The Venture TTL 600 Strobe Competes With the Profoto B1 at Half the Cost

For anyone who appreciates the use of flash, there comes a point in photography work when you want more power than a standard speedlite can offer. Many strobe options provide more power, but require you to be tied up to power outlets. Few strobes offer a simple portable lighting option. Many would contend the Profoto B1 is currently the best self contained portable strobe on the market. That may be changing with Impact's newly released strobe, the Venture TTL 600

Profoto is considered by many to offer some of the best strobes in the industry. They offer an array of high quality lights which let you interchange modifiers in one cohesive system. The B1 is one of their top lights with a built in battery pack giving the user ease of use in the field and enough power to overpower the sun. However, one if their biggest downsides is the $2,000+ price tag that comes with a single light. When we heard the new Venture TTL 600 offered even more power than the B1 and was over half the cost at only $999, we decided to run it through a few basic tests to see how the two match up. 

Power Output

The first point of interest we wanted to test is the total power output each flash can produce. The Profoto B1 is rated to have a 500 Ws (watt second) power output at full power. The Venture TTL 600 is rated to have a 600 Ws output. To see if these numbers held true, we placed both strobes side by side about 10 feet away from our subject. Before firing the lights, we placed both flashes in the power modes that produces the highest output. The Venture TTL 600 has a mode that can be changed to optimize for flash power or recycle time (adjusted by holding the Sound/Fn button and tapping the power button). We placed it into the mode which maximizes power and has a slower recycle time of three seconds. The B1 has a setting that maximizes color consistency vs flash power so it was placed in the setting that maximized power. After everything was ready, we fired both strobes at full power toward a gray card, an Fstoppers Flashdisc to see what kind of light they produced. Our camera was set to 1/200, F11, low ISO, and 5500K white balance.

One of the first things you'll notice is that the Venture TTL 600 produces slightly warmer light than the B1. If you look closely, you'll also notice the Venture TTL 600 image is also slightly overexposed compared to the B1 shot. This supports the extra 100 Ws power rating that the Venture TTL 600 claims. When you break down the amount of light, you're only adding close to 1/3 of a stop more than the B1, but for a light that's smaller and cheaper, that's still impressive. 

Although we didn't test it in the studio, the number of flash pops each light can produce off a single battery is something worth noting. The user manual for the Venture TTL 600 claims each battery can produce around 500 flash pops (dependent on use with modeling light, riapid firing, and environmental conditions). Profoto's website claims a B1 can produce up to 220 full powered flash pops off a single battery.

Recycle Rate

Our next test was to compare the recycle rates of each flash at full power. While the B1 maintains a consistent recycle rate of two seconds at full power, the Venture TTL 600 has different recycle rates depending on the power mode it is placed in. For our first test we kept the Venture TTL 600 in the setting that maximizes power and has a longer recycle time of three seconds. When we fired both flashes consistently at three seconds or longer, each maintained consistent power outputs without misfiring. Once we pushed faster than a three second recycle time, the Venture TTL 600 started to mis shots.

In order to keep the competitive edge fair and push recycle times to their fastest duration, we swapped the Venture TTL 600 into it's second power mode, which prioritizes recycle time over power. In this setting, the strobe is rated to have a recycle time of only 1.2 seconds. Once this change was in place, the Venture TTL 600 kept up with the B1 with shots every two seconds, although their power outputs did seem to be more comparable with the adjusted power setting. 

 

When we pushed both strobes beyond their fastest recommended recycle times and shot an image every one second, we got interesting results. The Profoto B1 fired every shot but seemed to maintain a consistently lower power output. The Venture TTL 600 put out a normal power output for every other frame, and misfired every other frame. 

Although the best recycle time of the Venture TTL 600 did seem better than the B1, in most situations, you won't be shooting at full power rapidly. If you're shooting architecture or portraits, the difference between 1.2, two, or even three seconds is a generally acceptable wait time between frames. If you are shooting something like sports that does require as fast a recycle time as possible, the Impact light does have a slight edge over the Profoto.

Modeling Lights

Although the modeling lights of both strobes produced about the same output of constant light, it seemed worth it to mention the difference in color cast. The Venture TTL 600 has a modeling light with a daylight white balance whereas the B1 has a modeling light has a much warmer tungsten color balance. 

Triggering Range

The final basic comparison we wanted to try was to test the range of each brand's triggers. The Impact trigger is rated to shoot a max range of 100m. The Profoto trigger is rated to shoot at 300m (with only 100m range when shooting TTL). We went to a local park with a fairly clear, unobstructed view and placed the lights side by side at one end of the park. I then walked away at regular increments, stopping to turn and trigger the flash with each trigger.

When I got close to 100m, the Venture TTL started to miss frames intermittently.  When I passed the 100m point, it did not fire at all. 

The B1, however, fired consistently all the way till the end of the park, which was at least if not farther than 300m.

While the B1 clearly out competes the Venture TTL 600 in range, the extra distance may not be that necessary for the majority of photographers. If you're a wedding or portrait photographer, most situations or venues you're shooting in wont require you to be more than 100 m away from your subject. In rare instances you may want the extra 200 m the B1 can offer, but in general, 100 m is plenty to work with. 

Conclusion

Although our tests were not all encompassing, Impact's new Venture TTL 600 seemed to keep up with, if not perform better than the B1 for the majority of our comparisons. For the average photographer who wants more power than a speedlite can offer, Profoto gives you a complete system of studio strobes, mobile strobes, and modifiers that all work together. They are also one of the most commonly used and trusted brands in the industry. If you're ever in need of gear, any major photography store or rental company around will likely carry Profoto. On the other hand, if you're simply looking for a high powered strobe that fires reliably and produces enough light to overpower the sun, the Venture TTL 600 seems like it is a much more efficient choice. It is competitive in almost every area to the B1. Better yet, you will be able to buy two Venture TTL 600 lights for every one B1 you can afford. 

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40 Comments

Will Gavillan's picture

I'd be interested in a comparison to a Godox AD600/Flashpoint Xplor600, which is even cheaper and works with Sony. I love my Xplor600, I have the non-ttl version

Orestis Zoumpos's picture

Well im super happy with my Godox's AD 600. Thats a bargain !

joe Ahole's picture

Yeah they are... not bad for the price.

Pichan Cruz's picture

Yes please. May I add Jinbei (Rovelight) HD 610 too!

Love my Godox AD600 too, been waiting too long for the others (profoto, elinchrom,..) to finally support Sony, and now i'm already well covered and happy with what i got.

Jose Luis's picture

I love the Godox/ Flashpoint / Cheetah Stand lights- I sold all my profoto gear and made the switch- I have so much more gear now and the triggers are even better- everything works with every size unit from on camera flash to compact strobe/ pack to self contained high powered strobe moonlight! And use- SONY support is huge- and for the Canon and Nikon folk- or if you have multiple systems- just a $50 trigger for each!

Anonymous's picture

The whole 'Light is light' argument inevitably pops up whenever comparing different brands of strobes. While Impact's light is more powerful than Profoto's and just as reliable at half the price, the money you pay for, say, a backpack of B1's (which are my weapons of choice) gets you a zero-compromises system that exists within what I consider to be the most robust ecosystem of any strobe available. In an Apples-to-Apples comparison, the Venture is a solid choice relative to the B1.

Unfortunately, there's still the Einstein to consider (which packs more power than the two of them). Power cords aside as well as the obvious absence of TTL, I feel that the Einstein remains the superior choice if money is a concern, with the price of two units and a Vagabond landing in the same ballpark as a single Venture (even with the B1's and my B2 at my disposal, I still resort to my astoundingly trusty Einsteins on occasion).

In the end, looking at the tests the Venture seems like an incredible buy for those seeking a two light setup, especially considering that a B1 kit is just slightly north of $4k. But the feeling I get gripping a B1 by the handle, the weight, the responsiveness of the controls, their tank-like build quality is something that can't be found anywhere else. Maybe it's all in my head, but packing my B1's I feel faster, more efficient, all while trusting the lights to give me the best possible image so long as I don't screw up.

"zero-compromises"
Maybe for umbrella users. Sure, the built-in reflector protects the flashtube and directs the light straight out more efficiently. But it's a terrible design for filling a big softbox or a beauty dish.
I have a 10 year old Profoto Compact I love. The protruding flashtube gives a much more pleasing light. I sure do wish I had TTL and remote power adjustments though.
It's obviously a bad design for filling a softbox, which is why they introduced the dome. The dome does a mediocre job and costs nearly $200, which we all know is highway robbery. That glass probably costs them $2 in materials.
I just picked up Adorama's Xplor, which is a rebranded Godox, $600 with remote. $750 gets you TTL.

Patrick Hall's picture

This is the weakest point for Profoto I admit (well besides not being able to trickle charge the B1s for continuous studio use). I know Mike Kelley has had a horrible time traveling with his Profotos because those glass covers always break. He believes it's actually TSA opening the flash heads to examine them and they breaking the bulbs and glass when they try to reassemble everything (who knows).

I wish Profoto would just make some sort of plastic cover that could survive the heat. The glass seems to fragile and then those domes are a rip off like you said but they do serve the purpose of filling the softboxes more evenly.

HOWEVER, compared to the PC Buff design, I think profoto's is way better. I've only broken one Alienbee bulb in my lifetime but I cringe everytime I try to line up the teeth that connect to the speedrings. That has to be the worst design of them all.

Profoto really needs to be shamed into lower their prices on these accessories, like Pocketwizard did on the remote cables once they got competition.
I can buy an entire Dynalite SH2000 head ($620) for less than it cost to replace the Profoto Acute 2 glass dome and flashtube ($718). That and the faster flash duration led me to add a Dynalite system to my kit.
Also, the cost of replacing the flashtube and dome for Dynalite is 43% of a new head versus 67% for Profoto.
If anyone knows a glassblower, they could make a mint creating generic glass domes.
Profoto is going to have to update the B1 (B3?) to use AC and DC or the other brands are going to eat their lunch.

Patrick Hall's picture

I have always wanted to just pull the B1 battery apart so that the 9mm charging barrel faces out. I bet someone could either redesign that battery or create their own batteries that would allow it to charge while being plugged in.

Brian Schmittgens's picture

I use Einsteins as my main lights (I've got three of them). Between them and then Cyber Commander, I'm incredibly satisfied. That being said, I'd prefer to have HSS as opposed to using ND filters. I'm seriously considering selling my ABR800 and getting a Godox AD600 as my fourth light. I can use it as a background light when doing headshots and not really worry about the different color temp from the Einsteins, and I'd still have the option of HSS with one flash when I need it.

David Strauss's picture

Although I didn't mention it in the review, the Impacts do have HSS. I'm not saying they're a better choice than the Godox AD600, I just realized I forgot to comment on that point in the review.

Anonymous's picture

There's a reason why I never ditched my 640's. With the Cyber Commander they're phenomenal strobes. In fact, as far as controlling the lights themselves goes I prefer the Cyber Commander to Profoto's Air TTL controller. With PCB's pseudo-HSS (1/1300th, but still...) they're even more versatile. This is one guy who's never giving up his B1's.

Brian Schmittgens's picture

Are you saying you're able to get 1/1300th with Einsteins? In all the research I've done, I haven't found a way to get over 1/300th. Could you elaborate on how you achieve it?

Anonymous's picture

First off, I was inaccurate in the shutter speeds I mentioned. It's not 1/1300th, it's actually 1/2500th. However, the catch is that the Cyber Commander is required in order to achieve it. PCB stresses that it's not technically 'HSS' but save for rare occasions I rarely go that high unless, like you, I'm using it for exposure control. PCB says that the CC's "extreme signal integrity" is responsible and that compatibility may vary. The nice thing is that I haven't come across a camera with which it's not compatible.

Brian Schmittgens's picture

I use the Cyber Commander. Could you either explain how it's done or point me to an article that does? Like I said, I looked for a really long time, and I wasn't able to find anything on it.

I'd love to see that as well.

Brian Schmittgens's picture

I sent the guy a message since he still hadn't responded here. Either he didn't see it, he doesn't want to tell us, or he was making it up.

Lol. That would be kinda funny if he made it up. Not cool, but it would give me a chuckle. I gotta believe that perhaps he found a way. I just hope it's not some real convoluted system to get it to, maybe, happen.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I have two Einsteins and two of their new batteries (I also have one AB 800 and one White Lighting). Very happy with them!! They work and work well.

However, I am considering the Godox for a better compact set with built in battery and radio.

I was hoping AB will come out with something even better but unfortunately, they are missing the train. They could have easily collaborate with Cactus or Godox (essentially the same system) and I am sure they would be out of stock really fast.

But they did not progress. Too bad

I too was hoping PCB would come out with their own version of the Godox system. I have 3 Einsteins, Vagabond mini and the CC, and I use one of lights on-location for Senior Portraits. I would love to have HSS and TTL in a PCB monolight. I was somewhat disappointed that their latest introduction was the DigiBee and not a monolight. I'm probably going to pull the trigger on the Flashpoint version this week.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Just saw your reply...not coming here often enough :-). I too hope they (AB) would start designing for the future, they will do very well.

Ryan Burleson's picture

Great post, impressed with pro photo even more, still those ventures look pretty good.

Nick Dors's picture

All the B1 "copies" coming out is an interesting development. Really hoping Elinchrom comes with a version of their own soon. The Quadra's are great but little bit more power and all in one device would be awesome..

Eduardo Francés's picture

But the Profoto B1 itself is a copy of the Nicefoto N-Flash which came years before than the B1...

Lee Christiansen's picture

Alas the review seems to miss one of the key advantages of the Profoto system - its consistency. I can fire 100 flashes at minimum power and have every one of them fire at the same colour and exposure. This is a thing worth paying for and it's why I upgraded to Profoto when my older system couldn't offer the same.

Let's not forget the AIR system's control over power, either with the conventional remotes or the ETTL remote, (which has the wonderful ability to lock the power after setting with ETTL).

And of course there is the pedigree of Profoto. They just keep on working...

David Strauss's picture

I totally agree with the consistency of the Profoto gear. I did mention, though I did not emphasize, that as long as shots were taken with a rest time longer than the recommended recycle time, the Impact kept up with the same consistency as the Profoto. It didn't seem to miss exposure or change in color temperature. When pushed beyond their recommended recycle times, both units under performed in one way or another.

The Impact's remote trigger was also just as reliable with full control over every aspect of the unit.

Profoto definitely has a better and longer reputation for quality gear than Impact.

Eduardo Francés's picture

With IGBT flashes (Like the Venture TTL 600 and the B1 among many more)consistency from flash to flash will be less of a problem though,..

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