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Thinking about buying a ringlight - revisited
Old 10-28-2003, 04:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Even though I understand you bought a ringlight, I thought I would answer a couple of your questions and made this a new post so it wouldn't get lost since I figure most people have moved on. First, the difference between the Profoto ringlights is simple. The Profoto ringlight uses a 1000volt flashtube, the Acute 2 (made by Profoto) uses a 500volt flashtube. Aside from a minor wiring variation, they are identical and use the same accessories. BUT... that voltage thing can cost you if you don't use the correct voltage power pack. Being heavily invested in Norman power packs (its an old LA thing) and having access to a great strobe tech, I bought a like-new Acute 2. Since my Normans are 900volts, the tech was able to rewire the unit and swap out the flashtube (for a small charge - it was barely used, so he could resell it) to give me a Profoto ringlight in a Acute 2 housing. Not recommended if you don't know what you're doing. Theoretically, with the right adapter and appropriate voltage power pack, you could use any pack with any ringflash. The problem with using a higher voltage pack with a lower voltage flash is that it burns out the very expensive flashtube about 25-50% faster. So yes, the Acute 2 ringlight should work on a Acute power pack, but not necessarily a Profoto pack - check with Profoto or a good tech.

Second, (ease of use) they are clumsy to hand-hold, and since the exposure is manual only, the flash-to-subject distance must be constant or your exposures are all over the place. I use a tripod whether I'm in 2 1/4 (RZ-67) or 35mm, in which case I use a 70-210mm zoom. I also use the accessory refector which softens the light a bit, but does make accessing the lens for zoom control a little bit of a hassle. Don't know any other way though.

This is a very efficient light, you won't need more than 800ws probably (@ 100asa), although they can handle up to 2400ws if memory serves me. I personally have never used more than 1600ws, but that was on the RZ where I wanted maxmum DOF.

The attached shot was done in 35mm with the exact setup I've described. No other light source or reflectors. The beauty of the light is its evenness on the face, the falloff toward the edges, the color saturation, and that nifty edging (you have to keep the model within a couple feet of the background to get that effect). Also, when doing standing shots, keep the camera level with the chest or face on the model since there is a hot spot at the closest point where the light meets the model, then falls off. This also depends on how close you are - the closer you are, the more noticible the hot spot.

BTW, some photographers, like Playboy, use the ringlight as a fill, to kill facial shadows in otherwise lit shots. (The also use spotlights or grids). You can experient since there are no rules.



This shot of Jana Speaker was done for a calendar called (are you ready) "Babes With Balls". The whole calendar was done on 35mm Velvia with ringlight and can be purchased in stores now (don't ask, I have none to sell). I'll post a couple others if anyone's interested.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio

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Still waiting for it to arrive
Old 10-28-2003, 03:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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B&H called to verify the order on Sunday. Called them back, got their voice mail, left the info but haven't heard back from them. No e-mail, nothing. Called today, recording said they were having computer problems :-(

I did some digging on Profoto Acute power packs. I didn't consider the Pro 7 or D series at all, I'm just a hobbiest and that's too much money for me to spend.

In the Acute series there are a couple of product revisions.

The Acute Alfa was the first, it's been discontinued for about 2 years, parts are still available.

The Acute was the second revision and it is discontinued.

The Acute 2 & 2R is the current product. The R has a built in pocket wizard.

The Acute E is still in production and is evidently an "economy" version. Even though it's listed as current, it seems like nobody carries it. I gather it was only available as a kit or something? I'm not certain. It's listed on profoto's web site as being in production.

Acute heads works on any Acute generator, but are not interchangeable with Pro 7 series stuff. Evidently due to the voltage differences you mention in your post.

I picked up a Acute 600 E (demo) power pack from B&H for $499. I thought that wasn't a bad price.

I'm still concerned about ease of use. The head weighs over 5 pounds. With my camera and 70-200 f2.8 lens it's going to be pretty heavy for hand held use with a 35mm camera held at eye level.

What I was thinking about doing is making a table for exposure, if I'm 6' - 8' I should use f8 or 8 - 10 f 6.7 etc. I figure that would be easier than re-metering each time, especially without an assistant to help.

I'm hoping I can do this without a tripod, but I the best way to find out is to play.

Have a shoot set for Sunday, I'm hoping it comes before then.

Thanks to all who replied. I'll post some pics when I get them.
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Re: Thinking about buying a ringlight - revisited
Old 10-28-2003, 04:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i saw your calander in the mall at 7.99 no less...plan to get it friday...:P
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Re: Thinking about buying a ringlight - revisited
Old 10-28-2003, 05:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks! While you're at it, buy all of them for friends .

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: Still waiting for it to arrive
Old 10-28-2003, 05:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I know nothing about the Profoto stuff other than what I've already said. You should contact Profoto and ask them if you don't feel you're getting good info from B&H or your local shop, or visit the Photo Plus Expo in NY this week. I'm sure they'll have reps at the show.

I will reiterate one thing I said - I would not suggest trying to hand-hold the unit unless you have a big bottle of Ibuprofen handy. Not only is whole rig going to be heavy, it does not balance in your hand easily, adjusting the zoom will be awkward, and as I said, you need to keep a constant distance between you (the light source) and the subject. Your exposure table is a good idea (some people use a string with knots tied every f-stop) but if you have it on a tripod you can use a flashmeter, either wired or with a wireless transmitter (you should have more than one, so one stays on the camera while one is used for metering). If you have a zoom like mine (Tamron 70-210mm) it has a rotating collar with a tripod mount. This allows you to rotate the camera body inside the ringlight housing to get verticals and horizontals without having to always readjust the tripod.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio

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Re: Still waiting for it to arrive
Old 10-28-2003, 10:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Andy,

Or have really really really huge hands....lol.. I actually hand hold a profoto ringflash..but always have to remember to stay on the same plane while shooting...usually a piece of tape across the floor...just never been able to get accustomed to a tripod...
But then again I can palm a basketball with room to spare...


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Wimpy, wimpy wimpy
Old 10-28-2003, 10:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I say this with all honesty, and I must either be a really strong fellow, or too distracted by my subject, but I shot almost 300 photos in one sitting with my Profto Ringlight, D1x, 28-70 2.8S and the weight never bothered me.

My biggest concern was not tripping over the cord and the pc cord.

I consider it more cumbersome than heavy, but have really enjoyed it and think it has been one of my better investments.

Mark
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Re: Wimpy, wimpy wimpy
Old 10-28-2003, 11:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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OMG HES ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!



Good to see you back...hang around more *s*


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Re: Wimpy, wimpy wimpy
Old 10-29-2003, 04:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I would suggest getting a wireless system to get rid of the PC cord. I use Wein infareds, but others like radio slaves. Either will untether you.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Wireless sync
Old 10-29-2003, 12:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I thought about getting a wireless setup, but I figured I'm teathered to the power pack already. Given that, would it still be worth it?
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