Profoto B10 Review by Esam Hassanyeh 12th September 2018.
The New Profoto B10 – The power of small
The Profoto B10 launched today and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a couple of the new ‘pint’ sized lights before the official launch. Working with my friends at Advanced Media Dubai on the dealer launch, they gave me a pair to play with.
Before you read my review, I want to make it easy – the Profoto B10 is a great addition to the Profoto range. I think this little guy will sell big!
First thing you notice about the B10, is the size. It looks like the smaller brother of the B1, it’s slimmer, lighter and half the size. It’s even smaller and lighter than my Canon 70-200mm f2.8L II, weighing just 1.5 kg’s with the removable stand adaptor. The B10 has the familiar quality black Profoto casing, a removable battery and large rear display. In your hand, you instantly notice the difference.
Two B10’s easily fit in my Think Tank roller, as well as two Canon camera’s, four lenses plus lots of other stuff. I couldn’t do this with two B1’s. I am already sold! Overall, I really like the B10 design. Size, weight and quality are all reasons to buy.
For a small light, the B10 packs a lot of features that both photographers and videographers will like. I am a meat and potatoes guy, so, I will focus on the useful stuff. The B10 offers 250Ws with a 10 f-stop range, recycling time 2.2 sec, TTL, HSS (up to 1/8000th), removable battery with up to 400 full power flashes and charging in use. A great feature that video shooters will like is the 2,500 max lumens continuous LED light with adjustable color temp (3,000-6500 Kelvin). The B10’s are compatible with all Profoto Air Remotes and the 120 or so Profoto OCF/RFI light modifiers.
The Profoto B10 comes in a single light ($1,595) or duo kit ($3,195) box (at time of writing) and is available at Advanced Media in Dubai as well as the usual worldwide dealer network. For now, its available for Canon (Sony and Nikon soon). Note, that the price excludes an Air TTL Remote, so you will need to budget extra for this if you don’t already own one.
In an app crazy world, a big (marketing) sell is the Profoto app. With it, you can easily control the B10’s through your iPhone (For now, iPhone 7, iOS 11 and later). Profoto is currently working on iPad and Android.
The app was easy to use on my iPhone X. You can control up to three B10’s for flash power, modeling light, color temperature etc. as well as accessing your Profoto account. Unlike the Air Remote TTL-C, the app displays the power output of each connected light. Firmware upgrades are done through the app, so no need for a USB cable. A feature that social media lovers will like, is to use B10’s modeling light/flash to take photo’s with your iPhone. Posting is simple. However, the lighting results for this were mixed and images prone to phone camera shake.
Profoto B10 Performance
For my gear tests, I like to keep it real. I did a corporate portrait location shoot without an assistant. I often shoot alone with my B1’s. Ok, enough of the blurb…so how do the B10’s perform? In short, damn good! I was impressed with the amount of power and quality of light from such a small unit. It’s classic Profoto.
It’s a big plus to be able to carry a pair of B10’s and all my camera gear in just one bag.
The B10’s are easy to set up and use. I always shoot manual, so using my Air Remote TTL-C on my Canon 5d3 to adjust power was a doddle. Some may prefer to use the Profoto app, as it display’s the actual power number of each B10 (annoyingly, Air Remote TTL-C doesn’t). I didn’t test TTL, but I am sure that it work’s as billed. For light shaping, I used a 5ft RFI Octa, 3ft RF Octa + grid and a zoom reflector + grid. They all slipped on/off the B10’s with ease.
I tested the Profoto B10’s in both normal and freeze mode. The results for normal mode were great and they fired consistently every time. The quality of light was excellent and the power output was more than enough for my indoor portrait needs.
Unfortunately, I had a loss of power in ‘freeze’ mode from one of the B10 demo units, so I could not test them both together using HSS. However, the second unit worked well over the 10-stop range. This affected my shot choice, as I wanted to block out some of the harsh ambient light streaming through the huge windows. I was limited to a maximum 1/200th shutter, so I just got on with it.
Below, are a few portraits from my shoot using a pair of Profoto B10’s…
Profoto B10 Location Portraits
I like to shoot power portraits for more senior clients. These are strong portraits, of successful people, that incorporate design elements of surrounding spaces to add some drama.
The first shoot, was in a very large, bright space. The 92nd floor of the World Trade Centre Tower, Abu Dhabi. This would really test the B10’s power.
Unfortunately, I had a power issue with ‘freeze’ mode on one of the demo unit’s, so I was limited to 1/200th shutter in normal mode…still they delivered great results.
More on BTS lighting set up’s that I used to create these images can been seen at Profoto B10 Location Portraits
I really like the Profoto B10’s and think that they will be a big winner.
Profoto are pitching the B10’s to photographers who are relatively new to off-camera lights (Kim), as well as wedding and portrait shooters. However, I also see their appeal to all photographers who don’t like carrying lots of gear, using them stand alone, or mixing them with an existing B1 or A1 etc.
I would happily use a B10 as a rim light with a B1 as main…or even just a couple of B10’s to shoot simple location portraits. They are small, easy to carry, yet powerful enough for most small shoot needs.
Whatever your photography style, I highly recommend you check out the Profoto B10’s and find out what they can do for you.
More of my photography can be seen on my web esam hassanyeh