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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
ProfotoB1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash
 
4.7

(based on 90 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (73)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (12)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (4)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good power output (47)
  • Durable (42)
  • Lightweight (28)
  • Attaches securely (23)
  • Good color value (23)

Cons

  • Pricey / poor value (3)

Best Uses

  • Outdoors (43)
  • Portraits (43)
  • Indoors (36)
  • Outdoor events / games (30)
  • General purpose (29)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Pro photographer (27), Semi-pro photographer (18), Photo enthusiast (7), Photography student (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (55)

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

 

faulty B1s from B&H?

I've bought a b1 a year or two ago from B&H and it would not fire at all. I had to pay for shipping and send it to Profoto to get it...Read complete review

I've bought a b1 a year or two ago from B&H and it would not fire at all. I had to pay for shipping and send it to Profoto to get it repaired and it's worked flawlessly ever since. I decidedly to buy another b1 recently from B&H, because I figured that wouldn't happen again, but this one doesn't fire either! Do I have to waste my money on shipping again to get it repaired from Profoto? =\

Reviewed by 90 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Outstanding off camera flash

By Steve

from Memphis

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

I do a fair amount of work on location with senior pictures, etc, The Profoto B1 provides wonderful soft light rapidly and reliably. Very portable and compact. Just what I needed.

 
4.0

Great Product. Room for design improvement though.

By Hunter

from Seattle

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

This is a fantastic product. It will accomplish exactly what you need, but there are several design points that could have been improved on.

The recessed flash tube makes this product difficult to give a even spread of light across your modifier. I mainly use this with the Profoto 3' Octa and there is a significant hot spot of light in the center of the modifier. The fact that you have to spend and extra $170 dollars on the frosted dome (which significantly reduces the hot spot) is just a tad bit ridiculous.

500 Watt seconds for $2095 is on the weak end of light output for the price it is set at. Other brands offer way more power and basically the same cordless concept for just a few bucks extra.

IF this product had an exposed flash tube and just a bit more power, Profoto would have a serious product on their hands.

 
5.0

Great Stobe

By Ian

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

So far I love this light. Color temp is right on. The ability to do high-speed sync is really great. After fumbling around with Speedlights and their unreliable infrared connection, this is a breath of fresh air. So far, the auto exposure seems to be quite accurate, but it also allows me to kick it into manual mode after shooting an auto-exposure. The flash will remember and hold the output from the auto-exposure and I can adjust it up or down from there. Very cool. Oh, and the 500 WS output makes this a much more usable light. Very nice not having to deal with cords and cables.

 
5.0

Love the quality of light and recycle time

By Whitney

from Undisclosed

Site Member

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

First, I just want to say that I am not super savvy with studio lighting. I've only owned the b1s(which are my first strobe lights ever) for about 2 months and am still in the process of learning how to use them. I shot a wedding a week ago that was being held at a small barn (the only lighting was string lighting so it was VERY dim). We were faced with heavy rain and flash floods and were extremely limited on both location and natural lighting, but having my B1s was a life saver. I attached my air remote to my camera, took a test shot in HSS and then switched to manual and tweaked the output, and literally within 60 seconds was ready to shoot Formals. I've loved my B1s in the studio but that day I could've cried because I was so thankful that I had purchased them. You won't need them at every single session or wedding but when you are faced with poor lighting and/or inclement weather they can be what makes all the difference. After a full day of shooting, the batteries still had power left. The quality of light is simply flawless. Again, I am NOT an expert on studio lighting which should be a testimony of how user friendly these strobes are. To sum it all up, I'm more than happy with this purchase! Side note: I had a second shooter. We both had air remotes and the recycle time of the b1s was amazing. We never had any issues.

 
5.0

This light is a game changer

By Fleeting Moments

from Cape Cod, MA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

This light has been a game changer for me. I am able to overpower the sun and get some amazing images. Indoors it's perfect too. Just love it. Worth every penny!

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Flawless

By Curtis

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

When you pay this much money for a piece of equipment it is supposed to do its job flawlessly. The Profoto B1 does just that. Controls are very intuitive. It is simple to operate. It is well built. The first one passed the test. Now two more are on order.

 
5.0

Best light ......

By Jerry

from Nashville

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

I am absolutely loving this light ..... I was a little worried at first about ordering one and having it show up DOA like some have had happen but that's was not the case the light work 100% flawless. I ordered a extra battery which I think is a must to make sure you never run out of power. Can't wait to order more in the future always the best experience when I order from B&H! Thanks so much B&H you guys are amazing..... If your thinking about getting one of these light I would just do it the profoto B1 is a amazing!

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great light with a design flaw

By William

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

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.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Non functional

By Daniel

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

I was sold a faulty piece of gear.  I see in the reviews that I am not the first.  Be aware if you buy this thing, there is a good chance you will be sold a broken piece of machinery.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Reliable & Quality Product!

By Alfred

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

Own this product for a more than 6 months! Took me awhile to get over the price of the product but when I decided to invest in this one, I realized how much I wasted debating on getting this. Wish I got it sooner. It's very reliable, consistent light temps, fast setup and build quality is superb!

The only con is that you can't charge it while using it simultaneously but if you have two batteries, which I highly recommend. You can have one while shooting and the other charging. So it isnt too much of an issue.

 
5.0

Would purchase again

By Yanira

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

Love the B1. Easy to use and very easy to use on location.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

got one, getting another soon

By Michael

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

don't remember what it was like before going cordless...love it.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

pretty amazing

By ike iller

from los angelers, ca

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

first monolight i've ever bought. worth every penny. great tool, solid piece of equipment.

 
5.0

Awesome Portable lighting

By Gary

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

It doesn't get better than the Profoto units. Flexible, portable and perfect results every time, in studio and outdoors. Make sure to have sandbags on hand when shooting outdoors...wind can be a problem.

 
5.0

Last light needed

By Michael

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

Emits a blinding light. Works as intended.

 
5.0

Great lighting!

By Drew

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

This is a great strobe for location shoots as well as studio. Love the cordless design, however would recommend get a spare battery or two depending on the type of shooting you will be doing.

(3 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

B&H shipped unfired flash.

By Lin

from Undisclosed

Site Member

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

B&H shipped unfired flash.
I already paid the customs tax and 
still need to pay the returning shipping fee for unfired flash.
And B&H custom service responded so slowly.

 
5.0

A game changer

By Carl

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

Got the two light kit last March, one of the smartest things I've done in a long time.  Yes it is expensive, I still owe $1k on the thing, but what a difference.  I was using speedlites with Lastolite softboxes, not nearly enough power.  No comparison.  I've been using it for modeling and boudoir at the customers sites, easy to set up and get to shooting.  Just within the last week two customers want to have me work with them on long term projects, and this is all because of the high quality that this light and the Profoto modifiers produce. I can't thank Profoto enough.  Weaknesses?  They're a bit heavy, the battery never lasts quite long enough, I wish they were a bit more powerful, and although two lights are perfect for shooting outside I really need that 3rd unit for indoors.  So my plan is to get a D2 1000 for light number three.

 
5.0

Best monolight on the market

By David

from Undisclosed

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

The Profoto B1 sits in a class all its own. I'm blown away by this strobe. Most expensive lighting I've ever bought, but I see where the money goes. Unparalleled quality.

 
5.0

Perfect

By steveo

from Bend,Oregon

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

I really wish I hadn't wasted so much money on other strobes. Should of just saved up and purchased this strobe a long time ago. No I need to save up for the kit to have a 3 light go anywhere set up.

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