Profoto B10 and Godox AD400 Pro potential review

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 paper, 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 than to get the profoto repaired.

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.

I think I will end up buying a Godox AD200, Godox AD400 Pro and a Godox round head. I will then review these after I’ve bought them.

Flash misfires

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 🙂

Photography equipment and flash reliability

I’m considering doing portraits either of people or pets, and perhaps some interior shots. Ideally I’d like a sony 16-35 f/2.8 g master lens, broncolor move, 105mm voigtlander macro, sony 85mm f/1.4 g master lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8 g master lens, haha. However, I cannot afford all of that :’).

I’m not really sure if I should start by buying a 15mm voigtlander lens and then perhaps get an 85mm or think about the lighting more. My longest lens, the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8, isn’t quite long enough for some shots I’d like to take.

 

This shot for example would have looked a bit better if it was slightly wider. I’m sure a better photographer would have worked around the problem but I wanted to include the flowers and the little house.

 

Something else that’s caught my attention is the various lights available… Profoto B1x, Broncolor Siros 400 L and the Godox AD600Pro. I own some Godox lights and I think they’re severely underrated. I also think that the Profoto A1 is EXTREMELY overpriced for a speedlight, and this makes me question whether their other products are also a rip off. I’ve temporarily owned the Profoto B1 and it felt quite plasticy to me. To me it seems like the Godox AD600Pro probably does what I want at a much lesser cost.

So I could be looking at the Sony 85mm f/1.8 FE lens, Godox AD600Pro, and the Voigtlander 15mm FE lens too. In an ideal world, a 100mm f/2 G master macro lens would exist. That would be good for portraits and macro use. Lastly, the Rotolight AEOS LED Light might be worth considering too. They are around the same price as the Godox AD600Pro. My concern with the latter two is they are perhaps not as reliable as Profoto or Broncolor. I’d really like to see Broncolor come out with something to compete with the Profoto B2.

Aperture: ƒ/16
Camera: ILCE-7RM2
Taken: 2018/06/24
Focal length: 21mm
ISO: 320
Shutter speed: 1/125s

Working in Canada – IEC

Everyone in England is talking about how hot it is at the moment. I feel like we should never complain when it’s above 30c because we get months of overcast/rain shortly after, hahaha. It is difficult to be at a computer when it’s like this (especially when there’s no air conditioning) though! One thing I really liked about Calgary was that even when it was a similar temperature, the breeze from the river kept you at a decent temperature :).

After returning home, I’ve really noticed little differences like this, and I’m desperate to go back. Unfortunately, the work situation is not simple once you’re above 30 years old.

For most countries, you can apply to join the IEC programme and get an open work permit between the ages of 18-35. However, the UK is different and it’s actually 18-30. As I’m 32, I’m slightly outside of this range. There’s possibly a way to circumvent this by using a third party, but apparently it’s a bit of a lottery. For anyone that’s read my US visa trouble, you’ll know I’m simply cursed when it comes to things like this. Short of being sponsored by a Canadian employer (or a cute Canadian woman… who wants to marry me?), my options are somewhat limited. For that reason, most of my time/energy is spent on this at the moment.

As stated in a previous post, I’d like to completely revamp this website. I am thinking of starting a second site, that way I can isolate subjects a bit better but it’s down to cost really.

Lastly, now I’ve had the chance to look through a few hundred photographs, I can see which ones I like and those I dislike.

If you look at the photograph in the middle, it’s not composed particularly well but I think the mood is quite nice. Yet the last photograph has absolutely no mood or anything, and it makes it a bit boring. My plan of improvement is to try and take photographs with more of a mood. I can’t really describe it very well, but I have something in mind.

Upcoming website plans, changes and photographs

As I didn’t do much of the Great Divide Trail at all, and my experience in Canada changed my thoughts on long distance hiking, I will probably completely change my website.

For starters, the website theme isn’t good so that needs to be altered. I feel it’s disingenuous to talk about long distance hikes much if I haven’t done them and don’t plan to do one. However, I have hiked around the 20 mile per day mark, several times (there were times I didn’t see it as possible, especially when I struggled with 8 miles to start with!) I have camped with my equipment, and I have used my camera/equipment while it rained non stop but also while it was incredibly sunny.

For that reason, I believe I have the experience with the clothing I used and electronics, to give some advice to future hikers. I plan to do some shorter long hikes (several days long), but I can’t see me hiking for several months at a time.

I’m going to be pretty busy as I want to work in Canada (I love the country) but I really want to improve the mess that is this website, haha.

I included the tent photograph, not because it’s a good photograph but I just wanted a reminder :). That whole hike was a weird one but one of my favourites funnily enough. It rained a lot, both up and down the mountain. I got bitten by mosquitoes a lot (lol) and I didn’t appreciate the bear on the way down from the mountain. But it’s a great story to be able to tell friends and family in years to come.

Aperture: ƒ/8
Camera: ILCE-7RM2
Taken: 2018/06/17
Focal length: 35mm
ISO: 100
Shutter speed: 1/125s

Back in England

It hardly seems like I’ve been in Canada five weeks. A lot happened while there. I ended up not doing the Great Divide Trail but instead did some day hikes and explored Calgary a lot. I had a great time! It became rather expensive, so I’ve returned home :).

There were happy days, sad days, and days I felt I really accomplished something. My photographs could be better, haha (I’m just not a very good photographer) but it was really worth doing. I will write about it more and upload some photographs soon :).

Although I didn’t do the Great Divide Trail and will probably never do it (unless they can improve the trail), I used all of my gear for other things and none of it has gone to waste. I faced a bear pretty close up and they’re scary to say the least…

Canadians are really nice people. It really hits you in the face how nice they are.

Lightroom, Capture One, White balance and the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV

The Sony a7rII received a small amount of criticism from some for not having a built in flash, and it was only a small amount of criticism but it’s reassuring to see the Sony a7rIII lacks a built in flash. Regardless of the brand, occasionally, you’ll read the odd forum post requesting such a silly feature. The general argument pro this idea is that if it’s not used, it does no harm and you’ll occasionally forget to bring a light. My argument remains the same… Built in flashes introduce an extra point of entry for water i.e. the flash has to pop up somewhere and water can get in said “somewhere.” Additionally, you need a large capacitor inside the camera for the flash to function. This takes up extra space and capacitors are generally quick to fail.

I’m hiking the Great Divide Trail in Canada, this June, and I recently bought a Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV light for it. It’s advertised as having a 5000K colour temperature, a high CRI, it’s lightweight and upon switching it on, you can instantly tell it’s different to other lights of its kind. In case you misinterpret this post because I write too much, the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV is the perfect tool for a hiking photographer in my opinion; it can be used as poor man’s flash, a video light, and a hiking light. It has a nice spread, there’s no horrifying hotspot, it’s incredibly bright for its size and it’s great. This page isn’t a review, so I’m not going to be posting photographs of it and whatnot. I will be reviewing the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV light at some point though.

If you use it with a Nitecore F1 and a 18650 lithium battery, you can have a small USB powerbank and a light for whatever you desire too but again this might not interest everyone. When I write my review, I plan to review all of these products mentioned as I think it’s a light that should be a part of a system rather than a light on its own.

Summation:

  • Built in flashes — Bad
  • Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV — Amazing
  • Adobe Lightroom — Bad
  • One One Capture One — Awesome

I’m a nerd weird and I guess the thought of spending so much money on a tiny little light meant something to me. This should behave as advertised right, or why not just get a cheaper light? I felt I was being pedantic for caring but these things aren’t cheap. Okay, so I took a photograph of a grey card, completely disregarding whether the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV would be useful for hiking with, and in Lightroom I noticed it said 4600K or thereabouts. I emailed the shop I bought it from and they were incredibly kind on the matter. They said I could return it if it wasn’t suitable.

I tried ArgyllPRO ColorMeter trial software, it crashes a lot and uses the battery even when the app is closed, but I really like the look of the app and this could be useful to me. I didn’t realise the readings aren’t real in the trial version (in fairness to the author, this is clearly stated if you click “read more”.) I wonder if the full version has more updates and crashes less. If it were cheaper, I’d take the risk but at £93.99, it’s a bit much.

So here’s where things get interesting… I installed Phase One Capture One 11 software for Sony. It’s free and it looks good. The colour temperature was different with the grey card, and I thought how could this be? I prayed for a blue sky to use as a reference, and it only rained more. So I began looking at all my old photographs looking for blue skies (which in England is no easy task) and judging white balance based on that. Additionally, I used the camera’s built in white balance tool and it yielded the same results as Capture One 11. .

 

I know what you might be thinking… The wall looks slightly cooler in one, and yes you’re right. The shadows are different. It all looks a bit different, but that’s as close as you can get it with the white balance tool alone. If you type in the same numbers for each program, for the white balance, you’ll be horrified at the results.

I did this with hundreds of photographs, using different lights (flashes, natural, natural cloudy, the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV) but trying not to use the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV very much in case I returned it, and it’s my belief that Adobe Lightroom is full of shit.

I’ve drawn the conclusion that this light is indeed the advertised 5000K or thereabouts. It matches natural light close enough.

It looks slightly cooler here but that’s just the angle. It’s actually slightly warmer than sunlight. As with all lights, the smaller the light source the more defined the shadows, but it’s still quite nice for macro photography I think. I think it’s bright enough you could add a modifier too. Again, this isn’t a review but it’s a few points to consider.