Profoto Announces the Profoto B10 Plus: Is the B1X Finished?

Profoto Announces the Profoto B10 Plus: Is the B1X Finished?

Profoto has just launched the B10 Plus, a 500w/s on-location strobe that outmatches the recently released B10 while retaining most of the previous strobe’s design cues. With a well developed back panel display, a svelte body design, and a more powerful light output, is there any room for the B1X in Profoto’s lineup?

The main changes from the Profoto B10 AirTTL to the B10 Plus AirTTL is a reduction in full power flash pops from 400 on the B10 to 200 on the B10 Plus. Both will be able to use the same batteries so if adding this strobe to your arsenal you don’t have to worry about mixing and matching batteries. I also think that this is an opening for Profoto to sell a new larger battery, eventually. 

The overall dimensions and weight have also increased. The weight from the B10 to the B10 Plus has grown from 3.3 pounds to 4.2 pounds. The width and height have stayed the same as the B10 with 2.4 inches being added to the overall length of the B10 Plus to accommodate the power increase of the light now being 9.3 inches. 

Lastly, the B10 Plus’ full power flash recycle time has been only slightly increased by a hair over the current B10 from 2 seconds to 2.5 seconds. Overall a pretty good specification while keeping the platform and battery of the original light that can only be seen as a new “family” of lighting being developed by Profoto. 

Check out the Profoto launch video featuring Marie Bärsch:

So where does that leave the Profoto B1X AirTTL with this new competitor for the top Profoto on-location strobe? The Profoto B1X AirTTL is a 30 percent larger strobe by weight and size that, if the B10 Plus is actually double the power of the B10, still a half stop less powerful. To check out the testing of the Profoto B10, B1, and Godox AD200 head to head comparison go to my previous article. To re-iterate, the B10 was only half a stop less powerful than a Profoto B1 AirTTL in this testing (the B1 and B1X have the same power ranges but the B1X has a better battery, HSS throughout the power range, and a brighter modeling light as noted in that article.) In fact I predicted in that linked article in the last sentence of the second last paragraph that the B10 Plus should be coming out to rectify the B1 and B1X design issues. 

So is there enough of a reason for Profoto to hold onto the B1X in it’s line-up or are we seeing a new family of Profoto strobes emerging and the end of the B1X and likely B2 line? For another prediction, will we see a 1,000w/s B10 Plus-esque light in 2020? Would that be an option that Profoto would eventually offer? With this invigoration of a new option with the B10 Plus, is Profoto going to be able to capitalize on the momentum of the B10? 

Let us know know if you’re looking at purchasing the B10 Plus and adding it to your on-location kit.

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39 Comments

Still no cable sync options provided for anything outside of Profoto Air. That’s one clear advantage on the B1X.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Why would we need that?

Patrick Hall's picture

It’s a good backup but you are right. With an optical slave built in, I don’t see any reason outside of super high end commercial shoots where you would need the cord. I used to own $300 in hard wired cables and I don’t think I even know where that bag of cords is since I haven’t used it in over 8 years.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Well I think that on a super high end commercial shoot you'd have a few triggers and quite a few backup strobe. Yes having the ability to plug in a cord is a great extra feature but I don't see it being a major point to focus on.

Roosevelt Joubert's picture

Agreed on the cable sync options when the need arises for use with a standard trigger system such as Pocket Wizards.

Martin Peterdamm's picture

If you look at the tilt mechanism I think the b1x will stay alive, looks much more study. I wouldn't mount something heavy on the b10plus and you can put a glassdome on the b1x for using beautydishes. so these are quite different usecases for both lights.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Well if the B10 Plus can't allow swapping the front glass for the dome, and it forces us to send the unit off for repair if the tube goes, (as with its little brother the B10), then yes - the B1 range has a huge advantage.

JT Blenker's picture

I thought about those two specifics as well. I personally equate the dome as an in studio option where you are really perfecting the light and feathering that light as much as possible. The other side with the bulb replacement is odd as I personally think Profoto wants to control any user replacement as a minimum as those options aren’t available in their newest strobes. Will that be a part of their future strategy? I’m not sure but it makes monetary and product reliability sense to have end users go through them for repairs and control that avenue completely.

Lee Christiansen's picture

I mix and match my D1 and B1's. If I'm out shooting an editorial I'll most likely use the B1's, and as well as Octa and regular softboxes, I'll take a beauty dish too. And besides, the B1 goes to much lower power levels than my D1's so if I'm wanting beauty dish light with very shallow DoF, then the B1 is my choice - so I need the dome for all these.

As to repairs, none of us have time for our Profoto centre to send the things off to Sweden or wherever... we'll take it to an independent if possible so Profoto gets none of our money, (less most likely as they'll buy in tubes much cheaper).

I agree that Profoto may want to have total control, but there are professional features and options which should be maintained so a working pro can, well... work. I wonder if Profoto are forgetting the pro market and how we work, and just aiming for an affluent hobbies market - which is waaaay smaller. If we look at a few of their recent products, it does make me wonder.

I emailed them a few days ago to ask that question. Still waiting on an answer.

Patrick Hall's picture

I haven’t had to replace a tube in the B10 yet (and only had to repair a D1 tube once during our Atlantis Workshop) but surely you can still open it up to service it yourself right? I can’t rememver if mine has a few Allen bolts but there must be a way in there to replace the tube right?

JT Blenker's picture

I thought the B10 had to be sent in for servicing the bulb as there’s nothing I could find for a replacement bulb or info on opening the unit. I may be wrong but I haven’t seen anything anywhere. When I looked over the light I didn’t notice any obvious bolts to open it up, but I was more interested in my testing so I may have missed a point of entry at the mounting bracket.

Akpe ododoru's picture

Am just waiting on William Howell to come on here as usual and not care about what anyone of you think or have to say, but just continue as usual to promote Paul C Buffs light as the best light ever 🤣😂

Motti Bembaron's picture

Yes, he is persistent, I will give him that. In any case, always good to hear others opinions regardless.

Marc Perino's picture

No cable sync option and no glass dome is a bummer. On my last shoot I used a Sekonic light meter and I had to use a couple of D1000 Airs with a cable (for metering). Would not been possible with this strobe.

But I read on their website somewhere that you can charge the battery while using it in the strobe!
And THAT is a game changer to the B1(X)...

Yet I am still excited to test one of the first serial production models from HENSEL in the next weeks:
https://hensel.eu/en/foris/

With 1000Ws the Hensel Foris is probably twice as big - but you can swap the battery and use it with a power outlet for studio use.

Jay Jay's picture

Don't see it as a game changer, but more of what they should have done in the first place.

Marc Perino's picture

I agree. I rather meant a game changer in terms of Profotos "normal" politics - which I don't agree with sometimes.

Although I perfectly understand why they have done that from an economical standpoint. But in my view they should have "merged" the D1/D2 with the B1(X) systems to a hybrid in terms of power (1000Ws) and usability with power outlets AND battery use.

Jay Jay's picture

The only thing i think of Profoto in those terms are Price Changers (and never less, always more). They've never seemed to really listen to the gripes of reviewers and current/potential customers, and don't seem all that worried to be losing (if you read all the dozens and dozens of posts from folks on different blogs) major sales to Godox/Flashpoint on their knockoffs that improve on Profoto's shortcomings (They in fact lost a substantial sale on me when i chose Flashpoint, not bc of price, but because Profoto seemed bent on releasing new product instead of improving their existing ones) :/

Lee Christiansen's picture

Having no backup to a radio option is a sad reflection of a non-pro approach. I always use radio links for triggering and metering, but if it all fails, then I want a good ol' cable to make the shoot work.

As to the ability to charge the battery, what Profoto won't tell you in their marketing, (but will tell you if you ask), is that charging the battery whilst using will considerably reduce the lifespan of the battery. So if anyone is routinely doing this, better stop before you need new batts sooner than you think.

Marc Perino's picture

I agree completely with you. I would be happy with a solution to put a power supply unit in the battery compartment. Like with the Hensel Foris (which I have not tested yet).

Concerning the charging of the battery:
I am not an engineer but e.g. my Macbook Pro (2016) is almost exclusively connected to the power adapter in desktop mode and I still have only 52 charging cycles and 95% health after 2,5 years of intense use. So Apple has probably figured out a sort of electronic power management that protects the battery. I guess that would be possible for Profoto too.
But a power supply unit would also work for me - so you can choose between studio and outdoor use.

I dunno if you do wireless metering but if you do - I can recommend:
www.triggerwizard.de (I am not affiliated with them)

I have the wireless module for POCKETWIZARD (came with my Sekonic L758) and one for HENSEL. In the next few days I get one for PROFOTO.

Jon The Baptist's picture

I really don't understand this product. I own a couple Profoto packs, about 5 D1's, two B10's, and an A1. A 500w/s B10 makes no sense. Isn't the B1X supposed to be the 500W/S light of choice? A couple hundred dollars difference buys you user replaceable tubes/modeling lights, more pops per charge, faster recycling, likely faster flash duration, sync port, and a WAY WAY better mounting bracket (my biggest beef with the B10)

Also, 200 shots per charge at full power is pretty pathetic. So whatever weight/money you save, you spend it in batteries.

Profoto, why? Where's the Acute 2/D4 replacement? Where's the pack for the ecomm studio cranking out 1000 frames a day at 2400w/s?

I guess there's always Speedotron since Profoto is going to quit fixing Acutes in a couple years.

Patrick Hall's picture

All good points. My goodness though, I’ve been wanting to make a video on the Acute strobes just because I know how many readers’ heads will explode with those prices. It’s like the majority of photographers forget what the pros are actually using and get upset with pricing for the high end mid level gear.

Jon The Baptist's picture

100%! Einsteins are an AMAZING VALUE, but they'd be my last choice for daily studio beaters. At the end of the day, having a powerful, reliable strobe with idiot proof speedrings and awesome build quality is what makes money.

It reduces risk, repair costs, downtime, has enough light for when you're really maxing out those tilts on that 85PCE at f/16 and ISO 64 on that D850, and gives you the color consistency and accuracy over the years.

I wonder if Godox (and Profoto as of recent) are trying to push strobes into consumer electronics with such short product cycles. An Acute pack is something you buy and intend to keep and use daily for 10-15 years. I don't see that philosophy in the B1, B10, B2 (250w/s), or A1. I do in the D2, B4, and Pro-10.

In my assisting days, I was at a studio with roughly 40 Speedo 2400 packs. I has having such a hard time gelling a head to 5000k when the photog told me to pull the tube and replace it. This studio would use a permanent marker to mark when they were put in. That tube had been seeing regular weekly use since 1994! It had been going strong for almost 20 years! That's what Acute/D4's are about.

Jon Miller's picture

Hi, it's to my understanding the the latest firmware will increase the number of flashes from 200 to 400 in the B10 Plus. I cannot confirm that, However, I thought I hear that on the Profoto Live webinar the other day. Also the increase in power is at level 9 on the B10 Plus so don't expect to see much below level 9. One of the big reason Profoto is pushing the B10 and B10 Plus is due to weight and size which is smaller and lighter than the B1/B1X.

michael andrew's picture

People have reported seemingly very accurately that the B-10 is only .5 or 1/3 stops less than the B-1. I wonder if the B10 plus is identical
To the B-1?

Patrick Hall's picture

You’d hope it is actually more powerful. I see little reason to buy a B1 now that the B10 is out (we own both models). The B10 Pro makes it even more difficult to see the reason to own a B1.

michael andrew's picture

Yea I own a set of B1’s that have been nothing but spectator. In 5 years I maybe had 1-2 miss fires it’s unreal. Coming from years of trouble shooting Pocket wizard cable issues I could never go back to that.

As far as the B10 plus output, I can’t see it being only .5 stops brighter. Curious to see the tests.

Jon The Baptist's picture

Maybe you use B1's if you still have or mix brands and need a place to plug in pocket wizards. Or, you routinely use large modifiers like 4x6 soft boxes or 5' octa's and the B10 bracket just isn't beefy enough.

Blake Aghili's picture

Meh ... not much justification for B1 and B1X owners to switch to this one ...
I guess B10 is the cooler version of B2 and B10Plus is cooler version of B1s

Jeff McCollough's picture

Beautiful.

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