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Author Topic: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.  (Read 2398 times)

zineevo

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Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« on: May 28, 2017, 04:57:33 AM »

Currently I'm using mainly Profoto Pro-B4's for my work. They are awesome pieces and work very well.
However since a few months, we try to travel lighter for assignments and sometimes our equipment takes up too much space where we need to shoot.

So we are looking for a better solution.
The B1's and B2 are not working for us, and when it comes to other brands, Broncolor is the only solution.

So we tested the Bron Move1200L with mobiLED and some accessories. We are impressed!
The build quality is very good - but not as "bad ass" as the B4 from Profoto. But it's about 3.5kg lighter and a bit smaller. Also the heads are smaller.

One important point is money, when I want to add another battery-generator + 2 heads, it costs me about 12'500$ (where I live) for Profoto and about 7'600$ for Broncolor which is a HUGE difference.
Also the accessories for Bron are cheaper.

My questions to the community:
- How's the long-time reliability on broncolor gear?
- Are there any things I've missed on the move pack?
- General feedback / issues / or pro's to broncolor?

One thing I need to say: Where I live we have excellent service for Profoto AND Broncolor, so that's not an issue.
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UlfKrentz

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2017, 10:28:41 AM »

In general the long time reliability of broncolor gear is considered excellent, that said the Move has not been around for decades but it is working as expected so far.

The Move is kind of a mini Scoro, it uses a similar design to cut off the flash (for sharper images / shorter flash duration) and stabilize the color temperature over the entire power range. It also has a speed mode when even shorter flash duration is required. It will allow you to use all heads of the broncolor range with the only limitation of the modeling light. They probably did not want to cannibalize their studio packs. I suggest to take a deeper look into their product line and see if it fits your needs.

If both systems are well supported in your region it will probably boil down to personal preference and maybe the amount of light shapers and accessories you already own for your actual system. Both manufacturers sell cutting edge equipment, broncolor recently also targeting a broader market and being more price aggressive doesnīt make them a second choice.

zineevo

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2017, 01:25:48 PM »

In general the long time reliability of broncolor gear is considered excellent, that said the Move has not been around for decades but it is working as expected so far.

The Move is kind of a mini Scoro, it uses a similar design to cut off the flash (for sharper images / shorter flash duration) and stabilize the color temperature over the entire power range. It also has a speed mode when even shorter flash duration is required. It will allow you to use all heads of the broncolor range with the only limitation of the modeling light. They probably did not want to cannibalize their studio packs. I suggest to take a deeper look into their product line and see if it fits your needs.

If both systems are well supported in your region it will probably boil down to personal preference and maybe the amount of light shapers and accessories you already own for your actual system. Both manufacturers sell cutting edge equipment, broncolor recently also targeting a broader market and being more price aggressive doesnīt make them a second choice.

That's good to hear :)
There are some PROs and CONs when comparing Profoto to Broncolor, that's for sure. For example, I hate the mounting system for softboxes etc. - but the size and weight makes up for it.

Broncolor has all the lightshapers I need, except a middle-sized octabox - but that's also not a problem, because I use softboxes from many different manufactures.

The things I worry the most are the reliability and bullet-proofness of broncolor. My Pro-B4s can handle almost everything and are very hard to destroy. One thing less to worry about on a shoot.
But of course, that means bigger size and higher weight...
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FelixWu

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 08:17:49 PM »

The B4 seems twice as robust as the Move to me just by looking st the rubber around the generator body. While the compactness and lighter weight is a huge plus for the Move it suffers from noticeably slower recycling speed.

B4 lacks HSS and uses old tech. Auto dumb is just feature on paper but it's useless in real use. It also does not have full asymmetric output control.

Would like to hear what don't you like about the b1?
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UlfKrentz

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2017, 05:08:45 AM »

Not sure on the less robust construction. There has been a direct comparison a while ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4FT8wGgDl4

FelixWu

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2017, 10:48:52 AM »

B4 is so rugged compared to the thin protection of the Move. Not sure if Move can survive any impact/drop. B4 certainly can.
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gazwas

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2017, 05:41:40 PM »

Not sure if Move can survive any impact/drop.

??? Is this through the voice of experience ???

People who mistreat and drop their gear usually rent and the main reason why Profoto gear is built like an old steam train is their biggest customers are rental houses.

For all the gear I have ever purchased I have never ever dropped a pack. They travel bagged up, are wheeled onto set and unpacked and they just sit around on the floor all day only rarely moving between set ups. Stands however topple all the time and I think a more appropriate measure of robustness should be when looking at the heads. Having used Acute and Pro heads from Profoto and Pulso, Unilite and MobiLED from broncolor I'd say its very much equal and both systems more than stand up to the demands of regular professional use.

As a location pack the Pro-B4 is a beast and the Move is a much easier system to travel with.
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FelixWu

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2017, 10:54:42 PM »

??? Is this through the voice of experience ???
Indeed. I hung a B4 on a regular light stand (knob at the bottom section) but it slipped and hit the concrete floor. The pack was intact. Perhaps the move could also survive the drop but I am not confident about it.
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gazwas

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2017, 03:32:04 PM »

Perhaps the move could also survive the drop but I am not confident about it.

An assumption then rather than an actual negative experience with the broncolor's construction.

I just think talking about dropping power packs is just a wild comment. It just rarely happens in my experience. My current broncolor kit just like my Profoto gear before it has survived long haul flights, London transport, rolled in a case over lumpy cobbled streets and my terrible driving. To this day I've never had issues with reliability on either brand.

The one that offer the right features and system is the one to choose rather than the one that survives the iPhone style drop test or "does it blend" treatment.  ;)
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aztwang

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2017, 07:22:34 PM »

Very interesting comments to say the least. I shoot all Broncolor. I used to be a Profoto man. Now to cover all the bases, both are excellent systems
and do what they are intended to do (This should keep the creepers away..LOL)
So i had 6 D1's and 2 B4 packs along with the heads. My first big fail with the B4 is the packs are not fully asymmetric. They set them up to some weird division of power which made no sense to me. I wanted to be able to have 2 separate channels available to mimic each other or to set them to a power level all their own. Then I discovered the Para's which seemed very intriguing, this is where I was introduced to the Move 1200L packs and no matter how I compared them the Move was always on top. Much less expensive, much lighter, smaller, fully asymmetrical and to top if off the whole 2 head kit came with a few nice accessories including a roller case. I sold most everything and now own 2 Move 2 light kits, a Scoro S pack and may add another Scoro and a couple of Siros L''s in the future.
The Move packs have been great, no failures except for a broken connector piece on the pack where your light plugs in. Ive knocked over a stand a couple of times and broke the protective dome but the flash tubes are still working and NO I have never dropped a pack. I shoot MF and have not done the HSS conversion on the pack but from what I understand it works great.
For what I saved even after selling the B4's used I was able to almost fund my first Para88. Thats a different story and IMHO the best portrait modifiers out there as you get so many different looks and skin has never looked so beautiful when fully in the outward position!
I still like Profoto's mount better than Brons but thats about it. Broncolors customer service is terrific! Solomon is the guy to talk to in NY and will bend over
backwards for you.
Good luck with your decision...They are both great systems!

Cheers

Don
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2017, 08:08:27 PM »

My current broncolor kit just like my Profoto gear before it has survived... London transport...

That indeed may be the toughest tests of all! It's also a miracle it didn't get lost btw... ;)

I am really tempted by the Para 88, I'll probably start by adapting it to my existing Proto moonlights, although I am a bit concerned about how well the recessed flash tubes will behave on the para.

Cheers,
Bernard
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UlfKrentz

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2017, 04:40:39 PM »

The Para88 is a a nice tool. AFAIK broncolor also offers a mount for Profoto. The downside is, the Para 88 is very front heavy even with just a head inside, with a mono Iīd expect it to be even more pronounced. Ideally you want a light and small head in there, a non recessed flash tube will be better in the focussed position. This is actually where Briese shines, dividing the head and the lamp results in a good balanced system and you donīt have the black center. Unfortunately another ballpark price wise. Cheers!

Conner999

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2017, 10:19:52 AM »

I've tried our Para 88 with a B2 - it's sub optimal to say the least. Due to the recessed tube, you need to add app. a 6" extender onto the para's lamp pin to get the light further out to fully flood the para.   With a Bx/Dx, you'd be placing a metric $%^ton of weight pretty far out on that rod when extended to full 'flood' .  It can be done, but I'd never advocate it.

The other issue with a recessed head is the inherent 'focused' nature it gives the light at any setting given the 70 deg light spread vs. 180 deg of an old style Profoto (or Bron). With a classic head, you can modify the spread with cinefoil, but a B2 cant take a dome and the Bx/Dx domes only approximate the 180deg spread of a classic head. Still not great for large modifiers.

We had a bunch of B1s, D1s and a B2 along with Acute kits until we sold all our recessed tube units to standardize on AcuteBs and ProB2s (and a couple of older Compacts).  The recessed units weren't great for some uses (such as the Para, BDs and large boxes) and the eclectic mix of lights made juggling lights vs. modifiers for any given shoot a PITA.   A (now) cheaper-than-chips old Acute 1200/2400, AcuteB kit or 7B / ProB2 unit is a perfect fit for the para w/o undue weight and handling issues from front-heavy handling with  modest cost.

The only downside to an classic  (or any) Profoto lamp in a Para is there's no ability to mount the head from the rear (like in a deep octa) as the Bron mount is too narrow a diameter to take any DIY adapter.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 10:24:14 AM by Conner999 »
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FelixWu

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2017, 07:13:51 AM »

Quote
My first big fail with the B4 is the packs are not fully asymmetric. They set them up to some weird division of power which made no sense to me. I wanted to be able to have 2 separate channels available to mimic each other or to set them to a power level all their own.
That together with "auto dump" are probably the biggest deceptive specs Profoto has made with b4. You can divide output equally but just not at full power. In practice it has zero impact though as if I need high output I would use two separate packs. Auto-dump is practically useless.
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FelixWu

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2017, 07:21:06 AM »

The only downside to an classic  (or any) Profoto lamp in a Para is there's no ability to mount the head from the rear (like in a deep octa) as the Bron mount is too narrow a diameter to take any DIY adapter.
It's true. But why use an expensive para like a cheap reflector? Haha.
I doubt b2 with extended arm would work because the light path travel may not be so "parabolic" vs regular focus positions?
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Conner999

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2017, 08:29:41 AM »

Agree on using para as a DO, but the added flex is nice. I've used the para 88 with a B2 w/extension and it fills the para with light, but it's no different than using a B2 with say a deep umbrella - all fwd biased. It's the underutilization of a costly modifier (para).
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StoryinPictures

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2017, 06:28:11 PM »


Is there a reason Elinchrom is not on your list?

The Ranger Speed RX AS has 1100 WS and has a very strong reputation for being robust in the action sports community. It is also significantly lighter weight than Profoto's B4. The selection of light modifiers is excellent (many convert Elinchrom modifiers for use on Profoto).

Michael Clark reports that action sports shooters convert from Profoto to Elinchrom because the Elinchrom is more robust.

Elinchrom is on the verge of releasing a new version of the Ranger, the ELB 1200, which looks promising but which hasn't a track record.

The down sides with Elinchrom are the connection system, which could be better, and lack of rental support in the US. I think rental support is better in Europe.

The Ranger Speed RX AS uses lead acid batteries, like the B4, but either is easily upgraded to more modern batteries. The new Elinchrom is updated.
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FelixWu

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2017, 07:05:43 AM »

The Ranger Speed RX AS uses lead acid batteries, like the B4, but either is easily upgraded to more modern batteries. The new Elinchrom is updated.
B4 uses lithium batteries.
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calindustries

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2017, 10:57:51 AM »

I have had Ranger Speed RXAS system for many years with no issues. I even have profoto heads that were converted to elinchrom cables so I could use the profoto shapers I already had at the time. I have also converted the whole kit to lithium batteries for both weight and longevity improvements. I had considered selling it off to get all Move for my location kit when I converted my studio lights to Broncolor 2 years ago but I couldn't justify the cost I would have incurred to do so. The flash duration with the speed heads is pretty damn good and they alway work. I've used Moves and do like a lot of the system but still had some radio issues with them that I NEVER have with the elinchrom/pocketwizard. I probably have less than 6k into my elinchrom kit (2 packs/three heads/extensions/ringlight/shapers/3 lithium upgraded batteries/profoto conversion and it does everything I need it to do for location. I don't like that the model light is only on for 10 seconds, but for most applications I use it for it's outside where the model doesn't play anyway. I don't like that it's only a 2:1 ratio for the pack, but I rarely have 2 heads in a pack so it's mostly a non factor. Other than that you can beat the SH*t out of them and they work. I've had them around the world multiple times. I've had them in rain. I've had them in mud. They work.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 11:01:02 AM by calindustries »
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elundqvist_photo

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Re: Broncolor Move or Profoto B4 - Reliability / Service etc.
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2017, 04:57:06 AM »

Have you looked at any Godox alternatives? I bought Elinchrom ELB400 last year for my "on the move" kit, but I am not thinking I overspent. There's a lot of noise about the Godox 600 series at the moment. Looks like it might not have the same color consistency you can expect from the big brands, but it costs a fraction of the price.
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