Anyone who uses off camera lighting is familiar with the Profoto brand name; the Swedish company has been revolutionizing the market for years, continuously upping the ante with the products they release. When the Profoto B1 burst on the scene a few years ago, it was a complete game changer. With its 500 watts of power per second, streamlined design, and built-in battery pack, it was equal parts power and beauty. If you are not a Profoto user, you might not know that the system has continued to change, with features being added several times through downloadable firmware upgrades. Admittedly when I purchased my first one, I didn't even know this was a possibility, but the upgrades have made a world of difference in how I even look at the company.
The Profoto B1 has now gotten a slight overhaul itself. Profoto unveiled the B1X over the weekend. The body of the light is reportedly more robust; as a B1 owner, I can report that the previous body was fairly sturdy, mine having taken a tumble before and coming up unscathed.
The beauty of the B1 series has always been in its simplicity. A photographer on the move will find it an extremely useful tool. The ability to pull it from your bag, mount it on a sturdy stand, and have it operational in seconds is a God send. This will not change in the newest realization of the system, but you will be able to do it for longer. Profoto has improved battery life in the B1X to 325 full power shots up from 220. The modeling light has also been upgraded to be brighter than the previous model. The small LED light packs a whopping 135-watt equivalent, but without the power draining of an ordinary bulb this bright, this is 80% brighter than the previous model.
TTL and HHS options still exist through the AirTTL computer system, which Profoto recently expanded to cover both Sony and Olympus systems. The HHS function allows you to shoot up 1/8000s in the full 9 f-stop range. With 20 frames per second of flash capabilities, the B1X is certainly capable of putting you where the action is.
Profoto has been continually expanding the OCF line. Also in their release statement for the B1X, they introduced the OCF Zoom Reflector, as well as the OCF Magnum Reflector. Both have the ability to magnify the lights output and control its spread.
The B1X is showing on B&H with a release price of $2,095. The same price for the B1 units, showing that Profoto has provided upgrades, without seeking to increase the price.
Packed with tons of features, easy of use, TTL and HHS, a plethora of modifier choices, and coming in at a little more than six pounds, the Profoto B1X should be being eyed by any photographer needing a powerhouse machine, in a lightweight, portable package.