Profoto continues to impress and surprise us, this time with an enhanced version of the B1 battery-powered monolight, the B1X, introduced with the B1X 500 AirTTL 1-Light To-Go Kit. All of the familiar professional and convenience features we've come to expect from Profoto are onboard. The B1X has the same dense, durable polymer housing, integrated 77-degree reflector, built-in receiver compatible with Air Remote TTL remotes and intuitive highly visible controls and display.
AirTTL remotes are made for Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Olympus cameras. Busy photographers can literally set up their lights, slip the optional Air Remote TTL-C, TTL-N, TTL-S, or TTL-O remote onto their camera's hot shoe and point-and-shoot without taking a reading and testing. Composition, posing, etc. is of course up to the photographer, but time after time, the B1X will give you a first shot exposure that's a keeper.
The (separately purchased) remote is the key to this convenience and control. Operating on 2.4 GHz band width, the remote, really a controller, has 8 frequency channels and with 3 groups per channel and a range of up to 330' for TTL triggering and 1000' for normal non-TTL triggering. Each channel has power ratio capability of +/- 2 stops. If you prefer to use manual you have +/- 9 stops power variation. You've also got modeling light, unit shut-down, and first or rear curtain control. The AirTTL remotes have mini-USB connectors for firmware updates directly from Profoto's website. The B1X's core performance features are equally impressive. The B1X recycles in 0.1 to 1.9 seconds but can deliver up to 20 flashes per second in Quick Burst Mode which engages at lower power settings. Flash duration in Normal Mode is a very fast 1/1000 sec but there's also a Freeze Mode that delivers flash durations as short as 1/19,000 sec for capturing liquid sprays or splashes and other creative effects.
The B1X is also capable of High Speed Sync. HSS is the technical term for syncing flash with shutter speeds shorter than the so-called x-sync, typically 1/250 of a second. It's a useful tool for controlling ambient light and for freezing action. Profoto uses a patent-pending technology that emits an extremely fast series of flash pulses. A simple button-press activates HSS Mode allowing you to shoot at shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 of a second. The B1X 500 AirTTL employs an improved, high-capacity, exchangeable lithium-ion battery that gets up to 325 flashes on a 2.5-hour charge with the included 2.8A charger or a 1.5-hour charge with an optional 4.5A quick charger. The battery has fuel gauge-type LEDs that make monitoring remaining power easy. The B1X's modeling light is LED to put less strain on the battery. It provides the equivalent output of a 130W halogen bulb and will run for 120 minutes on a full charge.
Finally, B1X's back panel features a large, bright LCD screen that informs the user of the flash's power level, radio channel and group, sync choice, modeling light mode and recycle alert. There's also a large battery gauge that literally can be read from 20' away.
The B1X 500 TTL comes with a protective cap, 2.8A charger, and a soft case.
The B1X's patent-pending technology fully integrates the flash head with your Canon, Nikon, Sony, or Olympus camera. The integration is so complete that Profoto sometimes refers to the B1X as an "off-camera flash." The key to this control is the Air Remote TTL.
The Air Remote TTL transmitters have 8 frequency channels with 3 groups per channel and a range of up to 330' for TTL triggering. Each channel has power ratio capability of +/- 2 stops in TTL or +/- 9 stops in manual. Modeling light, shut-down of the unit and first or rear curtain exposure can also be selected.
Both the flash head and the Air Remote have mini-USB connections for firmware updates directly from Profoto's website.
High-Speed Sync (HSS) is the technical term for syncing flash with shutter speeds shorter than the so-called x-sync - typically 1/250 of a second. It is a useful tool for controlling ambient light and for freezing action. Profoto uses a unique, patent-pending technology, providing an extremely fast series of flash pulses. Switch to HSS Mode with a simple button-press that allows you to shoot at shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 of a second.
In Normal Mode, which prioritizes color fidelity, the B1 500 AirTTL is capable of t0.5 flash durations of 1/11,000 sec at minimum power, and 1/1000 sec at full power.
Freeze Mode automatically selects the shortest flash duration possible at the user-selected power level. Motion-stopping flash durations of 1/19,000 at minimum power make the B1X 500 AirTTL ideal for high speed shooting.
At lower power settings Quick Burst Mode allows a series of flashes to be fired at a faster pace than the B1 can recharge, allowing triggering of up to 20 frames per second.
The B1's Lithium-ion battery gives you up to 325 full power flashes and thousands of minimum power flashes on a 2.5-hour charge from the provided 2.8A multi-voltage charger. An optional 4.5 A quick charger shortens that time to 1.5 hours. Fuel gauge type LEDs on both the battery and charger allow you to monitor remaining power.
An LED modeling light with a 130W tungsten-equivalent output draws very little power from the battery and generates minimal heat. The light can be set to proportional or full power and will dim during recycling if that option is selected.
The B1X's control panel has a 1.4 x 2.5" bright LCD screen that informs the user of the flash's power level, sync choice, modeling light mode and recycle alert. There's also a large battery gauge that literally can be read from 20' away
Power can be regulated over a 9-stop range (2 to 500Ws / 1/256 to 1/1) in 1/10 or 1-stop increments.
With its zoom scale and integrated umbrella sleeve, the B1X 500 AirTTL is compatible with Profoto's extensive line of umbrellas, reflectors, and softboxes.