It’s been a good few weeks for revolutions in photography. First, Sony broke ground on affordable full-frame mirrorless cameras with the a7 and a7R, and now Profoto has up and changed the lighting game by releasing the B1 Off-Camera Flash: a powerful cordless monolight with TTL metering capabilities.
Basically, the B1 combines all of the best parts of a studio strobe and a speedlight, and so they’re refusing to call it by either name, preferring to go with “off-camera flash” instead.
Like a speedlight, it is cordless and runs off of its own battery pack. It also offers TTL (through the lens) metering, which allows the unit to automatically adjust its settings based on what your camera is seeing. But unlike a speedlight, this thing has a ton of power: 500 Watt seconds to be exact, or about 10 times more than your average speedlight.
Take a look as photographer Richard Walch puts four of these “speedlights on steroids” through their paces:
What Profoto is trying to do with the B1 is allow speedlight users to take their work to the next level without sacrificing portability and features in the name of power.
At 500Ws, you’ve got plenty of power; if you attach the Air Remote TTL you have the convenience of TTL metering from as far as 100m away (regular sync from as 300m away); and the battery that comes with the B1 will last 220 full power flashes and charge back up in only two hours with the 2.5A battery charger or one hour with the 4.5A charger.
What’s more, the B1 is also fast. Recycle times range from 0.1 seconds at low power to 1.9 seconds at full power, and when you set it to low it can flash as fast as 20 times per second!
Here are a few more photos:
For more info and sample shots of the B1 in action, head over to the Profoto website by clicking here. The B1 and Air Remote TTL-C (denoting Canon compatibility only) are both available starting today, with the B1 going for $2,000 per head and the remote separately for $400.
For now, the TTL functionality is only available for Canon shooters (with E-TTL II support), but Profoto is promising a Nikon version of the Air Remote (the TTL-N, we assume) in 2014.