The Profoto D2: Fast, Fantastic Light

Profoto D2 Image

Profoto is well respected for its professional range of studio lights and the Profoto D2 is no exception. The Profoto B1 is a well-known unit which brought TTL, hi-power output, and High-Speed Sync as a battery-powered monolight which works great in any studio. Now the Profoto D2 is aimed at being the fastest monolight around using their AirTTL system.

The on the surface, the difference between the Profoto B1 and the D2 is that the D2 needs to be plugged into the mains or an a/c outlet for the extra wallop of power. The B1 uses a lithium-ion battery making it more portable, but the D1 is aimed at more studio setups.

Design

So what does this new version of the D1 bring to the table? The D1 was a great studio light workhorse, so the D2 has to have some tasty features for people to upgrade. Firstly, being plugged-in means more power and is available in two versions with 500 and 1000 watts, which can be adjusted in 1/10 f-stop increments over a 10 stop range. That’s finer light control than any flash strobe. Burst speed is 20 flashes per second, and the flash duration as fast as 1/63,000 of a second.

Profoto D2 Image

High-Speed Sync goes up to 1/8,000 of a second, AirTTL, TTL or manual modes, a built-in reflector, nice and big rear display, Quartz flashtube option and is compatible with all the Profoto light modifiers. Plenty here to be a one-stop shop as a light source.

Each strobe comes in its own carry case. If you really want to splash out the extra cash, there is a two-light kit with its own case and carry strap. All very well padded to protect your precious lights.

As expected, the build is rock solid, built to last, and the rear screen has more options and features than previous models. The menu system is very simple and straightforward only taking a few minutes to get used to. Other nice features include the handle for easy grabbing and tilting the strobe and the connection point to a light stand is a sturdy as you can get.

Profoto D2 Image

One added feature that is very useful is the Profoto AirTTL or Air wireless system. The receiver is built into the D2, so you only need the Air Remote transmitter for everything to work. These come in either AirTTL or non-TTL versions. The main difference is that the TTL version works with through the lens metering, high-speed sync, and control of the power for Nikon (TTL-N for Nikon) and Canon ( TTL-C for Canon) cameras. Unfortunately, this means that smaller brands have been omitted. The other system works via a standard hot shoe. Mirrorless cameras are left out of the game here.

In Use

One of the reasons to invest in a studio strobe is not just for the power output but also the duration of the flash. A faster flash means a faster shutter speed is possible. This essentially means that you have more leeway in being able to freeze the action.

Compare this to a regular flashgun or built-in flash. A basic flash is 1/60th of a second. In High-Speed Sync mode, it can be somewhere between 1/200th and 1/320th of a second. A flash at the speed of 1/8,000 of a second will be capable of capturing even the fastest of movements along with completely overpowering all the ambient light. All the above basically means that the D2 has the most flexibility to work in any situation where a normal flashgun just can’t keep up.

With so much light power on tap and sync speeds as fast as you like, the D2 makes capturing the moment a breeze. Falling objects or blowing hair are captured in sharp focus and most importantly the quality of light is spot on every time. As it’s so easy to overpower ambient light, color correcting is made easier in postprocessing.

Unless the scene doesn’t need it, there are a few light modifiers available, such as the Profoto Magnum Reflector, that will help soften and focus the light.

How Does the Profoto D2 Compare?

Even just a few years ago a Profoto strobe would have been the obvious choice in studio lighting for those who wanted the ultimate in flexibility and power. There are now more options on the market from cheaper brands, such as Godox, which on the surface do the same thing but at a cheaper price point. The Godox AD600 has 600 watts of power and is much cheaper than the D2.

Godox products work very well and produce a nice quality of light, but the Profoto has the edge in quality for both build and light. This means that if you’re going to be using a studio strobe on a daily basis for years to come, then the Profoto will give you the peace of mind that it will keep pumping out the quality, year after year.

 Profoto D2 Godox AD600
Power 500-1000W 600W
ETTL AirTTL TTL
Modeling Lamp Yes Yes
Weight 6.6lbs 5.8lbs

Conclusion

It’s really no wonder that Profoto has such a good reputation when it comes to studio strobes. The D2 is an excellent choice across-the-board and does everything you need for a studio strobe. Profoto also has loads of light modifiers which easily fit onto the D2.

So as long as you’re a Canon or Nikon user, the D2 could be the ultimate studio strobe. The only real downside is the cost. The D2 is by no means cheap, but you have to factor into the cost that this thing will last years, and it’s rugged enough to take the knocks of everyday use and keep on going. If you’ve got the cash, definitely pick up the Profoto D2.

The Review

Profoto D2

10
From renowned manufacturer Profoto comes the Profoto D2, a sturdy, well designed, workhouse of a monolight. Though expensive, this light gives you a crisp flash at any speed leaving even the fastest of movements frozen in time. Highly recommended for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Pros

  • Solid build
  • Tons of power
  • Any flash speed you like

Cons

  • Price
  • Large unit

Review Breakdown

Design

Performance

Light

Quality

Price

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