Traveling with Profoto: Little Shao in South Korea

Do you ever shy away from packing strobes when you travel? Worried that too much gear will weigh you down?Little Shao, a Paris-based photographer who specializes in dance photography, travels a lot. This new video from Profoto spotlights both the ease with which Profoto's B10s travel, as well as the incredible versatility they provide. Despite fitting in his backpack, these lights have enough power to balance bright blue midday skies and enough subtlety to create mood lighting that blends with nighttime neon. 

Seeing me with that small backpack, nobody would guess that I was carrying a whole studio set-up

Although this is certainly an advertorial, not a tutorial, it's interesting to see the behind the scenes footage from both Little Shao's work in the temple and on the streets of Seoul. Permit or no permit, sometimes it's important to be discreet. Drawing too much attention to a shoot in progress can work to disrupt the flow of the shoot, distracting the photographer and the talent. Beyond that, some locations may be happy to have you set up and shoot, as long as you don't take away from the underlying meaning or importance of the place itself.

You've got to be very discreet and respectful in these places

Check out the rest of Little Shao's dance work on his webpage to see just how useful the B10 can be.

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18 Comments

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

They certainly aren't cheap. I can't disagree with that. But, they do provide value if the budget is there. We'll rent them if we need them for a shoot. We typically use much less expensive lighting equipment and deal with a bit a little bit of reliability issues.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

If we're working on something that needs consistency we will move heaven and earth to shoot with Profoto or Bron. Agreed! Everything else just requires too much post. Even our Elinchromes don't come close.
The 'speed rings' costing always make me laugh. If they don't get you one way, the certainly get you another.

Godox AD 200 - smaller footprint and basically the same power...at a fraction of the price!!

Jeff McCollough's picture

Yeah that's true. Sad thing is all the people with AD200s take crap photos and the decent work is done with Profoto.

I assume (hope) you are kidding!! The take-away from the video is NOT how great the B10 is (and I am sure it is a solid piece of equipment)- but how much you can do with the current crop of smaller battery operated strobes in the 200+/-WS range

Jeff McCollough's picture

Not kidding. I am talking about what photographers who use the B10 can do, not the size of it.

Strobes be strobes pretty much (it's all the same photons and physics) - there is no Profoto 'secret sauce' of light- but there IS for marketing- they can afford huge PR efforts - including getting the units into the hands of top shooters. I can guarantee you that those same shooters could use the AD 200 with the same results... but the money puts Profoto units in their hands- and generates the advertising videos. Kinda like the ploy of making you think that Tiger Woods is a good golfer because of the brand golf club he uses- we all fall for it...

Jeff McCollough's picture

Yes and I understand that but then looking at it from another angle, why are the photographers who shoot with Godox no getting Profoto sponsored photographer results?

David T's picture

confirmation/survivorship bias

I am sure the profoto ambassador will get the same result with a godox if he wanted.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Let's see them do it then.

They can't screw up their 'ambassador' agreements- or their Profoto free march/discounts. All part of the endorsement game. (And BTW - I actually own/use Profoto studio strobes - which I bought at a very good price used - they are excellent products!!)

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

I find that the light temperature will fluctuate pretty wildly on some medium market and lower lights. I also find that using the newest Nike driver, I hit about 200 yards shorter the Tiger. Not sure who to complain to about that.

Piotr Maksymowicz's picture

Does any one know where they manufacturing profoto products? I Couldn't find that info on their website.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Good question. I took a look around, but couldn't figure it out. They are a Swedish Co., but where they manufacture? Who knows. Please update us if you can source the information.

I looked at the B10 recently at the camera store. They are beautifully designed and executed, and the control layout is probably best in the industry. However they are badly overpriced compared to available alternatives.

The Godox AD400 costs less than half as much, features a brighter model light and recycle in less than half the time, a better flash tube design, better controller at a fraction of the cost, and a standard sync port.

It isn't unusual to mix strobe brands on large shoots, I sometimes use my Dynalites with built in PW receivers along with Godox AD600s.These can all be synced with PWs.This isn't possible with the B10, and also doesn't permit an alternative trigger if either the hyper expensive Profoto controller or internal radio receiver fails.

I guess the only question is about durability. Would you have to repurchase the Godox after awhile and if so would that negate the price advantage.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Having used both, but without the need to repurchase, I think that yes, in my anecdotal experience, you'd need to repurchase other manufactures mentioned in the comments before you'd have to buy another set of Profotos.

Long term durability is certainly a valid concern, as is availability of repairs in future. I agree these are unknowns at the moment. My strobes don't get used often, so not much wear and tear. ( I shoot mainly large scale architectural and industrial projects which are too large to light ).

I am based in the Toronto area, the easiest strobes to repair locally are Dynalite and Speedotron. This used to be true for Buff as well but their repair centre is now in Quebec City for some strange reason. Profoto repairs take about a month here according to a Profoto user I know.

I would be willing to pay more for Profoto than the same spec Godox, but not as much as they are currently asking.