michael andrew (04.09.08, 11:55 PM): Hi Scott- Yes they do. There are advantages with both continuous and strobe flash units, it really depends on what you are doing. I actually prefer to shoot in natural light as much as possible, but a strobe flash unit has an incredible amount of power compared with continuous light, they are generally cooler to work in (temperature wise- but there are some new fluorescent continuous lights that are much cooler) also your subjects dont have to squint with strobes. Continuous lights are mandatory on the other hand, if you are shooting video (obviously), and yes they do allow you to see what you are shooting in the light of the shot, but they also eat up electricity, and can get very hot and uncomfortable. Its a matter of preference, but if I am shooting stills, I go with the strobes, if video, I go continuous. :)
Scott (04.09.08, 4:37 PM): Great post! Thanks, as always, for the insights. I know you can't get into all this too deeply, but I think I get lost when it comes to flash studio lighting and continuous lighting. Continuous lighting would seem to make sense because you're shooting what you're seeing. With flash, there's always this element of guesswork. Do people use flash even for things like the snoots/toppers you mentioned? Thanks!
Peter Bradberry (04.07.08, 12:52 PM): I can second what Mike said. These dollar for dollar blow most studio lights that I have used out of the water. Personally, I dig the bright colors.
michael andrew (04.07.08, 12:26 PM): PS- Some photographers do not like Alien Bees because of their bright colors and toy like appearance. Functionally however, they are SOLID and can perform with the best of them. They have faster recycling times than many "professional" grade lights. Do not underestimate them.