Home · Register · Software · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Pro Digital Corner | Join Upload & Sell

  

Archive 2016 · Your thoughts on Profoto?
  
 
chuck77
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


I have been shooting with a PCB Einstein for some time, but its mobility and versatility on location has been quite limited due to the weight, bulk, and difficulty of setup outside the studio.

Recently picked up a set of Profoto B2 lights to help solve those issues, but of course, I still need accessories, softboxes, etc., and everything is more expensive than what I'd like them to be.

Looking for recommendations for good modifiers and accessories to have, and good places to buy Profoto stuff, since they don't always show up on the classifieds here!

Shooting mainly fashion and portraiture.




Dec 06, 2016 at 05:07 AM
tcphoto
Online
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


I remember only a few pros using PCB products when I was assisting. I do remember hearing that their Customer Service is outstanding. The pros I worked with used Profoto, Dynalite and Speedotron to name a few. So, when I started buying lighting gear I bought a Speedotron 1205 kit but was drawn to Profoto Acutes with their Beauty Dish and Elinchrom's Octabank. Twenty years later, I still own Profoto Acutes, a Compact monolight which may never die and a Profoto soft box, a newer version of the Elinchrom Octa and perhaps I'll buy a Mola Demi.

There are always deals on used Profoto gear whether here or on eBay. Why buy new when you can save on clean used gear? I rarely need them but Flash Clinic in NYC is quick and reasonable on repairs. Last year, I put together an Acute2 1200 kit with 3 heads, grid holder and Lightware case for under $2500. Patience is the key, know what it's worth and don't overpay. A clean Pro7B or B2 kit has been on my mind.



Dec 06, 2016 at 04:19 PM
chuck77
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


tcphoto wrote:
I remember only a few pros using PCB products when I was assisting. I do remember hearing that their Customer Service is outstanding. The pros I worked with used Profoto, Dynalite and Speedotron to name a few. So, when I started buying lighting gear I bought a Speedotron 1205 kit but was drawn to Profoto Acutes with their Beauty Dish and Elinchrom's Octabank. Twenty years later, I still own Profoto Acutes, a Compact monolight which may never die and a Profoto soft box, a newer version of the Elinchrom Octa and perhaps I'll buy a Mola Demi.

There are always deals
...Show more

The PCB Einstein works well as advertised with great specs, but ultimately the choice of modifiers and ease of use was not great. The strobe itself also feels flimsy to me with the glass dome wanting to come undone easily. It just never gave me much peace of mind when I transported it. But you are right, PCB's customer service is excellent on the few occasions that I had to use them.

I hope to put the B2 kit through its paces soon. It is still too expensive in my opinnion, but the choice of modifiers and light weight tells me it will open up alot more lighting opportunities, and my theoretical "run and gun" usage mode will be tested.



Dec 07, 2016 at 03:21 AM
c.d.embrey
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


chuck77 wrote:
... but ultimately the choice of modifiers ...


Huh?? Almost every modifier made can be used with the Einstein and other PCB strobes. All Mola Softlights (aka beautydish), the popular Elinchrom Rotalux Softboxes. Profoto's RFI Softboxes, Chimera, Westcott, etc. Parabolix has a universal adapter (that would work with all PC strobes) for their Broncolor Para like focusing umbrellas.

I hope to put the B2 kit through its paces soon.

Because of Profoto's switch to recessed tube strobes, I'm selling all my Profoto gear. There may be an Einstein in my future



Dec 07, 2016 at 04:48 AM
chuck77
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


c.d.embrey wrote:
Huh?? Almost every modifier made can be used with the Einstein and other PCB strobes. All Mola Softlights (aka beautydish), the popular Elinchrom Rotalux Softboxes. Profoto's RFI Softboxes, Chimera, Westcott, etc. Parabolix has a universal adapter (that would work with all PC strobes) for their Broncolor Para like focusing umbrellas.

Because of Profoto's switch to recessed tube strobes, I'm selling all my Profoto gear. There may be an Einstein in my future


I understand, but in reality the PCB system is not the most user friendly. The build quality is not even average and I am always afraid of breaking something as a result.




Dec 07, 2016 at 05:07 AM
c.d.embrey
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


chuck77 wrote:
I understand, but in reality the PCB system is not the most user friendly. The build quality is not even average and I am always afraid of breaking something as a result.


PCB's biggest problem is their use of the Balcar mount. Balcar was one of the first to make studio strobes (late 1950s), and there were no big & heavy modifiers back then.

PCB's lights are made of engineering plastics, thicker pieces of engineering plastic are bullet-proof. They should withstand almost anything a photographer could do to them. Things like tipping-over a 13" stand excepted.




Dec 07, 2016 at 05:26 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 

        


tcphoto
Online
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Your thoughts on Profoto?



Because of Profoto's switch to recessed tube strobes, I'm selling all my Profoto gear. There may be an Einstein in my future


Profoto makes a glass dome add on that I would recommend.


Dec 07, 2016 at 03:33 PM
tdlavigne
Online
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


Only ever used Acutes mostly, 1200, 2400, and a B600r. Seemed built well enough, but at that price point I don't think they do anything particularly special compared to the more affordable speedotron or elinchrom options. Modifiers are very very expensive (another reason I went speedo) but if you just want dishes (the mola demi IMO was a nicer modifier than the profoto BD) or softboxes you have plenty of other options you can use...you just have to get a bunch of expensive speedrings to adapt them.

The only real reason to go Profoto (not knocking you, if I had 50k lying around I'd have a complete profoto kit) would be the specialized modifiers that are either hard to find or not made for the other brands. Ex. would be the Zoomspot (although elinchrom and speedo have some old used ones that pop up from time to time), the fresnels (same), hardbox (can be modded to speedo though), sticklights, etc.

I spent about 6 months planning for when I would finally buy my own studio lighting after not having any for 4 years (used PCB stuff a loooong time ago, then shared a studio with Acute and Speedo Blackline users), and while I was close to considering a pair of Acute 1200's and a couple heads (despite lusting after a D4 2400) ultimately I realized 2 things, A: it's waaaaay more than I'm comfortable spending for the little things (ie. $475 flash tubes), considering the simplicity of a lot of my lighting setups and the minimalist requirements I had, and most importantly B: the stuff just works, and it works forever. No one sells it because it works so well, and on the rare times they do...they ask for almost full retail for used stuff...because again: it's just going to take what you throw at it and keep on kicking.

An example that from what I saw applied to almost every modifier I looked at from reflectors, to fresnels; remember that zoomspot I mentioned? Always wanted one...saw profoto's was $10k, and over the course of the 6 months and eyeing every resource for used gear the cheapest I ever saw one was for $8k. Elinchrom and speedo versions go for $1k all day long, and fairly often.

Long story short, it's a good system, and if you have the income to support it I'm sure it'll work fine for you. But like a super car, you have to just accept that everything is going to be much more expensive for that system.



Dec 08, 2016 at 08:35 AM
kdphotography
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


Profoto is a much more expensive initial investment, but overall worthwhile in my opinion.

For modifiers, you're not limited to Profoto. My favorite on location portrait modifier is the SMDV Alpha Speedbox. Also not inexpensive, but the fastest setup for a high quality modifier. My review: https://kendoophotography.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/the-smdv-alpha-speedbox-lighting-on-the-go/

I'm not a fan of the Profoto OCF modifiers. Too small and fiddly for me. The Profoto Magnum works great on the B2, btw. For an inexpensive general light reflector, you can easily modify Buff's Omni reflector. I haven't gotten around to showing photos on that modification. Ebay is also a good source sometimes for Profoto modifiers.

There is a good fb group (open to B2 and B1 owners) that is worthwhile.

Ken



Dec 08, 2016 at 03:45 PM
rico
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


I drank the Profoto Cool-Aid ten years ago. Fascinating libation: half cane sugar, half strychnine. Not sure how it makes financial sense to build such a system unless you operate a commercial stage and operate at volume. As an advanced amateur, I don't need to justify the cost, plus I can afford to wait years for bottom-feeding opportunities. As mentioned by Tyrone, eBay is a reliable source for used items, and dealers will also dump new product at times. Calumet used to have fantastic clearances every year...sigh. Lately, Roberts in Indiana has been working through some great used inventory: StripLight L, barndoors and hard case for $2K, anyone? Even B&H has been known to deal, like right now 17% off a new Pro-8A 2400 to make it just $11K. Cough. My latest deal from eBay after a long, long hunt:



You sure don't want to pay full retail for these babies.



Dec 09, 2016 at 07:21 AM
markd61
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


Profoto and other high end strobes like Bron are true quality items.

However, their popularity is somewhat a matter of loyalty by pros who bought them and used them to great advantage for many years. The true test of a good business investment.

The appeal to enthusiasts and amateurs is the fact that many long time pros use them and endorse them robustly.

They are good products. But that does not mean that the affordable alternatives are poor choices.
I have used a variety of strobes over the years and have yet to use any brand that let me down.
They each have their strengths and weaknesses.

For me, I shoot in studio and on location in purely manual mode with up to 14 flashes at any one time. Many shoots require no more than 4 and some need only one.

14 strobes from Profoto would be a huge and unnecessary expense. Many lights are useful to have as backup and on occasion when its all on hands deck.

I want a reliable radio trigger.
I want relatively fast recycling.
I want battery power.
I want relatively compact form.
I want user replaceable tubes.
I want good repair service.

Most strobes today are fairly reliable as to repeatability and color. I have more issues with the vagaries of the existing light at locations.
Duration is not an issue with me. Some of my flashes are very fast, some not so much.

In the end, for me, it is a business decision. Many pros rent, I buy.
I gauge the return on investment by the cost of the system (that does what I need) vs. the income I generate.

I do a decent living but the initial outlay for a Bron or Profoto system is weighed against the lifetime return I can expect. If I am expecting a 20 year life out of the system, the investment may be fine. However, I am of the belief that the rate of change in the market is such that I cannot justify that expense.

So far, the cost of operation for all my strobes has been greatest with the Buff units. The cost of acquisition offsets the repairs I have had through their cheerful and helpful service department but the time without equipment would be bothersome had I not had spares. However, the White Lightnng units are the only ones that have ever survived a 14' fall and kept working.

I do think Profoto will last a lifetime but I am directly acquainted with many brands (and with feedback from colleagues) that have performed as well.

I also recognize the appeal of a premium brand on the psyche. I love Hasselblad, Leica, Bron, Foba and all the other delightful photo tools out there. But after a few days of use they are just another tool that makes you happy or enrages you.



Dec 18, 2016 at 07:16 PM
rico
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Your thoughts on Profoto?


Not that OP is interested but, for those who are not high mobility, here's a golden example of eBay bottom feeding:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Profoto-Strip-Light-Small-with-Barn-Doors-/291973005066

This is the real deal in matters of condition, seller authenticity, and particulary price. I'm staring at this auction really hard—and I already have a StripLight S! I consider this kind of fixture to be essential for shiny-object tabletop (think wine bottle). And, no, a strip light is not a strip box.



Dec 18, 2016 at 11:39 PM







FM Forums | Pro Digital Corner | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username     Reset password