About six months ago I made a fairly significant equipment transition. I had been using Speedotron Strobes for over 20 years. They are tanks! Built strong to last long! And indeed they did. I had used the same 2 packs and 6 heads with only the occasional repair (maybe half a dozen in 20 years) and they functioned for the most part, flawlessly! They got tossed around and “handled” by baggage handlers and generally treated like the big bricks they were, and consistently performed.
But some of the reflectors and other accessories were starting to show their age. So I went into Samy’s to purchase some replacement parts and to spruce up the system. I walked out with something a little different.
Since going completely digital about five years ago, I had occasionally noticed inconsistencies in the flash intensity from frame to frame. This was not a result of firing before the unit was fully recharged, but rather that the packs were just not consistent. My guru over at Samy’s proceeded to tell me that in the days of film these inconsistencies were less likely to show up or even be noticeable if they did because of the latitude of film vs. the rather precise nature of digital. I rather think that we just did not have the ability to “flip back and forth” between images like we can now do with digital. Either way the inconsistencies were starting to bother me.
I had over the past 3 or 4 years toyed with the idea of moving into a new strobe system, but strangely enough got talked out of it every time. Mostly by those who would be selling me the new system!
Well this time was different! Ken (aka Samy’s guru) introduced me to the (at the time) fairly new Profoto D4 system. It did not take a lot of effort on his part to sell me on this new system! It was a combination of several factors that made it somewhat of a slam-dunk sale.
1. Consistency. These packs are said to be some of the most stable / consistent packs on the market.
2. Size / Weight These VERY WELL DESIGNED packs are significantly smaller and lighter that my good `ol Speedo’s! Now in reality this was more of a selling point for my assistants than it was for me… but they did thank me!
3. Built in Pocket Wizard! I cannot tell you how many Pocket Wizard cables have one missing. Not any more!
4. My favorite – All four sockets are 100% independent of each other and variable over a 10 stop range in 1/10th of a stop increments! How nice is that!!!
There are a lot of other bells and whistles on these puppies but that was enough to sell me. I must say that there are a lot of cool attachments for this system as well. Trust me I have already purchased too many of them!
My big beef is the grid spot integration; not very good at all and I use a lot of grid spots. And if you buy their grids, which are of course a different size than most others, firstly you will pay MORE for one grid than you would for a set of four from most others. Then you would also only have three to choose from rather than four that most others offer.
Other than this I am very pleased with the new system and also very happy knowing that my old Speedo’s are still out there helping someone else make a ton of great images!
Currently we are “packing”:
2 – D4 2400R Packs
6 – Acute/D4 Heads
1 – Acute/D4 Ring w/ softlight reflector
1 – StickLight (very cool!)
Plus all of the obligatory reflectors, umbrellas, softboxes, grids, head extension cables, etc. etc. etc.