New Gear: Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash With Wireless TTL Capability

An automatic, battery-powered strobe for on-location shooting

Profoto B1 Strobe
Profoto B1 Strobe

For many studio pros, Profoto gear is the go-to lighting manufacturer. But, now they're trying to capture more of the wedding and event shooter market with the B1 Off-Camera Flash. It's small, has a built-in battery, but most interestingly, it also has TTL mode, so you can put it on automatic exposure mode and blast away if that's your thing. That's new ground for Profoto.

The B1 is essentially a moonlight (though they would prefer if you didn't call it that). It has all the controls you'd expect to find on a standard strobe, including 1/10th f-stop adjustments over a 9-stop range. It has 500 watts of power and the internal battery can crank out 220 full-power flashes before going dead.

David Bicho

But, the real interesting story here is the TTL wireless system. You stick the Air Remote TTL in your camera's hot shoe and it will control a light from up to 1,000 feet away. You can put the lights in 3 groups and control them in a few different ways. If you want to use manual, you can do so, which you'd expect from Profoto. You can also put it in full TTL mode, which will automatically try to figure out how much light it should throw. A third mode uses TTL for the first pop to give you a solid starting point, then switches over to manual (using the TTL setting as a baseline) so you can take control.

For now, the system is only compatible with Canon TTL, but the Nikon version will be coming in 2014.

If you're familiar with Profoto gear, it shouldn't surprise you to find out that each head costs $2,000 and the controller will set you back another $399 on top of that. it's not cheap, but then it's not meant to be. These are designed for working pros and even for rental houses. They're built-to be tough and reliable, which many working pros are willing to pay for.

We're going to be messing with a unit in the coming days, so we'll bring you some impressions soon.