Studio lighting specialist Profoto brings us its most portable light yet, the Profoto A1. It appears to be mightily impressive bit of kit.
In outward form, the Profoto A1 looks a lot like a Speedlight, yet the product is billed as ‘the world’s smallest studio light’. So what is the difference? Let’s see.
Profoto A1: At a Glance
• Built-In AirTTL, Use On or Off Camera
• Recycling time: 0.05 to 1.2 Sec
• Lith-Ion Battery: 350 Full-Power Flashes
• High Speed Sync (HSS), LED Modeling Light
• 9EV Power Range, 76 Ws Output
• Weighs 560g Including Battery
• Optional Wireless TTL with Air Remote
• Includes accessories: Bounce Card, dome diffuser, Wide Lens, Flash Stand, USB Cable and A1 Bag with Shoulder Strap
Profoto A1: Body
At 560g including a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, this is one small strobe light.
And while it is similar in size to a Speedlight, the Profoto A1 has a rounded head. The light distribution can be adjusted by twisting the zoom ring on the head, for a narrow beam to a gradual fall-off. This could make for more natural lighting effects than what you’d get from a rectangular, single-power output of a Speedlight.
From camera filters to lighting accessories, we are seeing more and more products make use of magnetic connections. We like the look of the magnetic rim around the flash head, which accessories like the dome diffuser magnetically attach to.
Profoto A1: Flash power
The Profoto A1 boasts a 9EV range of power with 76 Ws output, with ±3EV exposure compensation. That’s a lot more power than most Speedlights.
Then there is the flash recycling time, which is between 0.05 seconds and 1.2 seconds at full power. With a Speedlight you’d be looking at anything upwards of 3 seconds.
Whereas most Speedlights use AA batteries for power, the Profoto A1 has a Lith-Ion battery, which provides 350 full-power flashes per charge. The battery takes 80 minutes to recharge.
The supplied battery clips on and off at the front, which is a lot quicker than opening up the unit to slot in 4xAA batteries. This is all looking very promising.
Making use of that power, the A1 supports HSS for shutter speeds up to 1/8000.
Profoto A1: Wireless
Yeah baby, the Profoto A1 is wireless, featuring AirTTL. It can be used on or off the camera and will communicate with other Profoto lights, including ‘proper’ strobe lighting like the Profoto B2S.
The built-in AirTTL receiver means the A1 can be fully controlled by Profoto’s Air Remotes up to 300m away and up to 100m away for TTL and HSS.
Profoto A1: Not just a flash
This ain’t just a flash. The Profoto A1 acts as a modelling light too. We do not have the technical information of the LED light power, but its output can be controlled and adjusted. It looks suitable for close-up lighting of moderate-sized subjects.
Profoto A1: Price and availability
The Profoto A1 retails at £849 and is available for Canon and Nikon cameras from various UK dealers.
That may seem a little steep – you’ll get two top-of-the-line speed lights for the same price – but we are on strobe lighting turf here, rather than speed lighting.
Supplied accessories include a magnetic dome diffuser, wide-lens adapter (for when you’re using a lens between 12-24mm), bounce card, shoulder strap, stand, cables, battery and charger.
Other optional accessories include a Gel Kit with 3 CTO and 1 flourescent filter.
For more information about the Profoto A1, please visit the Profoto UK website.