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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 13 May 2018 (Sunday) 23:08
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Profoto B1X vs B2 for outside shoots (weddings/portraits)

 
Van ­ Gogh
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May 13, 2018 23:08 |  #1

Hey guys,

I do mostly weddings and engagement sessions and am looking for a more powerful light to be used during couples sessions outside or during engagement sessions.
Now I have 3 600EX-RT's and they are serving well and I will continue using them on camera as well as in receptions/houses but I am looking for something more powerful to be used outside.

I know a lot of brands out there but I am looking specifically at Profoto B1X vs B2 and can't decide between these 2...
B1X has more power, but is it really that much more? 1 stop more light doesn't seem like a big deal?
On the other hand B2 seems like it could be the perfect solution as seems to be very light/portable. But I am worried weather the power output upgrade going from 600EX-RT to B2 will be big enough?

I will probably rent both to try first but anyone have preference towards one or the other?

Thanks!


Camera - 2x5Dmk3, C100 mkii, 70D, 60D
Lenses - 24-70mm f2.8L II, 70-200mm f2.8L IS ii, 85mm f1.2L II, 35mm f1.4 ART, 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS
Lighting - 3 x 600EX RT's, Printer - Epson 3880

  
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F2Bthere
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May 14, 2018 10:00 |  #2

It depends...

Both will be noticeably better. One stop does make a difference, naturally. But, as you ask, is it a key difference.

For me, the B1 is a bit underpowered in manual mode when competing with the sun. I have not used the HSS option.

One other power disadvantage of both the B1 and B2 is that the bulb is contained within a reflector. Other brands, such as Elinchrom, have a bulb which can be used bare inside of your modifier, which allows the light to more efficiently fill a modifier.

I find that 1000+WS is a better choice if competing with the sun. Which led me to the Elinchrom Ranger. There are also smaller Rangers in the 4-500WS range. [yes, I DO know WS are not the same brand vs brand, but they give you a ballpark. The greater efficiency of bare bulb gives Elinchrom a slight edge in this regard].

Other considerations: I prefer the battery separate from the head because it reduces how much weight is on top of the stand (where it increases tipping risk) and lets you use the battery at the bottom of the stand to supplement as a sandbag.

Arguing the other side, the single piece of the B1 is quicker to set up (no head to connect to a cable, etc.). The little snap on grids are quite handy.


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jlafferty
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May 14, 2018 12:13 |  #3

FWIW in Rob Hall's B1x vs. XplorPro vs. Bron Siros 800, the B1x is by far the worst performer for anything past normal sync speed. I think the output loss was almost 4 stops :/

F2Bthere wrote in post #18625500 (external link)
It depends...

Both will be noticeably better. One stop does make a difference, naturally. But, as you ask, is it a key difference.

For me, the B1 is a bit underpowered in manual mode when competing with the sun. I have not used the HSS option.

One other power disadvantage of both the B1 and B2 is that the bulb is contained within a reflector. Other brands, such as Elinchrom, have a bulb which can be used bare inside of your modifier, which allows the light to more efficiently fill a modifier.

I find that 1000+WS is a better choice if competing with the sun. Which led me to the Elinchrom Ranger. There are also smaller Rangers in the 4-500WS range. [yes, I DO know WS are not the same brand vs brand, but they give you a ballpark. The greater efficiency of bare bulb gives Elinchrom a slight edge in this regard].

Other considerations: I prefer the battery separate from the head because it reduces how much weight is on top of the stand (where it increases tipping risk) and lets you use the battery at the bottom of the stand to supplement as a sandbag.

Arguing the other side, the single piece of the B1 is quicker to set up (no head to connect to a cable, etc.). The little snap on grids are quite handy.


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Van ­ Gogh
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Post edited 3 months ago by Van Gogh.
     
May 14, 2018 18:05 |  #4

Actually just found about Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL system, it seems like it's the same like Profoto B2 but 2x more powerful and 30% cheaper!


Camera - 2x5Dmk3, C100 mkii, 70D, 60D
Lenses - 24-70mm f2.8L II, 70-200mm f2.8L IS ii, 85mm f1.2L II, 35mm f1.4 ART, 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS
Lighting - 3 x 600EX RT's, Printer - Epson 3880

  
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RicoTudor
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May 14, 2018 21:44 |  #5

Agree with F2Bthere that the D1/D2/B1 cause a lot of weight gain at the top-of-stand when you don't want it (in the field without your steel stands). I'm similarly bemused by the enclosed tube that defeats most of the Profoto modifier system. Conversely, the AcuteB gets plenty of use by me, and I really enjoy its qualities. I did want more power and studio-grade features, so picked up a Pro-B2 pack off eBay for a song. It weighs a ton, but delivers 1200Ws with 250W modelling and, most importantly, sits on the ground. For fighting sunlight at a sustained rate, this thing and its fan cooling will outperform any jumped-up speedlight.


Canon, Nikon, Contax, Leica, Sony, Profoto.

  
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raysosher
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May 14, 2018 22:55 |  #6

I think natural color in day time is best choice.




  
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F2Bthere
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May 15, 2018 01:30 |  #7

raysosher wrote in post #18625862 (external link)
I think natural color in day time is best choice.

Strobes are generally matched with daylight for color.

And gels can match most other conditions...


C&C always welcomed...
On my images, of course, and on my words as well--as long as it's constructive :).
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MayaTlab
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Post edited 3 months ago by MayaTlab. (4 edits in all)
     
May 15, 2018 05:29 |  #8

Van Gogh wrote in post #18625771 (external link)
Actually just found about Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL system, it seems like it's the same like Profoto B2 but 2x more powerful and 30% cheaper!

Since you seem to actually be open to other brands than Profoto, then your choices are pretty large.

There's even cheaper in the form of the Godox AD600 pro, for example. Or the AD600. Or the SMDV BRIHT. Or... you get the idea. I advise you to take your time if you can and explore other options.

Just note as well that, particularly when Ws ratings are close, and flash tube / mount / reflector / HSS implementation / etc. are different, there is very little point in comparing Ws ratings. The only thing that matters is how much light falls on the subject for each type of light quality, and it can quickly swing either way depending on how the strobe interacts with the modifiers (differences in flash tube / mount / mount position / built-in reflectors / cover glass designs), which modifiers you can put on it (one strobe may allow you to mount on it a modifier that gives the same quality as another one, but that's more efficient, and can't be mounted on another strobe), how HSS is implemented, etc... Unfortunately you won't get a lot of relevant comparisons on the web for your specific application, so testing beforehand is a good idea if you can. Note as well that modifiers, and how they're set up, can VERY significantly affect efficiency. For example I've modified my Profoto zoom OCF reflector to give a more or less 35° beam angle. Compared to Profoto's 30° OCF grid, it's more than 1.7 stops more efficient, which is basically the difference, all else constant, between a 250Ws light and around a 800Ws one. Some silver indirect reflectors can give a light quality that is reasonably close to a softbox with a grid, but can be more than 3 stops more efficient.

As an illustration to that, compared to your Canon speedlites, a B2 can provide significantly more light quantity, or not at all, depending on the type of light quality that you seek and how they're set up. A B2 with Profoto's OCF grids vs. a 600 EX RT at max zoom setting will not provide more light quantity (I've had a 430 EX RT, and the B2 in these conditions was barely half a stop more powerful). A B2 vs a 600 EX RT in a white umbrella ? It absolutely will, big time.

And finally, regarding Profoto's recessed flash tube, inasmuch as I don't like it and don't understand why they're sticking with it when they had a terrific design with their previous strobes, a lot of people have preconceptions about it that aren't born out of actual, direct comparative tests. Besides a lot of flash tube designs that appear open, omnidirectional, won't illuminate some modifiers any better than Profoto's recessed design when in actual use, for a lot of various reasons, such as, for example, among many other reasons that are above my head, a mount that's too forward combined with a speedring that's too thick (The Godox AD600 - not pro - with Bowens mount suffers from that problem for example).

So if I can sum it up :
- don't get too hung up on Ws ratings, except if it's between two strobes with a very similar mount / flash tube / cover glass design, and doesn't take into account HSS / HS. For example, between a D1 500Ws and a D1 1000Ws, it's valid. Between a Profoto B2 and an ELB 500, it isn't (difference can be either less or more than the one stop you would expect).
- take the time to gather information. Don't rush for Profoto. It might be exactly the right product for you, or not.
- test for yourself if you can, in your own terms.
- When testing, take the time to experiment with the product to extract the max out of it. If, for example, you're comparing the light quantity output of strobe A vs. strobe B in a white umbrella, but strobe A has an umbrella reflector, and strobe B hasn't and the flash tube spills light towards the sides, your comparison won't be particularly accurate.




  
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Profoto B1X vs B2 for outside shoots (weddings/portraits)
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