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.
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