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Profoto A1: Profoto’s First On-Camera Flash, World’s Smallest Studio Light

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Profoto has just announced the A1, the lighting brand’s first-ever on-camera flash. It’s also what the company calls “the world’s smallest studio light.”

“Our focus with the A1 was to create a flash that delivers a truly high quality of light, which is why it features a round head which delivers light that’s both natural and beautiful with a pleasing soft-smooth fall-off, that blends seamlessly with the ambient light,” Profoto says.

The A1 features both a flash and an LED modeling light. The flash can be fired at full power 350 times on one Li-ion battery charge, which takes 80 minutes to juice fully — Profoto says this battery lasts four times longer than AA batteries and has no performance fade.

The flash has a maximum energy of 76Ws and a power range of 9 f-stops (2.0-10), Profoto says. The recycle time is a mere 1.2 seconds at full power, 4 times faster than other on-camera flashes on the market (according to Profoto).

In terms of size and weight, the A1 measures 108x75x165mm (4.3x3x6.5in) and weighs 560g/1.2lbs (with batteries). By comparison, the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT measures 80x143x125mm (3.1×5.6×4.9in) and weighs 425.25g (15oz) without batteries.

The head of the A1 features a smart magnetic mount that allows various light shaping tools — the A1 Light Shaping Tools kit will include a Dome Diffuser, Wide Lens, and Bounce Card — and modifiers to be clicked on and off effortlessly. There’s also a zoom ring that allows you to make adjustments to your light spread by twisting it.

“We made it our mission to make A1 the first on-camera flash that’s easy to use from the box,” Profoto says. “The user interface is simple and intuitive with a large high-contrast display at its center.”

If you’d like to shoot with the A1 off-camera, the built-in Air Remote functionality lets you do just that. The A1 can be easily used in conjunction with other A1 flashes and larger Profoto lights like the B1X.

“And with AirTTL you’ll get a perfect exposure super-fast,” says Profoto. “Better still, you can lock the exposure with a single ‘click’ while still being free to fine tune that exposure in manual, giving you even greater control.”

Other features of the A1 include HSS, a TTL/MAN switch, and autofocus assist.

Here are a few sample photos by photographer Sal Cincotta showing what the A1 can do:

Here’s a short video introducing the new A1:

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Cincotta putting the A1 through its paces:

The Profoto A1 has a $995 price tag and will be available in Canon and Nikon variants. It will be rolling out in the coming days starting in Germany and Nordic countries before shipping out to Europe, Asia, and North America in the following weeks.

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