Profoto B10 review: Comparing the power of the B10 vs B1 and B2
Something I mention in the review: Profoto B10 flash and want to highlight about the Profoto B10 flash (B&H / Amazon) – how its power compares to the Profoto B1 and B2. What specifically piqued my interest here, past the specs of 250Ws, was mention online that the B10 gives 2/3rd stops more light than the Profoto B2, even though they are rated for the same output: 250Ws. I must admit to being skeptical about this, so I decided to investigate further.
The summary is that, the Profoto B10 really is more powerful than the spec sheet would suggest.
With direct flash, the B10 gives 2/3rd stops more light than the Profoto B2, and about 1/3rd stop less than the Profoto B1. I was hugely surprised by this, and thought this might be due to how the light is spread by each flash. I therefore decided to test this by bouncing the flash into a large umbrella, and then metering what the output was – the results were fairly similar:
The Profoto B10 gives 0.5 stops more light than the similarly rated Profoto B2, and only 0.5 stops less than the bigger Profoto B1.
Note that I limited the scope of this test. I didn’t test for output with high-speed flash sync. Neither did I test for recycling times.
[ Correction: In the video I somehow mistakenly kept referring to Watts/second, instead of WattSeconds (Ws) to describe the flash power.]
You can order the Profoto B10 via these affiliate links
- Profoto B10 flash (B&H / Amazon)
- Profoto Core Backpack S (B&H / Amazon)
- Profoto B10 flash duo kit (w/ Core Backpack S) (B&H / Amazon)
The Profoto B10 basic kit also includes:
I tested this several times with different light meters, and the results were consistently the same as shown in this video – the Profoto B10 is 1/2 stop brighter than the Profoto B2, and only 1/2 stop less bright than the Profoto B1 (even though the spec would indicate a stop difference.)
In this video, metering for the direct flash at 10 ft away, at 100ISO, we got:
B10: f8 + 7/10th of a stop
B1: f8 + 9/10th of a stop.
When we equalized this with the umbrella, (and I have to apologize for over-using that word in the video), we got:
B2: f/5.6 + 1/10th of a stop
B10: f5.6 + 6/10th of a stop
B1: f8 + 1/10th of a stop.
The Profoto B10 (B&H / Amazon) is going to prove to be a remarkably versatile flash in a really compact form – you get a powerful flash, and a powerful video light (with variable WB). The battery is rated for 400 full pops! Then there is the Profoto app which opens more possibilities too.
If you’re considering this flash, I can tell you with great confidence that the Profoto B10 flash (B&H / Amazon) will impress you.
- review: Profoto B10 flash
- review: Profoto B10 flash – a first look
- Profoto B10 flash – Creativity Unleashed
- review: Profoto A1 flash – video review
- review: Profoto B2 Flash – photo shoot
- Comparing output: Studio lights vs. speedlites / speedlights
- For more videos, follow me on Vimeo / YouTube
11 Comments, Add Your Own
1Peter Salo says
That was a great comparison test. Nice.
400 full power flashes per charge and with that small battery! Also nice.
1.1Valent Lau says
That’s pretty significant power isn’t it!
2Travis Harris says
Thank you SO much for being quick to respond to this! You are the first and only one to really do this test, and was very important to help decide if I should keep or return my new b1x kit. It looks like in practical use I can expect about a 1/2 stop difference with the b10. That’s pretty impressive for sure. Now I need to do some thinking lol.
I’m going to do some shots today with my b1x at 9.5 VS the full 10.0 level to get an idea of this output.
Do you think this would be the same difference in hss? The only other factor would be that. I do shoot alot with hss out in the sun. So 1/2 stop maybe a deal breaker. If it’s in fact the case. This will be the next thing to uncover.
I am so appreciative and impressed with your response. Thank you so much! I’m going to share your video everywhere!
3Travis Harris says
I just had another thought, I agree with what you said that it will depend on the type of modifier used vs the real output of the flash. The umbrella (and even a soft box) will work to better equalize the spread of the light, and render a better output comparison as you have done here (apx. 1/2 stop difference with B10 / B1X).
I have also seen that the spread pattern on the B10 is not as wide as the B1X, and this must be where Profoto is saying there is a full stop difference *when using the Magnum Reflector. I see they put this on the website. This now makes more sense to me. So, with a Magnum Reflector this is “collecting” all of the light (and in the case of the B1X, a bit more because of the wider spread) and throwing it forward in the same shape / pattern. Here is where I think we may see a full stop difference between the two lights.
Again, no idea how HSS will effect all this. This will be very interesting for sure!
So, my guess is that pretty much any softbox / umbrella we will see about 1/2 stop less power with the B10 compared to the B1x.. and in a more focused mod, such as the Magnum we may actually see a full stop difference. What do you think?
4Travis Harris says
I made a little video to help others find this blog post, and to promote your efforts as well. It is located here: https://youtu.be/yF8ZtxDVnsg
5Robert J says
Thank you for always sharing your knowledge. Would it be possible to “double up” two B10 flashes (similar to what you can do with the Flashpoint AD200) to get a 500 watt output? I’m assuming you’d have to rig up some type of mount, but for on-location travel photographers, it could be the best of both worlds (two B10s for indoor stuff and two together for the mid-day shots.
It would only be possible with umbrellas, but I find myself mostly using those outdoors these days.
5.1Neil vN says
I think this would be entirely possible, but it would need some DIY’ing. The flashes aren’t so heavy or bulky to be insurmountably difficult.
6Jesse Dittmar says
I purchased this unit. Returned it after one use. There is no sync port. If your Air Remote is too close to the unit the flash will not fire because of radio wave interference. If you ever want to use this light near your camera the unit is useless with no fix – other than optically slaving from another flash. Such a stupid oversight. Un-usable for professionals.
You haven’t measured the beam spread difference properly. This is severely flawed. Clearly if you were to focus the light, like a laser, a 100w laser would seem more powerful than a 200w flood.
7.1Neil vN says
How would you go about to do a better comparison?
Neil, sorry for the late reply and I really appreciate you asking. To answer you, I’m not 100% sure. There’s the math way (68° beam angle, profoto b10 and 77° beam angle, profoto b1x, but I can’t think of the formula off the top of my head) but to keep it simple, I think I’d use a softbox with a mid point diffusion and a secondary diffusion. That way you have a realistic fair comparison and the light, regardless of the angle, bounces around until the spread is the same and all of the light is coming out of the front evenly. The b10 might still be more powerful relatively.
Also, if you were ever to compare with say a godox, I’d want to make sure the adapter wasn’t losing light. I believe fstoppers for example used a “profoto” adapter on a godox (rather than change the speed ring) and compared it with a profoto b10. The adapter, and their entire method was questionable. This doesn’t concern you for this article and you shouldn’t face these problems as you’re comparing profoto vs profoto, but it’s something to keep in mind should you ever do anything like that in the future.
It might also be worth measuring color temperature (this doesn’t have to be as complicated as using a spectrometer but you could shoot at a grey card… as long as the method is the same each time, it should be okay to measure in software). I say this because godox for example shoots quite blue and by the time you’ve gel’d it to be the same as profoto, you’ve lost a lot of light and it’s not as powerful as it once was. A godox fanboy could argue you should gel the profoto to be colder, but in reality, photographers gel to be closer to daylight. So I think this method is fair. I imagine these models shoot at the same temperature but it’s not something anyone talks about so I can’t be certain.
I really wish profoto developed a profoto b2, with the latest technology and 500 watts. I loved the design of it. Elinchrom do exactly what I want (elinchrom 500 ttl) but I have no interest in investing in their lights.