On April 2, Profoto will release the latest addition to the popular D1 Studio Kit series. The new kit is called D1 Studio Kit 3 Heads. As the names suggests, it includes 3 D1 monolights. 2 softboxes, 2 speedrings, 1 grid, 1 Air Remote, 3 stands and power cables are also included. The D1 monolights are available in 250, 500 and 1,000 Ws versions.
Here at the office, we consider it a powerful, versatile and portable kit that is very easy to use. But it goes without saying that we are used to our own gear. To get a fresh perspective on things, we asked Stockholm-based photographer Joe Sundelin to try out our new kit. Joe is an experienced and skilled portrait photographer. However, he usually favors speedlights over strobes, and he has never used Profoto equipment before.
Joe picked up the kit on Friday. He tried it out during the weekend. He brought it with him to a real assignment the following week, and by the end of the week, he returned it to us.
What was your first impression of the kit, Joe?
“That it is incredibly easy to use. It wasn’t the first time I used monolights, but it was the first time I used one from Profoto, and I still managed to figure out how to use them in a minute.”
Are you talking about the actual knobs and switches?
“Yes. Getting them to provide the light that I was looking for.”
I know that you usually shoot with speedlights. What would you say is the greatest difference between your speedlights and the D1 monolights?
“First of all, there’s the incredible consistency. You just don’t get that with a speedlight. Then there’s the speed. It’s almost scary. It felt as if the lights recycled faster than I could press the release button. Those were the first two things that I noticed. It took a while before I started using the Air Remote. On several occasions, I reached for the lights, just to realize that I was holding the remote in my hand. But as soon as I started using it, it saved me a lot of time and energy. And this is going to sound a bit silly, but in the end, the Air Remote is actually what really got me hooked!”
What kind of shoot did you bring the kit to?
“I had been asked to photograph an actor named Jan-Einar Tintom Nomell. This year it’s exactly 100 years since the death of Swedish playwright and author August Strindberg, and to celebrate him, a number of plays will be performed. Jan-Einar plays the lead role in one of them, and I was asked to shoot a series of promotional portraits of him at the Van der Nootska Palace in Stockholm. Which is a really nice place, I might add…”
And you weren’t reluctant to bring new equipment with you to a real assignment?
“Well, I did try them out at home first, just to make sure that I knew how to fire them. But as I said before, it was a piece of cake. I instantly felt confident using them, which is quite a commendation for you guys!”
What was it like using the kit on-location?
“There’s no elevator at the Van der Nootska Palace, and to be honest, it was a bit tricky to get the equipment upstairs. After all, there is quite a lot in the kit. However, as soon as I reached the top floor, everything went smooth from there on. The monolights themselves are really small and handy, and I actually ended up putting them inside the windows – with stands and everything.
“I wanted to catch the sunlight coming through the windows. But as it turned out, it was grey all that day. I had to improvise.”
Did you feel that you had enough power?
“Definitely. They D1’s are incredibly powerful. The kit I borrowed had one 1,000 and two 500 Ws monolights, and I believe I dialed all three of them down by 5-7 f-stops. Then again, it’s really simple to adjust the output. Turn the dial to change it by 1/10 f-stop. Press and turn for 1 f-stop. To me, that’s more control than I could even ask for. I’m usually not that picky!”
In this case, you used the kit to shoot a series of portraits. Can you think of any other applications?
“Considering the wide power range, I believe you can do almost anything with it. If I had used the monolights at the highest settings, I’d have enough power for some really nice interior shots of the palace. No problem. And I told you that I spent the weekend messing around with the lights, right? Well, while doing that, I took a series of product shots that turned out very nice too.”
Finally, is there anything missing in the kit?
“No, not really. Well, I really liked the grid. It was incredibly easy to snap on, and as you can see, I used it to highlight Jan-Einar’s face in some of the portraits. I think I’d like it if there had been yet another grid in it.”
You can buy more girds separately.
See more of Joe Sundelin’s work at his website.
If you want to learn more about the D1 monolight, click here.
Written by Fredrik Franzén
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