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Thread: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

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    Senior Member KETCH ROSSI's Avatar
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    ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Hey Guys,

    as I prepare to embark in a Global journey which will begin right here in the US and then back home to Italy, after that all over the place, I look to purchase few Power Packs and few Portable power units to power up my Profoto Flashes.

    MOst shoots will be done by driving to location and allow for some additional gear to be taken with, while other shoots will be on remote location and only accessible by half day walk and hikes, so I must limit the Back pack weight and size for my self and my assistant.

    I will list what I have and what I ahve ebben looking at and hope to get some expert advise on what oyu think would work best based on your experiences, and I thank you in advance for your participation


    Okay what I already have is the following:

    Profoto Pro 7A - 2400w/s
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...o_7a_2400.html

    Profoto Pro Ringlight 2
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ght_2_for.html


    Can the Profoto Pro 7A - 2400w/s be powered by the Honda Eu1000iA Generator ( http://www.boomersbackyard.com/honda...hannelid=FROOG ) ??


    What I'm looking to buy and there for looking in which ones you might think are best of the following choices:

    Profoto Pro Flash Head 3000w/s
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...specifications

    Profoto Pro-7b - 1200w/s
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=183380&is=REG

    Profoto Acute 2-D4 4800w/s
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...specifications

    Profoto D1 500 w/s
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Monolight.html


    And as far as portable power goes from the following:

    Profoto Pro 7b Battery Power Pack
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=180066&is=REG

    LibertyPak LG400 "Little Genny"
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...enny_Pure.html

    Profoto BatPac
    http://www.adorama.com/PP901124.html...utm_term=Other

    Dynalite XP1100 Power Inverter 1100w/s
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...specifications


    Again, thanks a bunch in advance for any expert advises in which gear to buy.
    Last edited by KETCH ROSSI; 25th July 2010 at 10:09.

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Ketch,
    Looks like an ambitious collection of lighting gear/power. Good luck with the excursion.

    A few things jumped out that you may want to think about. First, you are looking at some seriously high power demands with things like a couple Acute 2-D4 units at 4800w/s, and a 3000w/s ring light, etc. If you are going to try powering those from generators, and shooting, you are going to need a lot more than a little Honda that only puts out 1000w (970w constant). If you have access to normal power (residence, place of business, etc.) it may not be as much an issue, but a small generator will never keep up with the demands of the larger power packs. I have two Honda 2000w generators that I can join for about 4000w output (really closer to 3700w) and they would probably be minimal for the bigger packs you are thinking about, and will not keep up with any full power discharges for very long. Now, if you are throttling the light back, or give the generators time to get the packs fully charged between shots, it may not be as much of an issue. Bur firing the big packs at full power is going to be very demanding for any power supply.

    As for the smaller battery/power units to drive the smaller heads, like the D1, should not be a problem, even at full power flash, but you will only get a limited number of those with the batteries, while the smaller generator may be able to keep up. Again, you have to think about the demand for watts for the lights being used, against the total wattage output capabilities of the power sources. The DynaLite XP1100, which I also have, plus spare battery, is going to be able to handle maybe two of the D1 500w/s heads for about 150 0r so full power flashes, before the battery will need recharging. Same with the Profoto BatPac. If your actual light output is dialed back, things will last longer. However, do not expect to be able to drive a big power pack from them for very long, if at all. Not sure something like the XP1100 could even power up the Pro 7b pack for very much use. I used to power one DynaLite 1000w/s pack or a couple, but only if they were outputting at 1/2 power or less for the heads.

    Not mentioning any of this to discourage, but more to help set your expectations. If you are at a location where you must use only battery power, for example, do not plan on being able to use something like the 3000w/s ring light or the couple of D4s, unless you have a truckload of batteries. So, if you have access to a bigger source, then the bigger light will not be an issue, but if you do not, nor have some larger generators, you are going to run into lots of problems, very slow recycle times, etc., unless you are working on very low output setting for the lights.

    Just some things to think about. All of the gear you mention is good stuff, will do a fantastic job, and will withstand heavy use and travel. However, there are just some limitations on just how much light you can drive. If you go in with a fully charged Pro 7b pack and a few heads, you can do a lot of nice lighting, but there will be a limit on how many flashes, full pops, etc., you are going to get. If you only need a few dozen shots, no problem. If you plan to shoot a lot, you are going to have to think carefully about light and power requirements. A 500w/s head can throw a fair bit of light, but not like a 4800w/s head, obviously. If you need the 4800w/s output a lot, you should be thinking about some seriously larger generators, or assured connection to grid power.

    LJ

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    Senior Member KETCH ROSSI's Avatar
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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    First of all THANKS for taking the time to post such informative reply LJ!!

    I have used Canon 580 EX II flashes by the Dozen (literally) but just recently I used the Profoto Compacts and D2 series, Love them, then even more recently got the Profoto Pro 7A - 2400w/s and Profoto Pro Ringlight 2 after been blown away by the results of this combination at e recent shoot.

    So I really don't understand much of how the w/s thing works, and their power requirements.

    I know that I at times will need to have the most stopping power available and for this the 4800w/s heads, here I will be happy with fewer shots at this power, and for most of the time 2400w/s and even 1200w/s fixtures will do, for general use four 500w/s D1/s could very well accomplish the task.

    However when photographing a Cathedral in the middle of the nigh I would need everything I got coming form multiple angles, but In this cases I will also have direct 220v connection so the only issue here is to choose the right Power Packs, and not worried about portable power.

    What I need to understand the most is the limitation for each Power Pack and or Battery Power Pack and the amount of light output that they can sustain, its okay if I get less Firings out of the unit, but kinda of looking in to get exact science of how the units works together.

    Lets say the I have the Profoto Pro 7A - 2400w/s Power Pack with the Profoto Pro Ringlight 2 attached firing at full power, can I also have an other 1200w/s head attached firing at the same time, or the total limit of the Power Pack is 2400w/s per firing time, meaning that a maximum total of 2400w/s heads can be attached firing at once?

    Then the Honda genie will be cancelled out of here, I didn't like the idea of traveling with that Gasoline smelling thing any way he he.

    Hope I'm not confusing things more in here

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Ketch,
    Really not too complicated. The packs and heads have specific output power. So a 2400w/s pack will be able to drive the combined output of 2400w for one pop at a time. A 3000w/s head is already 600w of demand above the output capability of the pack, so it will not fire at the full 3000w/s, but only 2400w/s. If you connect anything else to that pack, it will share the total power output, not to exceed 2400w. So the ring light on full-power setting will not allow anything else to be driven from that pack. However, if you dial back the output for the ringlight to say 1200w/s, you will be able to drive another flash head at up to 1200w/s of power. I have a D4 2400w/s and routinely drive at least three flash heads, but at different power. For example, I may have one at 600w/s and two at 300w/s each. That is only a total of 1200w/s demand, so I have plenty of room to spare on power. I could crank each head up to 800w/s, and that would max out the pack (3 x 800w/s = 2400w/s) for a single flash.

    That comes to the other part of your question. The lower the w/s demand, the faster the flash duration and the quicker the recycle on the pack. So if you are trying to freeze action, then a shorter flash duration will be achieved with a less than full-power output burst. So, you can get a lot more pops of shorter duration with lower output requirements. Just because you have a 3000w/s head does not mean you need all of that power for most shooting. Now, if you are planning to fill a very large room (cathedral, for example), or project the light a very long way, you may need to crank up the power for the flash, or use reflectors that concentrate the light output for greater distance. With something like a cathedral, you may want a very wide even spread of light accompanied by some more selective concentrations of more intense light on certain things. In that case, because most things are not going to be moving, you can either use higher output to cover a broader area, where short flash duration is not needed, or you can even use a multiple pop routine. That means firing the flashes multiple times in order to build up enough total light output to meet your needs. That may be something worth experimenting with when using very low ISO speeds and smaller apertures. In order to get enough light onto the sensor for a proper exposure, you may need to fire the flash heads several times. As long as things are not moving, you will just build up light exposure with the open shutter. Sorry if that sounds confusing, but again, it all is about the cumulative light needs. Fashion and sports is generally lower output, fast duration to freeze things. Broad lighting is either higher output or multiple flashes to achieve the right amount of light needed.

    Actually, in your mentioned case of shooting a cathedral in the middle of the night....not really a problem. You will just be using very long shutter speeds with a camera on a tripod, and you can "paint" light onto areas with selective flashes. That is one way to get things lit. However, if you are looking to hand hold the camera, then you are going to need a lot of light spilled onto a lot of space in order to permit a high enough shutter speed (up to sync speeds) to prevent blur.

    Traveling with gasoline generators is going to be a real headache if you are flying. On the ground, driving around with them is much less an issue. The Honda generators have good gas tanks that will not leak gas or odors, but extra cans of fuel is another issue. I usually keep them in a towed trailer, or atop the SUV, so I do not have to contend with the smell and fumes.

    Noe of this is magic or really terribly difficult. However, it does take a while to plan things out and figure out light and power needs, depending on the results you want to achieve.

    LJ

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    Senior Member KETCH ROSSI's Avatar
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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Thanks again Lj.

    Understood completely now, yeah it was not that difficult to understand really, but got confused when I see the use of a 2400w/s power pack with 2 Acute 2-D4 flashes of a total output of a whopping 9600w/s now I understand that the photographer in this particular case was splitting the 2400 amongst the two heads and never got the full power out of either head.

    The night shots of places like the cathedral will be all on tripod and I will shoot at various speeds and aperture, while having the lights lighting up particular spots on via the use of Reflectors such as the Magnum.

    What I need to understand now is how to pair up each head to each pack, and which one is better and or a better buy, example are the Acute 2 D4 the better choice here, or should I go with the Pro 7? Are the Acute 2 D4 compatible with he Profoto 7a Pack? and so on, please advise which ones you think will serve me better with both the power pack I already have and with the Portable Pro Pac.

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Ketch,
    The Acute D4 heads will not work with the Pro 7a 2400w/s generators. Only Pro heads and rings, plus the strip lights and spots are compatible with the Pro 7a, not any of the Acute, AcuteB, D4 (singles, twins or rings).

    I really am not in a position to comfortably give you advice on what gears to use, nor how to spend your money ;-) That being said, if you have a more limited budget, the Acute series of heads and packs are outstanding. There are both battery and mains packs available, and the heads work with the D4 packs also. If you want or need higher speed flash duration, nearly instantaneous recycle time, and have a big fat wallet, the Pro 8a would be the ticket, but it also only uses Pro heads, rings and twins, not the Acute series of heads, so it is much like your Pro 7a in that respect, but much faster on recycle times.

    One interesting thing to think about also....the D4 generators are compatible with most Pro heads and Acute heads, making them the bridge between the two lines. They are only mains generators, and they are heavy, but pretty indestructible and very versatile.

    Now, if you wanted to be able to go portable (meaning battery operated), the Pro 7b, Pro B2, and Pro B3 are the big packs for that task, once again using only Pro heads. The line with a bit less power and cost, but equally beautiful light are the AcuteB 600 and Acute B2 600 AirS packs with their smaller, lighter heads. Each of those packs only handle one head, and only provide 600w/s output max.

    A good combination of things may be the Acute series, with both the mains generators with heads, and the battery operated AcuteB packs with single heads. That give you a bit more portability, plus being able to mix things as needed. 600w/s of power does not seem like a lot, but it can easily cover most shooting situations, except where you need a lot of light coverage. So, several AcuteB 600 AirS packs and heads, plus maybe one Acute2 2400w/s pack plus the Air receiver, and some Acute D4 heads, will allow you to shoot many different lighting arrangements with relative ease of set-up, plus the ability to control the Air units wirelessly. (This is really nice for placement where you cannot keep going to the pack to adjust things.) On a much bigger budget, you could just go with a couple more Pro 7b packs and then get the Pro heads you needed to fill out your requirements. Both the Acute/AcuteB packs and the Pro 7b or B2/B3 packs can run on battery or from mains as needed, making either quite versatile. You may sacrifice the use or versatility of modeling lights a bit when on battery power, but modeling lights really burn up the juice on the battery packs. Connected to mains, no problem.

    Another alternative that you did mention are the D1 monolights. They are completely self-contained, meaning no packs, separate heads and cables. Profoto has 250w/s, 500w/s and 1000w/s models, so they can put out a fair amount of light also. They only accept the Light Shaping Tools, and there is no ring light, so that could impact some of what you may want to do if you really needed a ring light. But the Air models, would permit control from the camera with the Air Transmitter, so you gain lots of flexibility there. Plus, they work with the BatPac or the DynaLite XP1100 and other similar battery power systems. That may be a less costly way to go, and they would be easier to tote around than Pro heads or Acute D4 heads plus cables plus generators. Worth giving that some thought. I have not yet used them, but am thinking of adding them to my lighting kit for the portability and versatile use with my D4 and Acute heads.

    Sorry if all of that sounds confusing. One can go through the same exercises with other lines (Elinchrom, Bron, etc.), but Profoto has its followers for a reason.

    So, if you have the time, I would suggest a bit of online perusal of the Profoto site. Tons of useful information and the technical details on how to pair heads and packs, as well as thinking about some of the options with monolights.

    Hope some of this helps. My suggestion is to try to get clear in your head what you think you will need to light. Then how much light do you think you will need? Are you shooting mainly close in stuff (portraits), or really big areas? From there, you can start to think about how much power and the kinds of heads and packs you may need. Then think about if you are going to have a greater need for more light or more portability, meaning battery use. Once you start to narrow some of that down, you will be in a better position to start making choices on what you may want to get. And do not forget, Profoto gear can be had at a lot of rental places all over the world, so you may be able to put together a kit to cover most of your travel and shooting needs, and then just rent the bigger stuff at the locations where you might need it, like the cathedral shoot, for example. Would be a lot cheaper and save lots of wear and tear on both you and your assistants who will be hauling the stuff. Because the Profoto stuff is so mix and match for light shaping tools especially, you do not have to own and carry everything you might need. Rental is a very good option for filling in the pieces you may need for a particular shoot. Worth giving it some thought.

    LJ

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    Senior Member KETCH ROSSI's Avatar
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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Once again LJ,

    THANKS for taking the time to reply with such a care, much appreciated


    I have been doing tone of reading on the Profoto site and on the net in general, and there was how I came to put together some of the choices, just needed some Q? answered to better understand the works.

    I did have the D1's and are not bad lights at all, even so the Compacts did felt much stronger.

    I think that I will get the BatPac with 4 D1's in different w/s configurations, to be able to spread the light sources around larger street areas and or buildings and or around threes.

    It just seems to make more sense in order to carry the largest amount of w/s in smaller weigh size, were each of the other packs only allow for one 1200w/s or 600w/s.


    Or get a combination of one BatPac to power each Acute 2R 2400w/s Power Pack and Acute 2 D4 heads, so that I can use them also later one when I get the 4800w/s Acute Power Pack, there is if I can use them on the Acute 2R 2400w/s units while having the possibility to be used at various w/s power, so that I can use 2 or even 3 of them on the power pack at various w/s voltage, and when I need one 2400w/s burst I just use one, there is if I can

    Profoto Acute 2R - 2400w/s
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...e_2R_2400.html

    What I have not clearly understood is if the BatPac allows also to have the Pro 7a Pack connected to it in order to power up the 2400w/s Head, or if only the Acute Power Packs can be connected to it in either 2400w/s or 1200w/s.

    If it only can power up the Acute Power PAck, the I might as well get one of those in the 2400w/s configuration with the Acute 2 D4 head.
    Last edited by KETCH ROSSI; 25th July 2010 at 17:45.

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Ketch,
    From what I can tell, the BatPac is only for the D1, Compacts and Acute2 generators. It cannot fire up the Pro 7a pack. So, you could connect an Acute2 2400w/s generator to the BatPac, and then up to 3 Acute heads on the pack. Or you could connect up to 4 D1 monolights to the BatPac, or the same number of the older Compact monolights. It does not appear to provide enough power for the other bigger generators like the Pro series or the D4, only the Acute series.

    The combination you mention (BatPac + Acute2R 2400w/s generator + Acute D4 heads) will be a very versatile combination. You will be able to work off of battery, or plug into mains. You will have the flexibility of being able to use up to 3 heads for flash, but remember that the total output will only be 2400w, so that is a setting of 800w/s max of each of the 3 heads connected to the pack, or whatever other combination you work out. You will be limited in the total number of flashes per battery charge, but as you mentioned, you will not be needing all day long power, and if you do, find a mains outlet and carry some extension cords ;-) (The "R" designation on the Acute2 generators means "radio" capable, and they are compatible with PocketWizard triggering devices, but not the newer "Air" triggering system that Profoto has introduced.)

    From what others have said, the D1s are very nice, but not quite the same light as the older Compacts. However they are much smaller and a lot easier to deploy, I think. Plus, you get a broader range of trigger control with the Air versions, and that can be helpful if you need it. If you are close enough to manually adjust them, save some bucks.

    Good luck with your decisions. The BatPac looks very interesting. I just wish they had come out with a lithium battery instead of the lead one, and they may still do that later, but it will jack up the cost a fair bit, I am sure. The nice thing is that you can add another BatPac later, plus some D1s if you needed, and have a very flexible and pretty powerful lighting set-up for use just about anywhere, and for almost everything large and small. It may not be as weatherproof as some others, but if you have to shoot in the rain, rent the gear that you need to get the job done ;-)

    LJ

    P.S. It may or may not matter, but the range of power control on the Acute2 generators is 6 stops, like the Pro 7a, while on the Pro 8a it is 10 stops, and on the D4 generators it is 8 stops total range. You probably will not be worrying about that fine a control on output, and if so, just move the light a bit closer or further away for the incremental adjustment.
    Last edited by LJL; 25th July 2010 at 18:40.

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    Senior Member KETCH ROSSI's Avatar
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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Thanks agin LJ,

    yes I will go with the Acute power pack and heads, but now I have to research the AIR system, I had it before with the D1's and love it, but if you say that it will not work with the Acute Power pack, then I have to re-think that yet again..he he

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Ketch,
    The Air system cannot trigger the Acute2R packs as they come. You can add the Air Receiver to the Acute2R, and that will allow the triggering of the entire pack, but just the triggering, not separate channel adjustments and controls, like the Air system on the D1s. So if you set the pack controls, you can still trigger both D1s and the Acute2 pack (with the Air Receiver attached), but you will only be able to make incremental controls wirelessly with the D1s, using the Air Transmitter.

    LJ

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    I see, and what if I by the none "R" version of the power pack? And then use the Receiver and Transmitter combination of the Air? Will that work better?

    Must have Wireless!!

    BTW LJ, you definitely earned a Dinner if you ever stop by Italy ;~)

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Ketch,
    Yes, that will work...the Acute2 pack with Air Receiver will work with the Air Transmitter that you can also use for the D1s. You will still only be able to trigger the entire Acute2 pack only, not make adjustments wirelessly, but that is really not any different than what you could do with the Acute2R and a PocketWizard anyway.

    LJ

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Okay then I'm set ;~), will just have to have one transceiver sync per Power pack unit, while the main Transceiver seats on the camera, and will fire the D1's as well.

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Ketch,
    Using the Profoto terminology, you will have a an Air Remote mounted on the camera. That will control and trigger the D1s, complete with all the fine-tuning, etc. You will need the Air Sync device attached to the Acute2 pack so that it can be triggered from the Air Remote also.

    LJ

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Correct!

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Late to the party and stirring the pot a little, Ketch, how about a Twin Head and 2 Profoto 7b battery generators for a combined output of 2400ws?
    Póg mo thóin!

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    He he, have considered that to, just need to better understand how I can create a formidable kit for the Jobs, with both some high power and portability in mind, for all those times when I can't plug in

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Ketch,

    Of note ... there is a newer 600w/s Acute B2 AirS Pack with dual radio triggers ... both Profoto Air and Pocket Wizard built in! These are long life Lithium Ion Iron Phosphate batteries and Licensed to travel ... weighing in at 7.9 lbs.

    The newer Profoto Pro-B3 1200w/s also offers the dual triggers and long life, travel certified Lith battery.

    However, two Acute 600 B2s weighs 5lbs less than one 1200 B3! And the Acute heads are also smaller and lighter ... a consideration for travel.

    Dual radio triggers might be nice if mixing rentals with existing gear ... improves the chances of synergy in various areas of the world ... PWs are the dominate radio trigger world-wide.

    Also, in case of failure, having the w/s spread out over more packs lessens the chance of being caught dead in the water. Been there, done that.

    I seriously looked at the new D1 Air compact replacements, and passed on them even though the Air remote control was tempting. But I already have a full set of
    Compacts including the slightly more powerful 1200 w/s Rs, which I frequently max out at 1200 w/s.

    If going for a box with an inverter, I'd avoid the Acutes because they are a PITA to finely tune the output compared to the D4s with are all digital controls ... and they can be
    controlled from the computer.

    -Marc

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    Re: ***Advise Choosing Portable Power 4 my Profoto Flashes***

    Thanks Marc, I will take a look on them, might take couple of the 600w/s packs, but definitely will look in to the new 1200w/s pack, also will need two 2400w/s packs to max out the 4800w/s tween, to illuminate front Cathedrals and large town streets, and yes the D1's are a bit plasticky filling against the bigger heavier Compacts.

    Will be ordering the Pack Pack power solution from Profoto as well, hope to see it work well.

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