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Gear & Apps

A World’s First – The Profoto B1 Is The First Off-Camera Flash With Nikon & Canon TTL Ability

By Kishore Sawh on September 15th 2014

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The Profoto brand is to most photographers what private Cirrus Sr22T plane is to most private pilots – out of reach to buy or justify, but within reach to rent once in a while, and always something worthy of lust. Today saw the announcement that their Profoto B1 has now become the very first off camera flash to do TTL with both Nikon and Canon cameras. It’s as simple as having Nikon shooters attach the Air Remote TTL-N and Canon to attach the Air Remote TTL-C, and you’re off to the races.

[REWIND: Fine Art Portraiture in a 350 Year-Old Castle | A Brilliant Photo Shoot by Alexia Sinclair]

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This offers a level of flexibility, arguably, not seen before. The B1s are powerful as is at 500Ws, which makes them near 10x as powerful as a typical speedlight. This is enough power of overpower the sun on the brightest of days, as well as the ability to light scenes and backdrops, and now they can be moved around and controlled on set or location entirely wire free. Keep in mind also that the B1 can shoot off 20 flashes a second, so the flash durations are much shorter than that of a speedlight, again helping to deal with external lighting conditions.

B1s are powered by a very high-capacity battery that is exchangeable and integrated with the flash giving it its sleek form factor. This freedom of mobility from the lack of wires and external battery packs combines with the pairing of TTL makes for a tool to spawn your creativity. This freedom lets you shoot in tight locations, busy locations, and allow you to move from one to the other with grace and speed, all while carrying with you truly capable, and unremitting lighting options.

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To get a glimpse of the possibilities, have a look at this short video where wedding photographer Brian Marcus takes the B1s and a lovely couple into the heart, park, and streets of NYC.

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Click here to find out more about the Profoto B1, and here for more on photographer Brian Marcus.

Source: Profoto, images are screen caps from featured video

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    Just amazing the power and possibilities that these units produce! Can you image overpowering any type of sun in any lighting condition. I will start saving to get me one next year!

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  2. MARTIN MIANO

    endless possibilities shooting but little possibilities at that price

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  3. Juan Cespedes

    oh hey thats me in the profoto promo video with Brian.

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  4. Adrian Jones

    wowzers!

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  5. Kent Gresham

    High speed sync and rear curtain sync are both features of the TTL system that I use the &@$! out if. With 500ws and no cables, throw on a variable ND filter… Endless possibilities.

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  6. mugur ic

    A good equipment for a professional photographer

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  7. Joseph Pesiri

    That’s looks so cool. I like how he starts off with how easy it is to use. Any thing is easy to use when you have three assistance caring everything for you.

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    • Jim Johnson

      I once assisted for one of the celebrity photographers/teachers (who shall remain nameless) and I was shocked at how little he actually knew about his equipment.

      He would describe to his studio manager (what he called his first assistant) what he was trying to accomplish, and the assistant would make all the choices for lights, modifiers, and even the camera and lens.

      Yeah, photography in general is easy when that is the way you do it.

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  8. John Dower

    Wish I could afford them!

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  9. Chuck Eggen

    Jonesing hard for these. I have the D1 500 Kit and love them but image the possibilities with these.

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  10. Jeff Ladrillono

    I prefer the consistency of exposure using a flash in manual. For the cost of 2 B1s, i’d rather go with 2 einsteins & 2 vagabond minis then blow the rest of the money at the Hustler Club.

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    • Daniel Jester

      I heard that.

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    • Stan Rogers

      If all you do with TTL is to ballpark the exposure (it’s held when you go to manual), this still saves you a metric craptonne of time on static setups. (It saves you *infinite* time on dynamics, where repeatability depends on things you have no control over.) And if you actually like the Balcar/Buff modifier attachment system — spring-loaded inclined planes with no lock — there are (non-photographic) professionals who can help.

      Yes, these things are expensive. And they’re probably more expensive than they absolutely need to be (although $1400-1500/head is likely a reasonable lower limit when everything is taken into account). But they’re aimed at people who can make them pay for themselves, and I can think of single commercial jobs (even in these trying times) where you could easily make back the cost of a four-pack by the savings elsewhere. Perspective is everything.

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  11. Michael Reinhardt

    But lets be honest. Who has 2 assistants running with each of B1s beside you?
    Nice tool but speedlights are more mobile and in 97% of the time usable for your light situation. Its symbolic that this video isn’t shoot at a REAL WEDDING!

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  12. John Cavan

    They look amazing, but at ~$2000, and probably higher here in the northern wasteland, I’ll probably be sticking with my AB800s for a while. Nice feature set, however, especially the integrated battery as that is truly handy to have, especially given that it has a pretty decent number of pops, 220, at full power.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      You know I’ve never wanted to purchase off camera strobes since I wouldn’t need them most of the time for how I shoot, and the idea of lugging around all the cabling and power supplies… but this, this I want. But as you said…4k for a pair without modifiers… that’s steep

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  13. Daniel Jester

    This is going to make a really powerful tool for a lot of shooters. I don’t shoot a lot of TTL, but TTL at that power is so interesting.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      it really is the first off camera strobe I seen massive applications for, for a broad range of shooting styles. I want them badly.

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  14. Nick Viton

    *drool*

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