Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash

Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash

Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash

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Product Highlights

  • Optional Remote Control with Air TTL-C/N
  • Full E-TTL II with Canon Cameras
  • Full i-TTL with Nikon Cameras
  • 500Ws, 9-Stop Power Range
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Powered
  • Up to 220 Full-Power Flashes
  • Flash Duration: 1/19,000 - 1/1000 Sec
  • High Speed Sync to 1/8000 Sec
  • LED Modeling Lamp, 20 fps Burst Mode
  • 0.1-1.9 Sec Recycling
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  • 1Description

Whenever Profoto introduces a product, anyone in the photo world sits up and takes notice since at the very least, it's going to be impressive. The introduction of the B1 500 AirTTL is truly ground-breaking or to be more accurate, game-changing.

Based on the popular D1 Air series of monolights, all of the familiar professional and convenience features we've come to expect from Profoto are onboard. The B1 has the same dense, durable polymer housing, integrated 77-degree reflector, built-in receiver compatible with Air transmitters and intuitive highly visible controls and display as the D1 but with two striking differences - battery power and TTL camera/flash integration.

Busy photographers can literally set up their lights, slip the optional Air Remote TTL-C or TTL-N transmitter onto their camera's hot shoe and point-and-shoot without taking a reading and testing. Traditionally point-and-shoot would be a suspect term for a pro, but not if you're shooting back to back jobs on an impossible schedule with what you thought was an undoable deadline. Composition, posing etc, is of course up to the photographer, but time after time the B1 will give you a first shot exposure that's a keeper.

The key to this control is the optional Air Remote TTL-C (for Canon) or TTL-N (for Nikon) transmitter. Operating on 2.4 GHz band width, the transmitter, really a controller, has 8 frequency channels and with 3 groups per channel and a range of up to 330' for TTL triggering and 1000' for normal triggering. Each channel has power ratio capability of +/- 2 stops. If you prefer to use manual you have +/- 9 stops power variation. You've also got modeling light, unit shut-down and first or rear curtain control. The TTL-C/N and the B1 500 Air TTL have mini-USB connectors for firmware updates directly from Profoto's website. The head can be triggered by any Air Remote but requires the TTL-C/N for full functionality.

Core performance features are equally impressive. The B1 recycles in 0.1 to 1.9 seconds but can deliver up to 20 flashes per second in Quick Burst Mode which engages at lower power settings. Flash duration in Normal Mode is a very fast 1/1000 sec but there's also a Freeze Mode that delivers flash durations a short as 1/19,000 sec for capturing liquid sprays or splashes and other creative effects.

A free update from Profoto's website adds High-Speed Sync to the B1 and Air Remote TTL-C or TTL-N. HSS is the technical term for syncing flash with shutter speeds shorter than the so-called x-sync - typically 1/250 of a second. It's a useful tool for controlling ambient light and for freezing action. Profoto uses a patent-pending technology that emits an extremely fast series of flash pulses. With the upgrade installed, a simple button-press activates HSS Mode allowing you to shoot at shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 of a second. The B1 500 AirTTL employs an exchangeable Lithium-ion battery that gets up to 220 flashes on a 2-hour charge with the included 2.8A charger or a 1-hour charge with an optional 4.5A quick charger. The Battery has fuel gauge-type LEDs that make monitoring remaining power easy. The B1's modeling light has been upgraded to LED to put less strain on the battery and provide the equivalent output of a 70W halogen bulb.

Finally, B1's the back panel has been upgraded with a large, bright LCD screen that informs the user of the flash's power level, radio channel and group, sync choice, modeling light mode and recycle alert. There's also a large battery gauge that literally can be read from 20' away.

The B1 500 TTL comes with protective cap, 2.8A charger and a soft case.

Full E-TTL II with Canon Cameras or i-TTL with Nikon Cameras
The B1's patent-pending technology fully integrates the flash head with your Nikon or Canon camera. The integration is so complete that Profoto sometimes refers to the B1 as an "off-camera flash." The key to this control is the Air Remote TTL-C or TTL-N
Optional Air Remote TTL-C / TTL-N
The Air Remote TTL-C and TTL-N transmitters have 8 frequency channels with 3 groups per channel and a range of up to 330' for TTL triggering. Each channel has power ratio capability of +/- 2 stops in TTL or +/- 9 stops in manual. Modeling light, shut-down of the unit and first or rear curtain exposure can also be selected.
Firmware Updates
Both the flash head and the Air Remote TTL-C or TTL-N have mini-USB connections for firmware updates such as High Speed Sync, directly from Profoto's website.
High Speed Sync as Fast as 1/8000 Sec
High-Speed Sync (HSS) is the technical term for syncing flash with shutter speeds shorter than the so-called x-sync - typically 1/250 of a second. It is a useful tool for controlling ambient light and for freezing action. Profoto uses a unique, patent-pending technology, providing an extremely fast series of flash pulses. With the free Profoto HSS upgrade installed, you switch to HSS Mode with a simple button-press that allows you to shoot at shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 of a second.
Exceptionally Short Flash Duration
In Normal Mode, which prioritizes color fidelity, the B1 500 AirTTL is capable of T0.5 flash durations of 1/11,000 sec at minimum power, and 1/1000 sec at full power.
Freeze Mode
Freeze Mode automatically selects the shortest flash duration possible at the user-selected power level. Motion-stopping flash durations of 1/19,000 at minimum power make the B1 500 AirTTL ideal for high speed shooting.
Quick Burst Mode
At lower power settings Quick Burst Mode allows a series of flashes to be fired at a faster pace than the B1 can recharge, allowing triggering of up to 20 frames per second.
Lithium-Ion Battery Powered
The B1's Lithium-ion battery gives you up to 220 full power flashes and thousands of minimum power flashes on a 2-hour charge from the provided 2.8A multi-voltage charger. An optional 4.5A quick charger shortens that time to 1 hour. Fuel gauge type LEDs on both the battery and charger allow you to monitor remaining power.
LED Modeling Lamp
A 20W LED modeling light with a 70W tungsten-equivalent output draws very little power from the battery and generates minimal heat. The light can be set to proportional or full power and will dim during recycling if that option is selected.
Redesigned Control Panel
The B1's control panel has been upgraded with a 1.4 x 2.5" bright LCD screen that informs the user of the flash's Power level, sync choice, modeling light mode and recycle alert. There's also a large battery gauge that literally can be read from 20' away
Power Variable Over 9 Stops
Power can be regulated over a 9-stop range (2-500Ws / 1/256-1/1) in 1/10 or 1-stop increments.
Full Light Shaper System Compatibility
With its zoom scale and integrated umbrella sleeve, the B1 500 AirTTL is compatible with Profoto's extensive line of umbrellas, reflectors and softboxes.
Maximum Watt/Seconds 500 Ws +/- 1/20 Stop
Guide Number 291 @6.56' (2.0 m), 100 ISO with Magnum reflector
Display LCD Indicators for:
Power in 1/10 stop increments
Battery charge level
Modeling light status
Recycle alert: Beep, Dim, Beep and Dim, silent
Sync: Slave, radio channel and group
Back panel control:
Modeling light button
Sync button
Test, On/Off button
Power dial
Flash Variability In 1/10 or 1 Stop increments 9.0 Stops:
2.0-10 power level (1/256-1/1)
2.0-500 Ws
Recycle Time Minimum/Maximum: 0.1-1.9 sec
Quick Burst Mode: 20 frames per sec
Flash Duration Normal mode (T 0.5): 1/11,000 - 1/1000 sec minimum/maximum power
Freeze mode (0.05): 1/19,000 - 1/1000 sec minimum/maximum power
Color Temperature 5600K
Normal mode:
+/- 150K over entire power range, +/- 20K flash to flash
Freeze mode:
+/- 800K over entire power range, +/- 50K flash to flash
Beam Angle 77 Degrees with built-in reflector and opal protective glass
Modeling Light 20 W LED (70 W tungsten equivalent)
Replaceable by service tech.
Modeling Light Control Off / Proportional / Free (full) 5.0-100%
Wireless Remote Yes, via optional Air Remote TTL-C/N, Air remote, Air USB (Profoto Studio) Wireless range:
Up to 1000' (300 m) for normal triggering
Up to 330' (100 m) for TTL with optional Air Remote TTL-C
Frequency Band 2.4 GHz
Triggering Air radio slaves, optical (IR), sync cord
Max Sync Speed Up to 1/250 sec in normal mode
Up to 1/8000 sec in High Speed mode (requires free firmware update)
Operating Voltage 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz, Self-sensing
14.8 VDC/3 Ah via included, rechargeable battery
Auto Power Off Yes, after 60 minutes of disuse
Sleep mode after 30 minutes of disuse
Battery Type Lithium-ion
220 Full power flashes Battery life: 300 charge cycles (to 80% left)
Flash Ready Indicator Beep tone, ready right, modeling light dimming
Battery Charge Time 2.0 Hours with included 2.8 V multi-voltage charger
1.0 Hour with optional 4.5 V quick charger
Battery Charge Display Green LED indicators: 3 Sections: 100-70%
2 Sections: 70-40%
1 Section: 40-10%
1 Section blinking
< 10%
User Replaceable Flashtube No, via authorized service tech.
Voltage Stabilization Yes
Circuit Protection Adaptive thermal control
Fan Cooled Yes
Auto Dump Yes
Operating Temperature 14 to +122°F (-10 to +50°C)
Storage: 4 to +140°F (-20 to +60°C)
Dimensions Length x diameter:
Body only: 12.2 x 5.12 (310 x 130 mm)
With 5/8" (16 mm) stand adapter: 12.2 x 6.69" (310 x 170 mm)
Weight 6.61 lb (3.0 kg) including battery
Packaging Infowbaxyduxvewrwutrzqetzwebxcvfubtww
Package Weight 12.0 lb
B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 93.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I LOVE this thing Sold my old Profoto B6 when this came in the mail. It's lightweight, powerful, and works beautifully. My assistants love not having the big bulky battery and chord to carry around and deal with all day. When doing the interior getting ready, toast, reception, indoor dancing etc. shots it doesn't take up the entire room. For outdoor shots people don't notice anything. If you use one of these for a long day of work, like at a wedding, you absolutely need the second battery. Just used the Nikon TTL remote for the first time last week and it works better than the Nikon TTL. I love this machine. Now to save up for a second one.
Date published: 2014-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Profoto B1 is the future!! I recently sold my Acute 2R power pack w/three D4 heads to purchase this B1 unit w/extra battery an Air Remote TTL-C...I am really amazed at how simple it makes life....almost too simple. I loaded the latest update for the B1 unit an also loaded the HSS (high speed sync) code on the Air Remote TTL-C..this update enables you to shoot with a high shutter speed of 1/8000, rather than the limited 1/250..I recommend buying the Air Remote TTL with the allows you to take full advantage of TTL an all B1 functions....without the remote, the B1 is basically a Battery-Powered Flash..I have absolutely not one complaint about the B1.
Date published: 2015-03-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 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 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.
Date published: 2016-03-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful soft light, even bare bulb! I love this light! Profoto gear just works like it's supposed to, and it's very user friendly. No complicated menus, just set your remote to the same channel as the unit, make all your adjustments from the remote. Everything is easy and self explanatory. And the light it produces is beautiful! It's powerful, yet light and portable enough to bring on location. My only con for this is that it is very pricey, but you pay for quality. This thing is solid. I've only got to use it a couple of times, but time will tell as far as its durability and longevity. Great piece of equipment. If you have the money, spend it on this, it's worth it!
Date published: 2015-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great light with a design flaw Have had this light a year and functionally it is amazing but it does have a design flaw. The top of the battery compartment has a thin rail of plastic on each side to hold the top of the battery in place. Because it is so thin, especially on one side it will eventually break as shown in the photos. This unit has never been dropped or transported with the battery in the unit which shouldn't matter anyway but it still failed under normal use. I called customer service in NJ and they said they are aware and have been telling headquarters in Sweden to address this flaw. But if I wanted it fixed they can put the same failing shell on for about $150.00 plus shipping and it would take about 3 weeks to repair.
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Top notch product to move up from speedlights 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.
Date published: 2016-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Ultimate Light This light is just amazing. In TTL gets it right almost all the time. This is definitely an expensive light but I have to say it is well worth the money, especially when used with the TTL Air Remote. I sold all my old strobes and battery packs on @ and purchased two of these strobes along with the TTL Air Remote for Nikon. This should be all I ever need for studio or location lighting. I had always heard that Profoto was the Cadillac of lighting, but they are much better than that, maybe the Ferrari of lighting. Sure has made lighting indoor or outdoor easy. Thank You Profoto!
Date published: 2014-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 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 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 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.
Date published: 2014-03-14
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