I was wrong. A few months back I wrote this article and told you that I thought the Paul C. Buff DigiBee was potentially the most underrated flash unit on the market. I was simply wrong — for a bunch of reasons that all involve the Interfit Honey Badger from Interfit Photographic.
I meant every thing I told you about the Digibee. I wasn’t paid to say any of it — they were my words and my opinions — but as soon as it went live I was blasted because you can only buy the Digibee in the United States. I already knew that you couldn’t buy it at retail and had to purchase it direct from the company, but I didn’t see that as an obstacle. I also had a lot of people express concern about the future of Buff products since the company’s founder and chief engineer Paul C. Buff had passed away in 2015.
Indeed, as I write this article more than two years after Buff’s passing, the most exciting new product that the company has to show this year is a wireless remote control that only manages four flash units using old-fashioned slide controls. It doesn’t appear that the company has a clear direction and focus on innovating for the future. They did, however, upgrade their website.
After I recorded the DigiBee video, I reached out to the new marketing director at Paul C. Buff regarding the availability of their products outside the US. I was essentially told to tell my international viewers to contact their marketing department for an explanation. No solutions offered or planned.
It’s really unfortunate that a company that was founded to bring affordable lighting to the masses more than 35 years ago has lost track of those values. They don’t sell in retail stores, they don’t sell outside the U.S. and I am sorry to my viewers around the world for recommending a product that was simply not available and from a company that was not willing to find a solution to truly get their products to photographers who want to use them.
This was the beginning of the end for my relationship with the Buff company. My first studio strobes were the original Paul C. Buff White Lighting strobes that sold for less than $150.00 in the early 1980s.
All of this led me to start looking for a solution. What lighting equipment can I use and recommend to my viewers that has similar features and a similar price point?
The Honey Badger by Interfit Photographic
This past summer the folks at Interfit Photographic released this golden beauty: the Honey Badger. Now, I’ll admit, I’m not sure which is worse… having a bee or a badger as the name for your lighting equipment. But you know what? Given everything that is packed into this unit, I can live with the name- and the color.
If we look at the Honey Badger side by side with the Digibee we can see that these units are extremely similar in design and build with the Honey Badger coming in at one tenth of a pound heavier and less than an inch bigger than the DigiBee.
The Interfit Honey Badger lines up spec-for-spec with the Paul C. Buff DB800. Power, recycle time, power range, etc. All the same. The only performance difference is the modeling lamp. The Honey Badger has a 60w daylight balanced LED lamp, while the Paul C. Buff DigiBee has a 75w lamp. This is not a major difference.
Interfit has loaded the Honey Badger with some awesome features that give it a definite advantage over the DigiBee
The Interfit Honey Badger has a wireless receiver built into the unit. The Buff DigiBee requires the purchase of a $29.95 Cyber Transceiver. This Cyber Transceiver has a row of super thin pins that you have to carefully line up with very tiny holes on top of the unit. Then it sticks up above the unit making it a target to hit, at which point the pins bend or break off. I know this from actual experience.
The controller that allows you to use the group and channel features from Interfit sells for $79.99. The Buff equivalent called Cyber Commander sells for a hefty $179.95 and has what I feel is possibly the worst user interface of any remote control on the market. It has extremely tiny buttons and you need a magnifying glass to read the menus.
HSS and TTL capabilities
Possibly the BEST feature of the Honey Badger sync system is that they are part of a much bigger system. Interfit also makes a set of higher-end studio strobes called the S1 and S1A which have High Speed Sync and TTL capabilities. The Interfit Honey Badgers are completely compatible with the TTL remotes from Interfit so that they can be used as part of a grouping with the S1 strobes.
The Honey Badgers use a Bowens mount for modifiers. The Bowens mount is the most widely-used modifier mount, making it easier to find the right modifier for your job and/or your budget. It takes only a simple thumb lever and a twist to attach a modifier to a Honey Badger, compared to two levers and having to line up four grips with the Digibee.
The Honey Badger Interface is as simple and easy-to-use as it gets with buttons that are easy to push and well laid out.
The Honey Badger has a Geared Tilt Handle. This may seem like a “Who cares?” feature, but both the Honey Badger and Digibee are compact heads, and they have no counterbalance. With the DigiBee, if you have a large modifier attached you better be supporting it when you loosen the handle to control the angle of the light. The Honey Badger’s geared handle stops it from slamming down like the DigiBee does.
Interfit Honey Badger Bonuses
As if all of that stuff wasn’t enough to put the Interfit Honey Badger at the top of my list…
Interfit includes a 24 in. Pop-up Softbox at no additional cost with every Honey Badger. These are full featured 24 in. square softboxes with a baffle and front diffusion screen that fold up and fit in a small travel pouch.
And the real icing on the cake:
The Honey Badger sells for $299.99 compared to the Digibee, which is $349.95
The all-in cost of the Interfit Honey Badger is a remote is 55% cheaper than the all-in cost of a Buff DigiBee DB800 when you include the CyberSync Transceiver, CyberSync Commander, and a cheap softbox from Amazon. The Honey Badger is a great value!
The Honey Badger is available in retail stores, which means you can walk into a store, check it out, test it, learn more about it, and ultimately make an informed decision before purchasing.
And YES — the Honey Badger is available internationally. Interfit distributes all throughout North America, Europe, and Dubai.
Interfit also offers a two-light kit which includes: two Honey Badgers, two softboxes, two light stands, a wireless remote control, and a very well-designed carrying case. This gives you everything you need to start shooting for just $699.99. Just in case you are not following along with the math, you get the wireless remote control, two 7 ft (2.13 m). 6 in. tall medium weight light stands — which by the way are awesome quality- and a well-designed padded carrying case, all for just 100 dollars and 1 cent.
I have to give the title of the most underrated flash unit on the market to the Interfit Honey Badger. For my money, I am dumping Buff as my lights of choice. I’ve sold my DigiBees and replaced them with Honey Badgers.
I have seen a few of the photography blogs refer to this flash as a cheap knock-off. I am here to tell you that they couldn’t be more wrong.
I have been using these Honey Badgers for a few weeks now and I’ve been extremely impressed with the color accuracy and exposure accuracy, along with the build quality, features, and price. Interfit is clearly working to do what Paul C Buff himself had imagined: to bring quality photographic equipment to the masses at reasonable prices.
Look for more tips, tricks, and shots done with the Honey Badgers in my upcoming videos and articles, and be sure to follow me on Instagram to see some shots with the behind-the-scenes lighting diagrams that I have created with these strobes.
Until next time, go pick up that camera and shoot something! Because your BEST shot is your NEXT shot!