PROFOTO – B2 On & Off-Camera Flash Announced

Profoto B2

 

Profoto have announced the B2, a compact 250Ws, On and Off Camera TTL and HSS enabled portable flash system, and they are available now from Adorama and B&H Photo.

The B2 are the new smaller partner to the previously released B1 TTL strobe, and the second light in Profoto’s expanding portable Off-Camera Flash range.

Profoto B2

Unlike the fully cordless B1, the new B2 are a traditional pack and head system, meaning the battery and capacitors are housed in the pack, leaving the flash head very compact and lightweight at just 700 grams.

The 1.6kg Lithium-ion powered B2 pack provides up to 220 full power pops, and batteries are interchangeable.

Recycle times (0.03 to 1.35 seconds) are practically instant even at full power, and quick burst of up to 20 frames per second are possible (at lower power levels).

The B2 pack provides ports for up to two B2 heads, with full asymmetrical power split between them (sharing the 250Ws total).

Profoto B2

 

B2 FEATURES

 

• TTL and HSS (High Speed Sync).

• 2 fully asymmetrical outlets.

• Lightweight and compact flash heads with powerful LED modeling light.

• Exchangeable high capacity Lithium-Ion battery.

• Power range over 9 f-stops (1-250Ws) adjustable in 1/10th f-stop increments.

• Fast recycling of 0.03-1.35 seconds.

• Built-in AirTTL fully supports wireless operation with all existing Profoto Air transceivers up to 300 m (1,000 ft) away.

• Battery capacity of up to 215 full power flashes or 90 minutes of full modeling light in one charge.

• Built-in reflector and detachable stand mount.

• Intuitive and easy-to-use user interface.

• Compatible with most light shaping tools from Profotos renowned light shaping system.

 

 

The B2 use the same Air TTL transmitter for Canon or Nikon DSLR systems, providing TTL, HSS and remote manual power setting for up to 3 groups.

The Air Remote TTL transmitter is designed to be very fast and simple, 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 1Ws to 250Ws. And + or – 2 stops of FEC adjustment in TTL.

As well as a unique TTL Lock function, which allows an initial exposure to be made quickly with TTL, and then stored and manual tweaked from there.

 

Airsync_TTL

 

 

Although possibly in its early stages (of practicality), a unique feature of the B2 head is the ability to also provide a TTL and HSS enabled on-camera flash option when mounted on a flash bracket above the camera.

(And Air TTL transmitter mounted on the camera hotshoe  – not shown).

 

Profoto B2

 

The new B2 lights are aimed primarily at wedding, event, and location portrait photographers. And for many wedding photographers a flash on camera is almost a necessity.

Profoto do not have an on-camera radio master speedlite unit like the Canon 600EX-RT though, so mounting the B2 head on a camera bracket like this at least provides an on-camera flash option.

Also integrated with the Profoto’s off camera flashes if needed.

This configuration no doubt provides significant advantages in power an recycle times, though also requires shouldering the weight of a 1.6k battery pack (and there is no AF assist light on the Air transmitter unit as a speedlite provides).

The B2 pack does provide a carry case with wide shoulder strap and belt loops though.

 

Profoto B2

 

The B2 also provides a Freeze Mode where flash durations are as short as 1/15 000 s at minimum power (1/1000 s at full power t0.5) for freezing action when needed.

A battery level indicator is also provided on the pack.

 

Profoto_B2_d2

 

The B2 heads come with a removable swivels, and the modifier mount accepts all standard Profoto modfiers, as well as the new range of lightweight Profoto OCF modifiers.

A 9w LED (50W haologen equivalent) non dimmable modeling light is provided.

 

Profoto B2

 

OCF MODIFIERS

 

Profoto have also release a new range of lightweight modifiers specifically designed to complement the Off-Camera Flash range.

A new lightweight softbox speedring design allows the sofbox rods to be quickly snapped open –

 

Profoto_OCF_Speedring_a640

And there are a range of corresponding OCF softboxes now available.

 

Profoto_OCF_Softboxes_a640

 

Other fitted OCF modifiers include barn doors, a snoot, and grid set.

 

Profoto_OCF_Barndoor_500

B2 SPECS

 

Product number: 901107 B2 250 AirTTL (excl. battery), 901108 B2 Head

Max energy: 250Ws

Energy range: 9 f-stop (2.0-10.0 ; 1/256-1/1)

Recycling time: 0.03-1.35s (Quick burst up to 20 flashes/second)

Flash duration Normal mode (t0.5): 1/9300 s (1Ws) – 1/1,000 s (250Ws)

Flash duration Freeze mode (t0.5): 1/15,000 s (1Ws) – 1/1,000 s (250Ws)

Guide number @ 2m / 100 ISO with Magnum Reflector: 32 2/10

Battery capacity: Up to 215 full-power flashes

Max modeling light: LED 9W (Equivalent of 50W Halogen)

Radio sync & control: Yes, built in AirTTL supporting wireless sync, control

Size Generator (incl. battery): 16 x 8 x 17 cm / 6.3 x 3.1 x 6.7 in

Size Head (excl. stand adapter): 10 cm / 3.9 in Ø 10.3 cm / 4.0 in length

Weight Generator (incl. battery): 1.6 kg / 2.2 lbs

Weight Head (excl. stand adapter): 0.7 kg / 1.5 lbs

 

 

KITS AVAILABLE

 

The B2 are available in single and dual head kits –

 

B2 TO-GO KIT

USD 2,195.00

Includes one B2 Off-Camera Flash, one B2 Head, one battery and charger, and one B2 carrying bag, all packed in the custom B2 Location Bag

Profoto_B2_k_1

 

B2 LOCATION KIT

USD 2,995.00

Includes one B2 Off-Camera Flash, two B2 Heads, 2 batteries and one charger, one B2 carrying bag, all packed in the custom B2 Location Bag.

Profoto_B2_l_1

Other individual options include –

 

B2 250 AirTTL w/o battery  $1495
B2 Head  $695
Li-lon Battery for B2  $229

 

 

There is a nice video overview of the B2 system here from Resource Mag Online

 

 

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

 

The single head Profot B2 Go-Kit, and dual head B2 Location Kit are available now, for USD $1,995.00 and $2,695.00 respectively (as wells as accessories and OCF modifiers) –

AdoramaB&H Photo

 

Profoto – Website

Profoto B1 – Overview

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20 Comments
  1. mmmfotografie 3 years ago

    Always nice to see products from Profoto however the prices are stellar.

    I can get four AD360 kits for the price of one B2 kit.

  2. DWBell 3 years ago

    250Ws? Are my old Eli Quadras not 400Ws?

  3. Bill 3 years ago

    Insane prices!

    Just waiting for some Far East genius to come up with a strobe that has TTL / HSS with wireless remote control capabilities for half the price suggested by Profoto.

    Don’t worry my friends, it can and will be done.

  4. ramin 3 years ago

    Now this is called marketing. The news was a bomb on internet yesterday. It appeared on all stores pages all around the world at the same time. And Prophotos page was blocked for few hours. No rumors, nothing, just a blast.

    Bill: I would rather pay more and work with total confidence. But then the size of your client is also important. Also remember half of what you pay for your gear is to impress the client.

  5. mmmfotografie 3 years ago

    First, a client can’t differentiate between what equipment you are using and secondly, it is the case that you can do with it and not how it looks.

    • Tony M 3 years ago

      First, a client can’t differentiate between what equipment you are using and secondly, it is the case that you can do with it and not how it looks.

      I used to think the clients had no idea. But over the years I’ve found many of them do. You get clues from them at the end of a shoot when they say things like “so how do you like your 14-24/2.8? I have one that lives on my D4….” Yeah, don’t kid yourself. They also can tell quality, even if they don’t know the brand from a jar of skippy. You can certainly tell the difference between a Hyundai and a Ferrari if you’re just looking at the interior.

      ProFoto reeks of quality. And, they back up their good looks. Sure, you can spend 20% as much on a Chinese knock off. When it dies, you can throw it away. If it’s under warranty, you can wait a month or two while you send it off to Hong Kong, as there’s no customer service center in other countries.

      I bought the RoveLights instead of the B1’s. But I don’t for an instant delude myself into believing that I’ll get the same sort of service in 5 years as I would if I had a set of B1’s. Nor do I believe that my clients can’t tell the difference.

      I went with all Canon flashes (600EX-RT’s) after I had a Yongnuo fail in front of a client. I had backup Canon luckily. But that was a lesson on getting what you pay for, and peace of mind. I have no doubt that if I was doing events and there was no plan B (which I have for what I do), B1’s and even B2’s (if I needed them) would just be part of the cost of doing business. Otherwise, I don’t mind cutting corners when I can get away with it.

      • Andy 3 years ago

        Personally I don’t consider Godox wistro to be chinese knock off.
        I used the QFlash X system as a location kit for years and in comparison the Godox has great build quality. After my Qflashes started to play up I invested in a few Godoxs and bought the batteries through Calumet for the guarantee.

        If I’m shooting for big clients with big budgets on location, I can have more assistants. I also tend to hire in bigger profoto kits. I’ve shot for major publications for years and no one has ever been snobby about my gear. It’s never about the gear rather it’s about justification of cost. If someones paying thousands of dollars they like to see where the money has gone which is fair enough. I would rather spend my money on extra people on set rather than more expensive gear.

        For editorial location shoots the client doesn’t come with you and the budgets are lower so I tend to shoot with gear I can fit in a couple of bags. As long as I carry back up gear I always feel confident taking Godox.

        Of course I wouldn’t shoot with the Godox or even these new profoto mini kits in the studio as they’re not designed for that purpose.

        To be honest I do quite like the look of the new kit and I think the price is OK, but I really want at least as much power as a elinchrom quadra pack. (I actually think the head quality on the elinchrom are pretty flimsy).

        If they brought out a similar kit with two heads and a bit more punch, my money would be on the table. I also think the option of a slow head would be great for Hyper sync.

        At the end of the day I’m just pleased that companies like profoto are heading into this market. I’ve shot with location lighting for over 15 years with Norman, lumedyne, Qflash, elinchrome and they are all rather unprogressive and over priced systems.

      • Motti 3 years ago

        AT a wedding in India two weeks ago my SB-900 failed on me by overheating. The batteries were so hot I could not touch them. I dumped the batteries on the floor, left the flash next to them to cool off and put a Godox flash on my camera. It stayed there the whole three days of the shoot.

        I also have SB-600 and SB-80DX (the best Nikon flash ever made). The Godox V860 with TTL did a great job. I managed to over heat it too but nothing like the SB-910.

  6. mmmfotografie 3 years ago

    Why buy Chinese knock off in China when you can just them locally and you have also your service loccal. BTW Profoto flashes are standing side-to-side with the Godox flashes I use in the shop I buy and they have also the same warranty duration (two years). 😉

    A golden rule for photographers is to pack you bag day before the shoot and check your equipment. Plan also your backup strategies when something is not working or breaks. So you will be flexible during a shoot and even can select an other light source if that appears better to you.

  7. Ricardo 3 years ago

    I like the design and style of the system. Certainly having such small strobes could be a great benefit if you need to be highly mobile or place them in tight spots. Or maybe if you need to light large objects or landscapes and need small yet strong strobes.

    However, as a fashion/portrait photographer, the price begs me to ask myself “How often do I need this kind of power in this small a form-factor?” The answer is “Not enough to spend this kind of money”. For small modifiers in just about any scenario I’ve been in, a speedlite has been sufficient. But who knows, this system can be a godsend to someone else 🙂 I’m sure Profoto made this system because it’s going to make them lots of money and priced it as such 😀

    I find the argument “to impress clients” a poor one for making gear decision. I’ve heard this plenty from other photographers. The common solution they say is: pass the cost onto the client. “It’s the cost of doing business….” Well, can you pass the cost onto the client? Are clients going to spend XX more on your services? How profitable are you? Is your profit going to increase so much that the cost is negligible? Is it going to improve your work that much?

    No offense, but if you take a comment like “I got that same camera at home!” from a client as a sign that you need to upgrade your gear, you may want to take a look inside yourself before doing anything. After all, many top photographers in the world use the same camera gear we do (regularly less) and I don’t think they’d have the same reaction.

  8. Author
    Flash Havoc 3 years ago

    Someone has to make gear without compromise, and serviceable long term as Tony mentions, so I can understand the price in that regard.

    I just think the form factor has missed the mark again, at least from what it could be, and that’s adding to the cost to some degree (as a smaller version B1 for example should only get cheaper).

    If anything its the bigger heavier B1 that really needs a remote head option, and the B2 really should have been available as a single all in one cordless unit.

    And then ideally with the “option” of separating the remote head with a cord.

    A 2 port pack is not much help to anyone wanting to place lights on the opposite sides of a room (or even a large enough group shot).

    So realistically you need at least two 1.6kg packs, and a third if you were to consider a flash on camera (not mention $6600 to pay for that).

    When Profoto were first teasing the coming OCF (B1) I thought that would surely be a very compact fully cordless 200 – 300Ws TTL flash.

    There are so many wedding photographers wanting to throw money at a system like this, but so far it seems everyone keeps missing the mark a little.

    And the fact that these will likely still sell like hot cakes when the form factor is not exactly what it could be (and the price is high) just highlights how big the demand is.

    • Mike 3 years ago

      I was thinking along the same lines. Also, a head and battery system that can’t struggles to battle the sun – what’s the point?

      I wish someone would finally release a simple lightweight cube-like (or cylindrical) strobe with integrated and exchangeable battery. I don’t think people would mind that it doesn’t do 500 full-power pops. I’m pretty sure somewhere in the 150 ballpark would be plenty.

    • Motti 3 years ago

      In the “image” centered photography industry -especially in North America- the saying “if you charge much, they will buy” works each time.

      I personally know a photographer that buys anything Kelby will recommend. Regardless of price or this photographer’s needs. It became absurd when this individual actually bought the 85mm 1.4 and the 85mm 1.8 two months later because Kelby recommended both. Of course he did not mean both together but hey, that’s a small detail :-)).

      There are MANY photographers who will buy only the most expensive and “original” product, they will never consider anything “fake”.

      I just did a job for a friend and he asked me to use his equipment. He uses Pocket Wizards with bis strobes and I could not believe how many times they did not work. For something so expensive you would think they would work each and every time right?

      The industry is full of charlatans selling presets, actions, how to manuals, marketing manuals and most for a huge amount of money. Many of them stopped photographing because it is so much more profitable to sell to photographers.

      Saying all that, I am thankful there are people like that. They move the economy 🙂

  9. Craig 3 years ago

    I get the B1, but why do they keep promoting the idea of mounting these B2 units directly on the camera? It just looks unwieldy with that mount, not to mention then having to contend with the cord and battery.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Craig,

      Its because Profoto are currently at a major disadvantage to systems like the Canon 600EX-RT, and really more to the point the Phottix Mitros+ and Indra, in that they don’t have a radio master speedlite available.

      They are launching this product to wedding photographers, who basically need a flash on camera solution as well.

      So without some on camera flash option they’re asking people to pay a premium for a separate system that can otherwise not be combined with a TTL flash on the camera.

      I’m not knocking the head on-camera concept (because I have suggested that in various forms previously myself), I just think its likely underdeveloped at this stage to be practical for what most people want.

      To replace a speedlite you would need to use a more practical ball head with one hand operation. Like a thumb button operated mini pistol grip (if that makes any sense), to be able to maneuver the flash head easily with one hand.

      And then ideally the pack needs to shed some weight as well, as wedding photographers are not going to shoulder that weight (on top of everything else) for long hours. Really many are not interested in the whole bracket concept these days due to the size and weight to start with.

      I’m sure for some event photographers this would be ideal just as it is (with softbox etc mounted above the camera), but that’s a reasonably specialized area, not really a serious solution for the majority of people.

      Profoto have tried to kill 2 birds with one stone for now to so some degree, though you would hope they are planning a more suitable on-camera solution for the future as well.

  10. DzM 3 years ago

    I don’t see a sync port so does that mean you have to spend more money to buy their trigger?
    I only see an optical slave.

    LED is only On/OFF…not changing power.

    Clunky bag with shoulder strap.
    It should have a clip to mount directly to a lightstand.

    This just seems like the Quantum Qpaq-X system that’s been out for decades.
    You can get them quite cheap on Ebay.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      The pack has a 3,5mm sync port..

  11. Ignacio 3 years ago

    My local dealer has given me today a b2 kit to test . My interest was to compare this new unit with speedlitecanon 600 rt in terms of pure power . The two units barebulb without modifiers. Same distance. Full power. Canon 600 rt with internal batteries . Just one B2 unit with his external battery. Measurement lightmeter . Today it rains a lot in Madrid and I could not go outside. I ‘ve been tested in the study. The output power in these conditions is exactly THE SAME . The rate of recycling of B2 unit is clearly higher but when you shoot in burst power goes down with every shot , which is unhelpful. This is what you get. Greetings To You.

  12. Ignacio 3 years ago

    I forgot. The canon speedlite with zoom set at 35. Above this , the speedlite gives more output power than the unit b2 . Try yourself.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Ignacio,

      Thanks for the feedback, that is very interesting!

      That doesn’t completely surprise me though, as the speedlites are very efficient for what they are, even set up in the right softboxes.

      The difference is the B2 should be able to keep firing much more at these high power levels without overheating. Though there are speedlites like the Nissin MG8000 which can keep firing at full power for a long time as well.

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