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Author Topic: Profoto Packs  (Read 12222 times)
CBarrett
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« on: April 19, 2010, 05:08:01 PM »
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I'm thinking to augment my D1 kit with a 2400ws Pack/ 2 head kit.  I've rented Acute kits often enough and have always been happy with them.  I assumed that would be the direction I'd go, but now I'm also looking at the D4 pack.  I'm guessing it might be a little more robust and travel better.  I also really like that every bank has it's own digital variator.  Of course the D4 is twice as heavy as the Acute.  The price diff (though substantial) isn't a big deal.  I'm willing to put the money into a pack that will last me several years.  Who's used both of these and has opinions?

Gracias,

CB
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gwhitf
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2010, 05:16:35 PM »
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i have a whole bunch of the Acutes, 12's and 24's. I love them; they travel well. Rugged. I do find though, that I can't power-trim each individual channel kind of a drag. You get into compromises. Especially for what you do, I might go with something with more control. I think the Acutes are great for people and editorial, when you're just blasting away into a silk or a wall. Not that precise needed. I think the Acutes are best with just one head into each pack; that way, you just go A+B, and dial them up and down with the power-trim.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 05:18:45 PM by gwhitf » Logged
Jack Flesher
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2010, 05:18:47 PM »
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Chris, do yourself a favor and get the D4 pack -- seriously it's the best studio packs I've ever used. You can also control it from your laptop.   The individual channel adjustments are very accurate and make fine-tuning a breeze; a direct adjustment for each head instead of throwing permutations of switches and dials to get to the final balance you want -- and no more moving stands in and out a few inches here and there.

As an aside though, you mentioned traveling with it -- how much power for how many heads do you usually need on any given set?  I only ask because it was travel that had me swap out my entire lighting set --  I now shoot with Elinchrom Ranger and Quadra packs.  The Ranger is only 1100WS but for most of my applications that is plenty, and a few of those and one or two smaller Quadra packss make for a really versatile set and no AC required.  If you're shooting fashion, or zillions of product shots, then these aren't the right choice. But if you're shooting is limited to a few hundred frames and three of four heads per shoot, these are probably worth looking into as an option...

Cheers,
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TMARK
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 05:58:24 PM »
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I liked the D4 but it was a little big and a little heavy for travel, and the flash duration isn't better than the Acutes.  I know the flash duration isn't a big deal for your work, but it used to be a big deal for me.  

I have many many Pro 7's, a D4 2400, and three Acute 1200s, and an Acute 2400.  I use the Acutes for travel.  They are rugged and don't draw much power, which is a serious consideration when shooting in old buildings.  I fit the Acutes in a 1600 Peli case, and the heads in a 1500 case.  

I use one head per pack, sometimes two.  When using two heads, I can use one for fill and one for key, and vary them somewhat independently with the controls.  Additional adjustments come courtesy of the inverse square law, i.e. by moving the lights.  I'me very satisfied with them.  In a studio, the Pro7s or the D4 are fantastic.
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jimgolden
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 06:04:14 PM »
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horses for courses. hands down the D4 is the best pack I've ever used (after norman digital, speedo, lots of broncolor, etc). worth every penny. But I don't lug it around much (85% of my work is in my studio). I do use it on location, but not a lot. it's like crack, once you try you wont want to go back to acutes. I have acutes as well, great for travel and 2 light enviro portrait, etc, but nothing compared to D4. rent...you'll see!
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jimgolden
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2010, 06:06:06 PM »
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CB - 1 D4, heads and some head extensions might be all you need?
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CBarrett
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2010, 06:30:53 PM »
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Quote from: jimgolden
CB - 1 D4, heads and some head extensions might be all you need?

I was thinking of using it mainly when I put up a silk and utilizing my D1's for isolated areas.  The D1's have got me totally addicted to the digital variator... I love being able to knock down (even something as broad as a ceiling bounce) by 3/10 of a stop.  I am actually renting a kit for thursday's shoot, so anxious to see how they work.

The one thing I have to wonder, though.... how long until they Integrate the Air wireless system into these?  I love it with my D1's.

Thanks for all the feedback!
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william
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 08:56:48 AM »
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I currently have the D1 monlights.  prior to that I had a D4 pack+heads.  As everyone has said, the D4 is great.  Rugged, precise, and I found the controls more intuitive and better designed than those on the Acutes.  I got the D1s because I wanted more flexibility in terms of positioning the lights.  Instead of having to pay well over $200 for each head extension cable, http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1348...ion_Cable_.html,  I can just use extension cords.  More importantly, I didn't really need the amount of power my D4 2400 pack put out; most often, I was shooting with the heads at or near their minimums (I shoot portrait and fashion).  Buy I really loved the D4 despite all that.

My only reservation might be the lack of integration between the D4 (pocketwizard triggering or laptop control thru USB cable) and the D1s (Air triggering or laptop control thru the Air software, wired or wireless).  While you could control and trigger the D1s thru Air and fire the D4 in slave mode (or vice versa), you can't control them both through the same system.  And I don't think it's possible for Profoto to update the D4 to incorporate Air.  So either they'll replace the D4 with a "D5 Air" or they'll just leave it as-is and expect people who want to use multiple Air products to buy the Pro-8a Air, which only has two head sockets instead of four like the D4 and is also an order of magnitude more expensive than the D4: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5848...Power_Pack.html

I should also note that my D4's built-in pocketwizard would very sporadically get "out of sync" with the pocketwizard on the camera.  Everything would be chugging along just fine, then suddenly triggering would no longer work.  Turning the pack off and back on always reset to connection between the pocketwizard and the D4.

Also, since you're renting a D4 for the first time, I assume you know that the D4 comes in two versions, one with built-in pocketwizard and one without?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 09:00:18 AM by william » Logged
BJNY
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2010, 09:10:15 AM »
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Quote from: CBarrett
I was thinking of using it mainly when I put up a silk and utilizing my D1's for isolated areas.  The D1's have got me totally addicted to the digital variator... I love being able to knock down (even something as broad as a ceiling bounce) by 3/10 of a stop.  I am actually renting a kit for thursday's shoot, so anxious to see how they work.

The one thing I have to wonder, though.... how long until they Integrate the Air wireless system into these?  I love it with my D1's.

I'm more interested in how long before the Acutes go digital, and get the wireless AIR system as well.
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Guillermo
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2010, 11:19:55 AM »
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I have the D4 1200 and am really happy with it, however I often am at the limits.  I got the 1200 because the flash duration is faster than the 2400 and 4800 versions and had a lower setting, but when I moved to MF it was not enough light and I rarely use the min settings anymore.  I'm going to trade it for a higher power setting or buy another one.  Otherwise no complaints - it's perfect and I can fit the PAC, 2 heads with reflectors and extension cables into a travel case. I think it's lightware? but anyhow the D4 is a perfect tool.
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chris Davis
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2010, 12:42:11 PM »
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Acutes are the way to go for travel...  I can fit 2 packs and 3 heads in each airline checkable lightware case.  Because of their weight, when I used to shoot with pro 7's it was always 1 pack and 2 heads in each case.  On the down side, the acutes are not nearly as precise as the pro series, and the output can vary from shot to shot if shooting fast(and if an AD is on set, you don't look as cool as the last photographer they worked with who uses Pro-8's or Scoro's).  But on the plus side, since I've started using acutes, I haven't blown a fuse, and have no need for head extension cables(like you would need with D4) - I use one head per pack, and have a few extra heads in case I need to dump power even more.  I'm sure the D4 is great for the studio, but I couldn't imagine threading all those extension cables around the set...  there's already enough to worry about with all the stingers, power cords, and firewire cords!  With the acutes, the pack is put on a j hook on the stand of the head it controls, so there is never any need to follow cords to try to figure out what channel is what.  I don't understand the need to control packs from the computer - is it really that hard to tell an assistant to go adjust the pack?
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TMARK
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2010, 02:10:52 PM »
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Quote from: chris Davis
Acutes are the way to go for travel...  I can fit 2 packs and 3 heads in each airline checkable lightware case.  Because of their weight, when I used to shoot with pro 7's it was always 1 pack and 2 heads in each case.  On the down side, the acutes are not nearly as precise as the pro series, and the output can vary from shot to shot if shooting fast(and if an AD is on set, you don't look as cool as the last photographer they worked with who uses Pro-8's or Scoro's).  But on the plus side, since I've started using acutes, I haven't blown a fuse, and have no need for head extension cables(like you would need with D4) - I use one head per pack, and have a few extra heads in case I need to dump power even more.  I'm sure the D4 is great for the studio, but I couldn't imagine threading all those extension cables around the set...  there's already enough to worry about with all the stingers, power cords, and firewire cords!  With the acutes, the pack is put on a j hook on the stand of the head it controls, so there is never any need to follow cords to try to figure out what channel is what.  I don't understand the need to control packs from the computer - is it really that hard to tell an assistant to go adjust the pack?

On location the Acute 1200 will work where a Pro7 will start a fire.  Seriously.  They are rugged and cheap.

I do think CB will best be served by a D4, as his Airs can be in the way off distance w/o  aneed for head extensions.

The computer crontrol thing, for still life I can understand, but I never found it useful or saw a need, but thats maybe just me.  I haven't used my D4 in a long, long time, except to charge the capaciters once a month or so.  

Are you D4 guys using the computer control?  If so, how?
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geesbert
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2010, 04:24:25 PM »
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I am using a d4 1200 on a daily basis for 4 years now and it works great, I am not flying with it, but moving it around quite a bit and it has never let me down yet. especially in combination with the d1 it is great, only the sync thing is annyoing, Air and PW don't mix.

what i am doing is PW on camera, one PW connected to the air transmitter, so the d4 is triggered by PW directly and the d1s by Air. I have a cold shoe attached to one of the D4's handles, so the Air transmitter is in close reach to the adjustments knobs. works well, but of course you loose the adjustment feature of Air, which I don't care for anyway, as I am rather sending my assistant around the set.

I am using Tenba Car cases for the D4 and 4 heads, quite good, but only if you keep your gear close to you, I would never have anyone handle them who I am not paying.

there s actually only one feature which I am missing with the D4, that's the independantly adjustable modeling light, which is great on the D1
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chris Davis
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2010, 06:49:12 PM »
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Quote from: geesbert
I am using a d4 1200 on a daily basis for 4 years now and it works great, I am not flying with it, but moving it around quite a bit and it has never let me down yet. especially in combination with the d1 it is great, only the sync thing is annyoing, Air and PW don't mix.

what i am doing is PW on camera, one PW connected to the air transmitter, so the d4 is triggered by PW directly and the d1s by Air. I have a cold shoe attached to one of the D4's handles, so the Air transmitter is in close reach to the adjustments knobs. works well, but of course you loose the adjustment feature of Air, which I don't care for anyway, as I am rather sending my assistant around the set.

I am using Tenba Car cases for the D4 and 4 heads, quite good, but only if you keep your gear close to you, I would never have anyone handle them who I am not paying.

there s actually only one feature which I am missing with the D4, that's the independantly adjustable modeling light, which is great on the D1

So, you use air and pocketwizard together instead of the built in slave on one?  It seems like it would be cool, but overly complicated to have strobes adjustable on a computer!  Does it work well?  I've never thought about the D4, mostly because I like one head per pack, but it seems interesting...

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geesbert
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2010, 03:38:34 AM »
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here is a picture of my setup. I could buy just another Air receiver for my D4, but as I already own 5 Pocketwizards and my compacts and 7bs need to be triggered as well, this was the easiest solution. of course optical trigger works as well, but then, why should I?


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CBarrett
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2010, 08:07:57 AM »
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Quote from: geesbert
here is a picture of my setup. I could buy just another Air receiver for my D4, but as I already own 5 Pocketwizards and my compacts and 7bs need to be triggered as well, this was the easiest solution. of course optical trigger works as well, but then, why should I?

I figured, I would just get another Air Remote to wire up to the pack... not having invested in any PW's yet.  Picking up the rental today.  Fun!
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gwhitf
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2010, 08:31:28 AM »
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Quote from: geesbert
here is a picture of my setup.

I see that picture, and it drives me insane. The whole PocketWizard mess is the worst, by far, factor in these packs. Here you've got these awesome ProFoto packs, so rugged and well designed and bulletproof, then, on set, you walk over to a CStand, and in real life, you've got some PocketWizard dangling off the side of the pack. Even when I pay extra for the "R" packs, much of the time, the built in PW does not work as well, so the assistants add these physical models as backups. I even made them take Velcro and try to make it where the sissy little PW cables tie up neatly, and not dangle on the ground.

There's just GOT to be a better way. Don't you know that Profoto just grimmaces when they see a picture like that -- their pack so simple and elegant, and this dumbass PocketWizard cheesey plastic box dangling out of the side of their pack, like some dialysis machine. So lame.

If anyone has invented a more elegant solution, I'd sure love to know. And while you're at it, design a 110v power cord design on the Acutes, where the power cable can't be yanked out. Make the power cable fit into the pack just like the head sockets do. Bad design. Make it lock.

Gotta go. Gotta go comb my hair. Again.
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TMARK
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2010, 09:01:35 AM »
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I have velcro on all my packs and PW receivers.  I attach the PW to the pack with the velcro.  It doesn't hang loose, its not tied to anything like an Indian Dream Catcher, as in the above pic.  

For the power cable, I hang the packs on J hooks and gaf tape the cable to the stand's base.  Yeah, after a while my cables have that crusty gaf tape residue that can only be removed with gasoline, but at least the cord stays put.

T

Quote from: gwhitf
I see that picture, and it drives me insane. The whole PocketWizard mess is the worst, by far, factor in these packs. Here you've got these awesome ProFoto packs, so rugged and well designed and bulletproof, then, on set, you walk over to a CStand, and in real life, you've got some PocketWizard dangling off the side of the pack. Even when I pay extra for the "R" packs, much of the time, the built in PW does not work as well, so the assistants add these physical models as backups. I even made them take Velcro and try to make it where the sissy little PW cables tie up neatly, and not dangle on the ground.

There's just GOT to be a better way. Don't you know that Profoto just grimmaces when they see a picture like that -- their pack so simple and elegant, and this dumbass PocketWizard cheesey plastic box dangling out of the side of their pack, like some dialysis machine. So lame.

If anyone has invented a more elegant solution, I'd sure love to know. And while you're at it, design a 110v power cord design on the Acutes, where the power cable can't be yanked out. Make the power cable fit into the pack just like the head sockets do. Bad design. Make it lock.

Gotta go. Gotta go comb my hair. Again.
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gwhitf
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2010, 09:12:46 AM »
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Quote from: TMARK
I have velcro on all my packs and PW receivers.

That's what I meant to say. We put Velcro on the backs of the Cheesey Awful Pocket Wizards, and then "stick" them to the side of the Acute or 7B packs. And then, that little tiny cable is rolled up into a nice tight circle, and then a ZipTie is put around that, to keep it from dangling.

I like those J Hooks, but how about something that slid out of the profoto pack, to grip a Cstand? My assistants tie ropes into little circles, and then wrap those ropes around the handles of the Acute packs, and then hang those off the bottom knob of the CStands. That is, until I find them, and throw them away. I gotta switch to decaf, seriously.
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CBarrett
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2010, 09:59:13 AM »
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I've found that works best for me is to hang the Receiver on the tripod and then run a long cord from that to the pack.


-CB
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