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Thread: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

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    Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    I'm curious about the A1 for portability and quality. Yes, it's not cheap, but more interested in recycle times and battery and quality of light/accuracy. The A1 seems great in this regard, but rather low powered at 76 watts/sec. Having said that, I need a small light that be used as key, hair light, rim light etc. and more importantly sync with the B10. I do not shoot in studio and don't need to shoot at high noon either. I have ND's for the latter, so don't need HSS which allows for cheaper Air Remote too.
    Last edited by jdphoto; 1st October 2018 at 10:29.

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    Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    Why spend 10x more than you need to for a plastic speed light?

    True it might be more consistent in color than the cheaper lights but outside of higher end commercial fashion catalogs with lots of movement I can't think of too many other situations where it might matter. And if I were in that situation I'd want conventional AC boxes and heads anyway.

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    Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly View Post
    Why spend 10x more than you need to for a plastic speed light?

    True it might be more consistent in color than the cheaper lights but outside of higher end commercial fashion catalogs with lots of movement I can't think of too many other situations where it might matter. And if I were in that situation I'd want conventional AC boxes and heads anyway.
    That's part of what I need...true color consistency, hence the quality and accuracy comment. I'm starting from scratch with lighting and really like the idea of wireless strobes. Profoto's mount is reason enough to switch, imo. I used Elinchrom Quadra and liked the size/weight, but using adapters for standard modifiers never instilled confidence. Although, it was never an issue mounting modifiers either. Wireless compatibility is a must too.

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    Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    I haven't extensively used the Godox system (I foolishly bought into Orlit/Jinbei instead, which I've found to be clean/consistent enough for my purposes, though I have other reservations about the system), but clearly, they've come quite a long way over the last few years. I have a hard time getting my head around the Profoto premium given the generally great reputation of lights like the AD200 and AD600. I'm sure that some consistency differences remain, but- what's material to you? All spec sheet comparisons aside, I get the sense that there's sometimes a malignant toxicity from owners of more expensive lighting systems that's magnified by the malignant toxicity inherent in discussing gear online: like Profoto and Broncolor owners feel the need to loudly justify spending what they did on lighting.

    I've used Profoto gear a number of times and found it excellent, and I would expect that it's objectively superior to the Chinese options in certain ways. But my point here is that the Internet chatter around this issue strikes me as the sort of thing that makes any color consistency woes sound worse than they actually are. For multiples of the price, is it really so great that you can't solve the issue with a ColorChecker and some gels?

    For my money, if I were starting from a brand-new lighting kit today and in your shoes, I'd order an AD200 (or two) via Amazon Prime, try it out, and send it back if it's not up to snuff. Best of luck.
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    Exclamation Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by clonardo View Post
    I haven't extensively used the Godox system (I foolishly bought into Orlit/Jinbei instead, which I've found to be clean/consistent enough for my purposes, though I have other reservations about the system), but clearly, they've come quite a long way over the last few years. I have a hard time getting my head around the Profoto premium given the generally great reputation of lights like the AD200 and AD600. I'm sure that some consistency differences remain, but- what's material to you? All spec sheet comparisons aside, I get the sense that there's sometimes a malignant toxicity from owners of more expensive lighting systems that's magnified by the malignant toxicity inherent in discussing gear online: like Profoto and Broncolor owners feel the need to loudly justify spending what they did on lighting.

    I've used Profoto gear a number of times and found it excellent, and I would expect that it's objectively superior to the Chinese options in certain ways. But my point here is that the Internet chatter around this issue strikes me as the sort of thing that makes any color consistency woes sound worse than they actually are. For multiples of the price, is it really so great that you can't solve the issue with a ColorChecker and some gels?

    For my money, if I were starting from a brand-new lighting kit today and in your shoes, I'd order an AD200 (or two) via Amazon Prime, try it out, and send it back if it's not up to snuff. Best of luck.
    Great points! I've been thinking about the AD or Godox, but really like the mount on Profoto. Cognitive dissonance might be at play here with my back and forth decisions with Profoto. It might make better sense to wait until the B10 drops in price. It's a small light, but just 1 stop under the B1x.

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    Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdphoto View Post
    Great points! I've been thinking about the AD or Godox, but really like the mount on Profoto. Cognitive dissonance might be at play here with my back and forth decisions with Profoto. It might make better sense to wait until the B10 drops in price. It's a small light, but just 1 stop under the B1x.
    Have you thought about the AD400 Pro? It can take Bowens or Profoto mount accessories, gives you 150ws over a B10 at half the price, and will interop nicely with larger lights (AD600) as well as smaller ones (AD200, AD360, all the way down to the Godox speedlights)- https://www.adorama.com/fplfx400ptb.html . You could have your cake and eat it too with that setup: cheap Bowens mount modifiers are a nice option to have.

    It's stuff like this that makes me kick myself for buying a bunch of Orlit/Jinbei gear last year- Godox's offerings since then pack in a lot of flexibility for the money.

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    Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    The comment about gelling is enough to make me spend 10x the price on the ProFoto. If you're really out to shoot neutrals consistently over time, I ain't gelling anything unless it's a problem to save my butt because I messed up.

    Remember that May's shoot against a grey background will look neutral and July's similar shot will also look neutral BUT when you put both shots side by side they'll be off. Same if you do fashion or advertising and are shooting at fast clip, you can often see the change of color when you're editing and can see sequential shots at the same time. Unless you have everything nailed tight, which means ProFotos instead of White Lightnings.

    We're talking 10 points out of 9000 on the Kelvin scale.

    Gelling like that, with 025 Wrattens went out with E6 film. At least 90s E6 film where each emulsion batch needed adjustment. You're not going to gel lights with any precision using Roscoe or even Lee "lighting" gels, those are crude, 200 degree increments at best. Gives me shivers....

    Seriously you probably have to buy some A1s from a place with a good return policy and test them for yourself. I'd buy some other brands too and return the losers.

    (And it's all moot if you don't need shot to shot consistency. Just use whatever works if you're shoot one-offs or B&W, etc.)

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    Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly View Post
    The comment about gelling is enough to make me spend 10x the price on the ProFoto. If you're really out to shoot neutrals consistently over time, I ain't gelling anything unless it's a problem to save my butt because I messed up.

    Remember that May's shoot against a grey background will look neutral and July's similar shot will also look neutral BUT when you put both shots side by side they'll be off. Same if you do fashion or advertising and are shooting at fast clip, you can often see the change of color when you're editing and can see sequential shots at the same time. Unless you have everything nailed tight, which means ProFotos instead of White Lightnings.
    If you haven't read it, Strobist's Lighting 103 series of posts talks about a lot of really good creative uses for gels: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2017/01...roduction.html . I find myself shooting with a 1/4 or 1/8 CTO over my key for most portrait work. I could be wrong about this, but given that a light's output is passing through a gel which acts as a filter (constraining the output frequencies of light passing through it), shouldn't shot-to-shot consistency be at least somewhat improved when using a gel?

    As for shoot-to-shoot consistency, using something like a ColorChecker would be the standard, solving the May shoot vs. July shoot conundrum in your example. Grab a calibration shot once per lighting setup and let the software do the rest.

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    Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by clonardo View Post
    If you haven't read it, Strobist's Lighting 103 series of posts talks about a lot of really good creative uses for gels: Strobist: Lighting 103: Introduction . I find myself shooting with a 1/4 or 1/8 CTO over my key for most portrait work. I could be wrong about this, but given that a light's output is passing through a gel which acts as a filter (constraining the output frequencies of light passing through it), shouldn't shot-to-shot consistency be at least somewhat improved when using a gel?

    As for shoot-to-shoot consistency, using something like a ColorChecker would be the standard, solving the May shoot vs. July shoot conundrum in your example. Grab a calibration shot once per lighting setup and let the software do the rest.
    What happens is that the color temperature of the flashes will vary from shot to shot. Using a color checker works for only that particular image. Four seconds later the next shot could be slightly different.

    This variance is one of the main factors that separates the higher and lower end strobes. A less expensive White Lightning or Chinese shoe mount will put out good light (and light is light) but it won't be as consistent from shot to shot.

    Of course for most things a minor variance of a 100 degrees or less won't matter at all. That's why my example, of a fashion shoot - fast paced shooting - against a neutral gray background - and compared to similar shoots that have to match over time - is the most extreme example and torture test. And even then the differences are going to be minor.

    For a wedding or most casual use it won't matter. Of course other factors - build quality, recycle time, flash duration, weight and size, user interface also matter.

    The gels they sell for lighting have much larger leaps in value than what we're discussing here and it would do nothing to make the flash more consistent. You can, and it used to be common during transparency film days, to buy high quality gel filters for lenses in much finer increments for adjusting the color of your chromes/slides.
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    Re: Profoto A1 Any user input/thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly View Post
    What happens is that the color temperature of the flashes will vary from shot to shot. Using a color checker works for only that particular image. Four seconds later the next shot could be slightly different.

    This variance is one of the main factors that separates the higher and lower end strobes. A less expensive White Lightning or Chinese shoe mount will put out good light (and light is light) but it won't be as consistent from shot to shot.

    Of course for most things a minor variance of a 100 degrees or less won't matter at all. That's why my example, of a fashion shoot - fast paced shooting - against a neutral gray background - and compared to similar shoots that have to match over time - is the most extreme example and torture test. And even then the differences are going to be minor.

    For a wedding or most casual use it won't matter. Of course other factors - build quality, recycle time, flash duration, weight and size, user interface also matter.

    The gels they sell for lighting have much larger leaps in value than what we're discussing here and it would do nothing to make the flash more consistent. You can, and it used to be common during transparency film days, to buy high quality gel filters for lenses in much finer increments for adjusting the color of your chromes/slides.
    Another point in favor of the Profoto system is wireless control. I struggled mightily with Nikonís CLS and then Pocket wizards to get a reliable wireless trigger system. I never succeeded. Then I rented a set of Profoto B1 strobes with the Profoto Air controller. It just works. HHS with Nikon just works. So I replaced my stuff with B1s, and have never once found myself troubleshooting the wireless control.
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