The next day
Bolstered by the success of my fundraiser photo shoot, I spent a few hours the next day fully learning the detailed operation of the D1 Air system. The D1 Air monolight control panel is designed very well. All settings are intuitive to program and exceedingly easy to set up. All the power adjustments are represented in terms of stops, with the ability to fine-tune adjustments in tenths-of-a-stop increments. The D1 heads have a seven-stop range with level 4 indicating the lowest power setting and level 10 indicating the max power setting. I found that flash output from shot to shot was extremely consistent and I didn’t have to do any post production brightness or exposure adjustments in Lightroom 4 afterwards. Again, this is a testament to the high quality engineering of the Profoto D1 monolights.
The D1 monolights have a very quick recycle time. During my real-world use of the system, recycle time was never once an issue. In fact, I could pretty much take photos as fast as I wanted to. In almost every situation I photographed, recycle times were much faster than one second. A full-power dump resulted in a recycle time of 2 seconds while recycle times for lower power settings were almost instantaneous. At these lower power settings, the Profoto monolights could easily keep up with shooting rates of 3-4 frames per second.
Quality of light is one of the Profoto D1 Air’s strong suits. Profoto’s light shapers are top-notch and designed with the highest-quality materials. I shot a sequence of still-life images in my studio using a bouquet of flowers and was immediately impressed with the smoothness of the light from the D1 strobes. Honestly, there is a look and feel to the light that is elegant and absolutely beautiful.
As I mentioned earlier, the Studio 3-Light Kit comes with two soft boxes and one grid. The softboxes set up very quickly and the rods are even color-coded for correct placement into the speedrings. The grid simply snaps onto the end of the Profoto Air with no fuss. It is a 10 degree grid, so is perfect for individual portraiture where you want to brighten up the background or hit the person with a beautiful rim light.
Profoto’s light shapers are some of the best in the business. Having used lower-quality softboxes in the past, I can really appreciate the attention to detail that Profoto used when designing their products. Once you start using Profoto’s light shapers, you won’t want to go back to any other manufacturer’s equipment. As you build your Profoto lighting equipment over time, know that the entire range of Profoto Light Shapers is quite extensive. They manufacture just about everything from beauty dishes to strip lights to parabolic umbrellas to ring lights.
One of the very cool features of the Profoto lighting system is the ability to control each head wirelessly from a Mac or Windows based computer. The Profoto Studio Air software allows you to visually see the power of each head and make adjustments as needed with the on-screen controls. You can even save your custom lighting setups for use at a later time.
I have nothing but great things to say about the Profoto D1 Studio kit. During my test period, every aspect of the system operates flawlessly and without error. It proved to be tough, durable, and easy to use in every situation.
Profoto equipment makes it easy for photographers to create beautiful images. The equipment gets out of your way and lets you do what you do best – produce great photographs. I love the Profoto D1 Studio Kit and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to shoot with the best.
Here please find a video showing Mike testing the new system.
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