Profoto Unveils Powerful but Portable B1 Light, a Battery-Powered, Cordless Flash with TTL Functionality

November 5, 2013

By Dan Havlik

Profoto has just unveiled a very interesting new concept in portable lighting: a powerful, battery powered flash with TTL functionality.  Called the B1, the folks from Profoto described it to me as an “off-camera flash,” during an NDA meeting I had on the new product at PhotoPlus Expo. But that description doesn’t quite sum the B1 up, since it’s not a speedlight nor a monolight, but a new lighting product that combines some of the attributes of the two.

Along with its cordless portability, the B1 gives you TTL control thanks to a patent-pending invention from Profoto designed to integrate the flash with your camera. It works by attaching Profoto’s Air Remote TTL-C to the hotshoe of your camera. When you photograph your subject, the B1 will automatically adjust the blast of light to optimize exposure. If you want more control, you can switch to full manual control with the press of a button on the B1.

During my meeting at PPE with Profoto, they didn’t have the product on hand yet so weren’t able to provide me a demo. I’ve scheduled a loan of a Profoto B1 unit for an upcoming review in PDN, so stay tuned. In the mean time, you can check out a demo video here.

The Air Remote TTL-C, which is sold separately, slides onto your hot shoe and creates a wireless link between your camera and the B1 flash. It supports manual and TTL control of B1 lights in up to three groups.

The Air Remote TTL-C  for Canon cameras with E-TTL II support is being launched today with the B1. Nikon users will have to wait a bit though: the Air Remote TTL-N for Nikon cameras with i-TTL support comes out next year.

The B1 will sell for $1,995, while the Air Remote TTL-C goes for $395.

Here are some other key features of the new compact B1 off-camera flash from Profoto:

• Offers 500Ws of light, approximately ten times more powerful than the average speedlight

• Output can overpower the sun on a sunny day, or light up a large set or a group of people

• Powered by an exchangeable battery and wirelessly synced and controlled with the Air system

• Battery provides up to 220 full-power flashes

• Air system has an operating range up to 1,000ft.

• Light output can be controlled in 1/10 f-stop steps over the entire 9 f-stop power range

• Equipped with an LED modeling light that’s powerful enough to be used as a portable video light

• Quick Burst feature lets you shoot up to 20 flashes per second at lower power setting

•  At full power, the B1 will recharge in less than two seconds

• Compatible with over 120 light shaping tools

• Other accessories announced today include the Backpack M for transporting the B1; a Quick Charger; and a Car Charger

Learn more about the Profoto B1 here.