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Question for Broncolor Para owners
  
 
cambyses
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


I recently got lucky to find a good deal on a Para 220 FB. I expect to receive it in a few days. But I have a couple of questions for the current owners. I plan to use it with Profoto monolights, including the older Compact-R's as well as B1/B2's. I do understand that, due to recessed tube, B1/B2 will likely not fill out the whole para even in the full flood or zoomed out position. But that may be OK, plus I can potentially use a pin to further extend the rod, or even put the light on a separate stand and try to position it properly.

In any case, the following picture shows the mount in the one I will receive, and here are a couple of questions I have:

1) How easy is it to take out that rotating element at the end of the focusing rod so I can have an exposed 5/8" stud at the end of the rod which can then be used, say, with the Profoto adapter (shown in the second picture below), or with an extension pin with a 5/8" female socket?

2) If, instead of using the adapter, I screw a 5/8" stud with a 3/8" screw (e.g., insert a 3/8 screw in one of the holes on that plate behind that rotating element, and screw a Manfrotto 186 stud), can the stand mounts in the Profoto monolights handle the weight of the light (particularly for B1, and the compactR-1200), given that the stand mount would be fighting off-center gravity pulling down the monolight?

3) Obviously, in Scenario 2 above, the light will be slightly off-center to the Para. So one would not exactly get the parallel/straight reflections expected from a true parabolic when the light sits exactly on the focal point. How big of a deal would that be? Basically, I am trying to understand how important it would really be to get the Profoto para adapter?

4) Does it make sense to install two 5/8" studs on the two holes on the opposite sides of that plate behind the rotating element, and then insert two Profoto B2's? I will certainly try that myself when I get the para, but I am curious if anyone has already done that, and what their thoughts/observations might be.

Thanks...














Feb 16, 2017 at 07:55 PM
mikejl29
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


You cannot take off that rotating section at the end of the rod. It controls the travel of the entire system along the rod and has an integrated cable system. Your best bet would be a baby pin on that plate with the four holes (although it usually ships with one baby pin already on there) and then use one of these to get your Profoto head as close to the centre of the rod as possible. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1021142-REG/broncolor_b_33_489_06_non_broncolor_lamp_adapter_for.html

Or, just buy a ring flash for the perfect Para.



Feb 16, 2017 at 08:13 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


mikejl29 wrote:
You cannot take off that rotating section at the end of the rod. It controls the travel of the entire system along the rod and has an integrated cable system. Your best bet would be a baby pin on that plate with the four holes (although it usually ships with one baby pin already on there) and then use one of these to get your Profoto head as close to the centre of the rod as possible. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1021142-REG/broncolor_b_33_489_06_non_broncolor_lamp_adapter_for.html

Or, just buy a ring flash for the perfect Para.


Thanks... I don't have a pack (except the B2 pack), and so a ring flash is unfortunately not an option at this point.

So if that rotating section cannot be removed, how would the Profoto adapter ever be used?!

And how about this shot of the newer Para 222. Are Para 220's perhaps shipped with two different types of focusing rods, one with the rotating element, and one with just a 5/8 pin at the end? Am I missing something? Thx.








Feb 16, 2017 at 08:40 PM
MayaTlab
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


cambyses wrote:
I can potentially use a pin to further extend the rod, or even put the light on a separate stand and try to position it properly.


That won't work as you think it will. By definition most silver materials are more or less directional, i.e. they reflect light at a angle that depends on the angle from where the light source hit them. As a result silver reflectors shouldn't just be entirely lit by a light source, they should be entirely lit from the right position, if you want to re-direct this light towards your subject.

That's one of the reasons deep silver umbrellas (by umbrella I mean the sort of thing you use to protect yourself against rain, not modifiers like Broncolor's paras) are stupid, because the sliding runner prevents from putting the light source in a position where the outer part of the umbrella can re-direct light towards the subject.

You can assess the situation by looking into the modifier from your subject's point of view.

Still, the result may be interesting, so enjoy !



Feb 16, 2017 at 09:14 PM
voidsherpa
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


cambyses wrote:
and then insert two Profoto B2's? I will certainly try that myself when I get the para, but I am curious if anyone has already done that, and what their thoughts/observations might be.



This will be absurdly heavy.

EDIT: never-mind I was thinking of B1's



Feb 16, 2017 at 10:28 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


voidsherpa wrote:
This will be absurdly heavy.

EDIT: never-mind I was thinking of B1's


I was just about to respond when I saw your EDIT. Yes, two B2's would still be lighter than a single B1...



Feb 16, 2017 at 10:30 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


cambyses wrote:
Thanks... I don't have a pack (except the B2 pack), and so a ring flash is unfortunately not an option at this point.

So if that rotating section cannot be removed, how would the Profoto adapter ever be used?!

And how about this shot of the newer Para 222. Are Para 220's perhaps shipped with two different types of focusing rods, one with the rotating element, and one with just a 5/8 pin at the end? Am I missing something? Thx.


In fact, looks like when you get a focusing rod for Para, it comes with the 5/8" pin at the end:
http://a.co/iYGK8um

So I still don't understand how that rotating mechanism gets in there, particularly when you say it cannot be removed.

EDIT: OK, I called our local Samy's store and talked to someone familiar with the Paras. I was told that the older para's came with the focusing rod that had the rotating mechanism, whereas the new models come with the focusing rods that just have a 5/8" stud at the end. And the rotating mechanism cannot be removed. So looks like the Para adapter for Profoto would only work with the new para's and NOT with the older model, unless the focusing rod is replaced.



Feb 16, 2017 at 10:33 PM
Conner999
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


The newer Paras have a 5/8" pin. The (recent) last gen larger units were designed (ideally) to be used with a Bron Ring Flash mounting the Para kit that exposes the side of the RF tubes - thus the mounting system which is not removable. It will work with a normal head mounted alongside the rod, but of course it doesn't get it perfectly centered for focusing purposes

This video shows RF, normal head and HMI mounting. Also, if you do an image search on the Para you'll see photogs mounting Profoto and Bron normal heads on a brass stud on the movable mounting plate.

http://broncolorblog.com/2011/11/broncolor-the-light-video-series-para-fb/

We tried a Para 88 (which are selling) with a B2. It can be done, BUT due to the recessed tube you need to get the light further out to fill even the 88cm - we used a 6" long 5/8" extension. It works, but not ideal and will not allow you to get the 'ring of lights' or huge ring flash look you get with an Acute or Pro Head (or Bron Para RF or head) in a fully defocused Para.

A Compact or D1/B1 (we own(ed) all 3) are VERY heavy and we'd never used them in Para unless focused in tight. People have done it, but in our view it puts far too much stress on the focusing system - not to mention making the whole ensemble VERY front heavy.

You may wish to see about picking up an older Bron pack and Para RF or having one of the latter modified to pick an Acute pack (if possible). That or just get an Acute 1200 / 2400 pack and head (we are selling a 1200) - they work perfectly and the prices have collapsed since the advent of the D1/2/B1 and are far cheaper than a B2 kit and a lot more versatile.

The Paras are nice units - have fun.



Feb 17, 2017 at 12:48 PM
mikejl29
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


cambyses wrote:
In fact, looks like when you get a focusing rod for Para, it comes with the 5/8" pin at the end:
http://a.co/iYGK8um

So I still don't understand how that rotating mechanism gets in there, particularly when you say it cannot be removed.

EDIT: OK, I called our local Samy's store and talked to someone familiar with the Paras. I was told that the older para's came with the focusing rod that had the rotating mechanism, whereas the new models come with the focusing rods that just have a 5/8" stud at the end. And the rotating mechanism cannot be removed. So looks like
...Show more

With the older Para 220 (which is what you are getting) the focus rod always stays in the same place, and the light slides along it. With the newer Para 222, the focus rod slides out the back of the modifier... so you might hit your head on it, but it allows Bron to centre the light much better with the Profoto (or Bron) lights within the modifier. The entire tube can be removed and replaced with the more Briese-like FT1600 system.

Here is a video from Bron with the Para 88 (similar to the 222) style focus mechanism -



And here is a photo of the older Para 220 focus mechanism in an ideal ring flash setup. See how it travels along the focus shaft with the guide wire underneath? You turn the big knob at the end to move the guide wires, and with that the position of the light. Hope that makes sense.



Feb 17, 2017 at 01:54 PM
 

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cambyses
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


Thank you so much guys... I think I now understand how it works...

@conner999 - Thanks for your feedback, particularly on the weight issue. I just checked the weights again. Looks like my Compact-R 300 weighs only 4.8 lbs which actually seems lighter than an Acute D4 head (5.1 lbs). In fact, a D1 (5.36 lbs) and even a Compact-R 600 (5.75 lbs) weigh only a bit more than an Acute head. Of course, B1 at 6.61 lbs would be the heaviest.



Feb 17, 2017 at 04:51 PM
rico
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


mikejl29 wrote:
... The entire tube can be removed and replaced with the more Briese-like FT1600 system.

Fascinating post, thanks! That FT1600 is continuous light, but I do like the evident engineering. Price is frightening, of course. Regarding Briese, the best emulation might be a Bron Para plus a Profoto StickLight. The Breise tube has a deflector on the end which can be reproduced easily enough. I'm not a fan of giant umbrellas personally, so these shenanigans and expenditures are unattractive.



Feb 17, 2017 at 06:40 PM
Conner999
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


No worries.

Bear in mind, a good chunk of the weight of an Acute / Pro head is the attached cable which is support along the focus rod. We have a pair of C600s as well as D1s and had B1s and a B2 and the Compacts, while awesome lights, in-hand weigh a ton compared to an Acute or Pro Head.

Think of it - if you took a C600 and removed all the capacitors & electronics, keeping just the tube, dome, 6" of wires and cut off all but say 8" of the tube you have an Acute/Pro head.

Also bear in mind that a C300-1200 (especially the 1200) is much longer than a head and that places weight further out. The longer the light used, the closer the tube will be to the center point of the umbrella when the rod is extended all the way. In other words, you may not be able to get the dome, at least easily, to the outer edge of the Para and defocus the Para as much as you'd like.

Unless attaching using the newer Para 5/8 stud system, you'll want to have the light as close to and as perfectly in-line with the focusing rod as a possible.

Thus, any light's 5/8 socket attachment should ideally be able to be rotated 180 deg away from the tube (think of a straight line from center of a lights 5/8" socket to the center of it's dome). A Compact will get close, an Acute or Pro head will be in-line, but not a D1/B1/D2/B2.

That's why the Bron RF Para is so ideal. It's only a couple of inches long and thus gets the tubes right to the outer edges of the Para, sits perfectly along the center axis and it casts light out 180 deg as well as fwd.

Thus, the closer you can get to what the RF Para can do in a Para, the more effective the unit will be and the more flexibility (a key asset of the Para) you'll have. They are truly great modifiers with 101 personalities you can exploit.

Now, ALL that being said, no harm in trying a mono light, just keep an eye on it as Para repairs are $$$$$$$.

Cheers

Rob




Feb 17, 2017 at 06:57 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


Conner999 wrote:
No worries.

Bear in mind, a good chunk of the weight of an Acute / Pro head is the attached cable which is support along the focus rod. We have a pair of C600s as well as D1s and had B1s and a B2 and the Compacts, while awesome lights, in-hand weigh a ton compared to an Acute or Pro Head.

Think of it - if you took a C600 and removed all the capacitors & electronics, keeping just the tube, dome, 6" of wires and cut off all but say 8" of the tube you have an Acute/Pro head.
...Show more

Thanks Rob... Yes, I don't think I will ever be using my C1200 in the Para. It sure is both too long and too heavy. But I think C300 may work just fine. Another idea I had to help position the light properly in my Para was to use my
Avenger F830 between my monolight and the 5/8" stud on that Para plate. This will add a full 180 deg rotation flexibility in all directions but it will also add another 1.5 lbs to the weight! Will probably try that once I get the Para...



Feb 17, 2017 at 07:26 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


@Conner999 -- Rob, BTW, in the video you linked in your first post here, they are attaching four Kobold 400 HMI units to the focusing rod in Para 220FB. I just checked the weight, and those lights weigh 3 lb each! So I assume that focusing rod must be pretty solid, and should handle even the B1 weight easily (assuming a solid stand with sandbags to deal with the front heaviness).


Feb 17, 2017 at 07:37 PM
Conner999
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


Yeah, that's not a lightweight rig. A mono will work, and while WE might prefer not using a specific type of light on a Para, I've seen folks use B1s defocused in a Para88, so.... different preferences and everyone needs to use what they have readily available.

Experiment, see what works and just watch for any signs of a pending issue - if ever.



Feb 17, 2017 at 08:20 PM
rico
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


At the risk of increasing setup time, a heavy light can be placed on its own stand and be rolled into focus position in front of the Para.


Feb 17, 2017 at 08:56 PM
cambyses
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Question for Broncolor Para owners


A quick update... Got my Para yesterday. Thankfully it is in good condition as described/expected.

As for the focusing mechanism, it must be the original version of Para or something, since it is surprisingly different from what I had seen online. Namely, not only does the focusing rod not move (unlike the new Para 222), it does not have that rotating mechanism/knob with the guide wire running externally alongside the focusing rod either. Instead, that rectangular light mounting fixture (shown in the first image in my original post in this thread) has a tightening screw, which can be loosened, and then the fixture can simply be moved manually alongside the focusing rod into the desired position, and then be tightened again. Has any of you seen this mechanism in Para's before? I cannot seem to find anything online. But it does seem more convenient than moving the rod itself, or even than the rotating mechanism, though moving the light would probably not be as smooth as with the rotating knob, and hence very small light position adjustments could be more challenging.

I plan to test and compare my Para with the following Profoto lights:

1) Single B2 together with Avenger F830 (for added flexibility in positioning of the light)
2) Two B2's directly on two 5/8" studs
3) Single B1 with Avenger F830
4) Single B1 with Glass Dome with Avenger F830
5) Compact-R 300 with Avenger F830

Finally, one more question... Do you guys use any counter balance weight on the lever arm when using the Para with a heavier light like the B1?




Feb 21, 2017 at 11:45 PM







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