When it comes to high-quality studio lighting, one name usually pops to the top of the list on a regular basis. Profoto has been producing pro-level studio lights for some time, with the Profoto B10 aimed at those who want a more portable solution, while still providing all the functionality needed for every shooting scenario.
This type of lighting gear may tick all the boxes for most monolights, but it also has a hefty asking price. This isn’t so much a problem if you’re shooting professionally on a daily basis, but can the overall features and build quality still be justified for the average photographer?
Profoto lights come in various shapes and sizes, with the Profoto B10 weighing in at 1.50kg with the battery and fittings attached. The light is also well-sized like a large zoom lens, which immediately gives the impression of sizeable light output. The battery pack is located on one side of the light, which is rated at 3000 mAh and should be good enough for 400 full-power flashes.
The build quality of the Profoto B10 is second to none. As the light is designed for regular professional use, you have the peace of mind that it can take the knocks and bumps of everyday life. The flash output can go up to 1/7,000th of a second, with a freeze mode for pumping out minimum power at 1/50,000th of a second.
The main body of the Profoto B10 is quite sparse, with all the workings at the rear of the light. The 250W of output is controlled through a 10-stop range via a large LCD panel, which also includes a sparse amount of buttons. These include a test button, a large dial for the majority of functionality, a power button, and a dial for the modeling light.
One standout feature of the Profoto B10 is the smartphone app control. The app can control the light via Bluetooth, which is also a good way to update the firmware when needed. The app is a handy way to control power output and the modeling light with precise control overall settings. You can choose between the options of manual or TTL and trigger the flash with control over white balance, zoom, and a timer.
The Profoto B10 in Use
For starters, the app supplies all functionality needed to control every aspect of the Profoto B10. In reality, the app is a handy addition when the light is out of arm’s reach and you can still pop the flash and change settings with the Air Remote TTL controller.
The 150 W equivalent LED modeling light is dimmable and a quick way to produce an initial lighting setup. The modeling light can be quite draining on the batteries, so it should only be switched on when it is most needed. The Profoto is also just light enough to be held in one hand while shooting with the other, which makes it a good solution for impromptu shots. The light is extremely quick to recycle and very reliable in the field.
The light also has enough power output for the majority of situations and one of the main reasons for buying into a monolight such as this one is its ease of usability and reliability. When you’re in the middle of a photoshoot, consistency and reliability are the top factors. Even when this light got dropped a few times, it kept on working and we didn’t experience any misfires at any time.
How Does It Compare?
The Godox AD400Pro is a battery-powered monolight type design, along the lines of the Profoto B10. The Godox has a larger output of 400W, but not as large output in the modeling light department at only 30W. It also weighs more than the Profoto at 2.1kg. Plus, as far as we know, the Godox AD400Pro doesn’t come with any type of smartphone app for added control.
In terms of general output, although having a higher wattage, the AD400Pro has almost the same amount of flashes per battery charge as the Profoto B10. But the Godox has generally more light output and can be controlled with the same level of features. What you’re really paying for in the Profoto is the added level of build quality and performance.
If you look after the Godox, it’s more than likely going to serve you extremely well. But the Profoto is there to give extra peace of mind in terms of build quality and performance.
This basically means that the added cost of the Profoto is worth it for the working professional. If you only intend to use a studio-level strobe on an occasional basis or it’s cemented to a lightstand permanently in the studio, then the Godox strobe could be a more cost-effective choice.
|Profoto B10||Godox AD400Pro|
|Output||250 Watts||400 Watts|
|Modeling Light||150 Watts||30 Watts|
|Flashes per Battery Charge||400 (Full power)||390 (Full power)|
It’s the usual way of things in life – when you need industrial standard equipment, you have to pay a dividend. Cheaper solutions may be able to produce the same levels of output, but they also may break down at a moment’s notice.
Industry-standard equipment is also made to take all the knocks and bumps of daily use and simply keep working. This is why the Profoto B10 may cost more than the rest, but you obviously can’t stop a photoshoot for Vogue midway to pop out to the shops for another monolight if your main light goes down.
Therefore, it’s a given that the Profoto B10 has excellent build quality, is ultra-reliable, reasonably sized, and has plenty of power output. You can also at a push use the Profoto as a constant light source, but this means cranking up the ISO levels which is not always ideal.
With no modifiers attached, the light output is defined without being too harsh and can produce very nice specular highlights. This essentially means that if you need professional-level lighting that works every time, the Profoto B10 is definitely worth the money.