Thanks to the friends of online magazine Osservatorio Digitale with whom I begin collaborating from this month and to Grange, the Italian importer of Profoto. I had the chance to try a new flash which follows the glories of the marvellous B1 and promises to repeat its success. Find the link to the video test here.
The new Profoto B2 which I tested for a few hours in a “Location Kit” consists of two flash heads, one generator/controller AIR TTL, two cables, a mains and car battery recharger, and a carrying bag; it is not completely cable-free like the B1 but it is lighter (the generator weighs a little more than a 3.5 pounds). The big advantage is being able to use up to two flash heads with one generator. Another advantage is to consider that on location, especially outdoors, it is often necessary to fill the shadows with two lights and not just with one.
For this fast test I used my trusty Fujifilm X100T that manages to synchronise the flash in HighSpeedSync until 1/4000. I avoided shooting according to the usual model in the studio. Instead, I wanted to test the Profoto B2 in a “dirty” environment: outdoors, with two members of an Italian Hip-Hop crew called 33giri.
The Profoto B2s are controllable using Nikon and Canon with an AIR-TTL trigger which allows you to change the power and mode remotely (manual/ttl). With my Fuji, not being able to work in TTL, I relied on an infrared transmitter that I came to know of thanks to the great colleague, friend and X-Photographer like me, Zack Arias . This optical trigger called the Wein Sync-Link allows you to work with all flashes in slave mode provided that the machine and generator see each other.
The shots were performed with the two Profoto B2 heads, an Octabox Profoto and a 70cm umbrella, except for a few shots with very radiant light, made without any modifier. As you will see, thanks to the built-in reflector, the light is never very hard even when working without umbrellas or softboxes. The power of 250W divided between the two flash allowed me to shoot the sky with backlighting underexposed and wind up the power of the sunset even more.
All the shots you see below have undergone minimal post-production: I deliberately left some elements like the crane in the background that I would have been able to photoshop. The sunset is so saturated because I shot “overpowering the sun” or with the flash power exceeding that of the sun and exposing the subject correctly while the background is underexposed. This spring I will present a class to explain how to shoot with this mode and other modes related to the use of the flash. If you want to stay up to date, follow me on Facebook .
The portraits with smoke were performed with the Octabox on the left side and with grids and some barn-doors, flags, to concentrate the flash made blue with a colour filter placed only on the smoke so as to avoid potential flare on the lenses.
The Profoto B2 is a system that will give great satisfaction both to those who will use it in the studio (there are pilot lamps) but especially to those who will use it on location therefore outdoors (a B2 counts as three or four speedlights used together). Users of Nikon and Canon can buy the AIR-TTL remote control and work in a more simple way, even mounting the B2 on-camera . I hate the use of any on-camera flash, but not all are of the same opinion 🙂
A tip for those who decide to use two heads: it is worth buying at least one extension cord of three meters in order to comfortably position the flash heads.
I hope Profoto implements the TTL also for users of the Fuji cameras, like me, and that in the next firmware there may be the possibility, as on the B1, of partializing the power of the pilot lamps in proportion to the power of flash, which is currently not possible.
In short , the B2 has great potential: you can llok at the technical data here: http://profoto.com/offcameraflash/the-products/b2/
I leave you to my very short VideoTest and below the images taken. Enjoy!