REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
ProfotoB1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash
 
4.7

(based on 84 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (68)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 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 84 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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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!

(2 of 2 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.

(1 of 1 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.

 
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.

(1 of 4 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.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Vastly better than stacking speedlites

By DougB

from Orlando, Fl

Verified Reviewer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

I was shooting with 3 canon speedlites in the large umbrella, and it kinda worked. Sometimes one of the 3 flashes would fail to fire for whatever reason, or batteries would die and then I have 3 sets of batteries to replace. Or, using the external battery packs I now have 2 or 3 external batteries, their weight and cables, plus the 3 speedlites, and that is just one light source. In a 2 or 3 light setup you can imagine the headache.

I originally went that route figuring it would be cheaper than the larger head units, like the B1. But my 7 speedlites cost more than the 2 light B1 kit, and they are much more cumbersome, and much more prone to intermittent failure.

With the B1 you have a single battery, 0 cables, TTL on Canon and Nikon, and 10x the power of a single speedlite. Quite simply, it is a solid solution.

It is also part of the overall profoto lighting system, all the modifiers, as well as modifiers from other brands with the right speedrings, will fit these heads properly, so you have lots of flexibility without having to get creative about how to mount the lights in the modifiers.

Yes, the price seems high, but considering the speedlites (not the knockoff brands) are $600+, and you would need 10 of them to equal the output (but fail on the quality), these are dirt cheap. Add to that the setup time saved, and the reduced failures while shooting, easy choice.

At first I was put off by the lack of a power cable option, but with a second battery, and the speed charger (comes with the 2 head kit), you really, truly, will never miss the power cable. And not having the cables to trip over, or limit your light placement options, is fantastic.

 
5.0

awesome

By Adam

from New Haven, CT

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

pretty amazing light

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Amazing Product!

By reamesr

from Mission Viejo, CA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

I primarily use the B1 for interior real estate photography, but also exteriors for fill light. This is a versatile, well built product. Combined with the ProPhoto Air remote, TTL mode is so easy and precise. Manual mode adds another dimension to fine tune a shot. The model light a great feature as well. The price is a bit high, but this is an amazing product. My only "wish list" for ProFoto...integrate radio control triggering of 3rd party speedlights, like the Nikon SB-5000.

 
5.0

Terry Harding Photography

By Terry Harding

from Hollywood aka La La Land

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

amazing light!!!! I just wish the battery would last a little longer.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Love this flash !

By capephotographer

from Cape Cod

Verified Buyer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

Way better than trying to stack speedlights together. No waiting for the flash to recycle, so you don't miss anything. This is by far the best solution for outdoor family portraits. High speed sync is awesome. I have two of these and wish I had bought them when they first came out. My flash frustration is gone.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Excellent On-Location Light, But Not Quite Perfect

By P.S. Linden Photography

from Kansas City, MO

Verified Reviewer

Comments about Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash:

I used to use speedlites for on-location portraits, but have always wanted a bit more power for outdoor shoots. After splurging on a B1 and Air TTL-C remote, I've had the chance to put it through its paces for a few shoots, and am pleased, overall. Unlike speedlites, which tend to drift color temperature over their power range, the B1 seems to be very consistent, IMHO. The TTL feature makes it much easier and quicker to do shoots where you frequently have to change location or lighting setups. After a few test shots to ensure the exposure is where I want it, I'll flip the strobe to manual, to keep the lighting levels consistent until the next setup. The ability to cross over to high speed sync is a nice plus, as well.

With the Air TTL-C remote, the remote doesn't display the actual strobe power setting (rather, it displays either the light ratios or, in manual the +/- stop adjustment), which can be a little bit annoying if you're used to making manual adjustments from the remote. However, in fast-paced location shoots where you're relying on the TTL for your baseline settings, and then just tweaking from there, it isn't a big issue.

The main shortcoming, in my view is that I wish the strobe could put out just one more stop of light at max power. On a few occasions, I've wanted just a bit more light out of the strobe when I'm trying to underexpose the surrounding environment in brightly-lit conditions, especially when adding a softbox to the mix, and doubly so when crossing over to HSS (since that, by nature, also cuts the down on the amount of light the strobe is firing). Of course the power needed to supply that extra stop of light, would also undoubtedly chew through batteries like candy. Understandably, some compromises needed to be made.

Overall, though, I've been quite happy with the B1, so much so, that I've added a second since my original purchase, and have plans for a third, to give me even more options on location.

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