Profoto AirX

Yesterday Profoto announced AirX. I’m still not 100% sure what it is as the press release and launch videos talk about using your phone to take pictures but don’t explain if the technology is in the flash or in the app on the phone.

A week or so ago I got a survey from Profoto asking me how much I used my phone for shooting. I can’t say that I use my phone very much at all in combination with my lighting kit. It might just be me, but if I’m going to be taking a load of lighting gear then I’m damn sure going to pack a camera and not just rely on my phone.

The thing that worries me about Profoto’s path down the mobile route is that there are so many other options better suited for the phone. Take for example their C1 range. Why get a C1 Plus when you can do so much more with an Aputure MC RGBWW LED Light

As the Profoto app for iPhone and the firmware update are free, it isn’t any great loss for the photographer who decides to use it.

I haven’t downloaded the app, so can’t tell you if it gives you the freedom to do any post production work. I know some photographers love editing their images. Spending time in the “darkroom” is what they enjoy. Will this be any good for this type of workflow? I can’t say.

Is the future mobile? Maybe. Is it for me right now? No.  

Profoto OCF II

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Nice job for those of you who noticed that in my previous post I had got myself one of the new Profoto OCF II accessories.

When Profoto announced the new range of Off Camera Flash modifiers, I was interested in the barndoors because in this revised version there is the ability to rotate the doors.

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It was the thing that was missing from version one. Twisting the plastic collar to the position the angle of the doors how you wanted them was frustrating. Twisting the plastic collar was not what you could describe as buttery smooth.

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The new clip mount makes version two of the barndoors very simple to attach. At the moment it is quite difficult to rotate the doors but I’m hoping that it is just because it is straight out of the box. 

What they did leave out in this version of the barndoors are the cut outs in the square doors for attaching gels and diffusion.

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I do get the reasons for removing this. Light can leak out of them and obviously Profoto want to encourage you to buy the new magnetic coloured gels in their collection.

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But I will miss being able to do this without having to bring along some clips or taping it down.

Looks like I won’t be giving up on my version one of the barndoors just yet.

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Version two of the grids work really well with the new barndoors. The magnets snap to the doors and also now allow them to be stackable. I could never figure out a way to stack version one of the grids.

Getting these grids separate from the grid holder does mean that they don’t come in a bag. So, I will need to find some way of storing them. Hopefully Profoto will bring out a dedicated storage bag. Which I guess won’t be cheap. 

Tethering with Capture One

It has bugged me recently that when I open up Capture One I haven’t been using all the features. The tethering option stares back at me saying, “why don’t you use me”. So I decided to get myself a Tether Tools cable for my Nikon D850.

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How easy is it to use? It really is as simple as putting one end into the camera.

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And the other into the computer.

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Fire up Capture One and flick the on switch on the camera.

If you do want to try this yourself I highly recommend watching the tutorials on the Capture One YouTube channel to have a better idea of how to set up the software.

I really have no idea if I will ever need to use tethering in a day to day job. For me this is one of those things that is worth knowing how it works just in case I will need to use it for real.

Lee100 Filters – part 3

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Last weekend I was playing around with coloured gels in front of the lights and this weekend I was playing around with coloured filters in front of the lens.

The effect is much more subtle with the filters in front of the lens.

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Depending on the strength of the filter and the gradient there are plenty of options to work with.

Westcott Apollo and Profoto B10

Just had another look to see if I could get my Westcott Apollo softboxes to work with my Profoto B10. They do just about fit. I don’t know what the temperature will be like if you used them for extended period. I would hate to destroy the B10 Plus through over heating.

Profoto B10 with Westcott Apollo Strip

Profoto B10 Plus with Westcott Apollo Strip

Stay at Home – Edition 2

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Playing with colour is something that takes time to practice and understand. It isn’t something you should be finding out what works or doesn’t on a real life job. So now is the perfect time to experiment and learn.

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Time to get mixing with colours.

3 May 2020 I wanted to see if I could use the filters with my Westcott Apollo Strip Softbox 

And the answer is not really. 

The Westcott Apollo series really are just designed for the small flash guns that camera manufacturers make to go with their cameras. When I first tried to put the B10 Plus round the Apollo it was obvious that it was too big. It was hitting the sides of the softbox so was never really going to work. 

With the smaller B10 it does work but the full up and down movement wasn’t really possible. I know that if I used the Profoto OCF gels it would have been a better fit and the barn doors wouldn’t have come crashing down as I disassembled it.

So I’m going to have to look into this a bit more in how I can use these filters in a softbox.

Profoto Control app

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Now that I have two Profoto lights I thought I might as well try out the Profoto Control app.

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One thing I pointed out when I got the B10 was that for video there was no way to set the light to a specific colour temperature on continuous light. But with the app you can. A very smart way to improve functionality by adding it in the app rather than in firmware. 

Will have to see how much I control the lights through my phone now I have the app installed. I can see that it would be useful to change the settings remotely if the unit is all zipped up in a soft box. Guess I now have the option even if I don’t ever open up the app again.

Profoto B10 Plus

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I don’t think I would have got this Profoto B10 Plus if for the foreseeable future staying at home is the right thing to do. There are zero photo shoots in my diary until who knows when. Keeping my skill set up is a must.

Having just one Profoto B10 doesn’t allow me to learn what works with multiple lights. And the only way to learn how to work with multiple lights is to have more than one light.

In an earlier post I went through the reasons why I thought the B10 Plus was the best option. Now I have it in my hands these are my thoughts before really trying it out.

Having the B10 and the B10 Plus side by side makes the larger version seem gigantic.

The extra size and weight might be a factor if the need to travel light is a big factor. But when compared to my 70-200mm f2.8 the B10 Plus isn’t really that much larger.

Putting it on one of my light weight compact stands it doesn’t feel too heavy for it. But with the amount of money I spent on it a heavier stand would be more secure.

Now to spend time taking pictures with both lights.

COVID-19 Stay at Home

While a lot of photographers are now staying home and unable to create their normal images, there have been a few YouTube videos about what to do while at home.

Here are the some of the best:

There are a few take aways after watching these videos. 

First is that doing something that you don’t normally do actually helps your creativity. It forces you to think about things in a different way. Try things that you wouldn’t normally do. This is a good thing.

Second, with more time to think about what you are doing allows us to look at the world around us more closely. Really observe what is happening. How daylight effects objects. Viewing objects at different angles. Most of the time the world is rushing past us but right now we can all slow down and take our time to watch the things around us.

And finally there is time to think about what we are trying to communicate in the images we are creating.