The Perfect Travel Strobe? We Review the Profoto A2

The Perfect Travel Strobe? We Review the Profoto A2

You’d be hard-pressed to find a portable flash at the level of Profoto A2 in terms of build quality, size, weight, power, ease of use, and consistency. It is genuinely a tiny marvel for any photographer. It is almost hilariously simple to set up, and yet, it delivers terrific results. Best of all, if you buy a Profoto A2 between now and October 31, you get a Connect remote for free.

Where Does It Even Fit in the Lineup?

Photographers tend to split into two camps when it comes to flash photography: those who either actively use or want to use Profoto lights and those who haven’t tried them yet. But not everyone wants to use a “larger” B10X, while the hotshoe mounted A10 is not enough. That is why Profoto has released the simply brilliant A2. In terms of size and weight, it fits right in between the two aforementioned lights. No larger than a 50mm f/1.4 lens, it delivers the power output of up to 100 Ws at less than half the weight of the B10X. 

While all of that would already be impressive on its own, that is just the half of the story. Using the same battery as the Profoto A1, A1X, or A10, it can fire up to 400 flashes at full power. The color consistency of Profoto lights has, of course, been praised for decades now, and anyone taking their work seriously knows the results will always be perfect. 

The Profoto A2 mounted on a Clic Softbox.

Modify to Your Heart’s Content

The Profoto A2 has inherited the magnetic Clic mount from the hotshoe-mounted A10 lights, which greatly simplifies the way you attach all kinds of modifiers. Up until recently, the Clic modifiers consisted of only a dome diffuser, a set of colored gels, a bounce card, and a few other bits. But since the release of the A2, Profoto has been busy creating more and more modifiers from their signature Magnum reflector, which amplifies the light output of the flash as well as multiple different octaboxes of various sizes. 

If that is not enough for your needs the newly designed Clic OCF Adapter II lets you attach not just OCF speed rings with all the subsequent modifiers, but thanks to the diameter being identical, the RFi softboxes, stripboxes, and reflectors of many shapes can also be used. This bumps the number of usable modifiers above 150 different types. The only limitation is your creativity and available space.

The Profoto Connect is perfect for smaller cameras like this X100V.

Perfect For Travel

I can’t stress enough how small and portable the Profoto A2 is. It fits in a bottle pouch of pretty much any bag with room to spare. Not much bigger than an average beverage can, it is truly perfect for small and lightweight setups. Pictured in the titular image stashed in a small Wotancraft bottle pouch along a Fujifilm X100V with the tiny, but incredibly useful Profoto Connect wireless trigger. 

The Simplest Set Up

The way all current Profoto lights work together makes the use of either one of them truly simple. Whether you’re shooting with the A10, A2, through the B10X and B1X all the way to the incredibly fast and powerful Pro-11, you can use whichever wireless trigger Profoto currently offers as they all use the same Air standard. The only choice is which one works best for you. 

The above-pictured Connect is tiny, portable, and lightweight. It's perfect for smaller bodies where you do not want your wireless transmitter to feel heavy or cumbersome on top of your camera. It only offers a singular control wheel allowing you to switch between Off, Auto, and Manual. Auto is your standard TTL metering, in which you can alter the power using the flash power slider in your camera’s menu. No need to worry about any other setting. Manual gives you full control. The settings for that can be found using a well-designed Profoto Control app.

The Connect trigger is available with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus/Panasonic, and Fujifilm compatible hotshoe mounts and offers TTL metering and HSS for each model. 

SImple to use app lets you change the settings of any Profoto light using your phone

Some of Us Want Our Buttons Though

No worries, there are more options when it comes to triggering the Profoto A2. The newly released Connect Pro comes with a clear and well-designed UI, the ability to control up to six groups, and a new Air 2 mode, which lets you see your exact EV setting on the large screen instead of having to calculate it yourself from the previous level. TTL metering and HSS are of course available. The Connect Pro is currently being produced for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica, and Fujifilm cameras. If your camera manufacturer is not represented, you can also get the Connect Pro in a Non-TTL version. 

The older Air Remote TTL and Air Remote are still able to trigger and control the A2 if you’ve still got those. 

Profoto Connect is perfect for smaller cameras or those who want simplicity. Connect Pro is for those who want full control and well-designed UI right on top of the camera.

Best Time To Get One Is Now

With the current special deal from Profoto, which gets you a free Profoto Connect wireless trigger if you’re buying the A2 in the USA, it is just the perfect time to get one. If you’re based in Europe or Japan, you get to choose between a free Connect or a 50% discount from the Connect Pro. The promotion lasts up until the 31st of October 2023, so if you’re after a powerful, portable, and easy-to-use flash, use one of the links above. The offer is available on Profoto's website or at your local dealer.

Ondřej Vachek's picture

Ondřej Vachek is a Prague based independent documentary photographer and photojournalist with multiple journeys to war-torn Ukraine where he covered everything from the frontline in the Donbass to the civilian life adapting to the new normal. Avid street photographer with love for writing and storytelling.

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"You’d be hard-pressed to find a portable flash at the level of Profoto A2 in terms of build quality, size, weight, power, ease of use, and consistency" The Godox AD100pro ticks all those boxes and is affordable too. You could buy two, a Speedlight, a softbox and change to spare for the price of the A2.

Godox AD100 comes with colourcast and different kelvin then the bigger once. Even I have and use Godox this is so embarrassing I don’t think I will comment on this article.

Godox is trash...subpar build quality, non-existent customer support & parts availability. I guess if you're a weekend warrior a Godox might be good enough, but if you're a pro who works your gear hard, then the higher end products will give you piece of mind. I have seen Godox products just die after a few months of hard use, while Profoto just keeps on going. I would argue the ROI on Profoto is far superior. Yes, flashtubes wear out and front glass covers break if the units are dropped, but you can just easily get parts from Profoto and repair them. The A10 & A2 being the exception, of course...

My AD600 is about 6yrs now, i have a 5yr AD200pro and a 2yr AD200 plus a couple of V850ii so I know what I am saying. Godox have come a long way that even broncolor which is a more premium brand than Profoto, rebrands some of Godox's triggers. 100W for $1000 sounds ridiculous for most photographers.

My experience with Godox is very good. Very reliable and consistent. If you have deep pockets go Profoto. Godox is good on a budget and well made.

I see elitism is alive and well. "if you're a pro blah blah blah"

Shut up. You don't need profoto to be a pro.

I've never had an issue with my Godox flashes. I even broke one and was still able to find the parts I needed to fix it at and extremely affordable cost (2 bucks). How much does it cost to send a profoto product in to get fixed?

The phrase is "peace of mind", not "piece of mind".

Godox has worked quite well for many people in a professional setting. If you look for teardowns and repair guides for many super expensive flashes, you will notice that aside from a few minor differences, many of the components are the same or extremely similar in terms of specs and quality.

Sometimes the more expensive units may use better quality housings, and for some of the lower voltage stuff, you may see higher quality brands using Nichicon while godox may be using rubycon branded capacitors or other smaller changes where the cost differences a swing the price by around 10-15%, but nothing to justify a what is often a 5+X higher cost. For example, compare teardowns of the Godox v850 series, TT685, as well as the Godox V1, to teardowns of flashes like the Canon 600EX or the Nikon SB-5000. And you will see that there are far more similarities than differences, and in the differences, there is nothing to come close to justifying the price difference from a BOM standpoint.

For components more specific to things like camera flashes, there isn't an army of companies rushing into compete, This is why in nearly all cases, you will see many repairs spanning a number of brands, having you buy many of the same components from digikey, especially for the electronics under the most stress, such as the ones related to power regulation for the super fast rise times when dumping the capacitor into the flash tube, as well as charging the capacitor.

Another fstoppers article where one has togo to the site to get the price.

It costs 1095 euro! a nice trinket.

Fot real work I could get 2x godox ad200pro + various reflectors + xproII trigger which just works and still have spare change...

Exactly my thought.

What is the difference between a strobe and a flash? I keep seeing things that look like flashes being referred to as "strobes" and this is really confusing me.

I've always figured that the terms were used interchangeably. To me they always meant the same thing.

1000 dollars for 100 watts is just plain stupid no matter how you look at it. You can claim consistency, durability, blah blah blah till you run out of breath but that still doesn't justify $1000 dollars for 100 watts.

how magnanimous of them to give you the $200 connect remote (no Screen) for free.