OCF Modifier Review | Matt Korinek - Photographer

OCF Modifier Review

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Before I get started – Happy Canada day to everyone back home!

When Profoto announced their range of new Off-Camera Flash (OCF) Modifiers, it was overshadowed by the simultaneous announcement of the amazing B2.

It’s too bad because they’ve done a great job of designing effective, lightweight modifiers to go with their OCF family.

Profoto OCF Modifier Review

Profoto OCF Modifier Review | Matt Korinek - Photographer

What’s new

Here’s what Profoto came up with:

All of these OCF modifiers were made available to me when Michaels’ hire department loaned me their B2 kit except for the 2×3′ and 1.3×1.3′ Softboxes and grids.

I tried everything I was given other than the OCF Snoot. I’ll talk about the Light Shapers I tried in this Profoto OCF Modifier review.


Pros and Cons

OCF Barndoors

Pros Cons
  • Lightweight (256 g / 9.0 oz)
  • Quick and easy to adjust
  • Easy to rotate
  • Can be used with the OCF Grid kit
  • Somewhat hard to mount (at least the first couple times)
  • Some light can spill between the blades
  • Can only be used with Profoto strobes that have a LED modelling light

Buy your OCF Barndoors from B&H to support this site >

Profoto B2 Hands On | Behind the Scenes | Matt Korinek - Photographer

In this shot I used the OCF Barndoors to flag (block) light from hitting Paul and the pillar to the right while still lighting up the metal and rivets in the ceiling.

I can see how Barndoors can be useful in certain situations however for the type of imagery I shoot, I can see myself using some of the other OCF Modifiers more. Still I wanted to give the Barndoors a try when I was testing the Profoto B2.

OCF Grid Kit

Profoto OCF Grid Kit Sizes | Matt Korinek - Photographer

30 degrees (left), 20 degrees (middle) and 10 degrees (right).

Pros Cons
  • Extremely Lightweight (70 g / 2.5 oz)
  • Quick to change grids and attach
  • Integrated gel clips (I’m not sure how they work yet)
  • Can be used with the OCF Snoot and Barndoors
  • Grid degrees are hard to read (see below)
  • Can only be used with Profoto strobes that have a LED modelling light

Buy your OCF Grid Kit from B&H to support this site >

Profoto OCF Grid Issue | Matt Korinek - Photographer

Where branding becomes more important that usability.

Sure you can see how many degrees this grid is when I crop in, but look at the image at the top of this blog post; not so easy!

It’s too bad that Profoto made their own name and the word “grid” thicker and left the number of degrees a thin outline. Profoto should have asked themselves which of those three pieces of information are most important?

I know which one I think will rub off the fastest (hint: it’s the one that’s the most important too).

It’s not a huge deal for an experienced photographer, but it can make things difficult for an inexperienced assistant.

OCF Speed Ring

Pros Cons
  • Lightweight (218 g / 7.7 oz)
  • Colour coded rod holes for easy set up
  • New 2-step rod tightening process makes set up quicker and easier
  • Not as robust at the regular Profoto mount
  • Can only be used with Profoto strobes that have a LED modelling light

Buy your OCF Speed Ring from B&H to support this site >

OCF Softboxes and Grids

Pros Cons
  • Lightweight (Profoto hasn’t shared actual weights)
  • Integrated diffusion layer for faster set up
  • Grids are quick to set up with simple and small velcro attachment
  • Rods are colour coded for use with OCF Speedring
  • Single diffusion layer (many high-end modifiers have double layer diffusion)
  • Integrated diffusion layer means there’s less light shaping options than if it were separate
  • Grids only come in one spread (50 degrees)
  • Can only be used with Profoto strobes that have a LED modelling light

Buy your OCF Softboxes from B&H to support this site >

Going Solo with the Profoto B2 | Behind the Scenes | Matt Korinek - Photographer

I used Profoto OCF 2′ Octa and 1×3′ Strip Softboxes with Grids for my shoot with Sammie (Vicious Models)

Softbox/Speedring System

While reviewing the Profoto B2, I tried both the 2′ Octa and the 1×3′ Softbox with and without grids. Together OCF Softboxes and the OCF speedring are designed to be set up quickly and easily; a big improvement for Profoto.

I remember being at a Profoto dealer (I won’t mention which one) and asking about how quick the regular RFi softboxes are to set up, because I was looking for a quick and easy on-location solution (this was before the OCF modifiers were announced). It took two people and way too much time to break down the 1×4′ Strip Softbox. I imagine an Octa would be even harder/slower.

I ended up getting an Elinchrom Rotalux Octa because they’re know for being great on location. The rods are always attached to the speeding using an easy snap lock system that allows it to be set up quickly.

How does the Elinchrom system compare to the new Profoto OCF system?

Elinchrom Rotalux vs Profoto OCF

Profoto Elinchrom
Rod set up speed Pretty fast and very easy using the new OCF speeding with colour coded rods and 2-step tightening process. Fast and mostly easy (except with the largest Octas) based on a snap lock system integrated into the speedring.
Diffuser Fabric Integrated for faster set up, but less light shaping capabilities. Detachable diffuser fabrics make set up take longer, but opens the door to more light shaping possibilities.
Speedring Separate item that is lightweight (218 g) and easy to mount using the Profoto rubber clamp. Since it is a separate item, you only need as many speedrings as you have flash heads, decreasing the overall weight of your kit if you have multiple modifiers. Integrated, lightweight (263 g) speedring with Elinchrom mount that isn’t as easy or fast as Profoto. Since it is integrated, each additional modifier you have will add this weight. You can buy Elinchrom to Profoto adapters but that adds weight or a Rotalux Profoto Speedring.
Size/Shape Options Four shapes in only one size each for the initial launch. For example there is only one Octa and it is 2′ in diameter. If you want anything larger you’re out of luck at the moment unless you go to the sturdier, heavier and harder to set up Profoto RFi collection. Elinchrom’s Portalite collection is small, but its Rotalux collection includes many sizes and shapes that are great for on-location photography.
Accessories Easy and quick mounting 50 degree grids for all the Sofboxes. No other accessories at this time. Hoods, strip diffusers and grids for some Softboxes (not all) and defectors that can be used with all Softboxes. Grid don’t denote spread size (degrees) on their website. Additional grids that Elinchrom doesn’t make can be bought from Lighttools.

As you can see, it’s not a clearcut decision. You need to decide what is more important based on the work you do.

If absolute speed and weight are the most important considerations, then Profoto is probably your best bet. Elinchrom isn’t that much slower and heavier however so either could be a good choice.

If you need a good on location Octa that’s bigger than 2′ or want to be able to add multiple accessories to shape the light differently, then you have to go with Elinchrom as Profoto doesn’t have a solution for you.

Profoto HSS System | B1 + Air Remote

Profoto is yet to make a lightweight but large modifier option for their OCF system. So if you want it big and quick to set up, Elinchrom is a good choice.

Final Thoughts

Overall I think Profoto has done a good job designing a set of modifiers (or Light Shapers as they call them) to compliment to new B1 and B2 Off-Camera Flash. They’re lightweight, easy to set up and work great for on location photography.

Of course there’s still room for improvement:

  • Larger range of sizes (especially larger modifiers)
  • Usability should always trump branding (specifically on the grid kit)
  • More accessories to shape light (which may require a re-think on the integrated diffuser)

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What I would choose

Based on my own photographic preferences and uses I’d add the following to my kit, in this order:

  1. Profoto OCF Softbox 2′ Octa and Grid
  2. Profoto OCF Softbox 1×3′ Stripbox and Grid
  3. Profoto OCF Grid Kit

I’d look at the other options on an “as-needed” basis. Of course my order may depend on the price for each item, but then that’s a business decision, not a purely photographic one.

If you’re looking to buy and OCF modifier, clicking on the affiliate link below and making a purchase will support this site:

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Thanks for reading my Profoto OCF Modifier Review. Feel free to ask questions below.

Now go hug your favourite Canadian!

MK

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OCF Modifier ReviewMatt Korinek
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7 comments on "OCF Modifier Review"

  1. Pingback: Profoto Blog Matt Korinek’s Profoto B2 Off-camera Flash Review

  2. Westcott Rapid Box XL for Profoto. My Elinchrom Deep Octa just sits now.

    • Cool, thanks for the tip Wally. I’ve seen a bit about the Westcott Rapid Box online, but haven’t seen one in person. How does the build quality compare? I’ll have to take a closer look at those.

  3. The OCF softboxes do have double layer diffursion and not single layer…

    • Interesting – I didn’t seem to notice that. I don’t have any on hand but will have a look next time I rent them. Thanks for the correction!

  4. Helpful review. Great Photos! Thanks for sharing.

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