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Profoto Announces New Studio-Quality Smartphone Lights, Retailing at $299 and $499

In a new announcement from Profoto, the company’s first ever studio lights for smartphones have been unveiled. The C1 and C1 plus are small, portable, handheld bulbs that can be used to enhance any casual phone snaps.

To use the lights, a user must sync them with the Profoto Camera phone app. The company said it’ll help to create “professional images with just a simple click.”

The light the C1 product range delivers is natural-looking and beautiful with a soft, gentle fall-off, and that’s partly because of the shape. Each light is round, like the sun. […] [Y]ou will always have natural-looking, beautiful light with you. Anytime, anywhere.

Of the two, the C1 is smaller, with a maximum brightness of 1,600 lumens. The C1 Plus crushes that, outputting up to 4,300 lumens. Both have a color rendering index of >90 and adjustable temperature range of 3,000K-6,500K (±200K).

The lights charge in two hours and have a duration of 2,000 full-power flashes, meaning users won’t need to charge them up too frequently. They can also be kept on continuously, with the C1 and C1 plus staying lit for 30 and 40 minutes, respectively.

The C1 can only be controlled wirelessly via Bluetooth, while the superior C1 Plus has an AirTTL receiver built-in, meaning it’s compatible with Profoto’s AirTTL transmitters. The C1 Plus also has a thread, making it capable of mounting on a light stand.

Photographers Brandon Woelfel and Aly Kula were given the lights to tests; here are the results.

The Profoto C1 is shipping now for $299. The C1 Plus will be $499 and is currently available for preorder

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62 Comments
Motti Bembaron's picture

The Godox A1 is $70.

Tom Jensen's picture

Didn't Godox already come out with this??

Christopher Nolan's picture

is there really a Godox equiv?

Christopher Nolan's picture

HOLY Fu{|<ing sh*t, .... is profoto stealing godox ideas, or godox stealing profoto ideas, ..... LOVE IT!
I own a mix of the two systems, actually use all my profoto modifiers on my godox stuff

Motti Bembaron's picture

Godox came out with the A1 over a year ago, it's a smartphone flash that is supported and triggered by Apple and Android apps. It can also trigger any Godox flash. It costs $60 on B&H.

Godox just came out with the R1 and the RF1 exactly the same time that Profoto came out with the C1 (I believe they announced it even a bit earlier). Not sure of the price yet but I have no doubt it will be cheaper (by a wide margin) than the Profoto.

If it's around the same price as the A1 I would buy a couple and use them as jelled flashes.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Probably a Godox build under Profoto's specs and then Profoto finish it up with their own. I think you'll find that today, big brands rely on Chinese brands to skip part of R&D for some products. Doesn't mean it's a Godox, because internal parts would most likely not be the same, but Profoto would service it while Godox means another purchase if it fails. Most people who trash Profoto or higher end brands for pricing practice really miss the real point.

Mike Leland's picture

Based on specs, reviews from a couple of good friends that tested these, and the integration with Profoto Air; the price on these units doesn't bother me at all. Yes, they're "relatively" expensive. And I can't think of any situations that I currently operate in that would make use of these. But I get it. I get why they exist. And for their target market, these may be an excellent addition.

My gripe is that I remain disappointed by Profoto for abandoning me and countless other pro photographers that built businesses using Profoto's excellent Pro-B packs and Acute packs. Many of us have stayed loyal to the Profoto brand for decades and have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Profot. And in turn, helped build the Profoto brand. Before there were social media influencers, there were hardworking professional photographers. Profoto has abandoned us. And that's disappointing.

Johnny Rico's picture

Same, I dont know what the future holds when my packs start crapping out. It sure as hell wont be for Pro 10's at 10k a pop (if they even still sell studio packs 5 years from now)

Lee Christiansen's picture

Yes, Profoto does seem to have lost its way. I'm a user of D1 and B1 strobes, but Profoto doesn't seem very interested in the market which likes the traditional open tube heads and packs - unless you are extremely wealthy.

They need to remember their base and why they are where they are. At the moment they've got an RnD dept who seem to flit around in the wind trying to catch hold of anyone who might buy.

Jared Wolfe's picture

You can find plenty of acute gear on ebay for very cheap. Plus don't they still make the D4 and the Acute D4 heads?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Yep, good brands = great quality often hardly used stuff that can be fixed with brand new parts often 20-30 years after manufacturing.

Mike Leland's picture

They don't make the D4 or Acute/D4 heads anymore. Yes, there's always a ton of Acute stuff on eBay. I personally don't have much use for the Acute line outside of the AcuteB packs and even those are of limited use. The Acute stuff has crappy flash durations, especially at full power. Profoto discontinued the entire Acute line. They don't make the heads anymore. They also discontinued the D4 and the Pro-B4, which are the packs I use most of the time. I supplement those with Pro-B3/Pro-B2.

The only pack they currently offer is the Pro-10. Which is fine in studio and a PITA for location work with no AC power. They only make the Pro heads now. But they still make the Pro-B head. So I'm not giving up on a Pro-B5 or equivalent even if I was told by a Profoto rep that there would be no more Battery powered generators. Fingers crossed.

Mike Leland's picture

Deleting this comment due to redundancy. Please see my other comment. :)

michael andrew's picture

Are they lights specifically for smart phones? Wtf. Who would buy this?

Fritz Asuro's picture

You can use the Plus version with Profoto Air.

Marius Pettersen's picture

Influencers.

Charlie Abrahams's picture

You write, "The C1 Plus will be $499 and is currently available for preorder." B&H has these in stock, fyi...

Matthew Teetshorn's picture

Profoto is truly the Apple of lighting. This is not a compliment.

Alexis Cuarezma's picture

it easily does.. it has 1/4" thread and can be rigged just like any speed light

Yin Ze's picture

Great.

Alexis Cuarezma's picture

ahh, that's right. my bad. I was only looking at the Plus version

Marc Perino's picture

I could not think of a practical use yet. 🤔

Robert Altman's picture

I would imagine that most people who are sophisticated enough to employ off camera lighting will want an imager that is better than a cell phone! Granted cell phones are not bad for casual shots where you have no other camera- but if you thought enough to bring these- why wouldn't you bring a (small mirrorless perhaps) real camera and lens to maximize your image quality and flexibility... I can't see ever using these as a 'serious 'photographer.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

What about accent lighting? 4300 lumens is around 400 Watts of incandescent light and can help lighting small (or large) pieces of scene. I’ll buy Godox version of it specifically for this purpose.

Caleb Kerr's picture

I recently switched from Profoto to Elinchrom because I feel that Profoto is focusing more on the consumer / prosumer / wedding end of the market, and isn't focused on users who need a lot of power. I saw the teaser for this launch a few days ago and had the thought "man, I'll be annoyed if it's an amazing 1000Ws battery powered unit." At least my feelings about their direction of product development were right.

David Hynes's picture

No.

Studio 403's picture

Democratization of digital deliver systems and disruptive technology like “smart phones” verses the big camera companies is on a collision course. With sales plummeting at Canon and Nikon. ProFoto headed to smallville. Their price points will cater to upscale big budget Pros. Perhaps this company has a fortune teller on staff, but this light will soon fade in about 1 yr. It’s in a bold idea. Knockoff will soon follow. The smartphone world is huge and expanding.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Not to get all conspiracy theorist like, but, was this really shot with a phone? Looks clean, out of focus background looks natural with no artifacts around the subject.

https://cdn.fstoppers.com/styles/full/s3/media/2019/09/19/07-profoto-bra...

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EDIT: Just answered my own question. The name of the file "07-profoto-brandon-woelfel-dslr_10.jpg".

Profoto, that's just sad. Now, that just makes me wonder if the C1 was even used. Probably a softbox, bastids.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Appears that way.

Tom HM's picture

He switches between the phone and DSLR. To be fair, he's pretty open about that in the actual video. :-)

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Maybe you can enlighten us and point us to the point in the video during this scene where he says that and where he switches to a dslr during this scene. Lol, yeah, I didn't think so. smh

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

He talks about using the C1 Plus. They are designed to be used with DSLRs. His other what’s in my bag videos talks about both phones, mirrorless and DSLRs.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Maybe you don't read so well (words + pictures). I am aware it can be used with a dslr, but, for this scene, where does he say that? Where does he in the open change cameras?

https://fstoppers.com/comment/529578

Don't you get it? The BTS makes it appear they took the shot with a phone, but, the final image was actually with a dslr.

Man, is Profoto sitting on your faces? lol So blind.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

So, I was out the last few days and didn’t have time to look out the answer to your politely posed statements / questions. But, the advertorial article that goes along with the video clearly states that "Here I chose to shoot with my Nikon Z7 that connected to the C1 Plus via the Profoto Connect trigger, and honestly, it was just as easy as shooting with my iPhone.“
Sure, Profoto isn’t 100% clear about what camera is being used, but we can’t really still be shocked that an advertiser takes some liberties to sell a product, can we?
Anyway, some civility should be called for.

Caleb Kerr's picture

To be fair, it's not exclusively for phones, it talks about how it integrates with the Air Remote system (right)? But I agree, it's on the edge of misleading.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You defenders (enablers) of Profoto are fucking hilarious.

https://fstoppers.com/comment/529708

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Kind of part of being creative. Use tools to your advantage.

NRK Studio's picture

This is the type of call out fstoppers would highlight in the past. I actually am surprised Profoto would deceptively sell this image as if it was captured with a smart phone and their C1 light.

Graham Taylor's picture

In fairness, before we get the pitchforks out that image wouldn't be too difficult to recreate with a phone camera if it was indeed shot on a DSLR - I wouldn't pin so much on a filename, there is no file info in the image afterall. Obviously shady though if that turns out to be true!

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Here's one of their images that's pretty typical of a phone.

https://cdn.fstoppers.com/styles/full/s3/media/2019/09/19/10-profoto-bra...

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Filename "10-profoto-brandon-woelfel-iphone_2.jpg". Notice the naming. They are pretty consistent with their naming. My money is that dslr one was shot on a dslr...and, probably a softbox.

Yin Ze's picture

maybe they will say fstoppers named the files that way. in any case even it was portrait mode on iphone I don't think ios 12/13 portrait mode is smart enough to add bokeh to reflection in mirror.

Graham Taylor's picture

The file-naming does seem consistent, you're right. I'm not going to lynch them for using a soft-box, how many of us shoot without modifiers? DSLR is pretty unforgivable though if that turns out to be accurate!

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Hmmm....but this is about the C1 light. So, why wouldn't you lynch them for using a softbox. Assuming they did use a softbox, it's straight out deceptive. Their whole ad campaign is about the C1 lights, not a softbox.

Graham Taylor's picture

In what way is it deceptive? Would you lynch them for using a reflector, or using the C1 indirectly? Where do you draw the line? The ad is about the increased capability the light gives you. You could theoretically use it with other flashguns by setting them to slave, I wouldn't lynch them for that either.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Are you kidding me? What part of this don't you understand?

Graham Taylor's picture

I understand now that you're talking specifically about the BTS image and how it relates to the finished shot, my bad. I thought we were talking generally about the set.

Graham Taylor's picture

Absolutely agree, Eddie may have stumbled upon something quite big here!

Heiko Kanzler's picture

According to the two images in the main article, profofoto wants us to believe the picture was shot with a phone...

Rodrigo Ortiz's picture

That's obviously not the same image. the POV is model placement is completely different in the final shot and the BTS

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