Speed Of Light

Pro­foto takes the con­ve­nience of auto flash ex­po­sure con­trol into the stu­dio as its up­dated D Series monoblocs get both wire­less TTL and high speed sync.

ProPhoto - - ON TRIAL -

as pro­foto con­tin­ues to ex­pand its fam­ily of pro­fes­sional light­ing prod­ucts with TTL auto ex­po­sure con­trol, what’s most sur­pris­ing is that it re­mains the only brand of­fer­ing this fea­ture. True, the com­pany now has patents in place to pro­tect its tech­nol­ogy, but the bot­tom line here is very much the bot­tom… it costs a huge amount to de­velop TTL con­trol pro­to­cols and, so far, no­body else ap­pears willing to make the con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment. So per­haps it’s only fair that Pro­foto reaps the re­wards of its com­mit­ment with hot-sell­ing prod­ucts.

Both the Pro­foto B1 and B2 have rev­o­lu­tionised re­mote-lo­ca­tion pho­tog­ra­phy, bring­ing the con­ve­nience of a speed­light to pro­fes­sional-level light­ing prod­ucts… re­spec­tively, a monobloc and an ul­tra-com­pact du­alout­let power pack. Both the B1 and B2 not only of­fer the con­ve­nience of TTL auto ex­po­sure con­trol, but also the flex­i­bil­ity of wider power out­put ranges… fur­ther ex­ploited by the B2’s ca­pac­ity to run two flash heads with fully asym­met­ric power dis­tri­bu­tion.

Now Pro­foto is tak­ing its TTL tech­nol­ogy into the stu­dio with the next gen­er­a­tion of D Series flash monoblocs. Of course, you can use the B1 monobloc in the stu­dio too, but it’s ex­clu­sively bat­tery-pow­ered and if you have no need for a flash unit that works away from mains power, then recharg­ing is a pro­ce­dure you don’t need ei­ther.

Af­ter the B1 ar­rived, we tended to for­get just how rev­o­lu­tion­ary the D1’s orig­i­nal de­sign was, in­clud­ing the fully in­te­grated re­flec­tor (now, of course, also adopted by ri­val Bron­color). There are a num­ber of con­ve­niences to be had from this de­sign, in­clud­ing faster set-up (no need to at­tach an add-on dish), the eas­ier fit­ting of ei­ther a re­flec­tor brolly or a soft­box (no need to first de­tach an add-on dish), and more con­ve­nient han­dling over­all, in­clud­ing when pack­ing the monobloc away. Ad­di­tion­ally, the built-in re­flec­tor ar­range­ment also min­imises stray light and, to some ex­tent, en­hances ef­fi­ciency. As be­fore, the flash head’s di­am­e­ter en­ables full com­pat­i­bil­ity with Pro­foto’s clamp-fit light shapers and they can be at­tached any­where along the front bar­rel, thereby giv­ing what amounts to a ‘zoom’ ad­just­ment for the light spread. In other words, the fur­ther back on the bar­rel that the re­flec­tor, soft­box or shaper is fit­ted, the nar­rower the light spread will be. As we noted with the D1; sim­ple but very ef­fec­tive. There are two D2 mod­els with a max­i­mum flash power out­put of ei­ther 500 or 1000 joules. Both are the same size, but at 3.4 ki­los, the more pow­er­ful model weighs around 400 grams more mainly due to the ex­tra ca­pac­i­tors.

The heavy-duty GRP cas­ing in­cor­po­rates a sturdy han­dle which ex­tends down­wards from the rear so it doesn’t get in the way of the con­trol panel. As on the D1, the power ca­ble con­nec­tion is set into the top of the mould­ing which forms the light stand mount. This also keeps the power ca­ble well out of the way of the con­trol panel – a com­mon and of­ten ir­ri­tat­ing de­sign fail­ing – and ad­di­tion­ally means it drops pretty well par­al­lel to the stand which just makes for a ti­dier set-up. Both the

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