Question, what’s got the flash power of 5 speedlights a colour adjustable and dimmable video light, is battery powered and is about the size of a tin of baked beans?
The answer until recently was nothing but our chums at Profoto have come up with an answer. It’s the brand new Profoto B10. Ok so that was a question nobody would have ever asked had Profoto not gone and developed the B10 but then Profoto are very good at producing kit we didn’t even know we needed until it arrived and they have done it again with this jack of all trades “studio in a bag”. We didn’t miss it until it arrived but we sure would miss it now if it was taken away, let me explain why and why you should come in and hire one.
So the B10 as I mentioned is about the size of a can of beans, Profoto say about the size of a camera lens but I prefer the beans comparison as beans don’t come in a 500mm version so it’s less ambiguous (well in my head anyway) the point being it will fit in your camera case alongside the 24-70 mm and the 85 mm, not that it’s going to stay in the case for long as it’s so useful. In short, the B10 is a dedicated off camera flash with plenty of power, great flash duration and recycling times and a decent controllable video light / modelling light. It’s going to find a place in the stills photographers kit bag as well as the videographers as its truly a crossover piece of kit.
With the worlds of stills and moving image becoming more and more blurred with each other the time is here for lights like this to make an appearance, many a traditional stills photographer now has to shoot video and vice versa and none of us wants to carry any more kit than we already have to so enter the B10
LI-iron battery power gives the B10 an impressive 400 full power (250 j) flashes on a single charge and the battery can be swapped over easily. With a full charge taking just 90 mins or 80% in an hour you shouldn’t run short on power and the battery can even be charged while the B10 is in use so that’s a big tick for use in the studio. For you videographers the LED video light will give you 75 mins of illumination equal to that of a 150-w bulb (2500lm) and is dimmable to 10% and fully colour temperature adjustable from 3000 – 6500k with a CRI of 90-96 so that’s pretty useful.
Impressive recycling times of 0.05 – 2 s a 10-stop energy range HSS, TTL metering and flash durations down to 1/7000 s or 1/50,000 s in freeze mode make the B10 great for almost any difficult lighting situation a photographer is lightly to encounter.
As far as triggering the B10 its compatible with any Profoto Air remote including the TTL models or can be triggered with the Profoto A1. I rather like the inclusion of a photo cell but am less convinced about the omission of a sync socket (call me old fashioned but I still keep sync leads in my kit just in case)
The B10 communicates seamlessly using Bluetooth to your smart phone etc where you can tweak settings to your hearts content using the Profoto App. This also allows for easy and fast firmware upgrades.
Now being Profoto there are a couple of light shaping attachments available that will fit including all the OCF range and the RFI soft boxes, in fact almost all the Profoto light shapers will fit but they do recommend some extra support for the “larger ones” so don’t put a giant white 210 on it and expect to hand hold it ok. As the B10 has a bit of a short flat face this may limit the zoom range and slightly change the light effect of some accessories but with that modelling light you will see this before you shoot anyway so its shouldn’t be an issue.
So looking at the B10 again as I write this I think it’s probably more for your stills photographer that needs to do a bit of video work rather than a videographer who suddenly wants to shoot stills but I can see many a videographer “borrowing” one off the stills guy on set given the chance, Hindsight is a wonderful thing eh, I also now disagree with my can of beans description, its far more a can of beer size sorry what was I thinking a can of beans , really!
Oh, and yep its cool, small, powerful, stealth black has a light to help find the car keys (sorry I mean for video) 9 out of 10 for the BCR, lost one for the missing sync socket that’s it and most of you wont care about that unless your antique like me.