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Thread: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

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    Super Duper
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    Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    I am thinking of getting a couple of the new Paul Buff Vagabond Mini Lithiums that clamp to the light stands to run each of my 120V Profoto Compact 600's.

    Buff doesn't warranty use with anything but their lights, but it seems these batteries are pure sine wave and should be suitable.

    I like this product over getting a Profoto Bat Pac because you can get 3 or four of them for less than the Bat Pac, and place the lights anywhere without extension cords running all over the place back to one main battery pack.

    Any thoughts or experiences?

    Thanks for any insights,

    -Marc

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Further clarification from the Buff operating manual:

    Note: All Paul C. Buff™ lights (including Einstein™ units) are designed to
    tolerate this voltage drop (“Brown Out”), as can most purely analog studio flash
    units, to varying degrees. However, most manufacturers of digitally controlled
    studio flash units failed to anticipate operation with current limited inverters, and
    designed the microprocessor power supplies to shut down at about 85VAC
    input. Thus, many or most of such units will not tolerate operation with small
    current limited inverters, and simply crash. This is particularly true when multiple
    units are attached to a single inverter. In particular, Profoto brand units will generally
    not operate from the Vagabond Mini™ Lithium.
    -


    What I can't determine is whether they are talking about the new D1's which are digitally controlled ...
    and the now discontinued analog Compacts will work?

    Thoughts, experiences?

    -Marc

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Marc,

    You'll probably get the standard disclaimer repeated by Buff, but I'd call their customer service line directly and talk with them. There are a lot of people using the Vagabond Mini Lithium with lights other than AB/WL with success, and I bet customer service can tell you if your Profoto Compact 600s will work or not.

    That said, the VML is a nice portable option for power. It's not much bigger and only slightly heavier than a Quantum Turbo battery. Weakpoint is the clamp to attach it to a lightstand, but not hard to figure out alternative ways to attach. Charge holds well. Price point and portability is hard to beat.

    ken

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    I would love to know this as well with the D1 but will be out all communications starting today till Thursday . If someone checked please post any info learned. Thanks Guy
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Got curious and started snooping around on the VML and Profoto. Open your wallet again!

    Guy: See, http://www.vineet-suthan.com/blog/?p=1574
    and see also, http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/mul...14-11226-11357 (update April 9 2011---Tavares reports to use BAT mode on D1)

    Probably means you can open your wallet too Marc...

    Buff makes the other light brand disclaimer on all his power sources, and from what I've read, only Bowens seems to have a notable problem with any portable power sources, not just VML.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    No personal experience, but rumor has it that 1 VML per Profoto Compact in bat mode works. Recycle is a bit slow, but otherwise no problems.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Well this seems to say the D1 can work, but I'm curious about the Profoto Compacts which do not have a "Bat" selection ... they are not digitally controlled as far as I know, and have analog dials for settings.

    -Marc

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    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    .... the Bat setting was only for the D1 units (IIRC) so that the capacitor wouldn't draw so many amps at peak and cause a brown-out on inverter units. It basically throttled back the whole discharge/recycle process. I'm not certain about the compact 600's, but I'd bet you'll be ok (don't quote me on that).

    I'm looking at going that way myself. 2 compact 600's and a pair of VML units.

    I looked hard at the D1 units, but found that (besides build quality, which definitely counts for a lot) they just didn't offer enough for the premium paid. The air system is definitely slick, though... but as a mostly on-location shooter, I don't need all those capabilities.

    I just want ruggedness and simplicity on location... probably a pair of compacts, some PW Plus II's, and a pair of VML units.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Okay, got the answer right from Paul Buff.

    NO. Nope. Nada. The Mini's will NOT work at all with any Profoto Compact. Will work with the D1 250, 500 and 1,000.

    -Marc

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Bummmmer, Marc----because the VML is such a nice, lightweight powersource at an attractive price.

  11. #11
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Okay, got the answer right from Paul Buff.

    NO. Nope. Nada. The Mini's will NOT work at all with any Profoto Compact. Will work with the D1 250, 500 and 1,000.

    -Marc
    Oh... sorry for the misinformation, then.

    Man, this blows. I was really hoping to go with compacts in tandem with the VML as well. I've also been looking at the Eli rx600 units, but I'm not a fan of the mount. The Buff Einstein 640's are truly the best budget stuff for the price right now (as far as feature set... great consistency, short duration on speed mode, decent power ), but they just look so damned silly. Shallow, I know, but I really want something robust that is also in keeping with the professional look of the profoto stuff.

    The thought of my big RZ, digital back, Berlebach tripod, and then those "Einstein" logos just bothers me.

    Back to the drawing board, I guess. Maybe the D1 units are the way to go.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    ....The thought of my big RZ, digital back, Berlebach tripod, and then those "Einstein" logos just bothers me.

    ....
    There's nothing that a strip of duct tape can't solve....

    (actually I think the einstein logo is a piece of plastic that you can pop off)

  13. #13
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    There's nothing that a strip of duct tape can't solve....
    yeah... but I'm still accountable to all my fellow gear sluts around here

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    Bummmmer, Marc----because the VML is such a nice, lightweight powersource at an attractive price.
    Yeah, by the time I buy a pair of D1 500s and the VMLs I might as well get the Hensel Porty L 1200 kit which is over-all smaller and more powerful, produces more flashes per charge, ... and also can be controlled by the Profoto AIR, or Hensel's Strobe Wizard radio system ... or the FreeMask (which I am very interested in anyway).

    The attraction of the Compact Rs was that I already own them, and with the VMLs I could place them anywhere without cords running to a pack.

    Shelby, if I were you, I'd just go with the Buff 640s and VLMs ... just put a bag over its head if it's to ugly for you The only thing I don't know about the Buffs is what mount they use, but I have noted that more and more soft-box speed-rings are being offered in the Buff mount, so I don't think choice of modifiers will be an issue. Best of luck!

    -Marc

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Marc,

    I recall seeing a "new" Hensel Porty L1200 kit in the buy/sell. I still want the Hensel L1200 lithium, but figured you'd give a us all a great review first.

    On the Buff Einstein light, the Buff mount is a weak link (imo), but it "works." Many modifier options are available, still quirky. One of my portable kits (transitionary pending your review of the Hensel ) is two Einsteins and the VML. I don't know how to describe it other than somewhat quirky but it works. Relatively small package and wireless flash sync up to 1/1600. Easy to use. VML battery pack is definitely the attraction.

    ken

  16. #16
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Shelby, if I were you, I'd just go with the Buff 640s and VLMs ... just put a bag over its head if it's to ugly for you The only thing I don't know about the Buffs is what mount they use...


    The Buff strobes use the same mount as the old Balcars. It's a 4-pronged "claw" of sorts. I had a set of three AB400's for several years when I was first getting started and the mount worked fine... but it's definitely more delicate than the Profoto mount. Those lights never failed, but they had some strange quirks, electrically.

    When the new Einsteins came out, the mount had some problems holding the new larger modifiers (PLM stuff), then was revised a bit. I've heard it's better now that they've tweaked the spring tension in the bayonet mount.

  17. #17
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    Relatively small package and wireless flash sync up to 1/1600. Easy to use. VML battery pack is definitely the attraction.
    Hey Ken... what trigger system are you using to get 1/1600 wireless sync with the Einsteins?

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Hey Ken... what trigger system are you using to get 1/1600 wireless sync with the Einsteins?
    Believe it or not, Buff's Cybersync. I use the CST transmitter with the CSXCV transceivers (fit into the Einstein). Otherwise, I use (and prefer) Pocket Wizards.

    The CSXCV has delicate "pins" to protect, which include a foam cover. Pelican makes mini-cases which are perfect to store the CST and CSXCV when traveling. To tell you how "fond" I am of the Cybersync, I always travel with a set of Pocketwizards also. It's not that the Cybersync hasn't been reliable, it's just that I don't get that same warm and fuzzy feeling that Pocket Wizards impart.

    ken

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post


    The Buff strobes use the same mount as the old Balcars. It's a 4-pronged "claw" of sorts. I had a set of three AB400's for several years when I was first getting started and the mount worked fine... but it's definitely more delicate than the Profoto mount. Those lights never failed, but they had some strange quirks, electrically.
    I used Alien Bee B1600 on Larson 4x6 for a year and never had a problem with it. They are now on light accent strips now and Photogenics have taken their place on bigger modifiers (much better system), but that claw thing worked well. I will say, my AB's are probably 10 years old or older so very possibly different parts maker than the Einstein claw maker today.

  20. #20
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    I will say, my AB's are probably 10 years old or older so very possibly different parts maker than the Einstein claw maker today.
    I'm with you... the claw never let me down either with my AB400's for several years. I think they've been through 3 different iterations with the Einsteins... ,ostly having to do with spring tension. IIRC the v1 claw worked ok, then when they changed some things on the mount for heat reasons (among others) the spring tension was too low and people were having probs with large boxes and plm modifiers popping off... they then upped the tension on the spring and I think everything is ok now.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Hmmm, do NOT like any jinky mount or radio trigger at all, even if it just a rumored one ... been there, done that.

    There HAS to be an alternative power source to use with the Profoto Compacts, I just need to find it.

    Actually, because I already have a couple of Elinchrom Quadras, the only real need I have for a battery powered unit is an occasional situation where I have to shoot at a distance, or need to over-power the sun while using a MFD kit stopped down. I'd like to power my Profoto 1200 w/s Compacts for that sort of duty. Otherwise the Quadra has been just fine (except for the questionable mount, which has been okay as long as the modifier is smallish, or is an umbrella using a separate HD umbrella clamp ... the new Westcott 7' parabolics are very good modifiers and only cost $99!)

    -Marc

  22. #22
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Innovatronix has has a smaller Tronix explorer these days, the Mini... inexpensive ($349) and supposedly quite good. It's not lithium and not as small as the VML, but it's supposedly quite good: http://www.innovatronix.com/explorermini.asp

    Here's the compatibility chart (the compacts are supported): http://www.innovatronix.com/compatib.asp There is a youtube vid on that page that will give you an exact idea of it's size.

    Check this out for a few more ideas... although all will be more bulky than the VML.
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/profoto...7605724231077/

    I've thought seriously about the little honda generator (about $800 on the used, ebay market). I don't like that it's fossil fuel powered, but it is quiet and can be repurposed easily. I owned the original vagabond with my old AB's and found it fantastic, if not a bit heavy. It's not bad though (right...). For a few years I could be seen walking around middle tennessee shooting HS seniors... vagabond on one shoulder, AB400 on the other (on a light stand), camera in hand.

    This works as well, but not cheap: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Inverter.html

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    ..most manufacturers of digitally controlled studio flash units failed to anticipate operation with current limited inverters, and designed the microprocessor power supplies to shut down at about 85VAC input.
    This line is good for a laugh.

    The engineers at Profoto didn't design their lights to be used with cheap inverters that can't deliver sufficient current. Why would they want to ?

    I carry the original 300 and 600 compacts and a couple of D1 500 airs. They work great off the Dynalite system and/or a 2KW Honda generator that is designed to run electronic gear.

    Yeah they are larger and heavier that you might like, but you get the same quality light you get in the studio and don't risk your lights being fried.

    I'll probably buy the Tronix Mini just to see what it'll do. I don't need 200 full power pops on every shoot so it may be a good option for a quick setup.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Thanks Shelby,

    Those are all decent solutions that I've looked at.

    As far as an inverter is concerned, I'd go with the newer Profoto BatPac that's a bit more $ than the Dynalite, but puts out a lot more power. It'll drive four 1,000w/s flashes or a 2400 w/s Acute generator. According to one Pro photographer's review on B&H, contrary to rumors, it WILL run the older Compacts ... and he uses it to drive 1200R Compacts.

    Still looking.

    -Marc

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    The Dynalite will recycle faster then the bat pac with a couple of 600 watt monoheads then the bat pac. David

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by dseelig View Post
    The Dynalite will recycle faster then the bat pac with a couple of 600 watt monoheads then the bat pac. David
    That's been my experience too.

    Unfortunately PF outsourced the BatPac. It's performance is disappointing, particularly since it carries a PF price.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Man, you guys are worth your weight in Gold. Great input ... ya just can't beat real world experience!!!

    Thanks.

    -Marc

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?


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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by dseelig View Post
    But also remember that RG is a big PCB fan. As biased as they get.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    It pointed out what I found about the bat pac and yes he is not the best reviewer but everyone else I know who has tested these batteries I know has found the same results.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by dseelig View Post
    It pointed out what I found about the bat pac and yes he is not the best reviewer but everyone else I know who has tested these batteries I know has found the same results.
    My point is only to be aware when a reviewer is objective or historically has not been.

    Your comment is not clear to me. When you say, "these batteries" are you referring to all of the above, or just the PF bat pac ?

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    All of the batteries yes the mini lith is slower but great amount of juice the vagabond 11 is faster but not as fast as dynalite or the new mini from innovotrnix . The bat pac seems to be fast but if only one mono head. Just because a reviewer might like a brand does not color a test. when there are timing issues like with this no way can Rob lie about it to make an advertiser happy. Screw up an auto focus test yes but not his kind of test.

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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Good discussion all around.

    Frankly, I'm surprised that Profoto opted for a lead based battery in their relatively new Batpac.

    It's all something of a quandary ... while it is pretty convenient to use mono-heads if you already have them, they are large and cumbersome compared to the much smaller heads that are usually used with battery generators like the Hensel Porty L, Profoto 600B, Broncolor Mobil A2R (or even my tiny Quadra 400 w/s kits).

    I don't agree with that review ... using studio monos isn't the best all-around solution. Lugging around a Compact or D1 with a beauty dish on a mobile painter's pole creates a lot of fulcrum leverage out at the end of the stick ... a solution that I use quite frequently with smaller pack heads. Same for using an over-head boom arm with a softbox or lantern ... the stand & arm would have to be massive to handle a mono + modifier ... (I've also run out of headroom indoors with the bigger monos, and now use a battery pack at some client's homes to avoid tripping their breakers ... which happened to me once when the client turned on their mocrowave

    Sigh, I keep trying to avoid getting the Hensel 1200L and Mini-P heads, but you get what you pay for I guess.

    -Marc







    .

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Use of Vagabond Mini Lithium w/Profoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    ....Sigh, I keep trying to avoid getting the Hensel 1200L and Mini-P heads, but you get what you pay for I guess.

    -Marc
    Totally agree with you about the cumbersome nature to lug around and use studio monolights.

    So, I eagerly await your review of the Hensel L1200...

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