Profoto have released the new B1 500 Air TTL, a 500Ws cordless Lithium battery powered strobe, with built in wireless TTL!
The B1 is a completely wireless flash with built-in Lithium-Ion battery pack, and 2.4GHz TTL (and Remote Manual) Radio receiver.
Profoto are one of the first to embrace a serious “Off Camera Flash” design, and the initial excitement around this release crashed just about everything except YouTube (and we couldn’t even access the B1 videos there).
The B1 will be controlled by the optional new Air Remote TTL radio transmitter. Currently only available for Canon DSLR’s, but with a Nikon version coming early 2014 (Update now available).
The new Air Remote TTL transmitter is designed to be very fast and simple, with 3 groups, in TTL or remote manual. Power or FEC adjustments are in precise 1/10th stops (full stop adjustments are possible as well). 9 full stops of power adjustment in manual from 2Ws to 500Ws. And + or – 2 stops of FEC adjustment in TTL.
UPDATE – HSS (High Speed Sync) is now supported with the Profoto B1 for both Canon and Nikon.
Second Curtain Sync is also supported.
Both the Air Remote TTL and B1 have USB ports for firmware updates, (which also goes some way to suggest further feature may be implemented in the future).
Radio range is up to 100m for TTL, and up to 300m for basic manual triggering.
The 14.8v 3000mAh Lithium-Ion battery allows 220 full power pops. The batteries are exchangeable, and there is regular charger, a fast 1 hour charger, and car charger available. There is no mains power available for the B1, but you can just as easily have one battery charging while another is being used.
The B1 has very fast recycle times of just 1.9 seconds at full power, down to 0.1 seconds at minimum. With a burst of up to 20 frames per second possible at lower power levels.
The B1 500 has a respectable 500Ws of power, and with the built in reflector that translates into a high light output for a 500Ws flash.
There is also a 70W equivalent modelling light which runs constantly, even while the flash goes off, so that it can be used as a video light as well (for up to 90 minutes straight on a battery). The modelling light has a remote on/off switch from the transmitter unit as well.
With fast flash duration’s even at full power, no light is lost bouncing off the camera shutter at maximum X-sync speed. So unlike some other flashes you get the full 500Ws power to fight the sun with.
Regular flash durations for freezing motion are a respectable – (t0.5) 1/11,000s (2Ws) – 1/1,000s (500Ws).
And the B1 also has a Freeze mode, which sacrifices some variation in color temperature to allow faster durations again – (t0.5) 1/19,000s (2Ws) – 1/1,000s (500Ws)
As Profoto point out this translates to much faster flash durations than speedlights at the same power level (or much more light available at the same speed). And bursts of up to 20 frames per second possible.
B1 500 Air TTL General Specifications - Click to Expand
B1 500 Air TTL General Specifications
- Max energy: 500Ws
- Energy range: 9 f-stops (2-500Ws)
- Energy control increments: 1/10 or full f-stops
- Recycling time: 0.1-1.9 (Quick burst up to 20 flashes/second)
- Max modeling light (W): 20W LED (Output eqvivalent to 70W Halogen)
- Modeling light control: Off, Proportional, Free (5-100%)
- Mode control: Freeze (shortest flash duration) or Normal (color balance) mode
- Flash duration Normal mode (t0.5): 1/11,000s (2Ws) – 1/1,000s (500Ws)
- Flash duration Freeze mode (t0.5): 1/19,000s (2Ws) – 1/1,000s (500Ws)
- Energy stability Normal mode: +-1/20 f-stop flash to flash
- Energy stability Freeze mode: +-1/20 f-stop flash to flash
- Color stability Normal mode: +-150K over range; +-20K flash to flash
- Color stability Freeze mode: +-800K over range; +-50K flash to flash
- Energy control increments: 1/10 or full f-stops
- Guide number @ 2m / 100 ISO with Magnum Reflector: 45 2/10
- Input power supply: Exchangeble Lithium-Ion Battery 14.4V/3Ah
- Battery capacity: Up to 220 full power flashes
Syncronization and Control
- Sync socket(s): 1
- Wire sync voltage: Compliant to ISO 10330 standard
- Wire sync connector: 3.5mm Mini-Phono
- Photocell/IR-slave and switch: Yes
- Radio sync & control: Yes, Built in AirTTL supporting wireless sync, control and TTL. (Requires Air Remote TTL. Sold separately.)
- Radio sync range: Up to 300m (1000ft)
- MAC / PC control: Yes, via optional Profoto Air USB transceiver and Profoto Studio software.
- Function display: Multifunction LCD display
- Fan cooling: Yes, thermally controlled fan speed for low noice level.
- Ready signaling: Yes, ready lamp, dim and/or switchable beep sound.
- Auto dumping: Yes
- USB interface: Yes, USB Mini port for FW upgrading
- Quick burst: Quick burst capability of up to 20 flashes per second.
- Diameter: 14cm (5.5″)
- Length: 31cm (12.2″)
- Height: 21cm (8.3″)
- Weight: 3kg (Including batteries) 6.6 LBS 3kg (Including batteries)
Air Remote TTL-C General Specifications - Click to Expand
Air Remote TTL-C General Specifications
- Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz
- No of frequency channels: 8
- No of remote / TTL control groups per channel: 3 (A-C)
- Operation modes: TTL & Manual
- TTL compatibility: Canon E-TTL II
- Wireless range: Normal sync up to 300 m (1000 ft), Remote control and TTL sync up to 100m (330ft).
- Battery type: 2 x AAA (Alkaline)
- Typical Battery lifetime. Transmit mode Fast/Normal: 30 hours
- Antenna type: Integrated
- Auto power off: Yes, 30 min of inactivity.
Mount & Connections
- Camera mount/Sync in: Canon hot shoe only
- FW upgrade: USB Mini
Supported Air Functionality
- Sync / Trigger: Yes, triggers Air Remote &, Air Sync transceivers plus all Profoto flashes with AirS, Air or AirTTL support.
- TTL control: Yes, TTL group control for all Profoto flashes with AirTTL support.
- Remote control: Yes, remote/group control for all Profoto flashes with Air or AirTTL support.
- Dimensions: Width 6cm (2.3″), height 7.5cm (2.9″), depth 3.5cm (1.4″)
- Weight: 75g (2.6oz) (Including batteries)
We really didn’t know what to expect when Profoto first announced their new “Off Camera Flash” was coming. And clearly this light is not going to be for everyone (with a $2000 price tag to start with).
But when people are asking what is so revolutionary about this flash, I would say its not just the TTL, but that this flash marks the start serious convenient cordless Off Camera Flash, there is definitely no going back now with portable flash design! And that’s what really exciting about the B1 release.
With over 120 compatible light shaping modifiers already available, and countless existing Profoto owners, the B1 500 is almost guaranteed success.
Price and Availability -