Posts Tagged ‘Profoto

28
Mar
17

Profoto Air Sync & Air Remote

The Profoto Air Sync and Profoto Air Remote are basically the same as each other with both having 8 channels, 300 m range, 10 to 140 hours battery life transmit mode fast /slow, 30 hours battery life receive mode, 30 min auto power off, and integrated antenna.

The difference is that the Pro Air Sync will only trigger a flash i.e. just fire it like a sync lead but without the lead. Whereas the Pro Air Remote also lets you control the flash so you can change its power setting and modeling light function.

Just to slightly confuse you the Air Remote also comes in a TTL version for Canon and Nikon (TTL = Through the lens). This means that the remote will transmit TTL information to any Profoto flash with TTL Air Support and this will allow for fully automatic point-and-shoot shots. It can also be used in manual mode (without TTL) or Hybrid mode that allows for you to shoot first with TTL and then switch to Manual mode to make adjustments, and that’s good because TTL is often inaccurate.

All Profoto Air Remotes can be used with non Air equipped flash systems by using 2 units, one on camera and one connected to the sync socket of the flash, just like a pocket wizard system. However this will not allow for the control of flash power, modelling light, or TTL operation. It’s worth noting that you can mix Pro Air Sync and Pro Air Remote to achieve this.

Profoto equipment we have that supports Air and or AirTTL operation:

Profoto B1 Air & Air TTL

Profoto B2 Air & Air TTL

Profoto B3 Only the Air

Profoto B4 Only the Air

Profoto D1 Only the Air

Profoto 7A Neither is supported

Profoto 8A Only the Air

Profoto Acute 2  Neither is supported

Profoto Air Synch & Remote

 

Broncolor

 Broncolor used to be simple, they had a RFS (Radio frequency Sender) that controlled power and synced the flash and that was about it. It was a bit fiddly as you had to alter a “trimpot” underneath the unit to change channel and double check that the pack was on the same channel, also the packs (Grafit etc) had a weak aerial that was either missing, forgotten, or broken. The Scorro packs we stock now have this aerial built into the handle.

Broncolor also did a little gizmo called an IRX (Infra Red Sender), an infra red sync trigger that came in surprisingly useful from time to time, particularly in areas with radio restrictions.

Broncolor has now upgraded the RFS to the RFS 2. It operates like the Profoto Air Remote and controls the power & more on any RFS equipped Broncolor Flash, like a Broncolor Scorro for example. An additional RFS 2 Receiver can be used to trigger non Broncolor equipment by attaching to the sync port with a short cable.

The Broncolor RFS 2 has 40 channels compared to the Profoto Air’s 8. I would think this is an advantage once or twice every millennium.

Broncolor

Pocket Wizard

Pocket Wizards are a third party wireless sync trigger and either the Pocket Wizard 2 or Pocket Wizrd 3 system will trigger any flash from any camera provided you have the correct cables to connect.

Connect one pocket wizard on to the hot shoe of your camera (or connect it to the sync socket using a small lead) and attach another one onto the Flash (again connecting to the sync socket with a small lead). Check they are both on the same channel and away you go.

Easy, just be careful that the correct size leads are supplied for the flash.

Historically Profoto used the larger jack and Broncolour used the smaller one but they are both changing this around to keep us on our toes. Here at Pixipixel, we ensure you’re supplied with the correct cabling, even if it means providing both sets for your shoot.

Pocket wizards however also have a few tricks up their sleeves that you don’t find on the brand specific triggers from Broncoor and Profoto.

Firstly, the Pocket Wizard 3 units will automatically switch to transmit or receive depending on what they are being used for, a very clever feature. The Pocket wizard 2’s came as a transmitter, receiver, or a transceiver; they can do both but you need to select which.

The Pocket Wizards claim to have the longest range of 300m and that’s pretty impressive as I can’t even see a camera at that range.  But it gets better, you can also use pocket wizard units as “repeaters” i.e. you could put one at a half way point 300m from the camera (transmitter unit) and a further 300 metres away from the flash (receiving unit) thus extending the range to 600 metres and this can be extended even further.

Based on rough calculations it then follows that, with the circumference of the world being approximately 400 thousand metres it would take approximately 133,333 pocket wizards to transmit a sync signal the long way round the globe from camera to flash, and lots of AA batteries too.

Ok I know that’s silly but I had a customer who used to put flashes up at the top of huge sporting stadiums and the like and use this “Repeater” facility to trigger them from his seat in the stands so it can come in very useful.

The same guy also used to make use of another function available on pocket wizards and that is the ability to be powered via a USB port on the unit. This is great if you have to set up the pocket wizards say 24 hours before you are going to use them, this can happen more often than you would think. During my years living in Melbourne, for “Carols By Candlelight”, lights had to be set up in the rigging and subsequently could not be accessed for a day so the pocket wizards would go flat by the time the sing-song got going. Attaching an external power source via the USB allowed for them to be left on and not go flat.

The other great use for pocket wizards is the ability to use them to remotely trigger a camera rather than a flash. A special cord is required to do this and it’s called a Trigger cable; it comes in Canon or Nikon. Useful when the camera has a high viewpoint up on a boom, for example. Another scenario could be when shooting two cameras at the same time.

A few motor sports guys will have a camera on the opposite side of the track to themselves and trigger it at the same time as the camera they are holding this enables them to shoot both sides of the can and also get some heroic selfies. The test button has a two stage action just like the shutter release button on the camera, so a 1/2 press wakes the camera and starts auto focus and more. A full press will release the shutter.

And don’t forget you can attach one to a light meter for remote triggering of the flash during that initial setup stage. This is particularly useful if you are setting up and doing the pre light on your own.

Pocket Wizard do a range of TTL units specific to Canon or Nikon, but we do not stock these.

Sync Leads

Old school sync leads should not be forgotten. They are still a great way to trigger your flash from camera or light meter. They don’t run out of battery power, and they don’t interfere with the guy in the next studio. They are uncomplicated enough for your average photographer to understand.

In fact the only real problem with a sync lead is that they get trodden on and so get damaged quickly like an iPad lead.

We include sync leads with all flashes hired out to our clients, as they will save many a problem just by being there as a backup. I would hope that most photographers and good assistants would have a spare sync lead in their own kit.

As an aside if you ever want to test a sync lead just power up a flash and plug in the sync then “short out” the other end of the sync lead with a paperclip or your keys etc and if the synch is in good condition it will fire the flash, you won’t blow yourself up as the trigger circuit is separate from the flash circuit in modern flashes. Perhaps best not to do this if you can see “Balcar” written on the flash and you are stood in a puddle.

Synch2

Synch

Also don’t forget that most packs or mono blocks have a slave cell so in a multiple pack shoot often you only need one pair of triggers and then use the slave cell on the other packs to trigger them to fire. As light travels at the speed or er..light, the tiny delay is not likely to cause any problems unless some serious high speed or short flash duration stuff is going on.

Coolness rating of sub zero, ok that’s mean, but lets face it sync systems are never going to be exactly cool are they? In terms of usefulness then the pocket wizard system has to be a high scorer unless you are a die hard Profoto or Broncolor shooter. Now if Pocket wizard would just incorporate the TTL capability for both Nikon and Canon into the Pocket Wizard 3 then I would have to rate them as icebox cool.

 

cheers all

 

Written by Bruce Lindsay

18
Nov
15

KOTW- Profoto 4ft Octa

Profoto 4ft Octa

Profoto have added a new Octa softbox to their range. This one sits perfectly between their three-foot and five-foot versions being, wait for it, ………… four-foot.

Profoto 4ft Octa

We love a good Octa softbox don’t we? They are great for fashion and portrait work and put a lovely circular catch light into the eye of your model. Size as ever is crucial with larger lights producing softer effects and visa versa so what Profoto has done here is actually quite clever. By filling the gap in their range they have allowed photographers to fine tune the Octa box size to the subject perfectly.

I do wonder if too much of a choice may be a bad thing but only time and confused photographers will answer that.

4ftocta

Profoto describe this as being neither too big nor too small it’s just perfect. I don’t disagree with this but actually think its niche will be for the traveling photographer, offering a reasonably sized Octa soft box that will fit into a suitcase.

Failing that it should be fantastic for shooting Santa’s Elves over the festive season, Hobbits in NZ or Leprechaun’s in Ireland and so on and so on.

Seriously, I can imagine that this would be a perfect companion to the wonderful little B2 250 portable flash system from Profoto, for location work away from a studio.

BCR hovering about the 7 / 10 mark. It’s an Octa and they are great even if we have seen them before and this one gets extra for being cute.

23
Oct
15

KOTW-Profoto Medium Striplight

Profoto Medium Striplight

Firstly lets put an end to any confusion as this sounds remarkably similar to the Profoto Medium Strip Softbox but apart from the name and the fact that they are both a long thin oblong (bring back the word oblong as it’s more fun to say than rectangle) they are totally different things.

The Strip softbox is, as its name gives away is a SOFTBOX and attaches to a Profoto head to diffuse the light and chance its pattern of spread. It produces a soft edged long and narrow field of light ideal for rim lighting or separating a model from a background and so on. Also it is often used when space is tight as it can be squeezed into a small area. This is a very popular light shaper for fashion shoots.

Strip Softbox and Striplights

prostripsb striplight

The Striplight is not a light shaper it is a light in it’s own right. The medium unit contains two flash tubes and requires a pack to fire it. It is a hard box with a hard translucent plastic front and in use gives a long narrow light spread with a subtle fall off (harder than the softbox). Again they are popular with fashion photographers looking for a highly controllable rim light but they really come into their own when used on reflective subjects such as cars as they can produce razor-sharp reflections to help emphasize the cars contours. Also the shape of the light spread produced lends itself perfectly to emphasize texture in a subject (so it’s great for selling woolly jumpers on eBay too.)

To fully understand the difference we need to think like a car photographer for a bit. Car photography is all about form and shape of the subject and the best way to show this is with the precise use of reflections and highlights, now a softbox will work but it’s not precise enough, many car pictures are made up of several individual shots with each bringing a reflection or highlight into the image. These individual shots are then combined to produce the final composite picture. Now a Striplight can give you beautiful even and razor-sharp reflections that are much easier to combine in post but a softbox (no matter how new and clean) will always have a tendency to “fall off” towards the corners and ends, also a softbox will bend and flex slightly as its angle is changed thus changing its lighting characteristics (all be it slightly) and this can cause many a headache in post.

nigelHnigelh2Demented, the custom Kawasaki

In these images by Nigel Harniman we can see the reflections created by a striplight built up using about 15 separate images. @nigelharniman

Ok so I think we know the difference now so let’s have a quick look at some tech stuff:

We stock the Medium Striplight that measures 130 by 10cm, however it is available in two other sizes (would you believe large and small?).

It contains two uncoated flash tubes and two 200 watt modeling lights. With a built-in cooling fan it is able to be used fast without over heating and has a flash capacity of 2 x 4800 Ws. Yes 2 x 4800Ws that’s why it has two leads hanging out the back so you can connect it to two packs if you need that much oomph!

The two tubes also allow for light power to be varied along its length to create a graduated light.

08-100765

The Striplight has a couple of options such as Barn doors (that we carry) to help create razor-sharp edges to highlights and a clear cover (that we don’t carry) to give a faster fall off and more light transmission (i.e. brighter).

100736_Profoto_StripLight_M_Barndoor_A

And one last thing to note is that Striplights can be “stacked or used end to end to give thicker or longer reflections.

Cheers folks BB

14
Apr
15

KOTW is Profoto Multispot

Featured image

and this weeks funky bit of kit is going to be the Profoto Multispot.

This little beauty is claimed to be the “the smallest professional flash spot available” .

It certainly is tiny but beautifully formed, measuring only 14 x 14 x 22 cm its not much bigger than a normal PF head when in its simplest form.  It has a built in flash (1200 J max) and a 300 w modelling light (worth noting that the modelling light is situated behind the flash tube an as such may create a bit of a blur in the projected light, this will not be seen in the photograph as the modelling light will go out at the moment the flash tube fires) The whole internal assembly can be moved to focus the light by using the knob on the back. don’t wind it too far the wrong way or the knob may fall off (no comment)

One big advantage of this over the Broncolor systems nearest equivalent  is that this little beauty has a built in cooling fan to allow for continuos use in the studio without it overheating.

It comes with a 80mm / 3 inch frosted fresnel lens as standard but this can be swapped out for a clear version to give a faster fall off and add more character to the end image.

4 wing barn doors to control the spread of light (or keep the horses in the stable)

a dedo light attachment with a focusable 85mm lens, this also allows for the use of gobos, slide holders and an iris diaphragm (all of these come in the kit)

thats about it as far as what comes in the box.

This may be blindingly obvious to you but it does require some power so you will need to use it out with a pack of some kind. be aware that it has a max power of 1200 j so be sure not to plug it into a 2400 j pack on full power eh !

So other than looking cute why would you want to use one.

Well its a very portable Fresnel spot for location work if you like your assistant enough, but mainly its designed for Beauty and still life applications and especially useful for food photography ( it could melt a cream egg from several feet away if you have any left over from Easter)

100746-15076-MultiSpot_DedoadaptorWeb_a35e843589e643bac440686d63aa9659




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