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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 15 Oct 2017 (Sunday) 15:21
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Profoto vs Broncolor

 
EricJrSax
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Nov 07, 2017 11:33 |  #16

Is there anyone in here who has had significant experience with both of Profoto's bulb designs,... exposed and recessed? Can you guys speak a little about your honest take on the pros and cons of each design? Thanks.




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simonbarker
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Nov 07, 2017 12:20 |  #17

EricJrSax wrote in post #18490874 (external link)
Is there anyone in here who has had significant experience with both of Profoto's bulb designs,... exposed and recessed? Can you guys speak a little about your honest take on the pros and cons of each design? Thanks.

No need to over complicate things, it really is as simple as the recessed tube has less angle of coverage so it's not ideal with something like a beauty dish but if you're just throwing it at normal sized softboxes/reflectors etc you probably won't care/notice.




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MayaTlab
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Post has been last edited 14 days ago by MayaTlab. 4 edits done in total.
Nov 07, 2017 12:21 as a reply to EricJrSax's post |  #18

I personally prefer exposed flash tubes, but I think that Profoto has done a nice job exploiting the benefits of the recessed tube.

On the plus side :

- Profoto now has a whole range of accessories dedicated to recessed tube designs, some of which are genuinely useful (and some others not at all :D). The OCF grids, for example, allow you to carry in a small 10cm diameter pouch three grids for three different angles, in contrast with carrying a reflector and three larger grids (albeit at the cost of efficiency since some reflectors help already reducing the beam angle - even more so than a recessed flash tube - before applying the grids, and also at the cost of light quality in some cases - for example, with the B2 head, the tube / grid geometry is such that the light projected has an hexagonal pattern instead of a circular one). The OCF gel holder helps standardise you gels and reduce their sizes, and makes gelling pretty easy, even for umbrellas (except for the B2 which umbrella hole is within the mount diameter) or softboxes.
- One of its touted advantages is that it offers better protection. I'm not sure that's true in all situations and since I have yet to drop a flash head I'm not sure I can conclusively have an opinion frankly. In use the head is likely to be combined with a modifier, such as a hard reflector or soft box, in which case I'm not sure that increased protection is a strong necessity. My feeling is that it's when mounting / unmounting / manipulating the head that there may be a benefit. But the wind blowing up your ProHead with a properly secured zoom reflector ? I'm not sure.
- It can make for a smaller effective size. Take for example the B2 : because Profoto's mount require a certain depth, the B2 head needs to have a minimal length, regardless of flash tube design. If it had an external tube, the mount wouldn't have been designed to be shorter, but you would have had a glass cover protruding from it. I don't think though that the size saving is significant with the D1/D2/B1 compared to the Compact (particularly since the stand mount now can't be removed or adjusted).

On the negative side :

- With some softboxes illumination is less even. With my small octa, the recessed flash tube is fine, but not so with my 30x120 cm stripbox. With it it's so uneven that it behaves more like a 30x75 cm stripbox. A Prohead is much better with it. That being said, very often flash tubes that appear exposed, when mounted, are in fact recessed. A typical example of that is with brands using Bowens' mount. Bowens' lights always have the flash tube far ahead of the mount, while most other brands using the mount have the flash tube nearly where the mount is (example : Godox AD600). Combined with the rather long collar used on most Bowens speedring, the result is that the exposed tube can find itself quite deep inside the speedring when actually mounted. So watch out for the thickness of the speedring with mounts other than Profoto :D.
- With deep silver indirect reflectors, it's potentially highly problematic, at least to exploit them as intended. An indirect silver reflector requires, to get certain effects, the head to illuminate them evenly from a specific position, since silver materials more or less (depending on their properties) bounce light rays at the opposite angle at which light struck them. Since we were talking about Broncolor's paras, in their focused position, the head is quite far inside the reflector. If you want light to strike all of the modifier, you need a head that can send light rays backwards a little bit, something Profoto's recessed tubes can't do.
- With other indirect reflectors (shallower silver ones, white ones), they can work reasonably well, but you loose one of the greatest things IMO about the Pro and Acute heads : the ability to move the head precisely relative to the modifier (for example, closer or further from an umbrella), and then precisely fine tune bare flash tube spill elimination by moving, for example, the disc reflector in or out.
- I find the modelling light more representative of the result, although that isn't necessarily because of the external tube. With the D1/D2/B1, the flash tube is much wider than the modelling light, and that can create significant mismatch (for example with snoots). With the B2 it's slightly less of an issue (smaller flash tube), but the LED is set deeper within the mount and that too can create a mismatch in some situations. With the Pro and Acute heads, the combination of an omnidirectional halogen light, a small flash tube, and a frosted dome, makes for better modelling light / flash matching.
- I haven't used beauty dishes on a frequent basis and I personally don't own one, but I think that recessed flash tubes are problematic with them. The reason is that it becomes strictly impossible to properly mask the flash tube from the sides. The ratio between the light that's reflected by the beauty dish and the light that coming straight from the flash tube towards the sides is enormous. If you look at Broncolor's tubes and beauty dishes, you will notice that with a few exceptions only (puslo twin head for example), Broncolor's flash tubes are nearly always the same diameter and placed at the same distance from the mount, which means that Broncolor was able to design a beauty dish that perfectly masks bare flash tube spill from the sides. In other words, Broncolor's beauty dish won't cast a major ring of hard light around the subject.




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RicoTudor
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Nov 07, 2017 12:58 |  #19

I guess there was a need to overcomplicate things, after all!

Kidding, Maya, love ya. :D


Canon, Nikon, Contax, Leica, Sony, Profoto.

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EricJrSax
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Post has been last edited 10 days ago by EricJrSax. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 11, 2017 11:34 |  #20

Wonder why someone hasn't already hacked the B1 design by replacing the stock bulb with a same or similarly spec'd bulb with longer necks? Necks long enough so that the business end of the bulb can rise above the B1 barrel and throw it's light in all directions similar to the way more traditional exposed bulb designs do,... like Broncolor, Godox, Elinchrom, PCB and the like. Then put Profoto's optional Glass Dome on the whole thing and call it a day. Technically not a hack, just a bulb replacement.

Just wished Broncolor embraced TTL and committed themselves to a decent controller,... something other than that cheap Adorama Flashpoint R2 look-a-like. But that Broncolor app is nice.

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MayaTlab
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Post has been last edited 9 days ago by MayaTlab. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 12, 2017 07:15 as a reply to EricJrSax's post |  #21

I haven't heard of any attempt like that. One potential issue that could arise concerns the little metal clasp that you connect to the flash tube at the opposite end of the electrodes. On the D1/D2/B1 it's quite short and I believe not easily replaceable.

As a side question : if anyone has replaced a flash tube with one from a third party, have you noticed a difference in terms of WB or power output consistency ?

I guess that Broncolor will eventually re-package Godox' new trigger, which should considerably improve usability. A big positive of Broncolor's approach is that of the three major European players they currently have the cheapest trigger by far, and IMO the best constructed (Godox's X1 feels far more solid than Profoto's 360 euros TTL remote).




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bobbyz
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Post has been edited 9 days ago by bobbyz.
Nov 12, 2017 09:02 |  #22

MayaTlab wrote in post #18494530 (external link)
A big positive of Broncolor's approach is that of the three major European players they currently have the cheapest trigger by far, and IMO the best constructed (Godox's X1 feels far more solid than Profoto's 360 euros TTL remote).

Didn't know that. But then I never used Profoto or Broncolor before.


5dmk3, 35L, 85L II, 300mm f2.8 IS I, 400mm f5.6
Fuji XT-1, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 90mm f2, 50-140mm f2.8

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MayaTlab
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Nov 12, 2017 09:32 as a reply to bobbyz's post |  #23

It's that bad. Every time you press a button, it feels like you're flexing the PCB underneath. And it moves from sides to sides like a rocking chair in the hotshoe. It feels like a Kinder Price toy.

On the plus side, its UI is an example in terms of intuitiveness and efficiency (very much unlike the X1 - but the new trigger should be an improvement I guess), and I've found the radio quite reliable. Oh, and you can update the firmware on a mac (hear that, Godox ? :D).




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EricJrSax
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Nov 12, 2017 10:54 |  #24

MayaTlab wrote in post #18494594 (external link)
It's that bad. Every time you press a button, it feels like you're flexing the PCB underneath. And it moves from sides to sides like a rocking chair in the hotshoe. It feels like a Kinder Price toy.

On the plus side, its UI is an example in terms of intuitiveness and efficiency (very much unlike the X1 - but the new trigger should be an improvement I guess), and I've found the radio quite reliable. Oh, and you can update the firmware on a mac (hear that, Godox ? :D).

I'm running with Flashpoint lights at the moment, and if the old Broncolor controller is worst than the R2/X1 I'm using, then I believe you when you say it's pretty bad. If Broncolor has made up its mind to lean on Godox, they should at least re-brand and re-task Godox's new Xpro Controller. Much better than the older R2/X1 garbage.

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bobbyz
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Nov 12, 2017 14:35 |  #25

Lowly Godox user here and so far I haven't had any issues with X1. Not the best interface but works without any problems. I have Tx for Canon, Sony, Nikon and Fuji. Have used my strobes with group shooting with Tx on different cameras and no problems. Interface wise for simple groups, I prefer wheels like PW AC3 had. No LCD, no menus, buttons which do double duty but then you paying $50 for a trigger, what else you want.


5dmk3, 35L, 85L II, 300mm f2.8 IS I, 400mm f5.6
Fuji XT-1, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 90mm f2, 50-140mm f2.8

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EricJrSax
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Post has been edited 8 days ago by EricJrSax.
Nov 12, 2017 17:24 |  #26

bobbyz wrote in post #18494831 (external link)
Lowly Godox user here and so far I haven't had any issues with X1. Not the best interface but works without any problems. I have Tx for Canon, Sony, Nikon and Fuji. Have used my strobes with group shooting with Tx on different cameras and no problems. Interface wise for simple groups, I prefer wheels like PW AC3 had. No LCD, no menus, buttons which do double duty but then you paying $50 for a trigger, what else you want.

Lowly Godox (Flashpoint) user too,... maybe calling the X1 garbage was a bit too strong. I haven't had a problems with it's performance either, but it's operation can be clunky sometimes and I really wished you adjust lights in proportion and as groups. And that wheel is just plain awful,... sometimes it makes adjustments and sometimes it don't. Sometimes when you move the wheel one click nothing happens to the selected light,... sometimes moving it one click moves the light 2/3s stop instead of one. It can just be clumsy more times than not. The new Godox XPro controller is supposed to be much better and more intuitive allowing quicker adjustments. The point I was trying to make was that it was sad that a high end company like Broncolor would choose the X1 controller to re-brand and represent their lights as opposed to designing a controller themselves that better matched the quality of their lights and the work flow they've already established. Even if they went with the form factor of the XPro, that screen is large enough to take on a lot of the features of the app,...




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simonbarker
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Nov 12, 2017 17:53 |  #27

MayaTlab wrote in post #18494594 (external link)
It's that bad. Every time you press a button, it feels like you're flexing the PCB underneath. And it moves from sides to sides like a rocking chair in the hotshoe. It feels like a Kinder Price toy.

You sure that's a design fault rather than just a wonky unit? There's definitely not that much play in the ones I've handled.




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MayaTlab
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Post has been last edited 8 days ago by MayaTlab. 7 edits done in total.
Nov 12, 2017 18:24 |  #28

simonbarker wrote in post #18494935 (external link)
You sure that's a design fault rather than just a wonky unit? There's definitely not that much play in the ones I've handled.

No. I've had three under my nose. All of them differed in how bad they felt (different buttons being creaky for example), but they were all awful. I've used a few Godox units as well, and all of them felt better put together than the TTL remotes (haptic feedback let a lot to be desired still, though - I'm with ErciJrSax on that).

I don't think that it necessarily is a design fault. Just bad manufacturing. In the same way, a not insignificant number of B2 heads aren't superbly put together. Where the front "lip" joins the main body, there may be a bump (the main plastic body is wider than the lip) which requires to push more forcefully the OCF modifiers than a well put together head requires (two out of three heads had to be corrected).

I may sound critical, but I'm actually quite satisfied with Profoto's manufacturing. I've had less manufacturing tolerances issues with them than most other photography related equipments I've used. For example, my two B2 packs are dead on identical in terms of WB and power output consistency. The three heads were also dead on identical in most WB and power output related matters, with one minor exception (one head warmer than the other two by around 50k on average at min power). Despite an early set of worrying bugs that were corrected later on, it's been one of the most trouble-free purchase I've done in years, and Profoto's customer services have been very helpful.




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bobbyz
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Nov 12, 2017 20:23 as a reply to EricJrSax's post |  #29

I haven't had any issues with the wheel. Like I said, design could be lot better but then the cost would be at least 5 times if not more. For me 3 groups is plenty and I wish there was something like AC3. So easy to operate. I had Alien Bees CC, it was very good but hard to learn.


5dmk3, 35L, 85L II, 300mm f2.8 IS I, 400mm f5.6
Fuji XT-1, 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 90mm f2, 50-140mm f2.8

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Profoto vs Broncolor
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