What to buy, Profoto B1 or competitor? (Flash equipment)

ErikssonRobinErikssonRobin Posts: 28Member
edited January 2015 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Now I would like to bring with me a more powerful flash unit since my little sb-700 can't do much outside in sunlight.

What is the most "portable" bigger flash unit?
"Portable" meaning NO external battery to put on the ground next to the unit aka cordless.
(Phottix Indra 500 is not an option as it seems to be using a battery on the side.)

I want to be able to fit a flash + camera and everything in 1 backpack, that's it. It should be able to bring everything while riding i scooter.
My only requirement for this strobe is to be at least 500 w since that seems to be necessary in sunshine but more is better because you want to add big soft boxes, umbrellas or other modifiers. I want to be able to shoot photographs like "Joey L" did in Ethiopia or similar to "Moshe Zusman" so you get an understanding.

On BH there are plenty of reviews and almost all say Profoto B1 it's "THE" flash to buy at the moment. The battery is built in and very user friendly, HSS compatible and 500 watts of power + it's from Sweden like myself.
There are a few videos of the Profoto B1 on youtube and it seems to perform flawlessly.

But where are all the competitors? Is there anything else out there to match or exceed this product?

I will probably buy the flash in April/May.
Hope there are people who have used the products I'm interested in.
Robin Eriksson
Nikon D810 • Nikkor 24mm 1.4G • Nikkor 105 2.8 Macro • SB-700 • Gitzo 5562 LTS
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Comments

  • slowriseslowrise Posts: 1Member
    If you have the budget the B1 is certainly a very good choice, but I don't necessary think that having the battery separate from the head is a bad thing, it allows you to use lighter stands, which in turn contributes to mobility. You mention modifiers and of course if you put any kind of modifier on a stand outside you need to weight down the stand anyway. I've used Rangers a lot and have biked, skied and hiked with 2 heads+batteries, stands etc in a backback. I usually use tent line + pegs to anchor the stands (I pretty much always just have the reflector on).

    I've rented some B1s and the nice thing is of course that you can carry more of them with you (they have a nice kit with 2 packs in a backpack), on the other hand they're not as powerful as the Rangers. Then again the B1 has TTL but I've never missed it for my applications. I haven't tried the Indra but I don't see the separate battery as a great handicap.
  • You can check out the Priolite stuff.

    I don't believe Profoto gear is actually manufactured in Sweden, just in case you really care.
  • SnowleopardSnowleopard Posts: 244Member
    I don't think you are going to find a flash you are looking for. Option 1 would be to purchase an SB-910 (I would not do) I don;'t care for the over heating issues of the SB-9xx flashes.

    Option 2, would be a Q-Flash or Metz Flash with a larger flash head, but you will be carrying an external battery pack on your belt at that point.

    Option 3, (As much as I like the Profoto stuff, it's not worth the money). I went and bought 4 Einstein 640's with battery packs.

    The way I do it, is I have a large well padded LowPro backpack that will fit 2 camera bodies, a 70-20, etc. I take all the lenses out, Put the Einstein 640 in the top middle of the backpack with the reflector to protect the bulb. Below it I put the battery pack and on the left and right sides I put any lenses I need. (Main compartment). I also put the wireless transmitters in the pockets inside the flap.

    In the second pocket where the laptop is suppose to go, I Put the power cord,

    Last, I put a light weight 9ft stand where the tripod is suppose to strap on to the backpack.

    I have walked miles through the woods with this setup and that way I have a studio strobe at at shoots in remote locations.
    ||COOLPIX 5000|●|D70|●|D700|●|D810|●|AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D|●|AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D|●|AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G|●|AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D|●|AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED (Silver)|●|AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III|●|PB-6 Bellows|●|EL-NIKKOR 50mm f/2.8||
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    I don't think you are going to find a flash you are looking for. Option 1 would be to purchase an SB-910 (I would not do) I don;'t care for the over heating issues of the SB-9xx flashes.
    The SB-900 issues are well documented, but I wasn't aware of any with the SB-910. In fact the principle difference is that the 910 won't shut down due to overheating...
  • SnowleopardSnowleopard Posts: 244Member
    I rented a 910 and it was better than the 900, but no were near how the 800 I kept still works.
    ||COOLPIX 5000|●|D70|●|D700|●|D810|●|AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D|●|AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D|●|AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G|●|AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D|●|AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED (Silver)|●|AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III|●|PB-6 Bellows|●|EL-NIKKOR 50mm f/2.8||
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 559Member
    Small and light? Godox Witstro AD360 flash? Has 360ws but is about the same size as a SB910. It does have a small external battery. Just an idea.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I was reading about the Godox Witstro AD360 and I really liked it but my requirements as it is easier for me is ttl and hss. Otherwise that would be a good option but it has a battery pack. I did read somewhere that you can do HSS with the phottix odin setup just an fyi.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    You can add an external pack to a SB910 too, reduces cycle time and adds a ton more flashes:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/570528-REG/Nikon_4952_SD_9_Battery_Pack.html
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,584Member
    You can add an external pack to a SB910 too, reduces cycle time and adds a ton more flashes:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/570528-REG/Nikon_4952_SD_9_Battery_Pack.html
    Boy did that bring back some memories from the 60's and 70's. For the hard users the external pack really removes that limitation on cycle times and # of flashes.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited February 2015

    My only requirement for this strobe is to be at least 500 w since that seems to be necessary in sunshine but more is better because you want to add big soft boxes, umbrellas or other modifiers.
    If you need at least 500w forget SBs. Battery packs do not increase the power just the recycling time
    SBs can be used with soft boxes in the studio but simply do not have enough power to balance bright sunshine.
    If you do want to use SBs outside with a soft box you will have to shoot in the shade or near sunset / sunrise


    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    edited February 2015

    If you need at least 500w forget SBs. Battery packs do not increase the power just the recycling time
    SBs can be used with soft boxes in the studio but simply do not have enough power to balance bright sunshine.
    If you do want to use SBs outside with a soft box you will have to shoot in the shade or near sunset / sunrise
    Well said.

    You can techincally get a couple of SBs to compensate (there are adaptors for arranging them properly), but if you go that far, just go with the direct solution and get a battery-powered real flash.

    As I said, check out Priolite, they offer what was requested in the first post, go up to 1000Ws, are made in Germany and not more expensive than Profoto.

    Funny enough, the TO hasn't responded anymore. :-)
    Post edited by FlowtographyBerlin on
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited February 2015


    You can techincally get a couple of SBs to compensate (there are adaptors for arranging them properly),
    Even with 4 of them, on full power, in soft box they will not fill in full sunlight, unless very close to the subject.
    Using high speed sync ( to cut down the natural light with a high shutter speed) often results in less power from an SB
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    i havent used profoto .... but .... i wouldnt jump from speedlights to such expensive equipment. id get something cheaper. elinchrom or bowens. they are both very good.

    i have bowens stuff, its very good and has a battery pack so it can be used outside, but these kind of lights are large, heavy, and not realistically portable. stick to speedlights if you want portability.
  • BesoBeso Posts: 462Member
    I have Profoto gear. The quality is unsurpassed. It is expensive, just like all high end photographic equipment. Value is always a judgment call and the only opinion that matters is the person who is using the equipment. One thing to keep in mind is that most people, me included, typically try to get by with less expensive lighting systems. Some, also like me, end up where we should have started to begin with. There is a price to those iterations. There are numerous quality lighting systems available. Research what is needed for your application as a starting point and then make an informed choice. One thing to keep in mind is that photographers almost always expand their use of equipment beyond the initial intent so flexibility and capacity are worthy considerations.
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    edited February 2015
    id get something cheaper. elinchrom or bowens. they are both very good.

    i have bowens stuff, its very good and has a battery pack so it can be used outside, but these kind of lights are large, heavy, and not realistically portable. stick to speedlights if you want portability.
    The TO was asking about devices that have everything integrated, I don't think anyone else but the mentioned two brands currently offer this.

    Also, as @sevencrossing was mentioning, speedlights cannot fully substitute a real flash. The Elinchrom Ranger is very portable, BTW.
    I have Profoto gear. The quality is unsurpassed.
    The quality and also the features are great. But the price is unsurpassed, too, except for Broncolor and Briese. Times when cheaper equipment could not deliver quality output (light distribution, output stability, color temperature stability etc.) are over. There is really no point for anyone to spend that much money on stupid lights unless you're really gonna benefit off of one of the (very few, in many cases: none at all) USPs. And even more so, if you don't get the money back soon because that's how you make a living.

    But I agree a 100% with the rest of what you're saying.
    Post edited by FlowtographyBerlin on
  • danhowldanhowl Posts: 36Member
    i havent used profoto .... but .... i wouldnt jump from speedlights to such expensive equipment. id get something cheaper. elinchrom or bowens. they are both very good.

    i have bowens stuff, its very good and has a battery pack so it can be used outside, but these kind of lights are large, heavy, and not realistically portable. stick to speedlights if you want portability.
    I would differ from the notion that they are not 'realistically portable'. You have to define your terms. If you are putting any light on a stand with a softbox, you are already taking the system away from something you can whip out of a Domke bag. Yet, I'm not quite sure what the OP expects when he says that he wants something to tote around on his scooter (camera and light in one bag). An adequate light stand is going to mess up that equation before we even get to a good softball.

    That said, I am trying to live by the notion of BUYING ONCE. I am fortunate enough to have the equipment budget where I can consider my purchases from pretty much anything out there. I find it annoying to buy something cheap only to replace it later with what I should have chosen all along. If I did not already have the AcuteB pack/head I would have picked up a B1 when they were first out.

    The AcuteB has been an asset to me for not only the kind of shots the OP was referring to--JoeyL location shots with softball, but I can also use it with ring flash or as a second light in a larger indoor set up with my Pro7b. I have traveled all over the US with it and also taken on trips to Thailand where it was indispensable. It simply has the power, battery life and recycle that puts it well beyond what you can find with speed lights. With the TTL I would think the B1 also captures a lot on that end of things too.
    D3X, D800, 17-35, 28-70, Zeiss 55mm OTUS, 85mm Zeiss CF.2, 85mm PCE, 70-200 VRII, 105DC
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited February 2015
    he wants something to tote around on his scooter
    You can get quite a lot of lights on a scooter :)
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    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • Parke1953Parke1953 Posts: 455Member
    Wish that was bigger but looks like plenty of light. :))
  • ErikssonRobinErikssonRobin Posts: 28Member
    Hahaha, love the lights on the scooter. That would work for me :-))

    Thanks for all the responses so far from everyone, please keep on discussing! Please share some photos too of your setup or sample shots.

    I agree with some people in the thread that say you should buy only once what you really want/need instead of going cheap. Having bad experiences or not enough power and then in the end have to spend the cash anyway for the Profoto B1. And then sell the ones you didn't like at a loss.
    I did the same with my lenses and bought only the 24mm 1.4 and the 105mm 2.8 and seeing no need for other lenses yet 2 years later.

    Profoto seems to be making great light modifiers too and hope they will last a long time.

    This is why I'm gathering information and feedback a few months in advance to get to see the alternative options one might have. So far it doesn't seem to be any other competitor offering a "all-in-one" package.
    I will of course still have my speed light for hard to reach places or as a really light travel setup.

    I've been in touch with a couple of professional photographers from my hometown who use different kinds of lighting. They've both used different brands and sizes of flash units but now they would like to invest in B1 units for its portability and we will try to get a group discount. We'll see at the end of February if the reseller is happy to give us a discount.

    It's understandable that it might seem impossible to bring a camera bag on a scooter together with a light stand, B1, camera, lenses and possible modifiers. I will show you photos of how everything turns out in the end it may or may not work out as planned :-B

    So still the Profoto B1 seems to be the no. 1 choice
    Robin Eriksson
    Nikon D810 • Nikkor 24mm 1.4G • Nikkor 105 2.8 Macro • SB-700 • Gitzo 5562 LTS
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member
    edited February 2015
    @ErikssonRobin: The Profoto light modifiers are in fact made by Aurora, the quality is hence the same as Aurora and Hensel (and many others), but they're not as advanced as others and still traditionally fiddly to set up. The best softboxes out there (quality, weight, ease of setting up and tearing down) are Elinchrom Rotalux, and they're not much more expensive either. You should check them out!
    Post edited by FlowtographyBerlin on
  • ErikssonRobinErikssonRobin Posts: 28Member
    edited February 2015
    @ErikssonRobin: The Profoto light modifiers are in fact made by Aurora, the quality is hence the same as Aurora and Hensel (and many others), but they're not as advanced as others and still traditionally fiddly to set up. The best softboxes out there (quality, weight, ease of setting up and tearing down) are Elinchrom Rotalux, and they're not much more expensive either. You should check them out!
    Thanks man! Didn't know that. Will definitely have a look! Only downside is that the nearest photography store is 2 hours by car, will check if some photography friends know someone using them.
    Post edited by ErikssonRobin on
    Robin Eriksson
    Nikon D810 • Nikkor 24mm 1.4G • Nikkor 105 2.8 Macro • SB-700 • Gitzo 5562 LTS
  • ErikssonRobinErikssonRobin Posts: 28Member
    Hi again,

    Time for an update. Sorry I don't have any photos to share right now as I'm away for 2 weeks on work.

    I accidentally bought a 400mm lens first but recently purchased the Profoto B1 location kit. For light modifiers I'm thinking about getting a decent size octabox (150 cm) or similar and a small one (30x120cm) to start out with.

    Anyone else using this kit now? Will definitely come back with pics and video within the next couple of weeks.

    Cheers,
    Robin
    Robin Eriksson
    Nikon D810 • Nikkor 24mm 1.4G • Nikkor 105 2.8 Macro • SB-700 • Gitzo 5562 LTS
  • starralaznstarralazn Posts: 201Member
    how does one 'accidently' purchase a 400mm lens? lol
    the 400mm 2.8G is >$10,000

    imean. i can see a pro needing a specific lens for a random situation, but i guess they live in a different world...
  • autofocusautofocus Posts: 625Member
    @ErikssonRobin I bought this for my Profoto D1. You have to purchase the Profoto Speed ring. Works great and as simple as it gets to set up. Just the right size for studio or location.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/220678-REG/SP_Studio_Systems_SPSOFT370_Collapsable_EZ_Softbox_Octagonal.html
  • BesoBeso Posts: 462Member
    edited October 2015
    Hi again,

    Time for an update. Sorry I don't have any photos to share right now as I'm away for 2 weeks on work.

    I accidentally bought a 400mm lens first but recently purchased the Profoto B1 location kit. For light modifiers I'm thinking about getting a decent size octabox (150 cm) or similar and a small one (30x120cm) to start out with.

    Anyone else using this kit now? Will definitely come back with pics and video within the next couple of weeks.

    Cheers,
    Robin
    Here are a few thoughts:
    Octagonal softboxes are generally good for head shot portraits or maybe half body shots.
    Rectangular softboxes such as 2' x 4' or larger work well for full body shots.
    Umbrellas work well for multiple people or groups, and/or lighting large areas, depending on size. They also work well outdoors when attempting to "overpower" the sun.
    Snoots and grids are good for focusing the light and limiting spill over. Softboxes are good for softening light through diffusion.

    If you are looking for portability in light modifiers umbrellas probably provide the best option. Everything else (beyond snoots or grids that attach directly to the light head) requires a ring and rods to attach to the light head and provide structure. That is all self contained in an umbrella.

    Good luck. Looking forward to hearing what you end up with and how it works for you.
    Post edited by Beso on
    Occasionally a decent image ...
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