I got myself a pair of Profoto B10s. They don’t come cheap but would they prove their worth? Read on…

 

As photography lovers, we are extremely lucky to be shooting in the current era. Choice is abundant. We can shoot traditional film and instant film. We can shoot amazing pictures on phones and on DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras. Every few months we see new accessories being launched which makes shooting that much simpler. Editing software is evolving and there is plenty of choice there as well.

 

A key area where there has been a lot of advancement is in the lighting space. In the last few years we have seen incredible products that are portable, powerful and flexible under different conditions. Like every product range there are premium lights, there are moderately priced ones and there are cheap copies. There is no right or wrong choice. It is all up to what one needs depending on what one shoots and what one wants to create.

 

Over the years, I have used many lights including Vivitar flashes, Nissin, Elinchrom, Phottix, Godox and Profoto.

 

Challenges with lights:

 

Here are some challenges I have had with most lights I have used:

 

-Inconsistent power and color output shot to shot

-Recycle time, when one wants to shoot action in burst mode

-Portability

-Flexibility of the light to be used indoor in studio and outdoor on location

 

My Shooting Style:

 

Here is my shooting style and my needs:

 

  • I shoot weddings, therefore need something portable and light yet powerful.
    • While shooting weddings I want to use the lights for couple portraits outdoor to fill or even overpower ambient light during the day.
    • I might shoot an after party and dance floors where the light is very tricky or in some cases nonexistent. In these situations, the light must be powerful and a good modeling lamp helps the person holding the light and targeting subjects. It must be light enough to be carried around for 2-3 hours. Short recycle time is invaluable in these situations. When I shoot 8 or 10 fps as people dance, I don’t want the light to lose juice after a couple of shots.

 

  • In the studio:
    • I shoot headshots and portraits. I need lights which can be easily moved and a system which is intuitive and simple to operate.
    • While shooting Behind the Scene videos I want to be able to use the modeling lamps to good effect
    • During portrait sessions, sometimes I use just the modeling lamp as continuous light and shoot with my lens wide open.
    • I love freezing action. For this the light must recycle very quickly and have consistent power output for at least 7-8 shots as I shoot between 8-11 fps.

After a lot of excuses to stop myself from spending the money I fell for the Profoto B10s. Oh boy! Am I glad.

 

The Samples under different shooting conditions:

 

Here are pictures from a wedding I recently shot. The remote trigger was on my Fuji GFX 50R with a Voigtlander 21mm lens on a Fotodiox Adapter. I pre-focused and kept moving and shooting. A friend was holding the lights and pointing the lights at the subject I was shooting. In all we shot 333 shots. None of them had inconsistent power output or color. No misfires due to recycle time or any other issues. No shots missed!

I also use the very powerful modeling lamp of the B10s to light subjects when I am using my Leica SL and Leica Noctilux combination, the Noctilux being wide open almost always.

Here are pictures where the Profoto was used along with ambient light.

The following shots were with the Leica SL set at 11 fps and the subjects freely jumping/dancing. The idea was to get that perfect moment when the posture is aesthetic and at its peak. The power was at around 6.5/7 out of 10 and out of 11 frames at least 7-8 were consistent. The 9thand 10thframe were about a stop lesser and after that the power reduced considerably.

Finally, here are some portraits shot with the B10s.

Here are things I love about the B10s:

 

  • Light, portable, hand holdable for long times.
  • Powerful in broad daylight.
  • Powerful modeling lamp to shoot videos. They can also be set to warm and cold tone in a continuum.
  • Very fast recycle times.
  • Freeze mode with flash duration at 1/50,000 of a second.
  • In the studio, it can be connected to the power source and used.

Try it, you’ll love it. If you are a pro and your clients pay you then these are the most reliable lights you’ll get.