PROFOTO A1 – AirTTL Speedlight Released

PROFOTO A1

 

Profoto have released their first speedlight, in the very nicely designed Profoto A1, with all important Profoto AirTTL radio transceiver built inside.

The A1 are available on release for Canon and Nikon, with a Sony version to follow in early 2018.

Some of the A1’s major features include –

  • 76Ws Power, TTL, HSS
  • Exchangeable Li-Ion Battery Providing 350 Full Power Flashes
  • 1.2 Sec Full Power Recycle Time
  • AirTTL Radio Master Control for 6 Groups (3 TTL, 3 Manual)
  • AirTTL Radio Slave Modes For Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, & Fuji
  • Large Hi-Res LCD, with Fast Simple User Interface & Master Control
  • TTL / Manual Switch (Fast Hybrid TTL)
  • Round Flash Head, Providing Smooth Natural Fall Off
  • Auto Zoom 32-105mm, Also with Manual Zoom Ring
  • LED Modeling Light, Also Zooms with Flash Head
  • Fast Magnetic Modifier Mount, With Stackable Gels & Light Shaping Tools
  • Bounce Card, Wide Lens, & Dome Diffuser Included
  • Laser AF Assist Light
  • USB Port For Firmware Updates

 

The A1 now provides the all important missing piece of the puzzle, which allows wedding and event photographers an on-camera master flash, which also controls the full range of larger off-camera Profoto flashes, including the B1XB2, and D2, TTL and HSS enabled strobes.

Profoto may be keen to expand the appeal of the A1 by marketing it as a small studio light, though the primary reason this flash exists is due to the need for an integrated on-camera master flash for their larger strobe system, and a wedding photography market otherwise still starved of professional integrated solutions with larger off camera strobes.

And the A1 certainly appears to be a very well designed flash for this purpose, breaking the traditional mold, and likely setting some new standards for radio speedlites to come.

One thing curiously missing from any mention whatsoever though, is the A1’s heat protection limitations (which often forms the real limitation to recycle times and frame rates etc). When this has been the major refinement in the latest Canon 600EX-RT II. And the Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight now even providing fan cooling. If the A1 can keep up in this fundamental area, Profoto are strangely not promoting that.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

A major innovation in the new A1 flash is the round head design, which provides a nice circular flash pattern, with a smooth natural fall off. And this will mainly be an advantage for off-camera use, where the light does not always fill the complete image frame.

As well as an Auto zooming head (from 32 – 105mm), the A1 also provides a manual zoom focusing ring around the flash head. So the flash pattern can be very gradually adjusted to the exact spread of light you’re after.

And if that wasn’t nice enough, the A1 also includes an LED modelling light. Which also zooms with the flash head, to provide a real time indication of what the flash pattern will look like before even taking a shot.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

The circular flash head also provides some advantage for on-camera use as well, due to the very convenient integrated magnetic modifier mount. Allowing various A1 Light Shaping Tools to be quickly attached to the flash head, and even stacked on top of each other in combination.

The A1 comes with a Bounce Card attachment, and unlike the flip-out catch light card used in regular speedlites, the round head of the A1 allows the card to be easily rotated to the opposite side of the flash head when the camera and flash are in portrait orientation.

A Wide Lens (providing 14mm coverage), and Dome Diffuser are also included with the flash. While a color correction Gel Kit and larger Soft Bounce modifier are available as optional accessories.

While the supplied bounce card probably could be made from something more flexible and resilient (like the larger Soft Bounce modifier), the A1’s integrated fast mount magnetic system is likely to be something of a dream come true for many wedding photographers.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

PROFOTO A1 FEATURES

 

  • 76Ws
  • LED Modelling Light
  • Modelling Light Control – Off, Proportional, Manual (Low/High)
  • Profoto A1 Magnetic Accessory Mount
  • Built-in (Removable) 7.6V / 1.6Ah (11.8Wh) Lithium-ion Battery
  • Up to 350 Full Power Flashes Per Battery Charge
  • 0.05 – 1.2 Seconds Recycle Time
  • Flash Modes – TTL / Manual
  • HSS to 1/8000th (Full Power Range)
  • Second Curtain Sync / X-Sync
  • FEC (0.1 Stop Increments, +/- 3 Stops)
  • FEL (Flash Exposure Lock)
  • Hybrid TTL / MANUAL Switch (Meter Quickly in TTL, Then Adjust in Manual Mode)
  • Manual Flash – 1/256 – 1/1 Output (0.1 Stop Increments)
  • 32 – 105mm Auto Flash Zoom, And Manual Zoom Ring
  • Profoto AirTTL, & Air, 2.4GHz Radio System
  • Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, & Fuji, AirTTL Radio Slave Modes
  • Range – 300m Triggering, 100m TTL / Remote Control
  • 6 Groups – A / B / C (TTL or Manual), D / E / F (Manual Only)
  • 8 Channels
  • Flash Duration (t0.5) – 1/800s – 1/20,000s
  • Color Stability – +/- 150K
  • Energy Stability – 0.2 F-stop
  • AF Assist Light
  • Tilt Swivel Head
  • Large Hi-Res LCD Display
  • Function Menus
  • Auto Memory Function
  • Power Saving Function
  • Quick Locking Foot
  • Micro USB Port for Firmware Upgrades
  • Size – 108 x 75 x 65 mm
  • Weight – 560g (1.2 lbs) including battery

 

PROFOTO A1

 

Another major feature of the A1 is the simple and intuitive user interface, with large high resolution LCD screen, and large easy to access buttons and dial.

This is an area wedding photographers are always looking for a better solution than the often slow and complex menu driven interfaces of the Canon and Nikon etc speedlights.

The A1 will be available for hire in many photography rental outlets, so users need to be able to see how the flash operates without studying a lengthy instruction manual first.

The 10.0 to 2.0 power scale is likely going to take some getting used to for photographers mainly just used to using speedlites though, so its a pity there is no option of switching to a 1/1 to 1/256 display.

(And the option 1/3rd stop increments would also help to speed up adjustments, over the current 0.1 increments).

 

PROFOTO A1

 

There does also appear to be some slight quirks and limitation in the A1’s Master interface.

Only groups A, B, & C, can be set to either TTL or Manual modes, while groups C, D, & E can only be set to Manual mode.

This does at least allow the flash on-camera to be used in TTL mode, while some off camera strobes are used in manual (to lift the background light levels in a room for example).

Interestingly, even in TTL mode, the A1 displays the equivalent manual power level the flash has just output with the last TTL shot. That’s the large manual power level displayed in the middle of the screen (even in TTL mode).

In TTL Master mode, the FEC settings for each group are displayed along the base of the LCD screen, and the Global FEC setting (which can also be set from the camera) shown on the left of the screen.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

In Manual Master mode things get a little unusual though.

Instead of setting each group to a distinct manual power level, the slave groups are set to an FEC like + or  – level, in relation to the power setting each flash is originally set to.

So each flashes actual power level is only displayed on the flash unit itself. The master interface only shows a + or – setting for each group. This is likely due to the Hybrid TTL function mentioned below.

Holding down any of the group buttons will also select ALL groups, so that all of their levels can be adjusted globally together.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

To change back and forth from TTL to Manual modes the A1 provides a simple and easy to access switch on the left side of the flash body.

And this switch is also an extension of the Hybrid TTL function already available in the Profoto AirTTL transmitter units.

The Hybrid TTL function allows you to take a shot in TTL mode, and then switch to manual mode, where the TTL setting from that last shot are converted to a manual power levels, for further refinement, and consistency in future shots.

This feature can be a big advantage for wedding photographers not having the time to continually set up and meter individual lights manually.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

Menu functions are accessible from the Settings button (center of the dial), and are divided into 2 sections according to priority of access needed.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

On the other side of the A1 flash body a single micro USB port is provided for firmware updates.

There are no other posts for external battery packs, or even basic sync ports provided.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

The A1’s removable 7.6V, 1.6Ah, (11.8Wh) Lithium-ion battery provides up to 350 full power pops, without any fade in recycle time as the battery gets low.

Full recharge time is 80 minutes. And the battery is also UN-certified for worldwide plane travel.

The Lithium-ion battery allows fast recycle times of just 1.2 seconds at full power, which is a great advantage over regular AA rechargeable batteries.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

For wedding and event photographers a major advantage of the Profoto A1 is no doubt the built-in Smart magnetic click-on modifier mount for Profoto A1 Light Shaping Tools.

Which can also be conveniently stacked together in combination as needed.

PROFOTO A1

 

The A1 flash comes supplied with the Dome Diffuser and Bounce Card pictured above. As well as the Wide Lens (providing 14mm coverage) bellow.

While a color correction Gel Kit, and larger Soft Bounce modifier, are available as optional accessories (at a sizable price).

 

PROFOTO A1

 

The optional $99 Gel Kit comes with a holder and 4 color correction Gels, Full / Half/ Quarter CTO, and 1/2 Green for Flourscent Lighting.

The Gels area made of a rigid durable material designed to last much longer than flimsy thin gel film.

 

PROFOTO A1

 

And the larger optional $150 Soft Bounce modifier can be used when there are no convenient walls etc to bounce the light off.

 

 

PROFOTO A1 SPECS

 

PROFOTO A1

 

 

 

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

 

The Profoto A1 flash for Canon and Nikon are available for pre-order now from $995 –

Canon – Adorama, Amazon, UK, B&H Photo
Nikon – Adorama, Amazon, UK, B&H Photo

 

With a Sony version to follow in early 2018.

 

Profoto – Website

Profoto – A1 User Guide

Profoto – B1X, B2 Overview

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49 Comments
  1. John Wilson 4 weeks ago

    I’ve read at least half a dozen articles on this device in the last couple of days. This is far and away the most detailed and informative one. Well done!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

      Thanks John, I’m trying to get to the real details of it all myself.

      Its certainly a nice flash, though its hard to find any details yet on things like what the heat protection limits are, and what the AF assist light is like etc.

      These are the major things people complain about with the Godox master speedlites, so you would think Profoto would be keen to show they have a better solution.

      The way manual power levels are displayed on the master interface for the slave groups is quite bizarre as well, and I didn’t realize the AirTTL transmitter does not show the actual power setting from the flashes either. A video I came across here shows how they are displayed.

      • Ganesh 4 weeks ago

        Nice information thank you. Lot of negative feedback for A1 pricing in most of the pages. But I love the design. Any chance of price drop? Being hot-shoe flash is there any possibilities using it with godox X1 receiver? At least we save transmitter amount

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

          Hi Ganesh,

          No Profoto won’t lower the price. They will sell plenty of these regardless of the comments about price on the net.

          The A1 are not compatible with the Godox X1 receivers. Profoto haven’t even provided a basic sync port, so they have no interest in people wanting to combine them with other radio systems etc.

          • Ganesh Naravian 4 weeks ago

            Hi flash Havoc are you sure A1 not work on godox x1R? I hope this also have same 5pins in shoe connector area. Any hack possibilities?

            • Author
              Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

              Oh sorry, I thought you were meaning to use the A1 as master, and X1R receivers for the slaves.

              Yes its possible the A1 may possibly work as a TTL slave flash when mounted on an X1R receiver.

              There could well be some compatibility issues though, (if they do actually work at all).

              I personally wouldn’t want to pay $1000 for a slave speedlight to still have to
              mix third party gear like that though.

              (In that case 3 eVOLV / AD200 are much much better value for the price).

              • Ganesh Naravian 4 weeks ago

                Actually I want mix A1 with godox system that I already had. At least we can save their air remotes $400+

      • John Wilson 4 weeks ago

        This is an interesting set of tests https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soOVqF5SmE0

        Moving the front ring setting the flash back to manual zoom is quite nasty. It would appear to be quite an easy thing to do when fitting or adjusting a magnetic monitor.

        The quick and dirty tests seem to show that the power is nothing to write home about (don’t know about the HSS tests not sure the flash meter would produce accurate readings in that mode. I’d have preferred if he’d shot a grey card and measured the illumination of the image)

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

          Thanks John, I did see that video as well.

          The zoom changing function does appear a little concerning. Though I guess if it didn’t change to manual then the auto would keep overriding the manual changes you were meaning to make.

          Maybe it needs a physical Auto / Manual switch for the zoom as well.

          I wouldn’t take too much from those HSS output tests. As you mention, we really need to see and compare what light is in the actual image with HSS.

  2. Mark 4 weeks ago

    I was impressed by everything until I got to the bottom and read the price….wow.

  3. Nick Giardina 4 weeks ago

    “…and a wedding photography market otherwise still starved of professional integrated solutions with larger off camera strobes.”

    What makes ProFoto a “professional integrated solution?” Better question, what makes Godox not?

    • John Wilson 4 weeks ago

      “What makes ProFoto a “professional integrated solution?” Better question, what makes Godox not?”

      The worldwide availability of service/repair facilities and the wide availability of equipment to rent

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

      Hi Nick,

      Most people are generally happy with the Godox off camera strobes like the AD600B, and AD200 etc. Though many wedding photographers coming from Canon and Nikon etc quality master speedlites are not happy with what they have found as the step backward to the Godox master speedlites. For many people they are still the weakest part of the Godox system.

      That’s certainly not the case for everyone, though a lot of wedding photographers have been searching for a better solution for as long as I’ve been involved in this. See my recent comment here on the Godox speedlites as well.

      Phottix were even a few years ahead of Godox, though again the Mitros+ master speedlite just didn’t stack up in certain ways for many people.

      Others have definitely led the way with an integrated system, though unfortunately they just haven’t managed to refine things to a higher level since.

      Lots of people will complain about Profoto prices on the net, though having been involved in making gear for wedding photographers for a number of years myself, I have no doubt whatsoever Profoto will sell a ton of these speedlites, and have wedding photographers moving to their B1 and B2 system in droves, provided the A1 does work as expected. Right now they really have no serious competition.

      We have been telling Godox they need to lift their game in this area for the last 2 years, though they are just completely out of touch with the issue. It was the same story with the transmitter as well, though thankfully they came around to that (to some degree).

      I do think Profoto also need to get moving on a compact 360Ws sytle cordless strobe though as well. Ironically the A1 is right on the mark, though the B1 and B2 were never really quite the ideal off camera strobe many wedding photographers have actually been after.

      In that regard the AD200 have everyone hard at work developing alternatives, so there’s no doubt Profoto will be looking at something as well. The SMDV BRIHT-360 would not have gone unnoticed either (also another system suffering a lot from lack of a master speedlite option).

      Not everyone is a wedding photographer, though the thing is they were always a large part of the driving force behind the market for larger TTL strobes to start with. They need good integrated master speedlites though.

      • Motti 4 weeks ago

        I have been using Godox system for over three years now and all that time my Nikon SB-900 and SB-910 were hardly used. Since I purchased the AD200 and the V860-II as a master, I do not use Nikon at all. The system works very well either for weddings or portrait shoots.

        It’s not only affordable but also reliable. What Godox does not have is “bragging rights”. That’s OK though, sensible photographers do not need that “feature”, they need to work 🙂

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

          Hi Motti,

          From your own previous comment here

          “I also have V860 (first generation) and the AF is pretty bad, nothing compares to the Nikon SB-910.”

          “However, their AF system makes the V860 not suitable as a main flash.”

          The V860II AF light has not improved, so did you just get more used to using it?

          People also complain with the Nikon version the AF light can show in the image. These are the kinds of things I’m talking about with lack of refinements.

          • Motti 2 weeks ago

            True, I said that.

            The 860II has improved TTL dramatically! The TTL is as good as the SB-910 ( I compared both). As for the AF system, I used it in events and it worked much better than previous 860. The pattern is the same but it seems to acquire focus much faster and very accurately.

            However, when using it in very low light, although it focuses very well, the TTL is sometimes inaccurate. I usually do not use TTL in events but the times I do it has some inaccuracies. Now to be fair, the Nikon is also fooled by straight on flashes, either mine or other people flashes, (and that’s a good reason to not use TTL) but it is better than the Godox 860II.

            Regardless, I still find Godox equipment very well built and preforms very well!

            If speaking of reliability, just some notes:

            My SB-900 burnt after two years of lite use and it never worked the same after it was repaired (by Nikon at my cost!! Tghey refused to honor the warranty even though it was known the flash heats up quickly).

            My old Nikon 28-70 needed to be repaired twice in two years because it’s focus mechanism was defected (It starts squeaking and missing focus.). Nikon were aware of that and yet, never reproduced new parts and still repaired it with manufactured defected zoom system.

            For a company that has been around such a short time, Godox has an amazing track record. I have no doubt they will only get better.

            I use their equipment all the time (850, 860, 860II, AD200, X1-N) I am aware of some limitations but it never hindered my work.

            The thing is, when a piece of equipment from well known brands like Profoto or Pocket Wizard show some glitches, it does not seem to be an ‘issue”. Photographers don’t seem to think it is a reliability issue.

            For example, the TTl on the A1 is dismal! Want proof? Watch this Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soOVqF5SmE0

            Pocket Wizard had so many range issues and misfires it’s not even funny. Talk about hindering your work because of badly made (and over priced)b equipment.

            However, when other (mainly Chinese) manufacturers have some minor issues, many times the snotty response is: “well, what do you expect, you get what you pay for”.

            Well, not true when it comes to Godox.

            So, in occlusion, just about any company has issues, no matter how much they cost. The difference is, are they willing to fix it? Are they listening? I believe Godox does.

            Cheers.

            • Motti 2 weeks ago

              As for AF showing in the image, never happened to me.

            • Author
              Flash Havoc 2 weeks ago

              Hi Motti,

              Thanks, though I think we will have to agree to disagree 🙂

              I haven’t really studied the Nikon TTL, though there are people happy with the TTL, and others not. Looking at the Canon version though I can see the V860II-C is actually far less consistent than my original V860. Again some people are happy others not.

              As far as Godox listening, as I’ve mentioned a number of times, myself and Flashpoint had been trying to get them to refine the master speedlite from 2 years ago with no success. I don’t think they have refined any of the basic functional points people bring up, and haven’t even tried to address physical points like simply doing something about the very sticky grease in the flash head (which results in lots of foot damage).

              Godox did not want to do a new transmitter, and after finally agreeing with Flashpoint it was a good idea, they disregarded all the design points we mentioned, and were fundamentally opposed to what we suggested. To the point Flashpoint had to commission there own version of the transmitter.

              And its a similar story with many products. They also have so many camera platforms to deal with now I don’t know that they will ever provide serious refinement to any one of them.

              They are still leading the way in many respects, and have an amazing system for the price. Its just that not everyone is after the cheapest product, they are prepared to pay for something that fills their needs. And that’s where the more refined options are still very limited at the moment.

              As mentioned, I still don’t think Profoto even have the ideal compact cordless strobe for wedding photographers yet, though regardless they have very reliable off camera options, and the closest to an integrated system so far.

              We can only hope this will finally get Godox to realize what they have been missing out on.

              • Motti 2 weeks ago

                Of course! Hopefully discussions like that are read by the manufacturers and motivates them to get better. I read some of your frustrations with Godox but as a user, they seem to innovate based on our needs. The AD200 is one product we all have been waiting for and since I purchased them my Einstein’s don’t join me for jobs anymore (Not even school photography).

                My V860II-N is much better than the older version both in TTL and AF. I would like to see them changing the AF pattern like the Nikon but it is better than the older version.

                I don’t know anything about the Canon platform but as for Nikon, they try their best to make it very hard on third parties to work with their system. Godox is doing very well so far. In my opinion.

                No system is perfect and I for one, really appreciate your efforts with Chinese makers to get better and addressed important issues.

                Their master speedlight could use refinements and hopefully some of those will be fixed through firmware. As for the sticky head, I personally like it, I hate the Nikon way of pushing a button. It could be a bit looser but I still like theirs better.

                I like their new XPro but it is not well designed for events since there is no way to fit a flash on it. I like their grouping buttons, It’s so much faster to turn-on/turn-off groups. Hopefully they will have a master flash that has group buttons, that would be amazing.

                Anyway, I still love their system and used it all the time and I am sure they will keep developing and improving and I hope you WILL keep nagging them 🙂

      • Nick Giardina 3 weeks ago

        Thanks for clarifying brother! Outstanding response.

      • Motti 2 weeks ago

        Elvis, your prediction that wedding photographers will move to the Profoto system in droves might be true or might not, however, from a logical point of view it does not seem likely. Many photographers (pros and avid) use them and have a great experience but their price is just simply too high (lights and modifiers) and their value is diminished.

        I am also surprised to at your statement that they have no competition…they have no competition at they price point (and that’s what they want) but as far as pure performance goes, they have quite a lot of competition.

        At the same time that their prices seem to go higher and higher ($1,000 USD for a speedlight) we see more and more innovation from the like of Godox, Photix, Jinbei and even Paul C. Buff (I am sure we will see some new TTL, HSS, integrated radios strobes coming soon).

        But the fact is that as far as a complete system, Godox is king. Their line include manual flashes, TTL flashes, mini strobes (Not like Profoto, they can truly call it the smallest strobes ever), large strobes and a backward compatibility (and excellent) radio system. Everything can be triggered and controlled from one trigger. But of course they are much more than that aren’t they?

        Profoto makes excellent gear but their system is not without fault. Short battery life, inaccurate TTL and maybe more. Although their marketing scheme of recruiting B&H, Adorama and some known photographers to create what they call “tutorials” based on their lighting is very smart, most of us need to see value in our purchase. Now more than any time.

        That’s not to say they are not very good, they are but at price point four to five times more than others, it is a hard pill to swallow regardless how much money you have or make.

        But, of course time will tell.

        I think that Godox will become a major player in the pro photography world. They already are but I do believe they will capture even larger market share. Including many who might not want to admit it publicly but already use them.

        The fact that they produce for major retailers like Adorama and some European brands AND selling at B&H shows that they are ready to back up and remedy and issue they might have. They certainly did it with a couple of first generation batteries that sent to me.

        However, one true downfall is their support. That needs to be addressed.

        I wish Yongnuo started to up their game. They had a great start but somehow fizzled. They have the knowledge and the means, I hope they start using it to make better equipment. The big difference between Yongnuo and Godox is that Godox really innovates.

        Chinese companies that listened and invested in R&D are doing very well, Godox and DJI are a proof of that.

        After purchasing a couple of AD200’s I became even more of a Godox advocate.

        Cheers

  4. Jeffrey 4 weeks ago

    That’s one expensive piece of equipment.

  5. Toby 4 weeks ago

    A1 has a quartz flashtube (as the top-end Pro-heads) sitting in an advanced heat proof ceramic sled and covered by a piece of special glass that lets through the light but very little heat. To me It seems as it can withstand a lot heat wise…

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

      Thanks Toby,

      Hopefully this is a non issue.

      Its just that Canon and Nikon are offering (well promoting) straight up figures even (120 consecutive full power flashes at 5 second intervals) before heat protection cuts in. Because they know this has been a major issue and limitation in the past (people are often still not happy).

      And Profoto have very little if anything mentioned. Does the A1 even have a heat protection mode?

      • John Wilson 4 weeks ago

        “And Profoto have very little if anything mentioned. Does the A1 even have a heat protection mode?”

        Nothing is mentioned in the A1 manual.

        The manual for the B1x (P. 25) talks about it. It has a temperature limit indicator and when the B1x overheats the power is dropped until it cools down.

      • Toby 4 weeks ago

        It has a heat protection mode.

  6. Michael Quack 4 weeks ago

    Even Godox is more verbose in their tech specs.

  7. Stefan Tell 4 weeks ago

    Thank you for the best walkthrough of the A1 so far.

    I have been looking forward to this piece of equipment a couple of years now, and it really fills the hole in their system that you talk about.

    What I think is fascinating is the total focus on the price on so many forums and comment sections, the A1 is by far the cheapest flash Profoto has to offer. Buying it to “just” use as a speedlight, I think it can feel very expensive for many people. But seeing it as a perfect addition to a B2 or a B1, then it saves time, weight and money.

    This will make my job a lot easier as a portrait photographer, often on-location carrying as little equipment as I can, working on my own.

    One small thing I miss is some kind of option to attach it to a stand without having to use a hotshoe connector. That might be the weakest link in the product, that it is based around a hotshoe. Maybe they will do a similar entry-level mini version of the B1 based on this some day?

    Here is my review if anyone is interested in more real-world details: http://www.stefantell.se/blog/2017/09/review-profoto-a1/

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

      Hi Stefan,

      Thanks for that. I don’t think Profoto are serious about this being a small studio light as the marketing would suggest. They are just trying to appeal to as many people as possible becasue they know wedding photographers will be all over this product in any case. If that was the case they would have produced a bracket adapter for their OCF modifier range to start with.

      No doubt that adapter will come eventually, though Profoto know the market has already moved on with more powerful compact dedicated off camera strobes like the Godox AD200. People want more power, a real modifier mount, and a real 20W+ LED modelling light, and all still in as compact a package as possible.

      I made some suggestions for a 360Ws Godox flash here, and for Profoto I would still follow a similar concept. Basically cut the nose off a B1X and clip on a battery pack to the rear (available in 2 sizes). Though with Profoto it would be nice to see their flash tube being able to zoom out of the case for a bare bulb effect when needed as well.

      I’m sure something like this will come, though I don’t think there will be anything entry level about the price unfortunately.

      The price of the A1 is hardly an issue though for people that are going to spend the money for a full set up of B1X or B2 etc and modifiers anyway. That’s where all the real cost is.

      • Andy 3 weeks ago

        That 360w godox flash would be great.

        I’ve just shot a commercial job in over 5 countries using the Godox Wistro system as I can travel nice and light with 4 x heads.

        Your design for the 360w cylinder head would be perfect. Even just slightly larger than the ad200 in rectangle form for stacking in a bag would be great.

        I can’t wait to ditch all battery packs and cables 🙂

  8. Ron 4 weeks ago

    A great review.

    A few additional thoughts.

    First, to disarm readers, I use and really like Godox equipment, including the 360vII and AD200. My interest in Profoto should not be interpreted as a ding at Godox (sadly, there are many at DPR who apparently take this posture.).

    I also use Profoto B1s and B2s.

    My favorite on-camera flash, for just the kind of fast-paced event photography, however, is my beloved Quantum Trio. Large, bulky and requires (like the AD360ii) an external battery. But wonderful light in either reflector and bare-bones mode with great flash modifiers, ultra dependable (it just worked), 1.5s recharge (worst case) and unlimited flashes with no overheating. I experimented trying an AD200 on camera, using a bracket and a remote trigger in the hot shoe, and it was just too heavy and unstable—and the trigger was too close to the flash to trigger reliably. And carrying the external battery for the AD-360 is just getting to be too cumbersome, though I’ve done it many, many times.

    The A1 looks to be a great replacement for the Quantum Trio (76 w/s vs. 80 for the Trio) with a broad range of flash modifiers, and integration into Profoto’s larger system. While I shoot Sony, I don’t see a problem putting the AirTTL/S in the hot shoe and putting the A1 (Canon or Nikon) in a Boomerang flash bracket (the same one that was marketed for B2 on-camera use, while waiting for the Sony version to ship next year. And using Roboflash triggers and a Nikon AirTTL, I can also use the same setup for Fuji GFX and T2.

    Yes, it is expensive, but gaining Quantum Trio-like capabilities (near instant recycling, 50+ flashes before worrying about heat problems, almost assuredly beautiful light, ultra-dependable like other Profoto products (one assumes), great modifiers, (unlike the B2 or Godox 360vII) no external battery, a bit more powerful than many on-camera flashes) all seems worth it particularly when I need to integrate this with existing Profoto gear.

    So I’m quite excited. If Godox made a truly competitive on-camera product (again, not requiring a cumbersome external battery hanging from my belt), I’d try it, too. But, so far, they don’t.

    I wonder if there are any other Quantum users tempted by the A1?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

      Thanks Ron,

      Current Quantum users (what’s left of them) may not rush out and change systems, though this is very likely another nail in their coffin, because anyone looking into a high end system like this are clearly going to go with the Profoto set up now.

      The Zoom head on the A1 should make it more efficient than the Trio, so you have something similar in performance without carrying the extra battery pack. And Profoto have a lot more to offer in their larger compatible TTL strobes.

      And its doubtful Quantum will spend money now on developing new cordless strobes when their customer base is in such decline.

      • Andy 3 weeks ago

        I used Quantum for over 15 years as they weren’t that many options between lumedyne, Norman and Quantum for portable power.

        The jump to Godox was easy for me as I found them as reliable as Quantum with a much better build quality and eco system.

        I believe Quantum own multiple brands and have consolidated them in one infastructure for repair and production so they will chug on for a few more years. It’s a shame for them as Quantum could have dominated the GODOX market if they had inovated.

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 3 weeks ago

          Hi Andy,

          Yes I think Quantum struggled once the AD360 and PB960 became available.

          They were sold off to PromarkBrands, where products appear go out to pasture to live out their final years in peace. At least there is some ongoing support that way, though I wouldn’t be expecting much in the way of any significant new development.

    • Will 24 hours ago

      Hey Andy, I’ve been a faithful Qflash Trio user for the past 7yrs (or so) certainly not my ideal system…cumbersome and not particularly user friendly…but the light is second to none!! Such a workhorse!
      Every once and a while I’ll throw my Nikon Sb5000 on the hotshoe thinking “I’ll be alright” and I never am….so spoiled by the great quality Q provides.
      I’ve already pre ordered my Profoto….praying that this is the game changer (back, wrist and forearm, saver) they say it is!
      One flash to rule them all!
      I have the B1 as well and can only trigger speedlights in “M” it would be nice to have more controll!
      Do you know how the wattage compares to the SB5000 btw? All I see are guide numbers?

  9. Plywood 4 weeks ago

    Wonder how bright is the modeling light and if it can be left on while shooting without drainin the battery too fast.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 weeks ago

      I’d say its very low wattage (as Profoto don’t provide a figure) though looks very bright for the small wattage that it likely is.

      In any case once you put any modifiers on the flash I think you would need to be in quite a dark environment to have any effect at all.

      Still a nice feature to have though.

  10. Ricardo 3 weeks ago

    I think it’s a fabulous piece of gear and something I’ve been wanting Profoto to do for years! It truly was the missing link in their system. It’s a damn nice unit. Love the display. Really, this kind of display on a speed lite should’ve been 2 – 3 years ago….

    For those heavily vested in Profoto, they’ll gladly and can afford these units. I mean, how many do they need? Three? That’s the price of one B1X. Once that’s done, they’re done.

    I only have long-term experience with Canon flashes. Absolutely solid and dependable. Years of heavy usage without any problems. Many photographers I know who use cheaper versions say that they can have 1 or 2 backups and still come out way ahead in cost. True. You can buy 4 Godox speedlites for one equivalent Canon and Nikon.

    I also know how reckless photographers can be with their gear. Which I watch with amazement. I wonder how legitimate these ‘durability/quality’ claims are. I’ve used clone-gear and the quality seems fine most of the time. Except for the truly junk. I’ve been using some Yongnuo triggers recently and at $30/pair, most people would agree that they are cheap. But they seem totally fine on a quality basis. Would they withstand 4 – 5 drops on concrete? Maybe not. But then, be more careful to not drop them and they’ll last!

    There’s plenty of room for quality and durability improvement though. I say: charge an extra $20 for a unit for better engineering, quality and durability. Really, even $20 can make a big difference if done right.

    • Motti 2 weeks ago

      Godox flashes are built very well. One of my Godox (860_ hit the hardwood floor when the light stand toppled. Battery flew away and the built in white bounce card broke away too. I just replaced the flash and the next day tested it and it worked fine.

      I don’t expect things to work after they drop from 6 feet (or even less) so I am very careful with my gear. However, after more than three years with Godox flashes my SB-900 (what a lousy flash) and my SB-910 stay in the bag just about all the time.

  11. Ricardo 3 weeks ago

    One thing Profoto needs to do: officially support Panasonic systems….

  12. Michael Quack 3 weeks ago

    I have a lot of good experience with 3rd party shoe mount flashes.
    Whenever a flash was lost, any other brand would have been lost just the same.
    Brute force, stolen, drowned in beer or champagne.

    However, I had frequent issues with Profoto Air Remote and Air Sync triggers.
    The common ground contacts in the trigger foot are very susceptible to
    corrosion, their construction is significantly inferior to all my chinese triggers.

  13. mike s 3 weeks ago

    Only groups A, B, & C, can be set to either TTL or Manual modes, while groups C, D, & E can only be set to Manual mode.

    is this a typo???

    • John Wilson 3 weeks ago

      No typo. It’s stated in the User Guide https://profoto.azureedge.net/cdn/04a6e72/globalassets/inriver/resources/profoto-a1-user-guide_en.pdf (P 15)

      I understand that pre 2012 Canon cameras only support 3 TTL groups. Post 2012 it’s 5.

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 3 weeks ago

        5 TTL Groups is true with the Canon RT radio system, though using a Profoto A1 or AirTTL transmitter you still only have the option of assigning 3 groups (A, B, or C) to TTL (or have I missing something there?).

        The AirTTL transmitters only provided 3 groups total, which could be assigned to TTL or Manual. Profoto have just added the ability to control another 3 manual groups with the A1 as master.

        Adding manual groups is generally not a big issue, though adding TTL groups can be a much bigger challenge requiring dramatic changes to the system.

  14. Simone Schieppati 3 weeks ago

    Great review as usual.
    As a Sony A9 user i wonder if the modeling light it can be left on while shooting providing some sort of AF-assist light considering that Sony does not allow any traditional external flash Af-assist light support..

  15. Ron 3 weeks ago

    I had the chance to play with an A1TTL (Canon) yesterday at Samy’s Camera. The size and weight were slightly more than I expected, but–all things considered–it is far more usable (no external battery) than my Quantum Trio. The optional Soft Bounce modifier worked particularly well, producing soft, flattering portrait light with no hotspots. But, as predicted, it is easy to knock the Soft Bounce modifier off the flash (think of crowds at a wedding or live event) but it does look quite indestructible.

    A previous tester had not locked the flash onto the camera’s hot shoe and the flash dropped to the floor when I went from landscape to portrait orientation. Apart from the battery falling out, the very rugged flash was unharmed and unscratched and the removable battery snapped back in instantly.

    The Profoto rep demonstrating the flash confirmed that any version of the A1 TTL will work in full off-camera TTL mode with any AirTTL trigger, including the forthcoming Fuji trigger (but only with the newer Fuji cameras, like the T2 and GFX). My suggested configuration (flash on a bracket with AirTTL trigger in the hotshot) should work without a hitch, according to the Profoto rep.

    Originally scheduled to ship to the US in mid-October, the flash is now scheduled for US release sometime in November. I was quite impressed and I pre-ordered one on the spot.

  16. Klatu 3 weeks ago

    Canon addicts listen and wait: after 3 days and 2 different A1 Profoto flashes (first unit was replaced) this is my conclusion:The hot shoe is 2mm less wide than the original Canon one therefore the flash is slightly loose. The top part of the flash is slightly loose as well so the whole thing becomes really loose that one fears the whole flash detached from the camera when doing strong moves. AirRemote does not work fully with the flash, switching between first or second shutter curtain and HHS does not work. HHS controlled from the flash works only partially, shutter times less than 1/250s result in pictures underexposed significantly. The zoom of the flash cannot be controlled through the remote as well. When attaching or removing magnetic accessories or the camera hangs on its strip around the neck and one touches just lightly the ring for selecting reflectors the flash changes to manual zoomreflector. Now it’s quite complicated to select through the menu again the automatic mode. The small wheel for adjusting +/- TTL is easily accidentally moved just by having the flash and camera on the body and moving normally. Battery indicator on flash does not show full despite it is charged fully. Worst is that many times and completely out of the blue the flash simply stops flashing…power cycling and pushing some buttons restores normal operation…I can only recommend to wait as the flash in its present form is neither worth almost 1000€ nor is suitable for professionals. It seems one more product that is sold still in Beta status. I will return the flash next week and may give it another try when it is a bit more mature…

    • Motti 2 weeks ago

      A video on Youtube concur with your findings that shutter speed faster then 1/250 resuklts in almost more than 1 stop under exposed (almost 2 stops)

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