond Mini combined with the Einstein units offer a win/win for both my business and my client’s.


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