Profoto B1 Heads and Pocketwizard Plus III

ghendee

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I want to purchase professional lighting and am looking at the Prophoto B1 500W/s heads. Does anyone have first hand experience using the B1 heads with L578dr Sekonic light meter and other lights (i.e. profoto D1s) using th PW Plus III?
 

FotosbyMike

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No experience with this setup but this should help. The B1s have a sync port so the PW3 will plugin and fire the flash just fine. According to PocketWizards and Sekonic websites the L578dr doesn't have the built-in PW transmitter so you will not be able to trigger the flash from the unit.

If you don't need A,B,C,D grouping that the PW3 offers look into getting the PlusX cheaper and still have a test button so you could buy one for the camera, one for each flash if you want each flash on wireless(B1s also have optical save) and then buy one an extra PlusX to only fire the flash when you have the light meter in place.
 
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ghendee

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No experience with this setup but this should help. The B1s have a sync port so the PW3 will plugin and fire the flash just fine. According to PocketWizards and Sekonic websites the L578dr doesn't have the built-in PW transmitter so you will not be able to trigger the flash from the unit.

If you don't need A,B,C,D grouping that the PW3 offers look into getting the PlusX cheaper and still have a test button so you could buy one for the camera, one for each flash if you want each flash on wireless(B1s also have optical save) and then buy one an extra PlusX to only fire the flash when you have the light meter in place.
Thank you so much! I double-checked and thankfully I have the L758dr Sekonic that has the PW built-in. Now, I just need to find one so I can physically test it... amazing I can't find detailed photographs and direct answers from PW and Profoto and everything I'm reading/watching indicate that light metering is not needed which assumes these are only used outdoors and mostly with one light. I am a student and I'm trying to buy my equipment only once and maximize compatibility-- I might be living a fantasy. Thank you again!
 

FotosbyMike

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What do you mean the light meter is not needed, the light mete is just a tool to read the power of the light it doesn't communicate with the flash or camera. Being that you are a student and just starting I would ask do you know what type of photography you want to do if not IMO it hard to buy only once or one type of light like the B1.
 
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ghendee

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What do you mean the light meter is not needed, the light mete is just a tool to read the power of the light it doesn't communicate with the flash or camera. Being that you are a student and just starting I would ask do you know what type of photography you want to do if not IMO it hard to buy only once or one type of light like the B1.
The profoto sponsored videos I've watched encourage the use of TTL via the prophoto builit-in controllers to meter the light. Because I do studio and outdoor shooting, I enjoy the convenience and results of metering to save time. I wasn't a believer until my professor mandated its use. My plan is to purchase one B1 500W/s off camera flash and an Acute 2400 2R power pack with 1 D1 light and some modifiers to start. The B1 will make location easier if I have good reflectors and modifiers and I can use it in conjuction with the D1 in my "growing" in-home studio. If that doesn't make sense, I am open to any/all thoughts.
 

tirediron

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Not quite following... your professor mandated the use of TTL or of manual flash & metering?
 

FotosbyMike

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Ok yes this make sense now you want to use the TTL function of the B1 if this is true you will have to buy the Air System Remotes from ProPhoto is it a proprietary system meaning only the Air Remote can commutate with the flash(s) and your camera. TTL is an auto metering system where your camera using its built-in light meter. IMO TTL works ok for run and gun very fast changes variables... for most work you will want to shot manual so you can control the flash out put, shutter speed and DOF. This is help you match or over power ambient light and/or get the light you want not what the camera thinks is right.

As for metering to save time I agree to a small point once you get so years under your belt you will almost know what settings, power...etc. to use on the fly and they will be a lot of photographs who don't use LMs b/c they slow them down having to check every light.
 
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ghendee

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Not quite following... your professor mandated the use of TTL or of manual flash & metering?
made us use the sekonic light meter and I got hooked on it and the whole PW setup with the power packs, etc.; therefore, I don't want to invest $2K + on the B1 location kit, if it won't work effectively and efficiently with the my light meter and other lights that have PW. All the things I'm reading and watching dismiss metering the light when using the B1 heads since it uses the air controller via the TTL vs the PW. Profoto air TTL controllers are $400 each and ONLY work with profoto so it would be cost prohibitive for me.
 
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ghendee

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... forgot to say I already own 3 of the PW Plus IIIs, the L758dr... so big investments that have been serving me very well.
 

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By all accounts the TTL in the B1 system is very, very good, but it's still a TTL system, and consistency is NOT guarenteed. Using the meter will ensure everything is consistent, especially if you're shooting out of doors and the light is changing a bit due to clouds/whatever. IMO, while the B1 is outstanding lighting gear, it's grossly over-priced when compared to almost any other brand, and you really don't get that much extra for your money; certainly not enough I don't think, to justify the cost. For $2000 you could get a metric s**t ton of Dynalite or Speedotron gear, or even a bunch of really nice Elinchrom gear.
 

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Well, if you already own a high-end light meter and some PW triggers, I think you'd be paying for stuff you already own in the form of triggering stuff, and the B1 Ai is about $2100, plus needs a $400 module to make it functional, if I understand it. I'll be honest: I consider Profoto to be very overpriced by most metrics, and when the B1 TTL battery-powered monolight was introduced, I ridiculed the idea of a TTL monolight. When I found out it was priced at over two thousand dollars, I thought it was utterly insane, and aimed at noobs who have no idea of how to shoot flash.

For a person with a "growing" home studio, the $3,000, three-outlet power supply, without ANY flash heads! is just...flushing good money right down the toilet. No offense intended, but Profoto's "TTL monolight" idea is...well...hard to say it politely. But look around at the number of other TTL battery-powered monolights on the market. Their pack-and-head and their TTL monolight items are...extremely expensive, and there are multiple alternatives that cost wayyyyy less and which will work just fine.

Here's the deal: If you want to buy into a system, buy into one that you can afford, and one that has affordable everything. Buy Speedotron or DynaLite or Elinchrom, or even buy Einstein if you're drawn to the allure of short flash duration and monolights. Profoto pushes flash duration very hard, but if you're buying a pack-and-head system, for God's sakes, buy a pack that has FOUR outlets, or SIX...and if you're paying $3,000 for a three-outlet power supply, you are being regally reamed. Three lights, and $1,000 just for the "right" to plug in EACH, individual flash head?

OMG...only from Profoto.

Seriously...look at something priced fairly...look at Dyna, look at Speedo, look at Elinchrom. I personally know of zero studio/pro shooters who have a TTL monolight. TTL controlled monolight with battery pack? This is a brand-new, made-up product category, designed to appeal to people who are obviously NOT professional shooters, and who have little idea that they will typically set up the flash and modifier, calculate the desired ratio of flash to ambient, and then set the needed power, set the f/stop, and then shoot at one, single,exact flash level in manual flash power mode, so the frames are consistent and perfect, as calculated by taste/experience/desired ambi-to-flash ratio.

But the idea of a TTL monolight that costs $2,095 and needs a $400 module PER FLASH HEAD...that makes a GREAT YouTube commercial video!

You say you're open to other opinions: PASS on Profoto lights, entirely. Spare yourself the a**-reaming, and be able to outfit an entire studio with what you REALLY will need, which is stands, boom stands,clamps,foam boards, a set of proper Scrim-Jim type scrims/panels,diffusing fabrics, reflecting fabrics, softboxes, umbrellas, background support equipment, mylar diffusers, clamshell reflectors, grid sets (multiple!), 7, 11,5 and 20-inch reflectors, background paper, fabric throws, posing stools, perspex and plexiglas, and a few dozen other sundries.

You are being sold a bill of high-tech, uneccessary stuff, and the bill is going to kill your "growing home studio" in its infancy. A three-outlet pack for three thousand dollars?
 
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Derrel

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I did a bit of math for those who don't understand how studio flash using pack-and-head system works.

The Profoto Acute 2R flash generator (AKA "pack") has three outlets, and produces 2,400 total Watt-seconds of flash power. Price at B&H, $3,018.

Profoto Acute 2-D4 flash heads are $1,101 each. So, three flash heads for the pack costs $3,303.

So, one pack + three flash heads is $6,321.

Six thousand three hundred twenty-one dollars. For a pack, and three flash heads.

Sooooo....that works out to three 800 Watt-second heads at $2,107 each.

The per-unit cost of $2,107 per 800 Watt-seconds of flash power is staggeringly high.

A 5-light setup run off the same brand of pack and head system will bump the cost up another $2,202 for the two additional light fixtures, and another $3,018 for the power pack, so, add another $5,220 to the $6,321 to get five lights.

A easily-affordable $11,541 price tag to be able to have a main light, a fill light, a hair light, and two background lights to bring gray paper up to pure white.

Quite the value, eh?
 

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tirediron said:
Hmmmm... how much Blackline gear could we get for 11K Derrel?

The answer is, "All you'd likely ever need...with spares and dupes, and also with a full studio's worth of accessories and grip gear."

I question this as well: The Profoto B1 Air is a 6.61 pound light unit with battery (Profoto's official specification). Now THAT is one hella heavy a light unit to put on a 9- to 13-foot tall light stand on-location. An over two-thousand-dollar light unit that weighs that much, suspended in the air?

We're talking about a large, heavy, rather lengthy light unit. Compare the kind of ballast (sandbags on the stand) and counterweight (on the boom arm) that will require, compared against say a compact DynaLite flash head.

Let's put it this way: a $2195 light head that weighs in at 6.61 pounds without any type of modifier, and then elevated 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 feet off the ground is an accident just WAITING to happen with the absolute SLIGHTEST mishap of any kind. Add an umbrella and you've got one heck of a sail!

Add a Profoto brand 20" soft white, 65-degree beam spread ,20-inch beauty dish ($398) and you've now got a 9.36-pound light unit valued at $2,593.


I just do not think a lot of people understand that an almost 10-pound light unit overhead requires a HUGE amount of grip support,ballast/counterweighting on-location!

Dynalite Store Dynalite Strobe Light Kits | B&H Photo Video
 
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I want to purchase professional lighting and am looking at the Prophoto B1 500W/s heads. Does anyone have first hand experience using the B1 heads with L578dr Sekonic light meter and other lights (i.e. profoto D1s) using th PW Plus III?
The Sekonic L758DR Can be use to fire you Profoto B1 / you will need to attach a pocket wizard on the unit the set your meter on
I want to purchase professional lighting and am looking at the Prophoto B1 500W/s heads. Does anyone have first hand experience using the B1 heads with L578dr Sekonic light meter and other lights (i.e. profoto D1s) using th PW Plus III?
The Sekonic L758DR will trigger the Profoto B1; but you will need a PocketWizard attached to the B1 & you will need to set your meter on: The Wireless flash "Radio Trigger Mode"
 

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