No matter what level of photographer we are, the cost of gear is a reality that we face. Most vendors roll over the models with great frequency in the hopes of getting upgrade dollars, when in most recent cases, there has not been a lot of value add to make the upgrade viable. Profoto takes a different approach by increasing the value of the gear you already have. How? Read on.
Why I Choose Profoto
I use a lot of Profoto gear in my professional work, and despite great relationships with other top tier makers, my personal bank account has been reduced to buy Profoto products. Monolights, both battery and AC, portable units, light shaping tools and remotes. No one will ever be able to say that Profoto is the cheapest gear out there, but in my opinion, I get amazing value from it, it never lets me down, and the company attitude towards customers stands out for me.
A New Product - Am I Left Behind?
Profoto recently announced the B1X, a replacement for the well loved B1 battery powered monolight. My B1s have never given me a bad time, whether shooting them in manual, HSS or even in TTL. They are the only battery powered studio strobes that I have encountered that do all these things with aplomb. I love my B2s, but if I need to beat the sun, the B1s are my go to lights. If we were talking about a camera company, firmware updates would have stopped after six months from release. Very much a too bad so sad attitude. Not with Profoto. I've had the B1s for over two years and regular firmware updates have been the norm. When I saw the B1X announcement, I was a bit sad because I thought it meant that to get the new features, I would need to sell my B1s and then buy B1X units.
I was wrong. A couple of days later, I got an email from Profoto telling me of a firmware update for my AirTTL-C controller, which I expected as needed to support the B1X lights. but I was also advised that some of the functionality of the B1X was being back ported to the B1s via a firmware update. Moreover, the new batteries for the B1X would be backward compatible with the B1 units. I don't get the new more powerful batteries, unless I buy them, and I don't get the new brighter LED modelling lights, but I do get the new 9 f/stop HSS range. In fact the firmware upgrade took me under two minutes for two lights and the remote and they are working right now.
Profoto could have left B1 owners hanging. They did not. They provided more investment protection for the gear that I already have, even at the risk that I would not upgrade to the new lights. I don't have cause to upgrade at this time, I don't need to. But I will remember that Profoto made the customer oriented decision not to abandon my investment in favour of something new, and for that reason, I will always look to Profoto first for my professional lighting.
I don't tell readers what to buy. I will tell you what companies treat you as valued partners and which treat you like a cash drawer. Profoto shows that I matter, and they get that back in return.
Let me give you a quick overview on the B1X. I hope to get hands-on in the next month or so.
The B1X new model is all about power delivery
- 500ws (that's TEN times the output of most top of line speed lights)
- TTL and Manual Mode
- 1/8000 HSS over a 9 f/stop range
- 325 full power flashes on a single charge
- 24W LED Modeling Light equivalent to a 130W Halogen
- Normal Mode Flash Duration from 1/11000 to 1/1000s
- Freeze Mode Flash Duration from 1/19000 to 1/1000s
Profoto also announced a pair of new OCF reflectors, a standard and a magnum. I already own the originals, which cost more, but it's great to see the company making light shapers that cost less because they do not have to deal with the heat from halogen modelling lights.
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I'm Ross Chevalier, thanks for reading, and until next time, peace.