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Profoto B2 anyone using this? worth the investment?

There has been a lot of media exposure (PR hype) about Profoto's portable B2 system. The opportunity for TTL and HSS on a 250ws portable and light weight system is extremely attractive. Having read Neil's review some time back, overall very positive although noted his preference for the B1.

I have used the Elinchrom Quadra for a few years now, it's a fantastic system packing up to 400ws power. But of course there are always time issues and limitations when using a fully manual system out on location such as at a wedding. Have been wondering about the B2, and whether this would give me some time advantages with consistent lighting results. I do also see the benefit of having HSS available at the press of a button, rather than faffing around using ND filters with the Quadra.

In the UK a basic one light B2 package costs £2000 including the Air Remote, this represents a considerable chunk of cash. Looking for some feedback from others of you who are already using the system, and whether it has been a great investment. Thank you.

Comments

  • I have the B1's and love them.  They are a bit more weight but still very manageable.  I love the concept of the light weight B2 but the dangling battery pack would bother me I believe.  The B1 is extremely easy, self contained and allows for 500Ws as opposed to the 250Ws of the B2.  That extra light output comes in handy at times, especially when in HSS.  

    My opinion, they cost about the same for a one light set up of a B1 & B2.  I would prefer the B1 just for it's compactness.  Now, I am saying that without the benefit of ever having shot the B2, so take that for what it's worth.  But, I'm a solo shooter carrying a Nikon D3s with a 70-200mm lens and the B1 and I really don't want the battery dangling like that. 
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Tough call - if you need a light with less weight, so that it is more easily held up on a monopod by an assistant, the B2 is the way to go. 

    I shot again with the Profoto B2 for the images at the top of this blog post: 
    When to use high speed flash sync (HSS)

    I still prefer my two B1 flashes though. 

    I recently shot a large corporate function, and had to hammer out repeated portraits of people in front of a Step & Repeat backdrop, and when I had to change batteries on my B1, it was super-fast. I drop the light on the light-stand, clip the battery out, clip new battery in, switch on, and raise the light again. Maybe 10 seconds. So fast. You can't do this with the B2. 

    Oh, and no cables! 
  • Thanks for the comments, yes a tough call. I am not one for following the latest equipment fads, but the TTL capability of the B1 & B2 is hard to ignore. Manual flash of course is brilliant, but for weddings I often find that TTL is more flexible particularly when I am under extreme time pressure.

    I've used the B1 which is an amazing light, and certainly the go to kit for set ups. But for me a little too bulky and heavy for wedding use, that's why the B2 is interesting, just a shame it's not the 400ws to match the Quadra!

  • UPDATE: I finally got myself the Profoto B2 location kit and I recently shot my first wedding with the system. My Elinchrom Quadra has now been sold. Overall I felt the advantages of the B2's were compelling, and my assistant commented the B2 system is much easier to carry around.
  • biffy7biffy7 Member
    Hi Neil,

    Last year I shot in front of a step and repeat. I used an Elinchrom Ranger RX, with the head up high (to reduce the shadow), with a Veristar. It was tricky, trying to get enough light on the subject, without blowing out the highlights on the step and repeats. 

    What was your setup like?
    ---Andrew
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    You shot with the bare head (with the silver reflector)? 

    I always use an umbrella - usually a shoot-through. 
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