Four years ago, Swedish lighting manufacturer Profoto challenged themselves to create the most easy to use yet powerful and versatile off-camera flash ever released. Today, the B1 is set for launch, together with a new TTL remote for Canon E-TTL II cameras.
"The B1 concept was born from a simple idea," says Göran Marén, Product Manager at Profoto. "We wanted to make it as easy as possible to use an off-camera flash, but we wanted to do so without compromising the quality and versatility that photographers have come to expect from us. All the features of the B1 and the Air Remote TTL can be traced back to this single idea."
The most notable of these features is the B1’s groundbreaking TTL function. This is a new, patent- pending invention from Profoto that integrates flash and camera. It works like this: you attach the Air Remote TTL unit to your camera’s hot shoe, you point and shoot with your camera, and the B1 automatically adjusts its output to provide you with a perfect exposure. Photographers who prefer adjusting the light themselves can switch to manual control by a simple button-press.
The Air Remote TTL is a small, hot shoe-mounted device that acts like a wireless link between camera and flash, supporting manual and TTL control of B1 lights in up to 3 individual groups. The remote is sold separately, so that photographers may choose the right remote for their camera. The Air Remote TTL-C for Canon cameras with E-TTL II support is launched together with the B1. The Air Remote TTL-N for Nikon cameras with i-TTL support will be available in 2014. (Go to www.profoto.com/b1 for a complete list of compatible cameras.)
Another interesting feature is the fact that the B1 is completely cordless. Powered by an exchangeable battery and wirelessly synced and controlled with the Air system, it allows the photographer to bring the B1 anywhere and place it without regard to cable length. The battery will provide up to 220 full-power flashes, while the Air system has an operating range up to 300m (1,000ft).
The B1 is notably powerful for its compact size. Packed with 500Ws of light, it is about ten times as powerful as the average speedlight. This is enough to overpower the sun on a sunny day, or to light up larger sets or groups of people. The light output can be controlled in 1/10 f-stop steps over the entire 9 f-stop power range. The B1 is also equipped with a high-efficient LED modeling light, powerful enough to be used as a portable video light.
The speed of B1 is also worth noting, much thanks to the innovative Quick Burst. Quick Burst is a fully automatic feature built-into the B1, allowing the photographer to shoot up to 20 flashes per second at lower power setting. At full power, the B1 will recharge in less than two seconds.
As any other Profoto flash, the B1 is compatible with a wide assortment of Light Shaping Tools. More than 120 tools are available, each with its own distinct effect on light characteristics, distribution and output.
The B1 is officially released today, along with a range of accessories, such as the tailor-made BackPack M, a Quick Charger and a Car Charger.
Distribution has already started and the first products can be expected in stores during December this year.