Profoto Announces World’s Smallest Studio Light: Profoto A1

After weeks of rumors, Profoto officially announced their latest A1 flash; a speedlight sized powerful flash, which can be used both on or off camera. The company calls their latest product “the smallest studio light” and considering its features, they seem to be right.

At first glance, the flash has a round head, unlike conventional rectangular heads that most manufacturers use on their flashes. This may remind you of the Godox Wistro's design, however Profoto becomes distinct with its wide range of accessories that can be easily attached on the magnetic mount.

Profoto A1 is equipped with a large LCD display, LED modelling light and a Lithium - Ion battery that can be attached to the front of the flash. While LED modelling light serves as a continuous light source, the Li-Ion battery provides approximately 350 full-power flashes with a fast recycling time.

Technical Features

  • A1’s max energy output is 76Ws
  • It has HSS (High Speed Sync)
  • Normal and HSS modes’ range is both 9 fstops
  • Supports TTL and offers 3 fstop +/- for fine tuning the exposure
  • Can be remotely triggered up to 300m (1000 ft)
  • Can be remotely triggered in HSS mode up to 100m (330ft)
  • Firmware can be updated via builtin micro USB port
  • It weighs 560g with the battery.

Notable Features

  • Currently, only compatible with Canon and Nikon
  • With the Profoto Air Remote TTL, it can be used as an offcamera flash with Sony and Olympus cameras.
  • TTL and manual modes can be switched via a physical button placed on the side of the flash.
  • The motorized zoom can be changed manually via the ring on the flash head.
  • The unit includes magnetic Dome Diffuser, Bounce card, and Wide Lens shapers.
  • Magnetic Color Gel Kit and Soft Bounce shapers can be bought separately.
  • Light Shapers can be stacked with their magnetic mounts.

Profoto A1 can be preordered for Canon and Nikon for $995.00, the Sony version will be available in 2018.

According to Profoto’s website, the A1 will first be available in Germany and North Europe, followed by Asia and North America.

Consequently, it seems that, Profoto aimed photographers working in different genres with the A1. While the powerful flash output may help fashion and wedding photographers, fast recycling and HSS features may be useful for sport and action photographers who are looking for a high-end portable flash unit. With the available light shapers and accessories, Profoto expands its capabilities with the A1.

Considering the features and the expected price, would you consider getting one? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and stay tuned for the hands-on review on Fstoppers.

Burak Erzincanli's picture

Burak is a photographer and creative retoucher specialising in fashion and advertising, working with international clients from Canada, Europe and Australia.

Currently lives and works in Manchester, UK.

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LOL! I just saw this a second ago at the Phoblographer! I began to salivate until I saw the price! WOWSER!! I'm not sure how many watt secs a Canon 600EX-RT has. But, I can buy two of those for the price of an A1.

I believe the 600EX-RT has about 25 to 30 watt seconds.

It's a good stop more powerful than the 600EX-RT

And I can buy 3 Godox AD200 for that price, each outputs 200ws, with built in battery good for 500 full power shots, built in radio, TTL and HSS. I have two and love them.

It looks like an awesome product, will go well with the rest of my Profoto lights.

Too rich for my blood. As with any On-Camera Flash System, when doing event photography, you'll need at least 3 of them. Main Light, Rim Light, and a Back Up Flash (for emergencies)..... So you're looking at $3000. I'll pass and stick with my Canon 600's

If you are already in the Profoto ecosystem, it is an excellent product. It will be awesome as a fill light and the ability to control B1s and B2s will be great.

I was thinking the same thing. AND, it's controllable from Profoto's Air remotes. But, that price!

The bad thing of course is the cost, at $1,000 each - ouch! The other bad thing is that I believe you have to purchase a separate one for each camera brand you shoot. Grant it, I know there aren't a lot of crazy photographers out there like me who shoot Canon and Nikon, but still. At least with my B1's, I was able to just purchase a separate remote and I can use the B1 with both camera's. This way, I would have to purchase a separate unit for each. Guess I'll keep using that B1 and/or the Yonguno speedlights.

$1000 is cheap. Considering that the B1 is $2,000 and the B2 kit with 2 lights is $2,700, this is an awesome deal. And it includes a remote which is $400 by itself.

Once I started using Profoto lights, I hardly ever use speedlights.

True, it's cheap compared the the B1's, but it's a glorified speedlight. And I only have one B1 so far, so I still use my speedlights with it.

$1,000 cheap for a speedlight? I'll sell you my Yonguos that do everything this speedlight does for 1/2 the price of the Profoto and I would still make about $350 off of you. I'm sorry but this is crazy. I've used Profotos at workshops and they are nice but I never saw anything that justified their crazy costs.

you can use the A1 on multiple camera brands. You can put the unit into X-Sync which deactivates the TTL pins. Obviously that camera wouldn't be able to take advantage of the TTL functionality.

But when the unit is off camera it's brand agnostic. It functions just like any other B1/B2.

What is the GN of this thing? how is it compared in power to speedlights like Nikon SB-910?!

Considering they are 76 W/s, which is about double that of your standard speedlight, I'm guessing they will give you at least one more stop than the SB-910.

too expensive. Still looking for a way to add modeling light to my cobras btw, if someone has a hint?

I use LumeCube's for my speedlights. They are solidly built, the battery lasts longer than you'd expect and you can control a whole bunch of them from your smartphone so you can access them remotely.

I could see this working nicely w/ my profoto gear and I am looking forward to a flash that delivers more power and has a rechargeable battery. Will this head work w/ my existing Profoto light modifiers? Does it have a red light for focus assist in dark settings? I wouldn't want an LED shining when I was trying to capture a moment at a reception or event. Does it act as an air remote to trigger my B1 or B2 kit?

From Profoto's website, "AirTTL remote is also built in to the A1. With AirTTL and HSS you create professional results fast and easy and with the remote you can seamless connect to other Profoto flashes and control them easily from the A1."

The Godox AD360 II or AD200 have similar features, aren't much bigger, have way more power output and their ecosystem is a fraction of the cost and adaptable to the S mount. The new pro trigger looks pretty damn good too. I'm wondering what more this brings apart from the speed light option for more than double the price

In other words.... Profoto announces a speedlight.

Profoto announces a speedlight and charges $1,000 to make people think it isn't just a speedlight, which it is.

$1000? Is it too early for April fools?

$1000 is ridiculous. Honestly.

Don't get me wrong. It looks like a fantastic product. But $1000?

Call a speedlight a studio strobe and you can charge an extra $500.
Next comes all the "educational" Profoto videos promoting it.

Already on youtube... actually a couple of them were really good and sold me on buying another B2 instead.

While it's interesting to see Profoto getting in the hot shoe flash market, I find it hard to justify the A1 price! The power is weak compared to something portable like the Godox Wistro 360 and the most hot shoe flashes have speed ring to attach any light shaper on them.

Stunning design with a ridiculous price in my opinion. Profoto is probably trying to mimic Apple's marketing and pricing plan.

Haha...I was going to say, I could buy an iPhone for that price!

No grids or Beauty Dish and at $ 995 a B2 or a Qurada would be a better choice. Sony only with a $ 400 air remote makes this "system" even more expensive. Nice idea but is priced for a very small market.

As a Profoto user here are the main reasons to get this:
- built in transmitter
- Bonus is ability to (manually) control groups d,e,f in addition to A,B,C (those can be TTL)
- LED modeling light is interesting, especially for night photography at weddings.
- One system.... this is the big one and how many will justify buying.

The only thing holding this thing back is the price. I can get over the different/new set of mods I'd have to buy, lower power (its supposed to be lower power though) than other offerings like Godox, and the large size for a speedlight... but that price is hard to swallow.

My Yongnuo for about $130 each has built in transmitter and I can control three groups remotely and all or some can be TTL. LED modeling light? I can strap a $3 LED light from Home Depot to my flash if I want a modeling light. $1,000 is ridiculous!

I'm guessing many folks looking at this are already in the Profoto ecosystem; if this flash could be powered by the existing B2 battery, Quantum style, it'd be Cart Checkout sweat inducing.

Editors are useful. Just because Profoto calls their pricey speedlight the "world's smallest studio strobe" ( with a straight face), Fstoppers doesn't have to repeat it in the headline.

Well said.

guys it's a news post, not a review

Editors are even more imortant for news. One suggestion, put quotation marks around the headline. I own a couple Vivitar 102 "studio lights" that are much smaller. Not sure though if they are the smallest in the world.