Profoto D1 Air 500/500 Kit Mini Review

Profoto

If I had a few spare Gs to throw around I would totally buy the Profoto D1 Air Kit. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet) right now, I can only rent it for gigs but each time I do, I’m always calculating how many jobs until I can pay this off. Heh.

Here’s a quick run down of my thoughts of these bad boys:

Pros:

  • It’s way too much fun to use! Knobs to increase or decrease light intensity quickly! Wowzers. A wireless controller! Yippeeee. Various types of light shaping tools by profoto. Too much potential nerding…ahhhhhhh *brain explodes*
  • The light quality is much better and more consistent than hot shoe flashes.
  • No miss-fires. Okay maybe 1/100 if you are a bit trigger happy.
  • The air controller, which is part of the kit is super useful. No need to buy separate (and expensive) pocket wizards to trigger the monolights, simply attach the controller to the hot shoe of your camera and you have full wireless controls over the lights.
  • You look like a pro! These lights are compact but have the presence of looking like you know what your doing which allows you more time during shoots to fiddle around with settings without the subjects getting too antsy/bored.
  • Everything fits nice and tidy in the included bag.
  • The lights are able to be rotate almost all the way around (except straight up it seems like) which is super useful for dance photography.
  • There is a mode called “model light” which allows you to have a consistent light on your subject. Great for testing and positioning the lights as it cuts down on the trial and error.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • It’s fun to use! So you end up wanting to buy one.
  • The wireless controller is a bit big.
  • The kit umbrellas are pretty much next to useless. Use other profoto lightshaping tools instead such as the beauty dish.
  • It’s pretty darn heavy so you’ll need a car to drive it around places.
  • The included stands aren’t the sturdiest I’ve ever used so there were some close calls with people falling into the stands (don’t ask) and tipping it over. Make sure to sandbag the stands so it stays rooted or in a pinch, everyone’s dance bags ;-)
  • What the heck is that high pitched sound emanating from the lights? Maybe it was just the one I rented from Vistek but it was a bit annoying when you don’t have background music/noise.
  • Pretty darn expensive. Did I say that one yet?

The Profoto D1 Air is a really expensive toy, unless of course you can figure out how to make money with it. Then it’s definitely worth it. I’m not there yet myself, but let me know if you think it’s worth it (or not) if you are using it. Maybe there are better lights out there?

Right now I can’t justify the costs but there is a stark difference in light quality of the pictures I have taken with this versus my small flash SBs from Nikon. I’ll have to do some excel benefit/cost analysis tracking this year as this potential purchase doesn’t fall underneath the “impulse camera toys” category. :-)

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