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Thread: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

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    Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Hi,

    As I look into building my home studio, I'm considering four D1 500 Airs.
    My questions to users are:
    1) What's not to like about them?
    2) Do you ever need more power than 500Ws?
    3) Is it better to have a couple of 1000Ws lights and shoot at half power instead? Why? (Yes, why ask indeed!)

    Thanks in advance.
    Po
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Po,
    I started with almost the same set up.The only negative I have with the D1's is that they are a bit heavier and require a bit more of a stable base/stand than a regular pro or Acute head. The Air system is a must. Works perfect, great range.
    I switched up to a D4 pack and heads and added D1's when I needed more than 4 lights. I just changed up the game again and went with a Pro B4 pack and incorporate that in the studio with the D1's and they are all tied together with the air system.
    In a small studio situation shooting @ 100-200 iso 500's are fine. I dont think I have ever turned up to 10. If your shooting MF @50 or 25 iso then you may need a bit more power.
    Move forward, Profoto's light shaping tools are endless. You;ll have a blast!
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    If you're shooting with a camera made in the last couple of years then you're not limited to an ISO of 50 or 100 to get good clean images. Given that you'll never need more power than the D1 500 Airs.

    I bought a couple of them 2 years ago. I recently bought 2 Profoto compact 600Rs. You can find the 600Rs on ebay for about $600. You can't buy a clean Acute head for that. I use the 600Rs as my backlights and the D1s are key and fill. Recycle times are equivalent as is the light quality.

    The one serious limitation with the D1 is the flat glass and the 70 degree angle of the light. They don't work well with a Mola or other beauty dish unless you buy the optional glass domes. The also don't work well with the Magnum, Widezoom, Telezoom, Narrow beam, Soflight or the Proglobe. In other words, more than half the Profoto modifiers.

    I keep the domes on mine all the time now. Profoto made a big mistake with that part of the design. They claim that design was optimized for umbrellas and use without a modifier. But then they released a Spill Kill modifier, which completely shoots that claim.

    You don't mention what other lights you considered. There are lots of great lights being made and a home studio isn't typically the most demanding of lighting gear.
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Truth is that Profoto does offer the optional dome for the D1s...and it works.

    You will be well served by these lights...robust, built to last, and very integrated into a system...and yes the domes do make a difference.

    Buy these and you are done...buy something else and you may face the decision at a future date to replace anything less robust....Profoto, Broncolor, and Hensel...all worth the investment if you use them.

    If you go with 2 500's you can add a 1000 later should you need it...

    Bob
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Thanks for the answers guys!

    Which dome glass do I go for, the frosted of clear glass?
    Yes, I don't quite know the difference between them, I've been using a clear dome glass for my Elinchrom ranger, only because I believe it will maintain most of its output when fired!

    Thanks
    Po
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Truth is that Profoto does offer the optional dome for the D1s...and it works.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Candlish View Post
    I keep the domes on mine all the time now.
    The frosted dome creates a much more homogeneous light output that is a big part of the light quality that Profoto is known for.

    I use the frosted dome on my Elinchrom Ranger S heads for the very same reason.
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Candlish View Post
    You don't mention what other lights you considered. There are lots of great lights being made and a home studio isn't typically the most demanding of lighting gear.
    Thanks Kirk, frosted glass domes it is then!
    I was ultimately thinking I will use the Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed and Quadras for the studio too, but decided against it because I couldn't keep them plugged into the wall continuously. The other deciding factor is the Air remote, when compared to the Elinchrom version is better in some ways. I will probably go with the Profoto RFi softboxes and a MOLA dish (Either Demi or Setti).

    These were my considerations, but welcome any other opinion into the mix.

    Thanks
    Po
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    My "Home" studio is almost completely Profoto (two D4 2400R Packs, two D1-500 AIRs, one D1-1000 AIR and an Acute2 B600 AIR Lithium set).

    Prior to that I used two Profoto Compact 600Rs and a 1200R ... which were Pocket Wizard based.

    The D1s are all consistent in size compared to the older Compacts which vary in length according to W/s. They also can be run off of modern batteries like the Profoto BatPac, or the much smaller, very inexpensive but powerful Paul C Buff Mini Lithiums ... the Compacts cannot. So, the D1s can easily be used outside the home studio on location anywhere you wish without regard to AC power availability.

    Trigger distance of the AIR radio is of little importance in a small studio because you can set the lights to trigger optically. However, remote adjustment is much more important. The older Compacts cannot be adjusted remotely like the AIR radio based D1 units ... which is important if the heads are up really high, buried inside a reverse mount modifier, or used to light a background in a small space that would require you to walk on the background to get to the lights for adjustment (which was a real irritation until I got the D1s).

    RE: Power levels ... my rule of thumb is to shoot any given camera at base ISO for optimal IQ if I can ... unless there is some creative reason to do otherwise. If you plan on doing close-up/tabletop type work, you will be amazed how much light is needed when shooting at base ISO and stopping down as far as possible before de-fraction sets in to get enough Depth-of-Field. Also, keep in mind that you can go mobile if you wish, where outdoor work involving so called "over-powering the sun" requires lots of light.

    RE: D1 flat glass verses frosted domes. I use my D1s both ways ... since I use a D1 for accent lighting fairly often, the small grid modifiers 20, 10, and 5 are great, but can only be used with the flat glass ... so I leave one D1 without the frosted dome.

    If you will only be using D1 AIRs, I would council getting two 500s and two 1,000s ... which is 3,000W/s total ... or just a bit more than one standard 2,400 Ws studio pack. Then get a couple of PCB Mini Lithiums to occasionally go mobile when you want (it is a LOT of fun!).

    Good luck,

    -Marc
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Moved from Elinchrom (and Skyport) to Profoto a couple of years ago and would never, ever (did I say ever?) go back. Use Profoto D1 500s AiRs, Compact 600 Rs and Acute 1200 w/Profoto BatPac. Won't go thru all the relative positives of Profoto, you've read them elsewhere 101 times.

    On D1s - I use the domes by default, but more for consistency when in a hurry between them, C600s and Acute heads.

    If using primarily in studio or on location inside, you will likley find having lower power settings available more valuable more often than higher, which makes the 500s nice (also faster duration than the 1000s). That said, if funds avail and depending what/where you shoot, a pair of 1000s, or clean used Acute 1200 or Acute 2400 pack+head(s) makes for a VERY nice kit. Compact 600 Rs are very nice units if want to save some $. No auto-dump and no remote control but dead-nuts reliable workhorses.

    Profoto AiR - it does rock. System is uber-reliable, nicely thought-out and stand alone transceivers are well built, secure on hotshoe and will stretch even cheap-a** A3 batteries quite a long time.
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Here's another tip:

    You do not have to use Profoto modifiers on the D1s, or other Profoto heads.

    The Elinchrom line of Rotalux light modifiers are not only terrific, robust, and just as good light quality as the Profoto's, they have a unique quick release speed-ring that's similar to an umbrella set-up that allows easy/swift set-up/tear-down ... which can be important if you have limited space in a smaller studio ... plus make them very easy to transport for location shooting.

    Elinchrom makes Profoto mount versions of the Rotalux speed-ring that retains full adjustability on any Profoto head.

    Elinchrom Rotalux Speed Ring Adapter for Profoto EL 26531 B&H

    These are also available for Hensel mount, so it doesn't matter whether Hensel modifiers are readily available or not

    Elinchrom Rotalux Speed Ring Adapter for Hensel/Expert EL 26533

    In particular, the Elinchrom 39" deep Octa is very highly regarded for its' light quality and versatility ... as are most of the others they make:

    Elinchrom Rotalux| B&H Photo Video

    -Marc
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Marc, I have the Elinchrom Deep Octa, I have only used it several times, and while I like the soft light it gives, I hate the tear down. It has gotten easier over time, but I enjoy it no more to set up or tear down. I'm really hoping the profoto Octas are easier to set up and tear down.
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    My only complain about "Profoto Air" is, I can't fire it from my Skeonic.
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    Marc, I have the Elinchrom Deep Octa, I have only used it several times, and while I like the soft light it gives, I hate the tear down. It has gotten easier over time, but I enjoy it no more to set up or tear down. I'm really hoping the profoto Octas are easier to set up and tear down.
    They aren't. They are harder, much harder. Profoto made it a bit easier with the new RFi system by color coding the rod placements, but they are still difficult to assemble/tear-down compared to the Rotalux.

    Once you initially assemble a Rotalux, you leave the rods in place and just release the tension at the speed-ring so it folds closed like an umbrella for transport or storage in the bag that comes with it. The caveat to the provided bag is that it is too tight a fit when using the Profoto speed-ring mount which is deeper than any other.

    Here is a video on how to set up an assembled Rotalux in 30 seconds (trust me, this is a video you will not see for other standard soft-box assemble/tear-down).

    How to set up an Elinchrom Rotalux in 30 seconds? - YouTube

    I found that it is easier to tear-down my bigger Rotalux by placing it on the ground face up and putting my weight into the first strut release, after that the remaining struts release quite easily.

    Here is a "ham handed" video of the Rotalux initial first set-up, which you need do only once when new, after that you leave it assembled and with a little practice, it is no-brainer fast.

    setting up a Elenchrom Rotalux softbox - Bing Videos

    The good news it that if you already have a Rotalux, you can convert it to most any strobe mount now that Elinchrom offers a broad array of different speed-rings. I have 3 Rotalux boxes with Profoto mounts I use for location work ... including weddings where time is critical. I have ordered a couple of Rotalux speed-rings for my Hensel Porty 1200L with Profoto AIR radio built-in, and will convert a few of my boxes for that use.

    Hope this helps,

    -Marc
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by subrata1965 View Post
    My only complain about "Profoto Air" is, I can't fire it from my Skeonic.

    I have been told by various parties Sekonic is working on that but that was a while ago. I certainly hope they are and that they will have AIR integrated soon.

    About the Rotalux, they are indeed much easier than the Profoto. Funny you mention the bag Marc, it is one thing I have been complaining about with Elinchrom. If they would only make it an inch longer it would be perfect.

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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by subrata1965 View Post
    My only complain about "Profoto Air" is, I can't fire it from my Skeonic.
    Yeah, Skeonic needs to up its game. Pocket Wizard, while robust and reliable, is falling behind because strobe makers are rapidly moving to remote adjustment from the camera. I was quite surprised that the new PW units didn't move in that direction. Obviously, Profoto is willing to license the AIR technology since Hensel now uses it in a number of their lighting products.

    When I use my Skeonic with AIR strobes, I set it to read flash when fired, and use the AIR trigger to trip the strobes either in total, by groups, or by individual heads. Not as elegant to use as the PW trigger, but far more versatile.

    Now I need to get my D4 generators converted to AIR ... but no rush for that as I use them only in studio and just set them for optical trigger. It's just as easy to set levels manually on the D4s in my smaller studio. I do not use them on location.

    -Marc

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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    They aren't. They are harder, much harder. Profoto made it a bit easier with the new RFi system by color coding the rod placements, but they are still difficult to assemble/tear-down compared to the Rotalux.

    Once you initially assemble a Rotalux, you leave the rods in place and just release the tension at the speed-ring so it folds closed like an umbrella for transport or storage in the bag that comes with it. The caveat to the provided bag is that it is too tight a fit when using the Profoto speed-ring mount which is deeper than any other.

    Here is a video on how to set up an assembled Rotalux in 30 seconds (trust me, this is a video you will not see for other standard soft-box assemble/tear-down).

    How to set up an Elinchrom Rotalux in 30 seconds? - YouTube

    I found that it is easier to tear-down my bigger Rotalux by placing it on the ground face up and putting my weight into the first strut release, after that the remaining struts release quite easily.

    Here is a "ham handed" video of the Rotalux initial first set-up, which you need do only once when new, after that you leave it assembled and with a little practice, it is no-brainer fast.

    setting up a Elenchrom Rotalux softbox - Bing Videos

    The good news it that if you already have a Rotalux, you can convert it to most any strobe mount now that Elinchrom offers a broad array of different speed-rings. I have 3 Rotalux boxes with Profoto mounts I use for location work ... including weddings where time is critical. I have ordered a couple of Rotalux speed-rings for my Hensel Porty 1200L with Profoto AIR radio built-in, and will convert a few of my boxes for that use.

    Hope this helps,

    -Marc
    Hi Marc,

    The youtube video is the technique I use! Also if you notice in the video, the guy actually ripped his Octa near the ring (near end of video!)
    Unfortunately, the ring digging into my hands is still no fun. It's not so much the time it takes, as I do leave it engaged with the rods installed in the bad as you rightly said! It's brute muscle, and those annoying little twisters that engage at the end of the rod to the ring, when it doesn't align quite right, just leaves you struggling!

    To be honest, I have no reference to compare the Deep Octa to, I just wished everything was as simple as opening a regular umbrella, and to be frank, why not?

    Thanks again for your helpful advice, as always!

    Po
    Last edited by pophoto; 12th March 2013 at 20:48.
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by subrata1965 View Post
    My only complain about "Profoto Air" is, I can't fire it from my Skeonic.
    It is possible. I have this module for my L-758DR and it works great.
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    You have it for Profoto? I have been in contact with the guy that makes these and at this moment he advised me to wait for the new firmware to be ready for the Sekonic.

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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustbak View Post
    You have it for Profoto? I have been in contact with the guy that makes these and at this moment he advised me to wait for the new firmware to be ready for the Sekonic.
    Yes, I have it for Profoto.

    Jens

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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Look View Post
    It is possible. I have this module for my L-758DR and it works great.
    Wow, fitted with this trigger module and the levels key pads could be a cottage industry for someone. I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

    -Marc

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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Hey Marc,

    Your comment about profoto softboxes not being much more easier to setup (aside from being color coded for rods) and tear down, would you stick to the Elinchrom softboxes for the Quadras or are the RFi softboxes worth the extra speed ring costs?

    Thanks
    Po
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    Hey Marc,

    Your comment about profoto softboxes not being much more easier to setup (aside from being color coded for rods) and tear down, would you stick to the Elinchrom softboxes for the Quadras or are the RFi softboxes worth the extra speed ring costs?

    Thanks
    Po
    The RFi I use with the Quadra is small (2' X 2'), so I never tear it down. I use it because I got the free speed-light ring from ordering other stuff as part of a Profoto promotion ... and this speed-ring just happened to be a perfect fit for the Quadra head and provides a far more secure mount than the Elinchrom one.

    For set-up/tear-down, I'd use a Rotaliux with the EL adapter for the Quadra head ... and in fact I do exactly that with the 27" Rotalux Deep Octa ... IMO, the 39" Deep Octa is a bit much on the Quadra.

    Personally, I hate the Elinchrom mount ... which is one of the primary reasons I moved from Elinchrom to Profoto some years ago. The Quadra is the exception to the rule ... it's so tiny I'm willing to put up with the mount ... however, I use umbrellas as often as not when working with the Quadra.

    -Marc
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    How is the quality of the Profoto RFi softboxes, the only reviewed product on Amazon.com:
    http://www.amazon.com/Profoto-254703...d_sim_sbs_p_10
    suggests it is poor quality product an will not stand the test of time and the front diffusion material is very thin. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

    Thanks!
    Po
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    How is the quality of the Profoto RFi softboxes, the only reviewed product on Amazon.com:
    Amazon.com: Profoto 254703 RFi 2 x 3 Inches (60x90 cm) Softbox (Black): Camera & Photo
    suggests it is poor quality product an will not stand the test of time and the front diffusion material is very thin. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

    Thanks!
    Po
    Hmmm ... not my experience at all with the RFis

    However, I haven't purchased any larger RFis because I already have the RF versions.

    So, after reading this, I compared the material, corner stays, and diffusion material of the RFi to the RFs (which I can attest to have stood the test of time, since I've had a few of them over 10 years).

    The RFi softbox material seems very similar in thickness, and the corner pockets that receive the ribs seems just as well constructed. One difference with the RFs is that they have heat vent flaps and the RFis do not. Those heat vents are probably expensive to include.

    The diffusion material on my RFis is not transparent and feels about the same thickness, but may be a wee bit thinner. However, as with any diffusion material it will yellow with time and need replaced.

    Again, these are the smaller RFi boxes (2' X 2', 1' X 3' and 1' X 4') I got to use with the Acute B600 AIR Lithium pack I use for mobile work on an assistant held light pole, where smaller/mobile is preferred.

    YMMV

    -Marc
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    Re: Profoto D1 500 for home studio

    As the owner or Profoto, Eli, Chimera and Creative Light/RFi boxes, +1 on Marks' comments. If you don't need heat vents for hot lights, the RFi/CL boxes are nice units.

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