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I'm trying to buy a set of studio strobes, but the ones available to me have a rather small flash tube, being 400W (FotoBestWay) and 300W (Godox) units.

But in the past I have worked with 200W units that have a physically bigger flash tube. (Calumet Genesis II, Bowens Gemini) (I'm talking about the doughnut shaped, gas filled tube that actually produces the flash pulse, not the modeling light).

My concerns are these:

  • Is the size of the tube related to the power it can deliver?

  • Is a smaller tube being requested to deliver more power prone to have a shorter life?

  • Is a smaller tube more prone to overheating?

  • Should I allow extra time between shots when using full power (more time than recycle time) to allow the tube to cool down?

Update

Finally I bought a couple of 600w Fomex heads. The flash tube is not as small as de one in Godox or FotoBestway, but still not as big as the Bowens 500w model I saw in the very same store. So my concerns are still present.

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The size of the flash tube relates to the power of the flash. More power means that the flash tube needs to be bigger.

A smaller flash tube could have the possibility of a longer lifespan as there is less power/wattage flowing through it. However I doubt the differences in the lifespan of a small and large flash tube are noticeable. Plus Flashtubes are fairly inexpensive now, especially when you consider places like eBay.

Larger tubes generally get hotter as they have more power/watttage flowing through them, however the majority of studio lights now come with thermal cutouts. Resulting in any risk of damage being negligible. Plus your studio lights also come equipped with a cooling fan, which should ensure that your lights don't overheat.

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