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| p.1 #2 · Can strobes match Profoto with similar modifiers? |
FYI: although none of them are actually strobes in the sense of being stroboscopic, most people use the term "strobe" to refer to monolights and pack-and-head systems like Profoto, Elinchrom, Alien Bees, etc., and use "flash" or "speedlight" (which is actually a Nikon trade name) for the units designed to work on camera.
That said, I haven't compared my Canon Speedlites directly to Profoto strobes, but based on past experience with other brands of strobes the main difference is the obvious one of power.
The quality of light itself can vary quite a bit depending on which modifier is being used. I find the Westcott Apollo soft box, for example, to work better with Speedlites than other soft boxes I have tried due to the former's retro-firing design, which gives good, even coverage of the whole box.
Among beauty dishes, the RPS Studio BeautiDish that I have works very well, and at my typical flash-to-subject distances of 1- to 3-times the dish diameter (20 to 60 inches), depending on the look I'm after, a Canon 430EX or 580EX has plenty of power for indoor portraiture. I haven't tried the Kacey dish, but I see no reason why it wouldn't perform similarly, other than having a flat reflector versus the BeautiDish's curved one.
The advantage most strobes have over speedlights is the bare-bulb design, which allows for modifier-filling spread of the light compared to the focused beam from most speedlights. Proper reflector design in the above-mentioned modifiers, though, offsets that advantage to some degree.
Here's some of the Speedlite gear I have: