I was fortunate to try the new collapsible and very lightweight Profoto OCF Beauty Dish last week and here is a brief test of how it works and feels. In short: it is going to be a useful addition to my equipment.
First, it is not a round metal beauty dish as the classic version, more like a OCF Octa evolved into something else. The BD is a bit more shallow but has the same measurement on the front, so you can use the same softgrid if you would like.
Opening the box
This is how it looks, with photos of the rest of the Off Camera Flash family. As this beautydish is more like a softbox, you will need the OCF Speedring to attach it to a Profoto B1 or B2.
A bag is included
Everything in the package can be fitted into the carrying bag, and if you would buy the optional front diffuser, you can have that in the bag as well. You could cram a speedring in there too, I guess.
It is lightweight
This is not I would be comfortable to do with the classic metal Profoto Softlight Reflector, but now I can let my twins show you how little weight it will add to your equipment.
And being a fair parent, I will let the other one show you too.
The folded beauty dish
When not mounted on a speedring, the new OCF Beauty Dish will not take up a lot of space. The only thing stopping me from rolling it into a small tube is the deflector panel inside.
Here it is, hanging on four lines attached to the inside of the beauty dish, with hooks so you can use the lighting modifier without the deflector if you would like, but then it wouldn’t really be a beauty dish but more like a white shallow softbox Octa.
Mounting the OCF Beauty Dish
The new OCF Beauty Dish uses the same color coded system for finding the right holes for the rods, but as this has the same number of rods as the speedrings have holes, you can’t really fail.
If you have mounted a softbox on the OCF Speedring, this will be simple. The rods are flexible and will bend enough to let you fit them into the holes without working too hard.
When I tested this BD some of the rods did bend more than others and stayed that way so the mounted form wasn’t perfectly symmetrical. But that is something that happens with most of the softboxes I have used sooner or later.
As with the diffusion sock for the Profoto Softlight Reflector you can buy an optional front diffuser for the OCF variant if you would want a more even light with less specular highlights.
One thing that I would like in every softbox is some kind of locking mechanism so that the rods won’t fall out when de-attaching it from the speedring.
Beauty Dish ready
Here is the mounted beautydish ready to use. 2 feet in diameter and very lightweight as I mentioned earlier.
Using the OCF Beauty Dish
When doing assignments on location, I have been using Deep Umbrellas more and more the last year. Mostly because of the quick setup and little weight it adds to my equipment.
One this I really like about the new OCF Beauty Dish is that it will not catch the wind as much as an umbrella. Together with the B2 flash head or a B1, it stays closer to the center of the light stand, which will make it easier to use outdoors without sandbags.
Adding just one light source for outdoor portrait can make a lof of difference, and the OCF BD has a nice light for this.
DIY weather protection
The Profoto B2 has a good weather sealing I thing, but letting it snow a lot on top of it didn’t feel good. So, I took the rain cover from my camera bag and hung it on the lamp head which added some peace of mind for me.
Using snow as reflector
One thing that is good with snow is that you will get a good fill light for free. Placing the B2 with the OCF Beauty Dish high above created some kind of natural clam shell setup.
Using the new Beauty Dish at home (or in the future on assignments on-location) is very easy as you don’t need heavy-duty light stands. A Manfrotto Nano will do just fine.
Together with HSS it is possible to battle the harsh spring light coming in from the windows behind my kids and create portraits with good contrast and no blown highlights.
As soon as I have returned the test example I borrowed from Profoto, the first thing I will do is buy one for myself. I tested the white version, and that is the one I will buy. Mostly I work with ordinary people with no special make-up, so the white will be perfect for that.
I really like the transformation of my equipment bags from heavy to easy to carry everywhere. For most assignments I can fit most of the stuff into one backpack and a small bag for light stands, and adding a OCF beauty dish will not make that much heavier.