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Old April 16th, 2009, 01:24 PM   #1
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what's the idea behind the Rifa eXchange modules?

Hi there,
I have a Rifa light that I like because it's easy to set up. I was told that there's this modification I can get, the eXchange module... I guess it allows me to use flourescent bulbs, but would someone mind explaining the advantage to this?
Is it because flourescent bulbs are cooler, and cheaper, and last longer? Maybe, better for the environment?
Can you get daylight/flour. bulbs or something, so I could use this light outside?
thanks for any advice,
Malcolm
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Old April 16th, 2009, 06:32 PM   #2
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Flourescents are cooler.
Floursescents have daylight balanced lamps, as well.

Lowel has two sockets for the Rifa Exchange system: a one lamp and a 3 lamp.

All the new Lowel Rifa's are the eXchange system.

To convert an old light, you have to buy the upgrade kit for the model light you have. To quote Lowel:

"All original Rifa-lite models can be updated to Rifa eX models, either by available user upgrade kits or by the Lowel Repair Dept. Each retrofit replaces the center core of the Rifa with a new core & a removable version of the same lamphead the original Rifa came with. User retrofits should only be done by a skilled electrician, or Lowel Repair Dept. If unsure, contact Lowel or download & read the Rifa eX retrofit instructions for more information."

With the kit you only get the lamp holder for the original type lamp. The holders for flourescents have to be bought separately.

Go to the bottom of this Lowel page to find a link for more info on the retrofit kits, from where you can get the retrofit instruction sheet.
Lowel Rifa eXchange

Here are the retrofit kits at B&H:
rifa retrofit | B&H Photo Video

If one uses a Rifa regularly in situations where daylight balance and/or heat are issues, the retrofit kit makes sense.

It's not advertised, but the Rifa44 type lamp holder also fits on all the other Rifas. (This is the small lamp that is also used in the Pro light.)
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Old April 16th, 2009, 06:46 PM   #3
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Thank you Jack. Very thorough, and much appreciated.
Malcolm
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Old April 17th, 2009, 12:10 AM   #4
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You should definitely grab some of the 5600 bulbs they really come in handy especially if you have white walls. You can key your subject and white balance at 5600 and then keep your background at 3200 and it really warms everything else up. Certainly not a replacement for HMI's but super useful none the less.
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Old April 17th, 2009, 09:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
Can you get daylight/flour. bulbs or something, so I could use this light outside?
As others have stated, yes you can get daylight balanced bulbs. However, I don't think you're going to get a TON of daylight corrected light out of fluorescents, at least not enough to "beat" direct sunlight.

This would be ideal for adding light to a daylight lit room but unless you're able to bring in your daylight equipped RIFA super close to your subject, you'll very likely be unimpressed.

HMIs or large wattage colour corrected tungsten fixtures are pretty much the only lights INTENDED for use outdoors in daylight.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 04:03 PM   #6
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Thanks, Shaun. That's good for me to know. I used to travel with a crew (On The Road Again... I mention because I can see you're a fellow Canadian) and we carried a HMI; wonderful light. But I'm by myself now, and can't carry as much.
Hope the water levels are going down out there... I heard they were.
cheers, Malcolm
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Old April 19th, 2009, 06:51 PM   #7
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Hey Malcolm, yeah we're getting drier...

We used a Mole Richardson HMI in the 600 - 800 watt range on the satellite truck for the Nation's Broadcaster that packed up REASONABLY light that worked great for standups outdoors. I've used it to light two-shots for host-guest segments just to "pop" our subjects over daylight and it worked VERY well. As you know (and for any one just tuning in...), HMI lighting is APPROXIMATELY 4 - 5 times the light output at any given wattage as a tungsten light would be. This gets even BETTER when you factor in that adding a full blue to a tungsten fixture robs you of 75% of your output SO it follows that HMIs are 16x more efficient than tungsten lamps IF your desired end result is daylight balanced light.

Thus endeth the sermon...
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #8
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thanks again for all the info, Shaun.
I'll check into the Mole Richardson for any outside lighting.
I guess the only useful thing about the daylight-balanced bulb for the Rifa would be indoor use, if I'm using daylight coming in windows, but want to boost it a bit on my interview subject.
Thanks, Malcolm
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:24 AM   #9
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Just checked into the Mole Richardson. $19,000 at B&H! Wow. (too much for me)
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
I guess the only useful thing about the daylight-balanced bulb for the Rifa would be indoor use, if I'm using daylight coming in windows, but want to boost it a bit on my interview subject.
I got a bit carried away and bought the three bulb fluorescent unit for my Rifa on the basis that I would then work out what to do with it. I figured it must be useful for something ;-)
Seriously though, I thought it might be useful as a fill light when shooting interior interviews in daylight ie to lower the dynamic range between light and shade in the image.
I don't know if that's the correct technical term and I haven't tried it out yet but hopefully it will do that.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:54 AM   #11
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Hi Richard,
If you don't mind posting back, once you've used the light, with any comments or observations, I'd appreciate it.
Cheers,
Malcolm
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Old April 20th, 2009, 10:03 AM   #12
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Hi Malcolm
The interview work that I do on and off is more off than on right now.
As soon as I do one where I use the 5500 Rifa I will report back. It may take a while.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #13
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Lowel Rifa eX55

Hi Richard! How's it going?

I too just bought a Lowel Rifa eX55 (it arrived today, along with a Lowel Pro Light and some barndoors for the latter, spare bulb etc.). I'm very impressed with the way the Rifa packs away compact and light (in weight), the simplicity and speed in setting it up and it's effectiveness once up. I just went with the 500W halogen bulb on the Rifa for now to see how I get on. Both units seem really well designed and versatile.

Got an important interview to do tomorrow so these new baby's will get some use!
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Old May 19th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #14
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Hi Andy

Good luck with the interview tomorrow. I love the Rifa for interviews. I hope you will too. The light it produces is very nice to work with.

I've been doing quick and dirty work recently and am trying to do it all with one light. I bought a Coollights LED 600 and am pleased with it.

The LED 600 is even easier and quicker to set up than the Rifa. You don't have to wait for it to cool down either. And with the battery there will be no cable for people to trip over.

But if I am doing a serious interview I will probably use my Rifa and Prolight again.

I still haven't used the Rifa fluorescent unit in anger (the LED 600 has been good as a daylight fill light. I thought I might use the Rifa for this).
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Old May 20th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #15
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Thanks Richard. We should meet up again for a beer sometime when I'm next in London!

I LOVE the light I got from the Rifa eX55 in the interview today, nice soft, almost unnoticeable shadows (helped by the Lowel Pro Light bouncing off the white ceiling - adjusting the barn doors I bought for it helped with that too).

I know I have a lot to learn on the lighting front (I'm also still mastering website design, optimised video streaming, stunning camera work, skilled FCS2 editing, perfect audio, good interview technique, business management, sales and marketing, accounting....it's fun being a small business isn't it!) but these two lights are so much better and easier to use than my previous lighting "kit" - I really enjoyed the step change it's given me. I'm all fired up with the joy of mastering yet another skill now that I have some decent lighting tools to learn the capabilities of/help.

Very happy with my purchase!
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