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Profoto Air or Stick With Pocket Wizard...

Adam Sitcoscy , Sep 10, 2009; 01:59 a.m.

Hello everyone and thanks in advance for the help. I currently own 2 x 1200 ws Profoto Compact-R monolights which have the Pocket Wizard built into them. I was getting ready to order 2 new 600 ws Compact-Rs only to find out that they're being discontinued and replaced by the D1 monolights. It looks as though the D1s will be a pretty straight across update for the better, except that they no longer will offer the option for Pocket Wizards built into them. To get to the point, I'm can either buy them with or without the new Profoto Air, which I guess is Profotos version of PW. Would you suggest that I purchase them without the Air, saving me about $300 and just get PW Plus II for each head, or buy the lights with the Air system and somehow sync up my older 1200 ws Compact-Rs (with the Pocket Wizards) to the new Profoto Air system? Is there even a way to do that? I don't want to rely on the optical slave to sync as a lot of the times my lights wouldn't be "in sight" of one another. If my question is hard to understand or I phrased it poorly, I'm happy to elaborate, just let me know. Thanks, Adam

Responses

Phillip Marco Vallentin , Sep 10, 2009; 08:48 a.m.

If I were you, I wouldn't go for the D1s at all...

Try one out in a large softbox, using a handheld meter on the front diffuser, and you'll know what I mean !

The D1s problem lies in the two dimensional glass diffuser. In relative close proximity, the source is now TWO dimensional - think about what this does to the polar pattern !

Save your money and go for Elinca instead. Have you seen the BX 500Ri ? This has build-in SkyPort, and by buying Elinca, you will get MUCH more light for your money ;-)

Think twice before buying Profoto !

Adam Sitcoscy , Sep 12, 2009; 04:35 p.m.

Well thanks for the response but I'm already invested too heavily in Profoto to change. You do raise an interesting point about the flat glass... and nobody in any stores around here have been able to answer that question either. But I would love to hear anyones experiences on using the Profoto Air Sync with the Compact-Rs...

David M Dorn , Sep 24, 2009; 02:22 p.m.

Philip wrote: "The D1s problem lies in the two dimensional glass diffuser"
The built in reflector with front diffuser seemed to me to be a retrograde step in the new D1 series. It would first appear that the D1 is primarily for use with umbrellas and Profoto reflectors.
However when I read the D1 brochure more carefully, it indicated that an accessory optical dome cover to "give more light spread" is available. I assume this would be to accommodate softboxes but at some cost of power.
Adam, if you do go for the D1's please post an update on your experience with them.

Matt Lowery , Dec 27, 2009; 09:18 p.m.

Adam -
I hope you will think twice before following grossly biased opinion based on no experience. That is really very annoying.

I use Profoto packs/heads as well as the new D1 monoblocs. My experience with the D1 units has been nothing but stellar and they definitely stand up to the Profoto reputation. Profoto knows what they are doing. An Elinchrom head is a nice thing, but you are not wasting your money with Profoto.

I rarely use the D1 standard (flat) glass, but I can tell you that with only the flat glass the units are compatible with zoom reflectors, softlight reflectors, and especially umbrellas. However, except for the umbrella case, I believe they work best with the optional glass dome mentioned above.

The domes produce gorgeous and even light in all of my softboxes. They also work very well with zoom reflectors. I have noticed a slightly reduced zoom range compared to a D4 head, but it has never caused an issue for me.

The seven stop range is great, as are the 300 w modeling lamps. The output and color consistency are good enough for product work on film, imo.

As to your original question...

I am using both PocketWizards and Air transceivers together in a hybrid setup for most situations because I REALLY like radio triggering from my meter. I found a flash shoe with a 1/4" screw mount and mounted that to a spare PocketWizard so that the Air remote attaches to it, with a short 1/8" cable between them. This can be kept handy or turned on and set aside - all it does is copy PocketWizard triggers to the Air side. You can then A) put a PocketWizard on your camera and trigger both PocketWizard and Air devices together (D1's mixed with a D4 pack or ComPacts) –or- B) put another Air transceiver on your camera and trigger Air devices but have the option to use PocketWizard meters, etc.

I have found that where I can sync using Air at 1/250 sec. with a DSLR, I need to slow down to 1/200 sec. when shooting through PocketWizard to Air. This means than mixed devices might be slightly out of sync, so be aware of that...generally it shouldn't be a problem.

I am starting to shoot product and still life on a 4x5 camera with my D1’s and they are superb lights that beyond just portraiture and location apps.

Hope this helps! If too late for you, someone else then. cheers

Matt Lowery , Dec 27, 2009; 09:29 p.m.

Example


Profoto Air tied into PocketWizard setup

Matt Lowery , Dec 27, 2009; 09:57 p.m.

Also, no intended offense to Phillip Marco Vallentin. If I could go back and edit my post, I would write "no experience with the product." I'm sure he has plenty of experience.

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