5 Reasons Why I Like the Profoto A1 (And 3 Reasons Why I Don’t)

A few days ago, Profoto launched a new product which they call “the world’s smallest studio flash” in the form of a speedlight. Here’s what I like about it and what I don’t.

If you know me, you also know that I love lighting and using flash is part of my photographic style. I’ve used mostly Canon and Metz flashes, but I recently jumped in the Godox/Flashpoint system.

However, I like to keep an eye on ther brands and Profoto has been very interesting to me and many more people sisnce they launched the B1, a wireless, battery operated, TTL and HSS strobe and, a few days ago, they launched the A1.

Profoto A1 Flash
Profoto A1 Flash

I haven’t used the A1 so I’m basing this post on specs only, but here’s what I like:

  • Power! At 76 Ws it really is more powerful than any other speedlight that I know of. However, the Godox Witstro AD360II is very similar in this regard.
  • Wireless control, TTL and HSS. These have become “must have” features in a flash, but it definitely is great to he them from the start.
  • High Capacity Li-Ion Battery. It’s rated at 350 full power shots, so it will be an extremely rare occurence if you run out of juice.
  • Short re-cycle time. The A1 recycles faster than any speedlight at full power, I guess because of the battery.
  • Accesories line. This got me really excited! You don’t need to invest in, let’s say, a MagMod or something like that in order to use difusion domes, gels or bounce reflectors. You just snap them in place quickly and easily.

    Profoto A1 Accessories
    Profoto A1 Accessories

What I didn’t like about the Profoto A1:

  • Weight. At 560 g it’s not terribly heavy but it’s at least 120 g heavier than any of the top flashes from Canon, Nikon, Sony or Fuji. 120 g may not sound like much, but hauling your camera+lens+flash all day in an event can be a serious burden.
  • Proprietary Li-Ion battery. Even though I love the high capacity feature of the battery, it uses yet another proprietary charger which you’ll need to carry with you, along with your camera’s, AA batteries’ for the Air TTL Transmitter, and the B1’s if you happen to integrate with that portion of the Profoto system.
  • Price. At US$1,000 it is the most expensive flash you can put on a camera hot shoe. If you’re a photographer who currently charges mid-range prices for your services, it will be really hard to justify purchasing this unit.

In the end, the decision to buy any piece of gear is personal, depending on usage, budget and personal taste. If your income and business allows you to buy into the Profoto system, go with it! It’s a great system that will serve you for years to come.

If, on the other hand, your business is still small, you could probably obtain the same results with the Godox/Flashpoint system that I described in a previous post.

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