Profoto have just announced a new product, the Profoto B10. I have been reading through various comments about Profoto and it’s interesting. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again so I don’t get a “you’re a crappy photographer and don’t know what you’re talking about!” email of abuse. I’m not a good photographer, but I know a bit about making things and I’m fairly good at critical thinking.
The Profoto B10 build quality
Build quality is an interesting concept and it’s often brought up into a discussion when Profoto is mentioned. What do you think of when we say “build quality”? I often find poorly machined products made of metal are are touted as having good “build quality” simply because they feel tough/cold in the hands.
The profoto is plastic/polycarbonate. I bought a Profoto B1 and the Profoto Sony transmitter; I wouldn’t say either are built like a tank.
Here’s some things I noticed… The early version of the B1 was a wash with flash tube problems, many people had received a B1 with a flash tube that had fallen out. The B1 I received didn’t exactly impress me from a build quality perspective.
The transmitter, even less so. Take a look at the top photograph, you can see how the plastic shell doesn’t even cover the terminals properly so if water got into the battery door, it goes straight into all of the circuity. In fact, anything could go down there. It’s just lousy. The battery compartment door was also, incredibly lousy. The door itself is incredibly thin plastic and it just screams cheap crap to me. I know why it’s this way, because it’s far easier to make and assemble.
It’s just a battery compartment door, and you might think why should I be worked up over this? Well, it’s quite simple really. This is a very, very high priced item and it should be made better. For the same price, you can get a far more complicated and rugged transmitter. It uses similar technology too. Obviously you’re not going to control your camera with that, but it gives you a rough idea as to how much you’re being ripped off if you buy this thing.
Let’s take a look at their other products:
- Profoto Easy Stand — An easy to machine stand, made with cheap materials having a price tag of £2,835
- Profoto ProDaylight 800 Extension Cable 5m – A £10 cable being sold for £395
- Profoto WideZoom Reflector — £30 of materials being sold for £385
- Profoto Off Camera Flash Grid Kit — £4 worth of materials, you can have it for £72
Still not convinced?
- Profoto OCF Barndoor — This is very, very simple to machine. It’s just a bit of sheet metal for the most part. Its weight is advertised as “300 grams”, so you know there’s not much substance to it. £72
The marvellous Profoto B10
If the marvellous Profoto B10 works better than everything else, and it does the job you intended, who cares if the manufacturers kept costs down, right? Well, here’s the problem with that too.
The Profoto B2 doesn’t colour match with the Profoto B1X. Yeah it’s similar, but it’s not the “I paid loads of money for my colour critical work!!” I imagined it to be.
In the end, I’m left thinking… Hmm. Serious photographers should probably buy Broncolor as they’re more colour accurate and freeze water better. The average photographer is probably best with Godox.
Profoto B1 and Profoto B10 vs Godox AD400 Pro
One interesting comment I read a lot is that people should buy Profoto because they offer better light than the competition. I guess if you pay £9,000+ for a complete system of lights, you’ll want to believe that, right?
From what I’ve observed, the Godox AD400 Pro is actually more colour accurate than the Profoto B1 and it’s certainly more colour accurate than the B2. It’s also advertised as less powerful than the Profoto B1 but I’ve been told it is more powerful.
If there was a Godox AD200 Pro, I would be seriously interested in that. The Godox AD400 Pro is considerably larger and heavier than the Profoto B10. I feel the Godox AD200 is probably not as good as the Profoto B10 but I think the Godox AD400 Pro is a better flash than the Profoto B1.
My conclusion with the Profoto B10
Ignoring the fact that the A1 is a complete rip off, the B1x probably isn’t any better than the Godox AD400 Pro, and the Pro-10 is a rip off also, I think the Profoto B10 is a good looking piece of kit. On pape, the Profoto B10 specs are impressive and if it can be more colour accurate than a Godox AD200, I think it wins this round potentially. It’s a good size, shape and you can get third party modifiers.
When I think of building a complete system, I have to consider the other lights though and the Profoto A1’s are ridiculous to say the least. I’d be happy owning one B1X but at the price point, it’s a hard pill to swallow. After the guarantee period is up, the repairs are so expensive you’re cheaper to buy another Godox light anyway.
I really like the form factor of the Profoto B10 and I’m severely put off by chinese customer service, so in that way it tempts me. If it colour matches with the B1X, then I’d simply skip buying a Profoto B2.
The Godox has a different setting for close proximity. If you’ve had troubles even when you’ve used this setting, please let me know in the comments below 🙂