Introducing The Profoto B1 Battery Powered TTL Monolight

Introducing The Profoto B1 Battery Powered TTL Monolight

Announced this morning by Profoto was their newest light in their lighting kit, the B1 Off-Camera Flash. Refusing it call it a speed light or a studio strobe, the completely cordless B1 Off-Camera Flash has some truly unique and interesting features not seen before in a studio strobe. Update - Now available on B&H for Preorder at $1,995.

Perhaps the most remarkable feature in the B1 Off-Camera Flash is that it is cordless. With a battery pack equipped within the unit itself allowing up to 220 full power flashes (with removable battery), the B1 looks to appeal to the highly mobile photographer. It also includes some incredible features like TTL built into the unit itself, allowing you to use your camera’s settings to decide on the power of the unit (with the use of their Air Remote TTL). The unit also packs 500w/s, which is more than enough power to meet your needs.

They also boast the speed of the unit. With up to 20 flashes per second (at low power) and a recycle rate under 2 seconds for full power, the B1 will be able to offer a great alternative to those using speedlights as off camera flash units. You can of course also expect to see all the great features contained in a standard Profoto light, with their zooming head, and mounting system that works for all current ProfotoUSA lights.

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As for right now, Profoto has announced that this light is available as soon as it reaches stores, but no price point has been officially announced.  We'll keep you updated for when ProfotoUSA releases more information.


Profoto B1 500 is available for Pre-Order on B&H Photo for $1,995.

Zach Sutton's picture

Zach Sutton is an award-winning and internationally published commercial and headshot photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. His work highlights environmental portraiture, blending landscapes and scenes with portrait photography. Zach writes for various publications on the topic of photography and retouching.

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Same thoughts as Jonathan here. Yesterday when I saw the announcement I thought it would be great to replace my Ranger RX. However, at 3kg (6.6lbs) I wouldn't try to put it on a boom on location unless I was using a big heavy duty boom/light stand. With the ranger (like the Acute), I can use the pack to balance the arm and the head is much lighter than the B1.
Then there's TTL. I'd love to have that feature. Though I'm wondering how it'd work with big softboxes that eat up to 1 stop of light… You'd have to compensate and try to find the right compensation value. Not so different from a strobe used in manual mode. Maybe some testing might prove me wrong though?!
I don't know about the Acute, but I can use my Ranger while charging it. Doesn't seem to be the case with the B1…
Finally comes the price… While TTL is a nice addition, Priolite makes very similar strobes (no cords, same form factor, etc.) for cheaper and with more power (1000Ws and 500Ws version, the 1000Ws is cheaper than the B1 500Ws) :)

Looks really great. Planned to buy D1 set, but now this is going to be first choice. Flexible system.

Until the bulb extends beyond the housing, forget it.

I'm with you on that. The lack of a bare bulb option severely limits the usefulness of a strobe.

i'm willing to bet you've never used a profoto. i used to think the same thing.

You'd lose that bet. Not to mention that I was told the same thing at a workshop by a widely respected photographer who is a spokesperson for the brand.
I have nothing but respect for all their other products and I hope the features this new line brings will push other mfrs. to up their game a bit.

Prophoto do have glass that will make it into a simple bulb like you want.

Did not know that. Thanks.

Expensive though :/

Shut up and take my money! Seriously, this is like Christmas. Killing me not to have a price on this.

The price is $1995. Available for preorder from Midwest Photo Exchange.

First off - you guys do realize you can get TTL on AlienBees or Einsteins using the higher-priced Pocket Wizards and the AC controller they sell? It'll still probably cost less than the price of one Profoto Air Remote.

Sure quality from Profoto is great - but then there is the cost - $2,000+ per head???? Wow - a real game-changer! I guess I'll just have to throw away my $200 used AlienBee 1600s and $220 Vagabond (which is good for twice as many flashes as the B1 pack, btw) and $84 PocketWizard Pluses for ..... a $2000 head PLUS the Air remote (probably $500)? THEN have to pay twice as much for the light modifiers? Great deal! Can't wait...

You are not profoto's target market with this strobe. I too use Alien Bees and love them for what they are but the reality is this strobe is in a realm of it's own. Personally I don't feel the TTL is as important as how ruggedly mobile these are coupled with tremendous power and crazy burst speeds.

This is a next gen product aimed at those with specific, extreme, shooting needs. Thus it is expensive.

Yes - having everything in one unit is convenient, but my Vagabond clips onto the lightstand and my Pocketwizard is velcroed to the head so I can pick the whole thing up and walk with it in hand - is that convenience really worth the 300% premium? The only thing this package offers that cheaper alternatives don't is TTL. Now, I am curious - would anyone here use TTL on a commercial shoot - lets say fashion, automotive, product, portrait, etc? It might be a convenience to give you a quick starting point with the 'correct' exposure from which you could customize, but that's about all. You seem to imply that people who have not reached a point where they need the features offered by Profoto won't appreciate its features, while what I am saying is that Profoto is the Rolls Royce that no one needs to accomplish their job of going from point A to point B - to create a product that they can sell or that their client ordered. Riding around in a Rolls Royce sure would be fun, but its a luxury, not something for a specific, extreme, need. Can you imagine amortizing $6,000 in new Profoto lights over the next year and how much that will eat into your bottom line? I'd rather have $6,000 in cash than three B1s, personally, and still do the exact same work as before. The B1s will not make me a better photographer. Having said that - if I was independently wealthy and had $6,000 dollars laying around that I had absolutely NO real use for, I'd sure buy me a set of Profoto lights too! Don't get me wrong - its a great product and I would never knock it on technical grounds, but I don't think most photographers NEED TTL so bad that they will shell out that kind of money for it if they are working for that money with their photo gear.

Like I said TTL is a super minor selling point. I'd love to have these lights tbh and it wouldn't have anything to do with TTL, it would have everything to do with the portability, power, speed, and efficiency that these lights offer.

But alas, I also don't "need" them so I won't be shelling out $6,000 for them either. Though, really, in the great big scheme of things $6,000 isn't THAT much money considering we are talking about a tool that some photographers will be using to make a living.

It is like comparing elite lenses to cheaper ones, I could go out and buy that new Nikkor 58mm F1.4 tomorrow but it wouldn't make me a better photographer than if I was using the $200 50mm F1.8 but what it does is that it allows you to work past the limits of what the cheaper gear simply will not allow.

I see these lights the same way I look at Elinchrom Ranger Quadras, if you are the type of shooter that spends his time in easily accessible locations shooting relatively immobile subjects then you really will be better off with a bigger, cheaper, strobe set up but if you are the type who wants to carry your lights up mountains shooting fast paced sports those Quadras are a godsend. The same applies to this light.

With battery one of these lights weighs 6.61lbs
An Einstein + Vagabond weighs 7.91lbs
A Ranger Quadra + Battery weighs 7.55lbs

That is a noticeable difference when you have 3 of them on your back headed up a mountain or to a difficult to access location. Furthermore these lights are less likely to arrive on location inoperable due to damage in transit.

They are also able to freeze extreme motion better than other lights given that they can have a 1/19,000th of a second flash duration in Freeze mode vs the 1/13,000th from an Einstein.

For the most part those who "need" these lights are fairly rare but they know who they are and for them this light is probably a dream come true. You and I simply are not one of those people.

1/19000 is at t.5 while the 1/13000 for the einsteins is t.1. At 1/19000 t5 comparing other profoto batt gear conversions, your actually looking at around 1/7000 at a t.1. Not as fast as Einsteins or Broncolor Scoro S. (t1 is what you'll want for freezing action with out streaking). Still 1/7000 is nothing to scoff at, that still damn fast.

Stick with your Einsteins old man-I GUARANTEE your photography SUCKS BALLS.

ROFL Anytime you want to compare work, I'm right here, but then you're posting as anonymous so you wouldn't take me up on that offer.... I'll offer you the same deal as John C: lessons at the bargain rate of $200/hr. When should we start?

Just so you all know...we professionals laugh at anyone who claims to be a pro and uses Einsteins. LOL. You're not a pro and your photography sucks.


Got a free lesson for you - real professionals laugh at people who equate gear with skill. If you want any more lessons, my rate is $200/hr to teach amateurs. Let me know when you'd like to begin.

I think this will be worth the investment. Have to start saving up for this.

Would be great to have 2 D1 and 2 B1 !

Love the concept! Seems perfect for the architectural, wedding, and editorial work I do. Torn about this or the 600r, which I was anticipating buying next month. As convenient as Speedlites, 10x power, what's not to love? Love the reduced gaffing, big bright controls, extra power, choice of modifiers, and built-in modeling light. Some quibbles, though…

1. According to the video, the Nikon TTL module won't be available until 2014 (Canon only for now). Sorry, Nikonians.

2. It's perplexing that they didn't provide an AC power port. Perhaps a battery emulator that plugs into the wall could be developed, for times when you want to use it as a studio monobloc and power is available. The flash would still think it's still running on a battery, while the battery emulator is running on AC power.

3. I'm also dubious to hear there are 3 different chargers (standard, rapid, and car); the first two at least should be one box, not two, to minimize clutter and expense.

For me as a Speedlite shooter, switching from an all-Speedlite lighting approach with PW triggers to this system using Profoto Air would be straightforward except for one thing. I'd be stuck with manual, on-flash power setting for my auxiliary Speedlites in a blended lighting setup. As it is now, I have easy power adjustments from the camera using Speedlites and PW Flex triggers or an OCF cord.

Had the pleasure of seeing these in use and was impressed with the fact there were no cords. I thought the AirTTL had a lot more miss-fires than it should considering the distance but I chopped that up to it being beta though. I didn't get a chance to hold a unit but the battery was super light, a little lighter than my Vagabond Mini. The recycle time was all also impressive too. The only thing that I didn't like was the size of the unit which is about 3x longer than an Einstein. Sometimes portability is important for me. However, the ability to not even worry about a cord is just sweet!

That is exactly the product I've been waiting for. I have no doubt it's a top quality piece of equipment, coming from Profoto, but that's a steep price tag for a semi-pro like myself. I could use a body upgrade soon, too. I hate the idea of knockoffs, but I may consider one, if it's somewhere near this in quality.

Adorama has something similar at this sans TTL for 200 dollars, also is only 180 ws

Sounds awesome, but it will be super expensive and with no AC port.... what were they thinking? I'll stick with an Elinchrom BXR500 with a skyport remote and the vagabond mini for 1/3 the price PLUS I can use the elinchrom in the studio on AC power.


Does the TTL work in High Speed Synch mode or is it limited to a top speed of 1/200 or 1/250?

That's actually a REALLY interesting question! One of the drawbacks of HSS is that it eats a ton of power, but considering how much juice a unit like this has over a speedlight, HSS may actually be quite useful.

High speed sync and TTL are two completely different things.......

TTL just meters the flash automatically through the lens using the cameras in built meter.
High speed sync basically pulses the flash at very high speed to avoid the curtain blocking part of the sensor.
I don't see HSS mentioned in any of the specs?

Well...I kind of have always wanted one........battery powered.......SIGH...DAMMIT :)

jinbei is working on a TTL studio strobe as i have heard.. will be much cheaper then the profoto of course.

Hope so. $2k for this is too much for starting off photographer.

Nothing Profoto makes is for a starting photographer.

This is true. PCB is probably the best bet for budget minded photographers.

Yeah I can see that, but at the same time, looks like this isn't what professional need either. With the no AC power capability and low battery duration, amongst others.. who is this intended for? And I wasn't talking about first timers.. talking more about those photographers who are ready to start their own business. This would be awesome for me, mainly because I do a lot of on location work, but think I'll stick with my current flash set up.

low battery duration? how often do you use a 500w flash or any battery flash for that matter on 1/1? So let's say you get down a bit and use 1/2 power you get way more bang. And if you get down to 1/4 power by increasing your ISO ever so slightly or "fiddling" with your f-stop, you will get WAY more bangs out of the batteries

Don't quit your day job Robbie

price is 2000$ .... 400$ for the remote.

This is great... if I had the budget for it. But for two grand, I rather buy better glass or more flashes for creative lighting set up.

Great review! I have an old set of Profoto studio lights they are work horse and heavy. I do have one question as owner of Canon wireless 600EXRT flashes, can you mixes different setting for three lights. EX: A set - Manual, B set - TTL, C set Manual as my Canon flashes can do but lack of the power to out power the sun. I will be really interested to see a portrait shoot when the light is 20 feet away and over power the sun.

Innovation? I don't consider a strobe with batteries anything mind blowing. Especially for $2000+.
Basic features as any other strobe, now it mounts a battery instead of dragging it.

I rather stick with 6+ Speedlites 600s. Imagine the fun lighting you can play with? At least this has some innovation built into it.

Lee, No AC power? Even worses! Sorry, no thanks!

I agree, it is not mind blowing. The price is around what I expect it to be. The cost of a few highend speedlites or a Quantum with batteries and remotes puts it in this price range.

I wouldn't be surprised to see an AC option. I'm sure you can buy additional batteries as well.

How are you going to fit 6 speedlites into a beauty dish?

I have a question: Does it feature a reagular cable option for an external battery pack or to plug it straight to the wall or it is solely dependant on Li Batteries?

Basically not bad for outdoor shootings. However for $2000 (!) I can get better value from similar products.

There are no similar products. Does your Einstein have full TTL?? Is it wireless??? Idiot...

Any information about the weight of the B1 lamp?

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