First Impressions of the Newly Launched Profoto B10

I have had the opportunity to try out the new Profoto B10 for a couple of days. I am yet to use it extensively and here are my first impressions.

Features

  • First things first, it looks cool, weighs light (1.5kgs), feels compact and most importantly cordless.

  • As a wedding photographer, there have been instances where I need extra power when compared to a speed light but I can't carry a speed light. The Profoto B10 fits right in the middle of this critical need. It fits into my existing gear bag so I can carry it anywhere, plug and play.

  • There is also a continuous light that is said to last up to 75 minutes. This helps in shooting videos too during the photo sessions.

  • The set up is flexible. With the provided clamp you can put it on the stand, or attach it directly on a monopod/tripod and ask an assistant to hold it up. 

  • There is an iOS app that the Profoto B10 has in the store which you can use to control the setting. The app also has an inbuilt camera that triggers the model lamp if you are doing some mobile photography.

  • With A1 one could not use all the modifiers. But this one is compatible with all the RFi and OCF modifiers.

  • For the power source, both the battery and direct charging can be used. We can also use it while charging the battery, which is a welcome change for someone who is using B1X that requires the battery to be removed for charging separately.

Test Shoot

I am someone who frequents the beach every morning and I watch the Fishermen taking on the day and working hard into their job. I’ve always wanted to make portraits of them in their routine. But then, earlier with the D2, B1X the challenge has always been carrying these lights outdoor and looking for a power source at instances. Also by the time the Fishermen are back from the sea, the golden hour would’ve gone past and sunlight is harsh at the background. The shots are hence naturally silhouettes and I needed something really powerful to bring out the details of the subject. With the promised extra power of the Profoto B10 that is said to hold the power of at least 5-speed lights around 250 watts, I wanted to see how it will perform. So we took it out for a ride and here are the results.

I could almost overpower the Sun and was able to add more character and drama to the portraits I made. Even at f22, this light gave me so much power to expose the subjects. 

What I Liked

Overall, it’s lightweight, simple interface design and the compactness, are the catch for the users. It works well for me and you have to figure out if this will fit into your workflow. Looking forward to experimenting more with the Profoto B10, and will keep you guys posted. 

What Could Be Improved

I felt that they could have released the B10 with a new Air TTL. The current Air TTL remote comparatively uses a lot of battery power and little disproportionate for the Sony mirrorless cameras that I am using. Also, it is also a little tricky to think over the fact that does not replace the A1 because I need it on my camera and it does not replace B1X or a D2 in the studio for I need their power sometimes. 

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80 Comments

Previous comments

Build and light quality does not come cheap.

William Howell's picture

You are absolutely right, but, you knew there would be a but, right, but the lights I referenced above, have excellent build quality, particularly the Lumedyne.
$1500.00 is just to much money for one light, now that’s just my opinion I know and I know I can’t afford the Profotos. If I could afford the Profotos, I would purchase the Lumedyne system. I am in the process of saving up the money for a three light setup from Lumedyne, and it is my understanding that Lumedyne will retro fit the system to be compatible with the Cyber Sync. Couple that with my Buff lights and you have a tough high quality light system.
Let me what you think?

Lee Christiansen's picture

You ask a valid question.

But $1500 is not too much for anything if it does what you want it to and the cost can be balanced against convenience, delivery or quality.

Too often lighting is compared with the specs on paper. In this respect, Profoto nearly always looks overpriced. However, user experience and other details such as exposure consistency, build quality, convenience, after-service, eco-system, speed & ease of use are all things that are harder to sell but are essential - particularly in a pro environment.

There are many jobs where the combo of my D1 / B1 strobes with the excellent Air Remote stsyem have meant the difference between getting the job done or not. And when I'm lighting headshots with up to 5 strobes, that consistency of 1/10 stop exposure is something very valuable.

My clients don't pay me any more because I have Profoto. They don't know what Profoto is. But I work faster with the eco system than my previous Bowens lights, and images on the tethered screen are consistent for watching clients, whislt I'm able to easily trigger lights from a radio linked meter and adjust quickly with an Air Remote, so my clients see me work fast. And post delivery is speedy because I don't need to adjust 100's of images quite so much to make up for varying multiple strobes.

It's funny - we'll spend money of lenses that produce beautiful bokeh that our clients don't notice, or sensors with resolutions that our clients don't ask for, or comfier cars that get us to our destination just as well as an old banger... But lights... we feel that all lights are the same, so Profoto must just be overpriced. Heck don't look at Broncolor or Briese unless you're sitting down.

The Profoto A1 was a bit of a daft light in my opinion. But the B10 is quite a nice little strobe. If I could justify it, I'd buy one. For now my other 6x D1's and 2x B1s will have to make do... :)

William Howell's picture

Lee, I haven’t any doubt that Profoto lights are excellent, but the price, in my view, is simply to much. The new B10 is worth one thousand dollars or about 750 pounds, that’s it, that would be generous. Now I know what I say doesn’t mean squat, but still it is an opinion from an avid enthusiast and aspiring pro.
Tell me what you think on my pricing of the B10, if you wouldn’t mind.

I understand people wanting a cheaper price point but if you really compare prices between Profoto lighting range B10 is actually priced pretty well.

For example, if you were to buy one B2 kit with one head it would cost you well over £1500 here in UK, while B10 is currently priced £1410 at Wex. Technically they both have the same specs and power and with the B10 you don't need to bother with cables or external battery packs. A lot of people value those features and are willing to pay extra for them.

I personally don't mind £1400 price for B10 but I do wish the duo kit was priced a bit cheaper. The price you suggested (£750) is ridiculously low as B10 is 5x more powerful than Speedlights (especially if you compare it to Canon 600EX Speedlite which sells for roughly £500).

If I could have chosen the price points for B10 I would have chosen £1299 and £2500 which it will most likely be sold at the big trade shows eventually.

After being unable to trigger the Profoto lights with Canon Profoto remote from my Nikon camera, I am sure - it is not about convenience. May be it is more about thousands if rental houses who will buy it anyway unless it is priced as Broncolor?

olivier borgognon's picture

works fine if you us PC sync cable :) workaround which works pretty well. A bit the same as if you had a Metz flash for Canon and wanted to use it hotshoe for Nikon, would not work.

Workaround was optical triggering from useless (?) popup flash :)

PS: I suspect it is the same for Phottix (Nikon trigger does not work on Fuji).

PPS: It is different for Elinchrom and Godox - trigger from whatever you want with any trigger, you'll just loose TTL and HSS/HiSync.

Travis Harris's picture

Lee, this is exactly correct. Nice post. 8 year full time wedding pro here, Lee Morris shot my wedding long ago, and I have written some content for F-stoppers in the past on Data Workflow with videos on my channel. I saw this post, and was reading some of the comments and it's really too bad how everyone jumps on Profoto JUST because all of the sudden a cheaper company came out and offers the same or better specs on paper. Now, we have every hobbyist, new comer, or "YouTube Reviewer" taking the mic and speaking their mind, which in many cases is just silly. I just sold my Elinchrom Quadra Lithium kit that I have used for 7-years! It was finally time to pass it on and has been repaired in the past a few times. Last week I bought the B1X kit with two lights, and could not be any happier. I also use Godox speedlites for my weddings, along with their cool remote. But, for the heavy lifting of lighting I prefer the better brands, their ECO system, their modifiers, their reputation dating back to the 1960's, and how everything is just simply beautiful made. Every time someone opens their opinion online to say "You could have bought two, or three of "X" flash for one Profoto" it's beyond annoying, and does not matter. I could have bought three Kia's in place of my Lexus GX SUV.. :-) The truth is, that if money was zero factor many of the the people who complain about this stuff, would in a heartbeat take a Profoto light and love it. Period. The same does not work the other way around. The B1x is sick! The new B10 is... sick. Is it for the tire kickers, or people who are looking to start a living in photography for the first time? No. Godox all the way! It's also worth mentioning that I was in relations with Elinchom (put out the first video review of the new 500TTL before release) and even with that relationship.. I switched over. Why? They would have helped me get out of my old system into the current ones if I had wanted, and I choose not too. I wanted what I wanted, I have lots of business, and I like the Profoto brand and the long roots attached to it. It's that simple. When it comes to pricing, you cant be everything to everyone. Luxury brands of all kinds know this. Airlines dont care if you book first class or not, Range Rover does not care if you can only afford a ford, etc..etc..etc.. I just booked a new wedding in Paris for next year. When I was checking out on the website, my coach ticket was $855 with Air France. First class on the same plane was $12,000. TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. If I see someone in that seat when I get on, I'm not going to call him stupid, or say "do you know you could have sat back here for like..nothing?" Who looks silly in that situation? Me! So, I guess my point LOL, is that if your not in the market for a profoto light, and don't agree with the value of a brand like this, and the long rabbit hole that comes attached, please be respectful of others who are doing well and choose these tools, because for the most part.. we all are very happy, and price is not first on my list.

user-156929's picture

Mixed bag of comments there. Don't care for the name dropping (Lee Morris? Really? :-/) or chest pounding but your overall point is valid and spot on. The fact my dog's name is Travis tips the scales in your favor! :-)

Travis Harris's picture

Sorry Sam. LOL. Good points. Its's hard to write anything online, I deal with this on all my YouTube videos as well. I was just trying to establish that I am not just another guy with a camera, but as you pointed out.. perhaps I am! So, your correct.. it does not matter my experience it's just another opinion, and a good reminder that most of the time forums are not the best place for me to be LOL. Appreciate the response tho.

user-156929's picture

It's all good. I just wonder, sometimes, what people would say if we were all sitting around at a bar somewhere, face to face. Of course, as the night progressed, it'd probably closely resemble a lot of online comments, anyway. ;-)

Travis Harris's picture

YES!!!! Totally. I say the same thing! Man! I literally say this all the time with the comments I get on my YouTube! If we were sitting at a bar face to face, lol.. would people say the things they do (the way they say them). LOL. Cheers to you!

William Howell's picture

No, if it were free I would choose Lumedyne, Buff, Speedotron and Scoro for strobes, then for continuous, Mole-Richardson. Modifiers, would be Bron and Chimera. For a truck the Limited F-150 or the Escalade.
Just a quick question, what about the recessed flash bulb on the Profotos? How does one use a scrim, without a bare bulb?

What about the recessed flash tube in your mind would prevent the use of a scrim? Sorry if this question sounds obtuse... I just genuinely can’t understand what one has to do with the other. If anything I think I would prefer a reflector in place when scrimming to get control over the general beam prior to the scrim. To me the recessed tube is just a permanent reflector.

I’m not 100% sold on the recessed tube, however... it’s fine most of the time but I will never get rid of my Acute 600b due to that.

William Howell's picture

You need a bare bulb through a scrim to get super gradation of light.

Travis Harris's picture

Right on William! All good stuff! I honestly dont know the answer to your question, and wont pretend that I do! For me, I mainly use fold up, portable beauty dishes, small boxes, and High Reflective zoom reflectors for most of my work. You may have a point about the heads not able to properly fill larger modifiers, and this could be a draw back for some.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Totally agree. I don't mind paying more if it's reliable because losing a regular client over failing equipment is not worth it.

Daniel Medley's picture

I don't see an increase in build and light quality that is commensurate with paying an extra $800USD over, say, a dual AD200 setup which is lighter, brighter, and has more pops per charge.

I'd like to see a blind side by side comparison done on photos shot with the exact same settings and camera with a B10 and perhaps an AD400 and see how many "pros" could tell the difference.

5 years ago there was absolutely a vast difference in quality to price ratio with Profoto and your average third party flash. In today's world, however, it's beginning to look more and more like the audio cable nonsense back in the day, "buy our special gold coated "pro" quality cables for big bucks because of the build and sound quality" when in reality there was no real difference.

Sorry, but I do not see the build quality with the AD200. It seems fragile. I have dropped a B1 onto the street and it hit on on the corner of the glass side. The protective plastic cover cracked, but the unit itself was fine. I don't think you could do that with a AD200, it would shatter.

And with cables, it all depends on the applications. The company I work for does sell cables with our equipment we design and manufacture, if you want to go 100 feet with a HDMI cable, then yes, you will need better quality cables.

Daniel Medley's picture

Did I say anything about HDMI cables?

No, you did not, but in some instances better quality cables do make a difference. But with the Godox, how is customer service? I heard from several users they have had major issues in getting their units serviced.

Daniel Medley's picture

"No, you did not ..."

'Nuff said. Have a good day.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Yes Daniel, but you did say "cables." And a HDMI cable is indeed a "cable."

If you want to be more specific, then just say so when you first post - helps us all out.

By the way, as an ex broadcast sound recordist and 24-track studio owner, I used to use Starquad cables, and yes they were superior at handling interference rejection, just like using balanced cables over twin core - but better. Gold plated just means less issues with oxidation and oxidation brings about impedence problems which hits the high end... but you know that of course. And I'm guessing you've made real world comparisons with studio quality monitors in a quality audio environment. (For the record, I have).

But don't mention something generically and complain when someone points out specifics.

Quality costs and it is a law of diminishing returns.

Akpe ododoru's picture

So basically you are paying a thousand plus extra on lights just because you are prone to dropping your lights and want to make sure it survives everytime you drop it. Have you ever tried buying a light and just not dropping it at all?
My friend has dropped he's Ad600Pro so many times and still work fine

I'm sure the AD200 works great and produces great images. The extra money for Profoto gear (for me) has very little to do with what the images actually look like at the end of the day (I have seen such comparisons done before) and everything to do with the total system and reliability. My Profoto stuff just WORKS, and works really, really well, with very little fussing and fiddling, which is extremely important to me when working with clients/subjects. I have worked with enough cheap flash equipment to know that chintzy modifier mount systems and unreliable radio triggering have no place in my workflow (not directed at Godox or Paul Buff in particular as I have not used them specifically).

I agree with Felix in that the AD200 looks fragile. In addition to the flash itself looking fragile, looking at how modifiers are mounted concern me (they look fiddly and have way too many points of weakness to support big modifiers like 5 foot octas). Part of what makes Profoto (and other expensive lighting systems) worth the extra money (to me) is that they are about as bombproof as something with glass and electronics can be, and this extends to how secure the mounting hardware is, for both the strobe and for modifiers.

To continue your cable analogy..... (which I don't necessarily agree with, as the "extra sound quality" from gold plated connectors is impossible to quantify, however Profoto's proven track record as the defacto rental standard around the world speaks for itself) Godox flashes are the cheap RCA cables that came with your cable box, with poorly soldered connections that begin to break down after a few hundred connections/disconnections and weren't designed to be used on the road by a touring band. Profoto strobes (A1 notwithstanding, as I have not actually used this unit) are the shielded Belden wire with XLR connectors that were absolutely designed to be used and abused on the road. They both "work" and sound the same, but I have a heck of a lot more confidence in one of them to last a long time... whether this is worth the extra money is up to you. For me, along with the modifiers and other nice features (such as their amazing radio syncing ability and reliability), it is definitely worth it.

Daniel Medley's picture

I have Godox lights and they are dead simple to use. Granted I don't have the AD200; I have an AD600 PRO and a couple speedlights. The AD600 has a standard Bowens mount so it doesn't get much easier than that. I control everything from a wireless transmitter and I've never had any issues.

I think much of your argument was quite valid 5 years ago, but in today's world it's not nearly as valid. Even with the warranty issue. Adorama's rebranded Godox line comes with a warranty and service options. They've improved a lot. They are dead simple to use and just work.

An analogy to maybe use would be Japanese cars in the 70's. Everyone knew that they couldn't compare to the American made or German made cars. They were junk in comparison. But by the time the 80's rolled around they were easily surpassing in many ways the American and German cars.

In today's world, there are less expensive options that are making the premium paid for Profoto (and others) less and less of a sensible value proposition. Hell, you can get two AD 600s for less than the price of a B1. For less than the price of a B1 you have a powerful, fully integrated and a backup light.

People that are currently in the Profoto ecosystem are likely to stay, but new "pros" coming on line have little reason to embrace it with the options that are out there now. Spending twice the money for something that will work just as well in the majority of circumstances is not a sound financial business decision.

Eventually, just like the Big Three auto manufactures, Profoto is going to have to compete based on value (if Godox and others keep doing what they've been doing). If not they will be history.

Nothing wrong with the Bowens mount at all! (although personally I still prefer the Profoto mount for a variety of reasons) My comments were more about whatever mount the AD200 uses which looks very unreliable to me, along with most methods of mounting 1/2/3 speedlights in a softbox, etc. Too many small parts and threded bits to stand up to the weight of large modifiers or frequent use. I'm sure the AD600 units are fine, and I would like to see them in person before passing judgement. They do look a lot like the strobe units I used in school which worked fine and were simple to use, but were not even close to the same league as Profoto in fit, finish, and build.

I agree the likes of Phottix, Godox et al have come a long way and many here have a great point; that you can replace a failed unit and still be out ahead of the cost of a similar Profoto unit. Despite all the praise these brands get I would still hesitate before buying again due to my past experiences. I went through 3 different sets and brands of radio slaves (including Pocket Wizard) that people were raving about at the time and none of them performed even CLOSE to how Profoto Air performs. Range, battery life, misfires (or lack thereof in the case of Profoto) and sync speed are leaps and bounds better than every other brand I tried. The others were all "simple to use" and I couldn't say they were defective in any way.... they simply didn't perform as well or reliably. These details aren't always on the spec sheets but for me are much more important than a lot of specs and features that are.

ad400 pro has more consistent color temperature than b1x, so what makes you think b10 will be different? genuine question. I know I've made a similar post before but I'm missing something here

David Apeji's picture

It would be nice to see the EXIF data on the images you posted.

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