Is This the Future of Portable Strobes? Introducing the Profoto B10

12 September, 2018

Written by: Ross Chevalier

When the folks at Profoto asked me if I was willing to do a look at a new product before it hit the streets, I leapt at the opportunity. I want to be clear right from the top. I really have used just about everything in the world of strobes. Several years ago, I made a business decision to sell all the rest of the stuff and standardize on Profoto. I’ve never looked back. Profoto brought the power, the speed, the consistency and the reliability that I don’t just want, it’s what I require as a working imaging professional.

 While I do some of my work in a studio, I more often go on location to deliver on the needs/wants of my clients.  I need gear that can stand up to regular transport, that recycles extremely fast and because I typically work on my own, I need to be able to carry it.  And I cannot depend on the promise of AC power. My investment in B1 and B2 units has paid off.  Plus, I replaced a bunch of questionable light shaping tools with gear that stands up to constant use, and sad but true, a fair bit of abuse.

 In the last few years, I’ve been doing more video in addition to, not as a replacement for, stills work. My clients are typically corporate entities.  They have no time for messing around and have high expectations.  I wished for a portable, powerful strobe that could also be a video light, not because I don’t have good video lights, but because carrying two different lighting setups to a single shoot was not really practical.

Say hello to my little friend.  

The Profoto B10 is an ideal all-around tool for me.  It delivers 250 watt-seconds of full power per pop, and recycles very fast, in my experience in under two seconds for full power pops and more like 0.5 seconds for a typical shot.  No one is standing around waiting for the flash to recycle and as I work predominantly with folks who are not professional models, that speed is a real advantage.  It works with every Profoto light shaping tool that I own, as well as plenty of others since I don’t own all of the over 120 different light shaping options. It’s got enough power that I can light a medium sized room with it, yet it’s small enough to fit in my camera backpack with the camera body and a couple of lenses, plus a Profoto A1 and Profoto AirTTL controller.  The Profoto OCF (Off Camera Flash) light shaping tools are small and light and very fast to get set up and torn down in a demanding time limited situation.  I can get up to 400 full power pops on a single charge, and really, I get a lot more because it is rarely running at full tilt. The fast swap Lithium ion battery goes from dead to full in about 90 minutes, and a battery change takes literally a couple of seconds.

Full Control from your smart device

What is also brand new for Profoto with the release of the B10 is the Profoto App.  I can control up to three B10 units independently right from the app.  Need to move the power in group B on a manual set up?  No problem.  I don’t even have to walk back to the camera.  If I’m shooting a one up video and want to warm up the skin a bit to save time in post, or give a bit of kick to Log footage, I can change the colour temperature on the B10 right from my smartphone.  I’m using an iPhone 8+ and this app empowers me to get out from behind the camera and spend more time working with the talent.  It changes the whole dynamic on set.  Heck I can even use the Profoto camera inside the app to use the B10s as the lighting for a smartphone test shot.  Talk about something that I never thought that I would ever do!

 

To learn more about this product and read the full review, please follow the link below:

Ross Chevalier website: Blog

Written by: Ross Chevalier