REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
ProfotoB1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash
 
4.8

(based on 58 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (48)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good power output (44)
  • Durable (39)
  • Lightweight (27)
  • Attaches securely (22)
  • Good color value (21)

Cons

  • Pricey / poor value (3)

Best Uses

  • Outdoors (41)
  • Portraits (41)
  • Indoors (34)
  • Outdoor events / games (29)
  • General purpose (28)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Pro photographer (25), Semi-pro photographer (18), Photo enthusiast (6)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (51)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Pricey portable power

TL:DR: High quality, high price, needs the Profoto Air Remote TTL-C for full benefit.

I've completed two professional shoots using the B1 and like it very much. One was a...Read complete review

TL:DR: High quality, high price, needs the Profoto Air Remote TTL-C for full benefit.

I've completed two professional shoots using the B1 and like it very much. One was a lifestyle shoot in my subject's living room, which was awkwardly lit with no overhead light and severe (blinding) afternoon sunlight from a side window. The second was a real estate shoot that included a large atrium and several spaces with uncovered windows. I had previously been lighting with multiple Speedlites. In both cases, The B1 delivered consistently beautiful light and I achieved my balanced final lighting faster than with a Speedlite solution. Despite more than 150 flash exposures on each job, in both cases the B1 battery still retained half charge. I experienced zero misfires when using the Profoto Air Remote TTL-C. Blending flash with ambient is easy with the B1. The freedom from mains during a location shoot is wonderful, and the extra power compared to Speedlites means that you can easily defeat bright sunlight and, if you wish, gain a couple of stops of depth of field compared to Speedlites. The "Ready" beep felt almost immediate after every shot, although when I was down to half battery and shooting at full flash power it probably stretched to 3/4 second.

Controls are intuitive, satisfyingly built, and enjoyable to engage with as a user. TTL works great. Manual shooting works great. It comes with a nice transport case. There are a couple of subtleties that make it worth reading the User's Guide, but you'll be running with basic features as soon as you take it out of the box. The optical slave worked absolutely reliably. I didn't use the modeling light but it can be set to be full-on or proportional to the flash power. The modeling light can also be controlled from the Profoto hot shoe-mount Air Remote TTL-C.

The killer feature, though, is a separate purchase, the Profoto Air Remote TTL-C. The B1 power can be adjusted from the Air Remote TTL-C head in your hot shoe, and you can, almost magically, jump from TTL to manual and back. For example, you can shoot in TTL, then add 0.3 stops of light from the TTL value as flash exposure compensation for the second shot. Or you can start in TTL and switch to manual for repeatability. A full battery charge in the B1 is rated for 220 full-power 500WS flashes, or an hour of full-power modeling light use which might be valuable for video. The built-in fan is quiet and turns itself on and off as needed. The top of the B1 has a receiver for a 7-8mm umbrella shaft, so if you're using a compatible umbrella like the Profoto (my other umbrellas also fit) then that eliminates the need for an umbrella swivel mount.

Frankly, if you can afford the B1, you will want the Profoto Air Remote TTL-C hot-shoe mount controller. If you're not taking advantage of the B1's on-camera controller and TTL capability, then you could achieve the lighting output of the B1 far more cheaply.

I'm thinking hard to come up with disadvantages beyond price...

Still thinking....

Mmmm....Be aware you will need a solid light stand, not the light fold-up kind that's adequate for Speedlites. I'm not sure the monobloc form factor is ideal if you want to boom; you'll need to counterweight your boom arm more urgently than with a generator+head design. If you want to gel the B1 to adjust color temperature, Profoto says to buy their "spill kill" reflector.

The lack of mains power (battery power only) means that they're overpriced if you work only in a studio. They're a little too bulky/heavy for use in every single application (sometimes a Speedlite is still the best choice). They're also a little tricky to mix and match with Speedlites. I found it best to use my Speedlite triggers (Pocket Wizard Flex and Mini TT5) and then slave the B1 to fire at manual power from the Speedlite flashes...at least until I buy a couple more B1 units and can run exclusively Profoto off the Air Remote system.

Probably the biggest problem with the B1 is that as soon as you try one, you'll be wanting to buy at least one or two more (the Air Remote system lets you control multiple B1s independently). You'll also be wanting to buy lots of Profoto modifiers or at least a speedring to fit your existing modifier inventory.

Seriously, they're great. Being able to control 500WS from your camera with the Profoto Air Remote TTL-C, and being able to shoot TTL if you want to, are huge.

Not cheap, but if it's in your budget you'll love its convenience, reliability, and power provided you also get the Air Remote TTL-C.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Great product but be aware

I have noticed when I use these inside where I often need the model lights to prevent that "giant pupil" look on people from low ambient light on the subject the...Read complete review

I have noticed when I use these inside where I often need the model lights to prevent that "giant pupil" look on people from low ambient light on the subject the fans run non stop. Yes there are fixtures on them but nothing is blocked and this is a low powered LED?
So with models,fans and strobe you get nothing out of the batteries.
They seam to be designed for no fixture and no model light use.
I also have a battery that is causing one of the chargers to give strange green light sequences
Also had one of my 4 heads go back with a bad board after very little use. It was repaired but after shooting Profoto for 25 years these do not impress me.

Reviewed by 58 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Top notch product to move up from speedlights

By kingzrule

from Medford Lakes, NJ USA

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Good Color Value
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Powerful
  • Travels Well

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Outdoors
    • Portraits

    Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

    I bought a single B1 about six months ago while taking a studio light course. I am still amazed at the control and light quality I get from the B1, especially as a supplemental lighting source outdoors.

    I bought a second B1 recently, and have acquired a good collection of Profoto grids, gels, umbrellas, beauty dishes, soft boxes and snoots to go with the heads.

    I also bought the generic Air Remote for use on a Leica. It has worked really, really well for me so far.

    A decent light meter is pretty much a requirement to get the most out of these B1's, as I would expect from any studio or off camera flash system.

    I think I like the Profoto 1' x 3' soft box as a good starter light shaping tool to go with the B1.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    Awesome light!!

    By M. Rosario

    from Buffalo, NY

    Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

    Bought this light and I'm pretty happy with it. I wish I would of bought the 2 light kit but since I did the 6 month interest free financing they did not aprove me for yhe whole thing but I'm happy still. The light is solid and very good. I think next I will purchase a b2 and then another b1, I want a 4 light set up but it made sence for me to start with the b1 first and can't complaint.

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great Light!

    By Michelle V

    from Los Angeles CA

    About Me Photography Student

    Verified Buyer

    Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

    Huge investment, took careful thought to purchase. I have 3 B2s and wanted a light with more power. Although it is heavy (top heavy on a stand) must use a sandbag - the extra power it provides gives piece of mind to overpower the sun and to use large light modifiers (I use the Westcott 7' parabolic umbrella with a diffuser over it). I found with the B2 it did not provide enough power to fully light the umbrella for a large light spread with diffuser over it. The B1 does this beautifully and cordlessly. You do need an extra battery for piece of mind that you will not have to stop your shoot to recharge for 2 hours, so add that into your cost. I was disappointed that when you buy 1, B1 light you get the slow charger 2.8, not the more powerful fast charger that comes included with the 2 light B1 location kit, so you need to plan for a 2 hour recharge time. I haven't had time to test it outdoors to overpower the sun yet. Should work better than the B2s in that setting.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    5.0

    Wish I would have purchased a long time ago

    By steveoh

    from Bend, Oregon

    About Me Pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Attaches Securely
    • Durable
    • Powerful

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Indoors
      • Low Light
      • Night Time
      • Outdoors
      • Portraits
      • Special Events

      Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

      I use this for all my off camera needs. This strobe is super easy to set up and all the power in the world. The light quality and consistency is spot on.Incredible recycle time only qualm is the battery life at full power.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • Yes

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      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      So far so good!

      By Ramon

      from Honolulu Hawaii

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Pros

      • Powerful

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Outdoors

        Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

        So I live in Hawaii. That being said I avoid studio work at all cost and I prefer to do my photoshoots off the beaten path. It didn't take long at all of me to get aquatinted with using this thing. I prefer to meter in ttl mode then switch to manual adjust my power setting thru the Radio Controller for Canon. This light puts out more than enough light to over power the sun. I will be purchasing another one in the near future.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Very nice unit

        By Mark

        from Eastern Washington State

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Attaches Securely
        • Durable
        • Powerful

        Cons

        • Not Inexpensive

        Best Uses

        • General Use
        • Low Light
        • Portraits
        • Special Events

        Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

        I made the transition from Speedlight to strobe to have more power for HSS outdoors and for more light power. The B1 handles it easily. The unit is easy to use with the Air TTL-N.. The switch from TTL to manual is easy. It's close to point & shoot easy For HSS one must upgrade the firmware in the B1 and the Air TTL but that's easy and then the unit engages HSS through the camera flash menu.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Great product but be aware

        By JCP

        from Boston Ma

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

          Cons

          • Loses Charge Quickly

          Best Uses

            Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

            I have noticed when I use these inside where I often need the model lights to prevent that "giant pupil" look on people from low ambient light on the subject the fans run non stop. Yes there are fixtures on them but nothing is blocked and this is a low powered LED?
            So with models,fans and strobe you get nothing out of the batteries.
            They seam to be designed for no fixture and no model light use.
            I also have a battery that is causing one of the chargers to give strange green light sequences
            Also had one of my 4 heads go back with a bad board after very little use. It was repaired but after shooting Profoto for 25 years these do not impress me.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this reviewHelp Icon

             
            5.0

            Best purchase I have made in a long time!

            By Derek

            from San Marcos, CA

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Durable
            • Lightweight
            • Powerful

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Indoors
              • Low Light
              • Night Time
              • Outdoors
              • Portraits

              Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

              Absolutely my favorite purchase that I have made in a long time. I love everything about it, especially its consistency, TTL, and HSS.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Awesome

              By Jim

              from West Chester, PA

              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Durable
              • Lightweight
              • Powerful

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • General Use

                Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                Moved from Alien Bees to the B1. Once you get past the price these lights are a joy to work with. Will be adding two B2s to complete my system. This equipment is a long term investment.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                5.0

                Power Flash, Love it

                By Michelle Nu Yen

                from Westminster, CA

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Lightweight
                • Long-Lasting
                • Powerful

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • General Use
                  • Indoors
                  • Night Time
                  • Outdoors
                  • Portraits
                  • Special Events

                  Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                  Easy to use, power flash

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  muy bueno

                  By joshuagalarzah

                  from Guayaquil Ecuador

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Durable
                  • Powerful

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • General Use

                    Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                    de gran uso versatil de gran ayuda en eventos, fotos de estudio, etc

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (5 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    1.0

                    Shuts Off Unexpectedly

                    By Luly

                    from Round Rock, TX

                    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                    Pros

                    • Attaches Securely

                    Cons

                    • Unreliable

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                      When it works, it works great but I have had problems with the light turning itself off unexpectedly even after just turning it on a minute earlier.
                      Be wary.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      it's all good

                      By L&S Photography

                      from New York, NY

                      About Me Pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Attaches Securely
                      • Good Color Value
                      • Powerful

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors
                        • Low Light
                        • Outdoors
                        • Portraits
                        • Special Events

                        Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                        Portable, powerful enough for a wide variety of situations, and reliable. There's not much not to like if you are looking for a single indoor/outdoor strobe solution. If you are doing long indoor studio shoots, the battery-only B1 may not be the best value choice. The B1's make for a particularly nice compact and portable lighting system. The single head comes in a nicely padded case not much larger than a shoebox and it has room for a transceiver and extra battery as well. Fires consistently. The daylight color temperature is a nice feature for most studio and outdoor situations. CTO gels are easily slipped in front of the glass over the head to balance ambient tungsten light if necessary. If you are coming from a Pocket Wizard system, you can also fire the B1 with a Pocket Wizards by wiring a unit to the B1 with a miniphone to minphone cable and using the other on camera, or setting the unit to slave with your other flashes. I have used the B1's with a variety of the Profoto OCF modifiers and all have worked well on these heads with one exception - the barn doors - which are impossible to get on the head and easy to fumble.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        The best strobe I've ever used.

                        By Shaun

                        from Missouri

                        About Me Pro Photographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Durable
                        • Excellent Value
                        • Fast
                        • Versatile

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors
                          • Outdoors
                          • Portraits
                          • Special Events

                          Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                          I have been a photographer for several years now. Almost all of my work is in the field where having easy access to power is always an issue or it simply doesn't exist at all. As a solution, I became a long-time user of the Hensel Porty Premium packs and heads. They served me pretty well but they were a bit cumbersome and my setups took extra time due to having to rig and hide the packs and cables. When I saw the B1 introduced, I had to buy one to give it a "test drive". That was the END of my Hensel Porty units. I now own several B1's. They are outstanding! The TTL feature is better than I expected. The high-speed sync feature is awesome. The transmitter is user friendly and allows perfect control over multiple heads. The light quality is nice and consistent. Because there are no more awkward packs to set up and cables to connect, I can be shooting anywhere in seconds.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          5.0

                          TTL Light that is reliable and easy to set up

                          By Bill

                          from Norfolk, Virginia

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Attaches Securely
                          • Durable
                          • Good Color Value
                          • Powerful

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • General Use
                            • Indoors
                            • Low Light
                            • Night Time
                            • Outdoors
                            • Portraits

                            Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                            Incredible system. I have learned to almost always begin in the TTL mode and observe the results. Mostly fantastic. Great feature where you can get your initial lights set thru TTL and then switch over to manual remotely, beginning at the same settings. This enables you to make simple adjustments to individual or groups of lights. The B1 is also built like a tank! I purchased two in the kit. Within two weeks, I purchased my 3rd B1. Very satisfied.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            4.0

                            Good product

                            By Treehouse

                            from NY

                            About Me Pro Photographer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Attaches Securely
                            • Durable
                            • Easy And Quick To Use
                            • Good Color Value
                            • No Cables

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • General Use
                              • Indoors
                              • Outdoors
                              • Portraits

                              Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                              I love the way these lights are so easy to use and set up. They are very well built. Expensive but good.
                              Profoto support are very helpful. Not having cables is nice in the studio and makes life easier on location. Spare batteries are another necessary expense but they should last a couple of years. Profoto say it's a good idea to run them down and recharge them if not used for 6 weeks which is unlikely, but that makes it a good idea to rotate the batteries.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              4.0

                              Excellent Strobe

                              By Albert

                              from Austin

                              Verified Reviewer

                              Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                              Pros: Great quality and easy to use...Small, no wires and compact case...Cons: Battery is weak. Informercials say at least 500 full flashes on a fully charged battery...NOT...I will try to minimize use the modeling light and see if this improves the life of the battery...I am about to buy a second battery for $[$]- Very $$$ - at this time, I highly a recommend backup battery..Good Luck!!

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              5.0

                              The Best

                              By DRA 11

                              from Portland, OR

                              About Me Pro Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Attaches Securely
                              • Durable
                              • Good Color Value
                              • Lightweight
                              • Long-Lasting
                              • Powerful

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • General Use
                                • Indoors
                                • Low Light
                                • Outdoors
                                • Portraits

                                Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                                I've been renting these lights for a long time now and finally made the leap to purchase them. I'm not sure if there's a better strobe out there, frankly. Consistently beautiful light, user friendly, perfect. If you're like me and won't settle for "good enough" in your work, then these are the lights for you.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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                                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Awesome lighting

                                By Sam

                                from San Diego

                                Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                                I love B1, It is easy to work and both B&H and Profoto have amazing costumer service.

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                                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                4.0

                                Pretty Awesome! Pretty Pricey :(

                                By Joe Photo

                                from Minneapolis, MN

                                About Me Pro Photographer

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Durable
                                • Long-Lasting
                                • Powerful

                                Cons

                                • Expensive
                                • Heavy

                                Best Uses

                                • Location
                                • Outdoors
                                • Portraits
                                • Special Events

                                Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

                                These strobes are almost perfect for what I do - executive and editorial location portraits and corporate/industrial shoots. I almost don't need to hire an assistant for portrait shoots anymore with the TTL Remote. Built ProFoto solid.
                                A few MINOR things I don't like:
                                1. they don't sink to my Sekonic meter like the Pocket Wizards did - I know - "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" - it even says on the box to throw you're light meter away - but - hey - you still have to know ratios when you're using more than one head, right? Like I said, MINOR - I'll get over it.
                                2. a NOT SO MINOR point is the price point! Ouch - just blew my budget and hopes for buying a new camera body buying three of these this year!
                                3. Pretty bulky and heavy with the battery unit attached. IF I am using only two heads, the backpack included in the travel package is great - well built and less than 50lbs, but, if I want to pack three heads and accessories, etc. and fly, that will be a problem. Also, heavy for a boom stand light with a beauty dish or any other heavy modifier - although the Chimera portable beauty dishes work pretty well with these.

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                                • No

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