A few years ago, I upgraded my entire studio from my tried and true Photoflex strobes to the Profoto D2 line. I liked nearly everything about the Photoflex Starflash system, the recycle time, durability, color consistency and bowens mount. I used Pocketwizard triggers to fire the strobes and was very happy with the performance of the Pocketwizard triggers. I honed my lighting skills with Photoflex gear and I knew every in and out of my strobes. The only feature this setup was lacking was the option to control the power of my strobes from the camera. With manual strobes, when I was working alone, I had to leave the location behind the camera and adjust power on each strobe manually. This was especially perilous for me because I am visually impaired and have zero night vision. Having to navigate the myriad of cables and lightstand legs was always terrifying for me when I did not have my assistant with me. With the justification of safety in mind, I set out to find a new strobe setup.
I have the power
With a ton of research under my belt (and attending a Kelby live photo event) I decided to purchase an Elinchrom dual 500-watt strobe set. They featured the ability to control each flash from the air trigger and were significantly cheaper than the Profoto strobes I was really lusting after. When the Elinchrom kit arrived, the strobe units were made of thin plastic and felt very flimsy, but I gave them a shot. Color consistency was good, and recycle time was on par with the Photoflex strobes I was used to, and of course I could control the power from the trigger on the camera. All went south when the release for the bowens mount broke on one of the strobes the second time I used it. Right then and there I decided to return the Elinchrom units and bite the bullet for a complete Profoto kit.
The toughest choice was to go with the 500-watt D2 units, or the 500-watt B1 units. The B1 strobes had the added benefit of being wireless, and less wires to trip on when shooting was appealing. I decided on the dual D2 kit. I then looked at the massive variety of Profoto light modifiers available and noticed that there were two models, the RFi and the OCF lines of modifiers. I could not find any information, even on the Profoto website about the differences, other than the OCF were made specifically for the B1 and B1X strobes (and now B10) I even sent Profoto a message about whether I could use a OCF softbox (which are significantly cheaper than the RFi) on the D2 strobes. The response I got was – we don’t recommend using OCF on wired strobes. So, I left it at that, but the answer kept gnawing at me.
I was recently at an event and got the opportunity to talk to a Profoto rep who finally gave me the answer I needed. The OCF modifiers will fit the wired Profoto strobes, but they don’t recommend using them because the wired strobes all use halogen modeling lamps and will quickly melt the lighter-weight OCF modifiers. The modifiers can be used, but you can’t use the modeling lamp. Makes sense, and I’m happy I finally have a solid reasonable answer. I searched for what felt like forever on the internet to find this answer and it makes me very happy to be able to share this with you. Hopefully this information will help avoid confusion for future Profoto upgraders.
I have since been able to compare the modifiers intended for use on the wired strobes, and they are significantly heavier and it is easy to see that these tougher modifiers are capable of withstanding the intense heat of a halogen modeling lamp.
I have used my Profoto gear for years now and wished I had just bit the bullet and bought the kit I wanted from the beginning. I have since added a B10 location kit and could not be happier. You can see some sample images on my other blog posts using the B10 and expect a full review soon.
Hey! I love to hear from my readers! Feel free to contact me via my social media sites I would love to hear your thoughts on this or any of my other articles! Until then, get out and get shooting!
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