Introducing the Profoto B1 – The First Ever Studio Strobe with TTL

Gear & Apps November 5th 2013 10:49 AM 14 Comments

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Profoto has just announced the first of its kind, a studio strobe monolight that has TTL metering and is completely cordless.

When it comes to off-camera flash lighting, there are essentially two different main categories – speedlights and studio strobes. The benefits of a speedlight are its small size and TTL-capability that allows the speedlight to adjust its power on the fly based on how the camera is metering the light. It can also operate completely wirelessly because its batteries are housed inside its body.

The traditional studio strobes like monolights and pack-heads on the other hand provide a more powerful and generally better quality of light because they are larger light sources. The problem is that they are typically wired for power to either a large, external battery or to a power outlet, which makes them harder to move from one location to the next.

Now, the Profoto took the best qualities of the speedlight and studio strobe and combined them together to create the ultimate, on location studio strobe, the B1 monolight. With 500Ws, the B1 has enough power to overtake the sun and with its cordless, attachable battery, the entire unit is very portable.

Groundbreaking TTL Function

The game changer with the Profoto B1 is its TTL metering function. Just like TTL on speedlights, with the B1 all you do is plug in the Air Remote TTL unit to your camera’s hot shoe and the B1 will automatically adjust its light output to what your camera is metering. With a press of a button, you can also switch to manual mode if you prefer to.

The Air system will have an operating range of up to 300m (1,000 ft).

The Canon-ETTL II Air Remote will be available at the time of launch, followed by the Nikon i-TTL Air Remote in 2014.

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Cordless Operation

Another major benefit of the Profoto B1 is how you power the unit. A small, rechargeable Lithium Ion battery unit is attached to the side of the monolight. This means that you don’t have to worry about dangling cords and that the entire unit can be moved around very quickly. No power cords, no sync cables.

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The high capacity Li-Ion battery can provide up to 220 full-power flashes per charge, and only takes two hours to charge with the 2.5A battery charger or one hour with the 4.5A battery charger.

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Power and Portability

By now, it is easy to see the potential of this compact, portable strobe. The entire kit with battery charger fits into a small carrying case for easy transport. Furthermore, with 500Ws, the Profoto B1 is 10x more powerful than the average speedlights. It also has a much faster recycling time, as well, from 0.1 seconds at minimum power to 1.9 seconds at full power. This means that at minimum power, the B1 can flash up to a staggering 20 flashes/second!

Finally, the B1 has a 9-stop power range with 1/10-stop incremental adjustments.

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Our Thoughts

This is truly going to make shooting on location much easier and run faster. With no cables to worry about, a battery that attaches directly to the strobe, and TTL functionality, the B1 is going to be big for wedding shooters and other on location photographers who needs to set up quickly and move to the next location quickly. Add a couple of assistants to hold a couple of Profoto B1s, you can easily have a very portable run-and-gun system. We can’t wait to test the system at SLR Lounge!

The Profoto B1 in the Field with Michael Mueller

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First look at the Profoto B1 with Scott Kelby

Specifications

Max energy: 500 Ws
Energy range: 9 f-stops (2-500 Ws)
Energy control increments: 1/10 or full f-stops
Recycling time: 0.1-1.9(Quick burst up to 20 flashes/second)
Max modeling light (W): 20W LED (Output eqvivalent to 70W Halogen)
Modeling light control: Off, Proportional, Free (5-100%)
Mode control: Freeze (shortest flash duration) or Normal (color balanced) mode
Flash duration Normal Mode (t0.5): 1/11,000s (2Ws) – 1/1,000s (500Ws)
Flash duration Freeze Mode (t0.5): 1/19,000s (2Ws) – 1/1,000s (500Ws)
Energy stability Normal Mode: +-1/20 f-stop flash to flash Energy stability
Freeze Mode: +-1/20 f-stop flash to flash
Color stability Normal Mode: +- 150K over range; +-20K flash to flash
Color stability Freeze Mode: +- 800K over range; +-50K flash to flash
Guide number @ 2 m, 100 ISO with Magnum Reflector: 45 2/10
Input power supply: Exchangeble Lithium-Ion Battery 14.8V/3Ah
Battery capacity: Up to 220 full power flashes

Synchronization and control
Sync socket(s): 1
Wire sync voltage: Compliant to ISO 10330 standard
Wire sync connector: 3.5mm Mini-Phono
Photocell/IR-slave and switch: Yes
Radio sync & control: Yes, Built in AirTTL supporting wireless sync, control andTTL. (Requires Air Remote TTL. Sold separately.)
Radio sync range: Up to 300m (1,000ft)

Miscellaneous
Function display: Multifunction LCD display.
Fan cooling: Yes, thermally controlled fan speed for low noice level.
Ready signaling: Yes, ready lamp, dim and/or switchable beep sound.
Auto dumping: Yes.
USB interface: Yes, USB mini port for FW upgrading.
Quick Burst: Quick Burst capability of up to 20 flashes per second.
Measurements Dimensions: 31 x 14 x 21 cm (12.2 x 5.5 x 8.3 inch)
Weight: 3.0 kg (6.6 lbs) including battery.

Air Remote TTL-C
Specifications Frequency band: 2.4 GHz
No of frequency channels: 8
No of remote/TTL control groups per channel: 3 (A-C)
Operation modes: TTL & Manual
TTL camera compatibility: Canon E-TTL II
Wireless Range: Normal sync up to 300 m (1.000 ft), Remote control and TTL sync up to 100 meters (330 ft)
Battery type: 2 x AAA (Alkaline)
Typical battery lifetime: 30 hours
Antenna type: Integrated
Auto power off: Yes, 30 min of inactivity

Mount & Connections
Camera mount/Sync in: Canon hot shoe only
FW upgrade: USB Mini
Supported Air functionality Sync/Trigger: Yes, triggers Air Remote &, Air Sync transceivers plus all Profoto flashes with AirS, Air or AirTTL support.
Remote control: Yes, remote/group control for all Profoto flashes with Air or AirTTL support.
TTL control: Yes, TTL group control for all Profoto flashes with AirTTL support.

Measurements
Dimensions: 75x60x35 mm (2.9×2.3×1.4 inch)
Weight: 75 g (2.6 oz) including batteries

More Images

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About

Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at www.fotosiamo.com and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook

14 Comments

  1. Mark G

    Holy smokes, that’s awesome! I’m guessing it’s pricey, but worth it to be able to bring studio quality lighting into the field.

    Reply 3
    • Joe Le

      Just checked at B&H apparently this unit priced at 2K and come with Lithium-ion Battery, Plastic Transport Cap, Battery Charger, Carry bag and Limited 2-Year Warranty.

      0
    • Billriach

      This runs over $2,500.00. Only supports Canon with 500ws and CAN NOT do HSS.
      Which make this unless at that price.

      Get the better model like ATG Gold Profoto A1 Kim X3 Set with is 800ws and supports wireless radio ETTL II in 1st, 2nd and HSS.
      Like having or using twenty Canon 600EX-RT flashes ganged into one powerful light.

      1
  2. Nicholas Gonzalez

    This is an incredible tool. I look forward to checking this product out, as well as its competitors future versions of this innovation. We have already gotten a taste with elinchroms rangers and Paul c buffs Einstein, coupled with the awesome Vagabond Mini. If you don’t mind the plugging in, these are very worthy alternatives.

    Reply 0
  3. Jacob delaRosa

    Game. Changer. Totally worth the money if you have it.

    Reply 2
  4. rocky

    Does it support hss as well?

    Reply 3
    • Billriach

      No, it can not do HSS (high sync speed). Very important & a must for shooting outdoors.
      Many reviewers know that but won’t tell you.

      Adorama and B&H Photo will only list Profoto B1 for $2,000.00 USD.
      But it is useless if you don’t buy the Transmitter, which runs about $500.00 USD.

      Again, ATG can do it with model versions for Canon, Nikon and Sony.

      0
  5. Sheila

    Shut up and take my money!!!

    Reply 2
  6. Timmy

    May i know, what is the sync speed (supported max shutter speed? Usually 1/250. For hi speed sync, we need more than 1/250, maybe 1/1000)?

    Anyone know about this?

    Reply 2
    • Billriach

      With the ATG Canon EOS-1D C max radio ETTL II is 250.
      1D X most cases 200 with firmware upgraded from Canon.
      5D series is 200 sometime but surly at 160.

      You must use the Profoto Air Remote TTL-C Transmitter around $500.00
      A must have, extra battery (battery life sucks), around $300.00.
      If that battery is dead then you are in trouble.

      ATG Gold Profoto A1 Kim X3 Set comes complete.
      1. Gold
      2. Transmitter
      3. Two High Power Battery
      4. Universal charger
      5. Car charger

      0
  7. Tropical Flavor

    I tip my hat to PROFOTO for their new B1 (though I wish it was less than $2000 a pop). The only thing, I wish they didn’t completely remove is the ability for the B1 to be powered through regular power outlets when one is present. At least I hope they build a power supply attachment that can substitute the battery.

    On another note, by now I thought Nikon with such a beautiful system as the CLS would’ve thought about producing more than just 50 Watt/second speedlights (same thing goes for Canon in fact but they’re one step beyond Nikon for adding built in radio trigger capability to their speedlights). Sincerely, I thought they would’ve come up with some sort of Monolight already.

    And while we’re at it, I find it absurd that today, DSLRs are still stuck at an X-Sync speed of 1/250 of a second (even less on some models). I don’t wanna have to worry about time of day, sync speed or HAVING TO gang multiple speedlights together (in FP high speed sync) to have enough power and fast recycling time when I wanna shoot wide open while also combatting bright sunny conditions. Why not build leaf shutters or some sort of electronic shutters into every new DSLRs while also adding some built in neutral density capabilities similar to the fuji X100s? I think David Hobby has been screaming this from the top of his lungs quite enough now: faster sync speed virtually increases the effective power and usability of speedlights or any strobe for that matter

    Reply 0
  8. Coming Soon! Battery Powered HSS Strobes By Priolite

    […] [REWIND: Profoto Announces New Battery Powered B1] […]

    Reply 0
  9. Crosara Luiz

    Hi, gret Job were can buy one This flash???? You have a website, i am a Brazilian photographer. This flashs it’s amazing really cool sorry for my Poor English.. Thanks .

    Reply 0
  10. Billriach

    If that is costly and you want Auto Zoom, AF Assist, wireless radio ETTL or ITTL in 1st, 2nd and HSS (Auto FP), recycle under One Second from full power, no overheating, no shutdown, then get the

    ATG Gold MG8K Flash Kim X3.

    The waiting list is very long, but well worth it.

    Alzo Digital can assists you to ATG’s.

    Reply 0

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