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Profoto D2 – Testing HSS and TTL outdoor


Profoto D2 is according to them ”The world’s fastest monolight with TTL” (and with High-Speed Synd I would add). It is a flash with a cord, but that should not stop you from using it outdoor.

I tried it outside our house to see if I could combine freezing movement in a portrait with a nice sunset, without having to use too long depth of field. And it worked just fine.


TTL makes lighting quicker

Before Profoto introduces TTL in their battery flash B1 I never thought I missed that functionality in a monobloc. I am used to working in Manual but after trying it a few times and getting the hang of it, using TTL speeds up my process a lot.

Letting my experienced oldest son act as a test model when trying the Profoto D2 shows that the first shot is pretty much the exposure I am after. Almost.

Switching from TTL to Manual gives me a chance to deepen the sky and add some contrast just in the beginning of the sunset.

Test photo above: 1/4000s and f/2.8 at ISO 200.


Lighting Setup for HSS test photo

Before the Profoto D2, using a D1 (we are talking monoblocs with cord here) I would have been forced to work with a fixed shutter speed of around 1/200 second. Now I can use both shutter speed and aperture, as well as ISO and flash effect, to adjust my image.

To make things simple, I put the Profoto D2 1000 Air inside the house with a small umbrella, pointing out through the window.


ISO 200, f/4,5 and 1/5000s gave me this exposure with the Profoto D2 on HSS, a little darker and deeper sky.


With these settings, there was almost no light on my son as seen from the camera. Just a tiny bit of reflected light from our house.

How much I would have been forced to reduce my aperture if I could go no lower than 1/200s I down really know. It wouldn’t have been this simple, at least.


Freeze drops of water

Profoto D2 is incredible fast, but using HSS is not the way to achieve the shortest flash duration. So I relied on shutter speed instead, and reducing the amount of ambient light. No ND filter, just the settings on the camera and flash.

The droplets that are in focus hangs still in the air, thanks to a shutter speed of 1/5000s and sometimes 1/6400s. With 1/200s it would all be a blur, but that can of course be nice too, not exactly what I was after this time.


For practical reasons, having both TTL and HSS in a monobloc might not always be about to quickly take portraits of kids with water poured over their heads.

I mostly use Profoto B1 or B2 on-location, but with a D2 I could think of ways it could help me both a client’s offices and in the studio.

For example, if you have a window behind your model and don’t want to use a small aperture but still be able to see what is outside, not just blown highlights everywhere. That makes portraits indoor easier to do the way you want them.

And with modern technology in the Profoto D2, it will be easier to combine a monobloc with cord together with battery flash like B1/B2 that all have HSS and TTL. When I included a D1 in the mix before, I was always limited to what that could do.

I was invited by Profoto on a pre-release briefing of the D2 and initially I wasn’t really excited by another monobloc with a long cord. But after testing it for a few days, I can see that replacing my Profoto D1’s might have benefits.

How much I love working with my battery lights, having a monobloc in the studio that is always ready to use feels very convenient. So I guess I will upgrade my studio lights very soon, then I will be able to use TTL and HSS wherever I work. No more limits, except in my head maybe.

After I wrote this post, I pre-ordered two of the 500 version. Hopefully I will get them soon.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Lasse Lundberg December 19, 2016, 12:32

    Hi Stefan,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. After reading your post, I must say, the D2 seams like something worth adding to my bag.

    God jul!

  • Joseph Rodriguez January 22, 2017, 09:25

    Good Article, Ijust go the D2 so I am looking forward to seeing your next blog about them.

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