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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Daniel Medley's picture

Another thing, too. Here where I live is a commercial rental photo studio fully equipped with lights and modifiers. They have a total of 4 rooms with backdrops, lights,stands, triggers, staging, dressing rooms, etc. The lights they equip them with are all PCB lights (as of about 6 months ago). It would have been tens of thousands of dollars to use Profoto. Over the years of extremely heavy commercial "pro" and enthusiast use, the PCB lights have held up amazingly well.

Talking with the owner of the studio he basically said that had he gone with Profoto, he would never have been able to even get the business off the ground.

But the real point is that there probably isn't much heavier use than that in an equipped for rent photo studio. PCB has held up well.

Amar what modifier did you use and how close was the light to the subject?

The power of 5 speedlights is bogus. The tech specs from Profoto state F11.9 @ 2m ISO 100, well my Canon 430EX II is more powerful than that.

Jan Kruize's picture

Made this one with a godox A1 with some toiletpaper wrapped around it, costs 80 dollar or something.... works fine too.

The Profoto B1 first batch had flash tube issues (many people received them and the flashes didn't fire correctly).
The Profoto B2 had color temperature issues (they didn't match with the B1).
The Profoto B4 doesn't freeze the subject like the broncolor move and weighs more, but was priced higher.
The Profoto A1 has motor issues, in a few models.
The Profoto B10 probably will have issues as well.

The profoto TTL air remote has a flimsy piece of plastic on the back, you can see the circuity and it's clearly cheaply made. That's fine, no big deal, but it's a $400 remote. Get real, lol.

The Godox AD400 Pro is more color accurate than the B1X and likely more color accurate than the B10.
It outputs roughly the same, slightly more light than the B1X despite being lower wattage.
Its build quality is perhaps not as good, but Profoto's are not built well. Don't tell me they're built well just because they have tough plastic. With that logic, if you house them in a clay brick, they're built well.

The elinchrom 500 is possibly superior. The heads look weak but because they're lighter weight, they can be weak (get a tub and full it with 50ml of water, drop it. Use the same tub but fill it with 500 ml water. See which is damaged more).

The broncolor siros are more color accurate than profoto B1x.

I have the budget for all of them, but they all have issues in a roundabout way. I hope broncolor makes a light because at least with them, you get decent build quality and light output.

Profoto is overrated and when you measure it with a spectrometer, or when you know a thing or two about build quality, it's simply not that good. You can forgive godox for shortcomings because of its price, but when the AD400 Pro is both more color accurate, more powerful and cheaper than the B10, there's an issue here.

To those who will inevitably ask to see my work... This is not subjective, okay? I can be the worlds worst photographer, but a fact is a fact.

If a pilot has flown around the world 10 times in a cesna and someone says to him, well a 747 would be better! And he says, "show me your experience!" that doesn't make him wrong. Stop with this appeal to authority madness.

If you're that experienced, with 4984949489484 strobes, it should not be too hard to get a spectrometer and prove the profoto is color accurate. I've heard that the profoto b2 color issues were fixed in a firmware update. 3 batch failures does not scream quality to me. The OCF barndoors are simple sheet metal, about $7 in materials selling for an astronomical price.

If they're going to rip me off with that, why should I trust this isn't a simple chinese flash in thickish polycarbonate?

By all means though, like I said, get a spectrometer and prove me wrong. Disassemble one and show the internals are different. Or something. Anything.

Don't just say they're built better and fail to prove this.

The godox speedlights and AD200 are not that color accurate. So if you do do testing, please don't do it with their weakest flash. The AD400 pro is quite accurate and I am expecting an AD200 pro is on the horizon.

To anyone reading... Do you think I should buy the elinchrom ttl 500 instead? I care about size/weight/quality of output. I'm not worried about the cost, and to the guy who said "if they were all free you'd buy profoto", he's actually wrong. I don't know what I should buy. It's not about cost when the cheaper product is genuinely more color accurate.

Travis Harris's picture

LOL, I was the guy who said that. Sorry man, I did not mean to offend anyone (I am terrible at typing on forums, I have no way to convey tone. Trust me, the way I say things in person is different and comes across in a non confrontational way.). Your right some people will choose different things for different reasons. Yeah, regarding the ELB 500TTL. I was one of the beta testers who had that pack for months before release.. (review and write up here on my blog: https://www.travisharris.com/blog/elinchrom-elb-500-ttl-review/ ). For me, this system is not a good option. In 7 years with the Quadra, I can tell you I have replaced at least 7 cords due to failures, and a few of those times was on high paid assignments. I have had a bad cord also short out a flash tube twice in that time. I am SO done with cords, and I take great care with all of my gear. The ELB500 the cord is now permanently attached to the head, and this means I would have to send the whole thing to service. Forget it. For me, I wanted an all in one (why I just bought the B1X kit and B&H had a $500 instant rebate.. so I did it.) and I really love that, and is a good fit for the work that I do. I also use Godox for my small flashes, and they are fine too. EDIT: The other thing I could not stand with Elinchrom was the remote. SO laggy, and boot up time was very long. Sounds small, but you mix this with being in the field with clients, and it gets annoying. Godox, and Profoto remotes are SO much faster in that way..

You said it best above.. "they all have issues", and this is very true. It's all a compromise, both in piratical terms and emotional ones. Why do some buy BMW, Lexus, and MB? and others are fine with a Honda Accord? Some may say they are smarter with money, others will say your going to die tomorrow so do what makes you happy. Neither one is really wrong, unless you can't pay your bills.

Ever since I had an interest in photography.. WAY back, I always saw Profoto as the best. I used to watch that show "Americas Next Top Model" way back in the day, and as a young guy on the couch used to dream of doing shoots like that. This was back in early 2000's, living in a condo in Vermont in the cold, with nothing around me. LOL. Today, I am in Miami and have a totally different life (I have an interview with me on my site that explains my story, and has motivated some people). Now, I get to do thous shoots. I have done published work for Maxim, and Italian VOGUE for a Hong Kong based designer. We have shut down Times Square NYC for e-sessions, and now I am in this crazy world of photography like I always wanted. Finally living a dream, and have now just done some international work. I have now branched out, and offer workshops on lighting and also have attracted bigger brands to start paying attention to what I am doing. For some, going with a brand like Profoto also has to do with perception. I freely admit that. Looking to do brand deals with companies, or bid on commercial assignments is better when they see you working with what the industry is calling "top of the line". Weather it is or not does not matter. I also think I can provide a ton more value that some wedding photographers that charge $10K... (and I can).. BUT.. to the bride who wants "the best" she does not care. She wants the name. Period. This is life, and just how it goes. Can a Godox light out perform my Profoto light. Sure. Who cares? The Godox user. You are totally right in everything you said, and so are all the other people on here "bashing" the Profoto price point vs. quality. For them this is not a good deal, and they should be happy with what they have. To be honest.. LOL, when I hear a lot of people (not you), but in general talk negatively about a product and start saying how its not as good etc.. it kinda comes across as them "re assuring" themselves that the cheaper option is, in fact still "better". I did this once with a car purchase. When I moved to Miami from Vermont I had a nice 330CI BMW.. and then, after a few years I decided it would be best to get a more practical car and lower my payments.. so, I did. I got a Honda Accord (this is a true story). I had that car for a year and I hated it. I fell asleep at night telling myself it was the smart move (and it was).. BUT.. every day when I drove it, I hated it and wished I was back in my nicer car. I ended up trading out of that car, rolling over a TON of negative equity and got what I wanted. It ended up costing me a lot more, and it was a lesson learned for me personally. Get what you want, and be happy! Thats about it!

Do you guys think that the Profoto B10 is powerful enough in terms of light output to use with an Elinchrom 75" Litemotiv Indirect softbox as a single light source for portraits in the studio? Thank you in advance for your help.