ProPhoto Batpac & D1 Heads for Wedding Photographer

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by jonathan_menezes, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. Hi Guys,
    This is an extension of a previous post I posted yesterday that talked about meeting the needs of portable Portrait Photography.
    After having the discussion with everyone, along with talking to bhphoto professionals, and calling camera stores, i now understand much better what will fit my needs. I was going to go with an Elinchrom Ranger RX AS System, but then discovered the Batpac by Profoto, making a kit much more affordable.
    For anyone who would like to know. I am primarily a wedding Photographer. I shoot higher end weddings, and working on breaking into the Luxury Category of Wedding Photographers. I live/work at Lake Tahoe. Which offers great venues and scenery. With that comes more difficult photography conditions. The thin atmosphere due to being over 6000 ft high, and the sun reflecting off the lake multiplying its intensity make needing a great light source crucial. In addition to weddings we do family portraits during the week for the wealthier tourists. And this winter i would love to do some winter action sports and bring a high end look look to them
    So this is what i have come up with.
    Profoto Batpac $1830
    D1 Air 1000W/s, D1 Air 500W/s, Bag, Stands, Air Remote, & 2 Umbrellas $2899 (individually would cost roughly $3500)
    Beauty Dish $390
    3' Octabox $210
    Speedring $110
    Transceiver $225
    Total $5780

    I understand this will cost about 1k more than the Elinchrom option, but I think this is a good decision because I will have some of the best lights there are, and I will be able to grow into more profoto gear.

    I would love to hear thoughts by people that have experience with the Batpac and D1 system.

  2. I think your heading the wrong direction with mono lights and bat pack. I understand you are trying to acomplish two things and save money. You are better off on focusing on a true on location flash system like the Acuteb 600. One batpack is good for one light. You will need full power flashes to overpower the sunlight and your batpack will be maxed out. Once it dies your dead in the water unless you plan to buy two. You are so close in price you might as well get 2- Acuteb2 setups. If you catch the free head sale you will be in good shape. It will be much more compact, light and easier to carry on location. I suggest renting this to do a test drive. Trust me on this.
    If you are still set on mono lights then I would suggest getting both heads at same power. Makes things easier and if one head goes you still have the same power settings.
    You are making a big investment. Think hard about what you want and what you plan to do in future. One day you might want a studio pack and head system. Always buy with growth in mind. A little more spent now saves on money spent in future.
  3. Oh by the way reposting a continuing conversation is not going to keep a post from fizzling out. You have to wait a couple days sometimes as we all have lives to live. You wouldn't think so sometimes I know. I think everyone gave there opinions and good advice. It may not have been what you wanted to hear but it was all good. I think you need to do more research and thought to what you want before waiting for someone to say what you want to hear.
  4. Mike, i have been doing nothing but research. I actually have been sitting here breaking down the pros and cons of going with a monolight vs a head system. I was jumping on here to update my post, hoping no one has posted yet. I also do not need a lecture about how people have lives and i need to wait. My post is on a different subject, and im not on here to hear people stroke their egos trying to act superior, as a few did on the last post and you did with your second post. If anyone knows about being busy, its me, the guy that is a full time working photographer, just moved, and had an eye surgery all in the same month. I atually getting ready for a wedding this evening, so save the condescension.
    I am still considering the monolight batpac option, but i also found that i can go with 2 Pro-b plus heads and a used Pro-B2 or 7b 1200w/s Generator for around the same price. This is something that i could grow into better, and also have 2 1200w/s heads. But it wouldnt be able to do as many shots on a charge, have as much control to each head and im not sure if my pocket wizards will work with it or if i will need to get another control source. I dont want something i have to adjust on the head or generator, i want to control everything via my camera.
  5. Hardly a lecture, The post is in fact an extension of previous post as per your words. You were a bit impatient to hear another response from someone and thought the post fizzled out. Your not the first to do this so don't take it personal. I am here to help people like yourself not to stroke my ego. I have years of experience to offer free of charge and I do so gladly. I am also a new yorker and I will speak my mind. lol
    If you would have said I only have 4k to spend then we would be talking about something else but in fact you said you do have a maximum of 10k which i know you don't want to spend all of it but you have enough to make a good investment. It is always better to spend more in this situation then to try to pinch pennies which will equal lower end results. The new batteries are the Lithium ones which are a huge increase in performance and weight. The packs have the built in air system that you like. $6,142 gets you two acuteb 600 battery setups with two additional life batteries.
    I would much rather carry this than to try and lug around mono lights with a batpack. Again rent the items before making such a big investment.
  6. One last.observation: except for fashion editors and other photographers no client ever, ever pays attention to what brand
    of lighting you use. All they care about are the results. If you know what you are doing and they are reliable chose which
    ever brand you like.
  7. Well said Ellis..Before I was able to get into Profoto I used whatever I could afford or get my hands on. Looking at my images on my website you can't tell which are Profoto and which are other brand. The Photographer makes the images not the equipment, but having good equipment certainly helps and also allows for more accessories.
  8. Ok guys, I have considered the other brands, Elinchrom, Hensel, and others. I really want to buy something i feel is the best, and can grown into. After further consideration and more results the idea to buy used/older batteries was a poor one. I didn't give the acute system its due look. After checking it out, i like the way the acute2r 1200w/s system with 2 D4's sounds. I can end up upgrading the generator to a pro series and still run the d4's and then upgrade to the pro heads. It makes perfect sense for how i like to do business. i dont want to buy something and then have to sell the whole thing to upgrade. Id rather start in a good ecosystem and move up there.
    The one big question i have is how many shots can you get out of a Acute2r 1200 at full power with one D4 head? I can't find that anywhere.
  9. Jonathan The Acute 1200 pack is an AC pack. The Acute series only makes the Acuteb 600 in a portable battery flash system.
  10. The Acuteb 600 only accepts the acuteb head. You will always have need for a portable system so it is a sound investment which will not need to be upgraded. I will suggest to buy a magnum reflector which will double the output of the flash making it like a 1200w/s flash for those very sunny days that you want to make the sky go dark blue. You can also buy the flash head that has the splitter two cords on it and plug it into each pack and have 1200w/s

    Down the road you can get a pack and two heads (Acute2r 1200) for around $4,000. There is no need to get the more expensive (double the price) 7 or 8 pro series which you are paying for faster flash duration, faster recycle time ect. The quality of light with any profoto system is the same and you can use all the same light shapers.
  11. Ok Guys,
    Im getting so frustrated with this process. Just when I thought I was understanding things pretty well, I learned that I dont.
    Here are my major desires and thoughts.
    I want at least 1000w/s for at least one head
    I want a system I can grow into, what i mean by this is something i can improve on. I want to eventually go to a faster speed so i can do action sports.
    I would love to spend around 5k the more i do the research, it seems feasible to get the right system for me at this time. If i had to i could go higher, but id rather enter my off season with a little extra cash.
    I want a system that I can control via my camera (pocketwizard or proprietary remote system).
    I just jumped onto the Broncolor System and see they have the Senso System for an entry, but i dont know if this will be upgradable into their more advance generators down the road. It is only $4700 for a generator, 2 lights a softbox and more.
    If push comes to shove i will go with elinchrom ranger rx speed as. From what i have read and heard they are a fine brand and system. I just hate that they dont make a faster generator that i can go into if i want to, if they did have a next step system, i would probably have already gone with them. Is there an ability to control the heads settings via my camera, with a remote?
    Im having the same issue with the Monolights from profoto. I would essentially have to sell it all when i wanted to go with the pro series, the only thing i could keep would be the accessories. That and the heads being so large scare me that they would fall easier. But i do really like that they are so controllable on an individual head level, that i can do it all from the camera, and I would also be able to set it to slave so my assistant could run them under certain situations. But the more i think of it, maybe this is the right system for my weddings and portraits, maybe i wont need to upgrade it. If i take that concern away my only thought is that the heads are top heavy, and i can get sandbags (maybe start going to the gym too, haha)
  12. jonathan,

    I back Michael's recommendation for Profoto Acute: it's a deep product line, and 50% the price of the Pro series. The AcuteB is the battery generator for the line, and so easy to transport. As mentioned, the Magnum reflector doubles effective output. Number of full discharges is spec'ed at 160, after which you can swap batteries in about 3sec. To correct Michael, the AcuteB can operate any Acute head, and also the standalone fixtures (fresnels, striplights, etc). This is important if you want 1200J in the field because you can gang two packs behind the Acute Twin head. What you do lose in this configuration is the modelling light, but the 65 watts provided by the AcuteB is barely enough to constrict your subject's pupils, and seriously drains the battery. For serious studio use, the A/C Acute2 and D4 are better for extended sessions with their fan cooling and modelling lights (up to 500W). Of course, the modifiers are shareable between all Profoto heads.
  13. I am confused by your statement "I want at least 1000w/s from one head" It sounds like we are back at the mono heads again. Mono heads will not meet the needs you have expressed. You have been given all the right information to what to get but your still holding back from spending the amount of money you need to make it happen. At this point if you are not willing to spend $7K on new equipment then your best off looking at used. You can always rent the high end equipment when you need it. You have expensive taste and have been spoiled with the Broncolor at your school. Your budget will determine reality. I have heard good things about the einstien or alien bees lights as well as elinchrome. The pictures you have created on your website are good and the only issue is the amount of power you lack. That does not require you to buy the high end packs in order to achieve that goal. Dont get overwhelmed by thinking to far ahead into the future. Just fix your immeadiate problem which is lack of w/s power. That can be fixed easily within your spending budget. Good luck!!
  14. The Acute 2 system Ina's been on the market for at least 10 years. At full power the 2400 w-s setting and with one head it
    has very long flash duration, like in the 1/80second range. As soon as you dial power down or add a head the f.d.,
    whether you measure it at t0.5 or t0.1 (and if you don't what t0.1 and t0.5 flash duration means and why it is important for
    freezing motion , look it up.) gets much better.

    The best things about the Acute 2 is that it uses the Profoto reflector and other light modifier attachment system, and its
    pretty solid. But it doesn't have the ability to control from the camera.

    Elinchrom makes several short duration flash systems and they have a broad ranger of reflectors and accessories (this is
    true for every lighting system worth it's salt.). Many commercial and editorial portrait shooters use Elinchrom's largest
    indirect Octalight on other brands of light because of its unique quality.

    Output of the Ranger RX can be controlled by the PocketWizard ControlTL system or the Elinchrom Skyport.

    The Broncolor Senso system is a real step up from the Acute2. I've used both.

    Frankly I think you'll do fine with the Paul C. Buff, inc. Einstein 640 monolight. It has all of the attributes you are looking
    for: vast accessory system of light modifiers; short to very short flash duration; excellent light quality; 250 watt modeling
    light; the heads are small and well balanced and tere is the Vagabond Mini Lithium battery.

    But if you want to use moonlights and pack and head systems in locations where there is no AC and want/need to shoot a
    lot, the Little Genny is what you want. Not cheap but you will get what you pay for.

    The D1 needs the Batpack because of the way Profoto designed the D1.

    Also what partof your budget is for stands, cases, light meter and gear trolly?
  15. Ok, I've made my decision...
    Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS 1100w/s Kit, 2 Ranger Free Lite A Heads, Beauty Dish, Large Octabox, and other accessories for $4800.
    The more i read and talk to people about this option the more i realize it is perfect for me. The Generator is very rugged and durable, and with the PW Receiver added to the system, i can control it using my existing PW Transceiver. Its around 17lbs vs the 25lb options from profoto. I know i can go with the acute system for a similar price, but i dont want to feel like i may need more in certain situations, and i also dont like to feel like i have their economy kit. The monolight idea was mainly a misunderstanding on how it would fit my needs. When i do jump to profoto it will be to get into their pro series. But i can see the Elinchrom set being a good fit for me for the foreseeable future.
    I have found a few blogs with photographers using the kit and displaying their work. It looks like the exact thing im looking for. It has the ability to work from range, and/or with large diffusers.
    Oh, and i do appreciate the comment about using broncolor when i went to school. I'm completely self taught, through books, talking to people, and forums like this. I have always had expensive taste, anytime i buy cheap it bites me in the ass. After talking with you guys and the people at my shop along with a few blogs I feel that Elinchrom may not be the absolute best, but they are still quality. Id love to go with the profoto pro series now, but i just cant justify it, id rather spend that money on getting more exposure.
    I just started to really look into an advanced lighting system about 4 days ago, thats why so much confusion, i knew absolutely nothing about them. After spending the last 4 days obsessing about them i feel like I know as much as i can without actually getting my hands on one.

    Thanks so much for the help.
  16. I'm late to this conversation, but wanted to add a few things for anyone reading this thread later. Jon made his decision, but based on my experience I think some of the info provided may unintentionally be a bit misleading.
    I have direct experience with many of the systems being discussed ... some of which are still part of my selections for location wedding photography and conceptual portraiture work ... as well as corporate and industrial work.
    The Profoto D1s do NOT need the BatPac for remote work. I use the PCB Lithiums all the time. Operation is no different from using the BatPac ... set the D1 to "Bat" and shoot. I also have a BatPac which allows trickle charge for "always ready" emergency fast use should I experience a power outage in studio, or if I need even more lights on location, or if I want to run other devices like a tethered laptop.
    I rarely use the D1s on location unless it is a bigger corporate or commercial assignment requiring more than my battery units can provide. Monos are to top heavy ... especially if you use them on a mobile boom arm wielded by an assistant ... which I've found is an essential requirement for hectic mobile wedding work featuring multiple locations in a short amount of time.
    Modifiers are NOT a reason to select one system over another. Personally, I like the Elinchrom Rotalux modifiers because they more easily fold up for transport to locations. However, I have NEVER liked the Elinchrom mounting system at all (used Elinchrom for years prior to switching to Profoto). Now days, you can alternatively purchase the Profoto Rotalux speed-ring and use them on a more secure Profoto head with their unique sliding modifier flexibility for additional light control. Same alternative speed-ring option for other choices like Hensel, etc.
    Our current remote selection includes a Hensel Porty 1200L, and a Profoto Acute 600B ... both of which utilize the Profoto AIR radio system ... so I can use them together. In addition we have 3 D1 AIRs with PCB Lithiums for each if we need the additional lighting power, or diversity of creatively placing lights.
    I selected Profoto as the studio and location primary equipment for a couple of very key reasons:
    We do destination work on occasion and Profoto is the more ubiquitous local rental units in the USA ... even here in my area, Profoto is the ONLY rental units available should I need more than I have.
    I work with leaf-shutter cameras at either 1/800th or 1/1000th top sync speeds ... to my knowledge the Profoto AIR radio system is only one that natively syncs at those speeds ... even higher if using certain P1 cameras with LS lenses. 1/1000 sync goes a long ways in controlling backgrounds while using more open apertures than possible with a focal plane shutter.
    Battery units like the very mobile Acute 600B are more versatile than just outdoor units ... we use one in a mobile boom arm at wedding receptions so we can control the direction of the key light using an on-camera speed-light for fill. Very versatile use of off-camera lighting compared to fix position lights on a stand.
    We also have the Hensel Porty and a tiny 1200 W/s AC generator because I like a few of the Hensel alternative lights available ... like their Fresnel strobes which are true fresnels not clip-on additions to regular heads.
    Hensel is not our main system because availability of Hensel's unique offerings are not readily available in the USA, Hensel being more popular in Europe than here. The Porty L is often available at key rental outlets, but not enough of them IMO.
    BTW, we also have a pretty deep selection of Elinchrom Quadra battery units for less demanding applications ... incredibly small system with more punch and light quality than a speed-light set-up ... which we use at people's homes usually with slower syncing 35mm DSLRs. The assistants like the Quadra because the head weights in at ounces not lbs ... LOL!
    - Marc
  17. Jon- I have really enjoyed reading the thread(s) here. Like you, I have been agonizing over lighting, but for 6 months! every time I think
    I'm about to pull the trigger on a kit, I read or hear something that makes me change my mind.

    What did you end up buying?

    I don't need to shoot professional skiers, but I here are my needs/wants:
    1. location portrait work
    2. overpower the sun
    3. be able to use in in studio (plug in 110v)
    4. Easy to use/adaptable wireless gear
    5. Lithium battery(s)

    Options I considered:

    priolite -hasn't been around long enough and I worry that their proprietary equipment would keep me locked into their brand, but I love the
    integrated battery and wireless design.

    Paul C. Buff- guys at BH said that stuff sucks, poorly built



    I'd like to spend less than $5k. I want two 500w/s light setup, using my 580 speed light as a third light kicker.

    I'm so lost and confused....
  18. " Paul C. Buff- guys at BH said that stuff sucks, poorly built Prophoto? Elinchrome? I'd like to spend less than $5k. I want
    two 500w/s light setup, using my 580 speed light as a third light kicker. "

    A) I review photo gear for the monthlyagazine of a major professional photographer's organization. I see almost every
    new piece of lighting gear that comes on the market. When it comes to monolights powered primarily by AC the Paul C.
    Buff Einstein E640 is still the state of the art and it is very rugged.

    B) Profoto is not poorly built. But I'm not a D1 fan. Elinchrom and Dynalite are also top notch.

    C) if you want a battery powered monolight, the new Profoto B1 is the state of the art.

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