Paul C. Buff Announces LINK: An 800WS Portable Strobe

The past several years we’ve seen an amazing amount of new and portable lighting options in the photographic industry with breakout performers like Godox taking on the giants of the lighting world like Broncolor and Profoto. One of the biggest names in North America for lighting has been ominously silent but Paul C. Buff has finally responded and just released a new mid-tier performer that is sure to make many of Buff’s lighting fans excited for what’s coming next.

The new LINK 800 W/S flash unit is the newest kid on the block under the Paul C. Buff brand of lighting gear that crosses the divide between being an in-studio strobe and a portable flash that will help you light your subject in the harshest afternoon sun. 


  • 9 f-stop power variability (3.1 Ws to 800 Ws)
  • Adjustable in precise 1/10 f-stops
  • All-digital control from LCD display
  • Global plug-and-play from 100 to 240 VAC
  • Available Modes: ACTION, COLOR, HSS (up to 1/8000 sec.), TTL
  • Action stopping flash durations as short as 1/15400 sec. (t.1)
  • Color consistency +/- 100K at any power
  • Bright, adjustable 800W Equivalent Daylight-Balanced LED Modeling Lamp
  • Rubber diffusion dome cover
  • Connect with the new Buff app and take control of the light from your phone

The base price will be $895.95 with a kit option that includes a battery (for up to 250 full power flashes), charger, and a Canon or Nikon hub remote for $1195.95.

Paul C. Buff LINK 800 WS Flash Unit

Paul C. Buff, Inc. has been producing lighting that has stood the test of time with some photographers still using their lighting up to four decades after they were purchased. It’s no wonder photographers still advocate so vocally for the brand and this additional competition in the lighting space will only be a boon for those using flash in their everyday work. 

Are you interested in picking up the LINK 800 WS strobe? If you've veered away from Paul C. Buff with the new innovations coming from the likes of Godox, Profoto, or Broncolor does this new strobe give you the push to venture back to the Paul C. Buff system of lighting?

JT Blenker's picture

JT Blenker, Cr. Photog., CPP is a Photographic Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer who also teaches workshops throughout the USA focusing on landscape, nightscape, and portraiture. He is the Director of Communications at the Dallas PPA and is continuing his education currently in the pursuit of a Master Photographer degree.

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HSS seem to be the trend rather than HS. Kind of weird in my view for a 800ws units. All those ttl units are HSS so it must be that the design force them to go that way.

I went with HS lights and the whole world supported HSS.

I did too invest in Hyper Sync and with no remorse. I know people who wish they could do HS but invested not knowing or understanding the difference.

I'm still using one of my father's Buff lights from the 1980s as well as several Buff units I purchased in the 1990s. Build quality on the newer stuff hasn't measured up to the quality of those older units. But I'm excited to get my hands on a few of these. I've been tempted to replace everything I've got with profoto gear - but the price... oof.

It all depends on what you do and how often you use the lights.

I remember when REI was the "moderate priced" outdoor gear store, that was their marketing message.

$1,200 for a 800ws strobe that can only connect with one brand of camera??? I must be missing something

Probably just for the hub remote. That unit should work with any camera brand.

Correct! The HUB remote, during the initial release, will be available for Canon and Nikon...with Sony and other brands (including Fuji) soon to follow.

Geez, they're about 3 years too late :\

I was a PCB loyalist for years but wanted HSS and went Godox, then Profoto, i feel i'm almost too invested to switch back, sorta sad.

That modeling lamp is kind of a game changer for hybrid video / still shooting. I think more manufacturers should think about hybrid lights that can pump enough "cold" (LED) light through strobe modifiers that you can shoot video (especially since native ISO on some cameras is as high as 3200) and then use the strobes to freeze the action for stills without changing your lighting setup.

Thanks!! We thought so too. The fan is quiet as well. We have a video showing the continuous light for stills coming up this week, as long as a video showcasing the modeling light being used for an acoustic performance from a singer/songwriter.

Agreed about the hybrid video/stills light! That would be a game changer

Better late than never, what is "800ws equivalent"?

Little bit of a typo on our part haha it's actually an 800w equivalent daylight-balanced modeling light. Our bad! Haha

It can be both! :-)

Now that we've provided a unit that has all the bells and whistles, it will be much easier and faster for our team to scale back for future units.

I have several Einstein units. Will the cyber commander remote work with these units as well? Do the systems work together?

Yes! Our CyberSync system will work with the new LINK units. The only difference, it will not be able to perform HSS or TTL without the HUB remote. For any additional questions, please feel free to give our customer service team a call at 1-800-443-5542 (M-F from 9am-5pm CT).

For better or worse, I'm heavily invested in the PCB system. So I'm happy to see after a decade they've come out with a new product that seems to hit all the marks that I envy in the Godox line. What's worse is that this light is priced about 2x of a semi-comparable Godox (ad600) - but not *really* offering 2x the capability. I've often heard it said that the PCB service is fantastic. And I've had nothing but good experiences with the service. And we the customer need to pay for the service - so on that level, I'm ok with a premium. However, I've had some real shit experiences with some features, and some whole products altogether. And since PCB Marketing seems to be all ears on this post, I figure a late Festivus celebration is better than none.

1. The Balcar mount is sketchy at best, and a safety hazard at worst. Boxes of any significant size will fall out - and have on many occasions (causing the modeling lamp to explode, and throw shrapnel in every direction - in the best of case the glass finds its way trapped inside the box; only melting the box and not my skin (again)). There needs to be a tightening or security knob. And even better would be to allow light-stand to mount to the balcar connection directly. This should help distribute the weight of a head and the box.

2. It looks like this new Link light has addressed the horrendous light-stand mount built into the einsteins and friends. Just give us a Baby wall plate style mount (or make it modular) and get out of the way.

3. The CyberCommander is an embarrassment. Every other manufacturer has a great remote and trigger system. The cyber commander doesn't compete with even the Yongnuo system is 100x the product for 1/8th the price. I own two pf these cyber commanders. One is a backup - because they're constantly malfunctioning. They're constantly breaking. They're constantly draining the batteries for no reason. They're constantly restarting themselves. I had to buy another unit so that I could constantly have one out in service (which has been great). But $250 for a light trigger system, another $250 for a backup and $75 for the required service, is too much much money. I could buy a profoto air remote, with all the reliability, and have money to spare. Maybe the Hub remote is a real solution.

The Link looks nice. I hope you used a standard mount like the V mount.

Hey Chase! We know that we are late to the HSS game and this new unit is our first venture into that realm. We also know that items, such as our Cyber Commander, can use a bit of an overhaul. While I'm sure you've heard it before from us, we are a small with that development times take longer.

While our price point for the LINK (and it’s additional add-ons) is higher than other products in our product line, it does come fairly close to that of Godox. The Godox AD600Pro is $899.00, with only the option to go battery power. Should you want to use AC, you need to purchase an adapter for $119. If you want to do HSS with the Godox, you must also purchase a remote for $69.00. Also, a replacement flashtube goes for about $100 (which is more than our flashtubes). Additionally, the LINK has more features including a broader and more powerful flash output, as well as an 800 watt equivalent LED modeling light that we have shot both video and stills with. And as you’ve stated, the added premium of our customer service including post-warranty repairs (which is not something Godox has).

The mount is the same to accommodate our current modifiers, however the mechanism and the fingers themselves have been tweaked to provide a tighter more substantial grip than that of the Einstein. Also, another feature to the LINK is the gel dome. It has replaced the pyrex dome that can be found on the Einstein and is held on with magnets as opposed to the clips found on the Einstein, which we know tend to be a bit finicky.

The HUB will be a great remote that will communicate directly with the LINK and the BUFF App that will be available for both iOS and Android. The App will grow over time but will allow for controlling the flash output and modeling lights directly from a user’s phone. More features, similar to that of what is found on the CyberCommander, will be integrated with a much more intuitive and user friendly interface.

We greatly value customer feedback, and always have. We try to make adjustments whenever we can to make things easier and more efficient for our customers.

The LINK is a step in a great direction for us as a company and for our customers. Having a single light that can be used for still photography and video is a great asset to photographers, and videographers, who are exploring new avenues and services that they can provide to their clients.

We really do appreciate the feedback and will be sure to share it with our engineers! We are all ears (and eyes haha) and have been for years, not just on Fstoppers but across a majority of platforms within the photo community. Appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts! Happy belated Festivus!

Problem is that a lot of people are moving into video as well. I've purchased a bunch of Aputure lights using Bowen mounts so having to buy two modifiers is a waste of money.

the cyber commander is great. Yes, it's not the easiest thing in the world to use but the functionality is fantastic. I agree the UI could be improved. I've owned a number of the Godox products and the new 600Pro is priced the same as this Buff Link flash unit so I'm not sure where the huge discrepancy in price you're talking about is coming from.

But honestly, I wish buff would create a module that would allow you to control your lights over bluetooth or wifi so you could do it from a phone app.

I was a big fan of PCB (and knew Paul in his audio days). I thought I'd be a PCB person for life but there were a few things that combined to cause me to move on; I wanted strobes and speedlights of the same system, lack of an IOS app (easier to see without glasses and easier to use than the Cyber-commander), Balcor mount, and HSS. Lack of TTL was not an issue for me.

I've loved my Lightnings, Einsteins and DB's (except for the Balcor mount) and the color that they consistently produce. If others hadn't begun offering what I wanted I'd have stayed with Buff and I did keep waiting hoping to see something from Buff but I finally bit the bullet a few weeks ago.

Completely understand that you needed to do what was best for you! Thank you for choosing to use our gear when we had the features you needed at that time. All the best!!

Since Paul Buffs marketing seems to be doing a great job of replying to comments, I am extremely interested in who decided what photos go up on your "Light Modifiers in Use" page. The majority of those images are downright awful and are just a bad look from a marketing stand point.

I'll donate pics for gear.

You've got some really great images on your page as well. We aren't accepting submissions in exchange for gear at the moment, but if that changes we will be happy to reach out.

Wow! haha "Awful" is a pretty strong word. Appreciate the feedback though. The one image, "Victorian Beauty," that you have up on your profile here is really nice, though. Keep up the great work!

I mean, come on guys, look at this. This image is horrendous and you're using it to promote a professional product! Appreciate the kind words as well!

Thanks for the feedback!

Would be interesting to know how much of all that power is left with HSS in use. I prefer H-Sync and a special head with longer flash duration like the Elinchrom Ranger or ELB series have.
Is there some adapter to mount e.g. Elinchrom light modifiers?

I've used Alien Bees for years, they were reasonably priced and a bang for your buck option that worked magnificently. I despised their external battery packs, they were ugly, cumbersome and expensive so never bought one. Skipped the Digi-Bee all together, that was pointless without a built in battery.
The Link's in my opinion are bloody "ugly" lights, the fact that you have to buy the battery "extra" is irritating
PCB if you'd built a light, with multiple ranges of power (like the AB's or DB's) with a built in battery, similar form factor, with both battery and corded power, all under $1K per light...definitely. But these are an absolute non-starter for me...these do not answer the market shift to the likes of Godox (which I'm still eyeing).

Gotta do what's best for you! Thanks for the feedback.

Just so you know, I have 5 AB 800's...would have replaced at least 2/3 of them with the light I described above.

I bought into the Alien Bees years ago. Great bang for the buck back then and still is today for a manual strobe. I have needed service and received speedy and free repair! I sold them to move up the the Einsteins. I bought in early and they had problems but Mr. buff worked to fix them. I also used a couple of the white lightnings for field sports work. LOVED those lights. Solid build, kept them in my trunk when not in use and never had an issue. I always wish the Einsteins were built like them. The Commander remote I felt like you needed a collage course on it to figure it out. Plus My battery was always dead when I went to use it. Just got in the habit of removing them before storing it for the next job.

When Paul Buff passed away.... Well that was a sad day. I felt for his family as well as his employees. But then I wondered what was going to happen to the company. Tech forum was taken off line, I'm sure because Paul watched the answers and corrected anything that wasn't accurate. He personally responded to me on several occasions. I personally thought this was the beginning of the end for Paul C Buff inc. I'm glad to see innovation is being reborn down there.

All that said, Welcome back!

It looks like the the build is lijke the white lightnings, LCD that can be seen out doors! May I ask, where will these be made? USA is important to me. I got my Einsteins before they were outsourced to China. I ask this because, to me anyway, that's a huge selling feature. $1100 w/battery is not an inexpensive light and is an investment for most of us that cant justify cost of the high end stuff from brands like ProPhoto.

PLEASE make these here local, support american jobs and use that to your advantage instead of using cost to compete with the likes of Godox/Flashpoint. I bought into Godox/Flashpoint because I do most of my work outdoors. HHS so I could use f1.2 for beautiful blurred out backgrounds for portraits. Built in battery so much easier to carry around. Now you have these things! Awesome.

Hello Paul C Buff Marketing,

I just wanted to say its great to see Buff moving forward with the Link, but hopefully you can get an important message through to management.

I think Buff have something an uphill battle at this stage in any case, but continuing with the Balcar mount in this strobe is a huge setback. The battle for mounts was lost to the S-type mount some time ago, and the market has overwhelmingly moved on. With a Balcar mount this light only appeals to current Buff owners (and many of them don't even particularly like the mount), its a huge ask expecting any new buyers to move into this mount now, and the majority simply wan't do it.

I've had this debate with other manufacturers and history has already shown the results.

This light really should have been the time to move on. The Link could have had a native S-type mount, with a low profile Balcar adapter for backward compatibility. I think this would make all the difference for Buffs future.

I completely agree with the balcar’s quick and painless death.

The s-type isn’t the best mount (that goes to ProFoto) but it is a much better mount than the Balcar.

Ever try using the balcar outside? With the s mount, you just add sandbags to the stands. With the balcar, in any type of wind, your box is going to go flying.

And like I said before, it’s going to take the modeling lamp bulb with it in most cases.

We will pass this information on to our engineering department. Thanks for the feedback!

Thanks for that. I hope they really do consider this seriously. I'm not saying its the answer to all the challenges ahead, but it is one of the major fundamental issues.

It would open up a lot of options for new products to be released cost effectively as well.

My biggest reaction to the PCB Link is the weight. I would hesitate to boom a light of this size and weight. I'm eager to see one and more eager to see a smaller, lighter model with less output. Good luck to the new design leadership at Buff.

We have used the LINK boomed out over a subject without any issues. The updated handle has a firm locking mechanism that once tightened clamps down and ensures stability. Thank you for the kind words on the design and we are excited to share all of the things our team has been working on!

Seriously? Battery NOT included in the base price? What a toy!!!😡🤬😡

I've never been a Buff user but I think if they want to make a profit, it's totally acceptable. $1200 for 800ws ac unit, battery and controller is not bad. Can you get that and service from China?
Many like me use AC units on daily basis and don't need battery operated strobes on a regular basis. I have some but it wouldn't be practical for me to constantly change or wait for batteries to charge or deal with slow recycling.

This is touted as a battery powered strobe, but the battery costs extra? Please! It’s a marketing ploy to make the unit appear cheaper than it is. Would you buy a car if the price didn’t include the wheels? I doubt it.

The battery direct connection OPTION is something that is new for our line of products, and was something that our customers had wanted for quite sometime. However, not all of our customers shoot outdoors and we did not want to force them to own a battery that they had no need for. No marketing "ploy" just trying to accommodate the needs of many photographers. Many of the other manufactures chose to include the battery but their is no other way to power it, unless you purchased an AC adapter which not all of them even have.

I'm not quite clear "why" the hub (what is this anyway?) is required for HSS. Won't the link work with the MC2 receiver installed? I'd hate to buy something else after spending $1,200. I've stayed with Buff because of customer service and repair. I don't need the aggravation of owning Godox.

I've had such aggregation over the years with Buff's Balcar mount, I've tried various low-budget adapters without much success.