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[Review] Profoto B1X (vs B1)


Profoto B1X is the new B1, the extremely useful battery powered monolight that I use almost every day. New and improved in B1X is a much brighter modeling light (+80%), a battery with capacity for 100 more flashes at full effect (compared to the old battery), and HSS on the full range, from 2 to 10.



Profoto B1X vs Profoto B1

  • 130W modeling light vs 70W (Halogen equivalent)
  • 325 compared to 220 flashes at full power
  • High-Speed Sync with a 9 f-stop power range

That is what you get when you buy a new Profoto B1X.

You will get rid of that, sometimes annoying, threshold that using HSS has been. For me as a Nikon shooter, switching from “normal” sync (up/down to 1/200s) and starting to use HSS could be a bit time consuming. All of a sudden, the B1 jumped to 8, when I was around 5 or 6 on the settings.

HSS will now work on the full effect range.

New life for the old one

The best news for me as owner of three Profoto B1 is that I can update the firmware and have full HSS on the whole power range.

I think that will make my old Profoto B1 much more useful instantly. And easier to work with. Just visit MyProfoto and login to download the latest firmware.

This could be the typical update where the new product gets all the fun stuff, but it isn’t. I really like that they give away such a big improvement of older models for free.

A small facelift

Profoto B1X looks and feels a lot like B1, the small difference is that where things on B1 were shiny silver, they are now black.

Using a Profoto B1X requires zero learning time if you have used a B1 (or any other modern Profoto light for that matter). Every button and dial works the same.

Buy a new battery

If you own a Profoto B1 and want more flashes from a battery, add a new to your collection. They fit the B1 and they work with the same chargers. The only thing you can’t have as a B1 owner is the new modeling light. But that I can live with.

More light with new reflectors

For those that think 500Ws is not enough, now you can buy very portable OCF reflectors that will give you more light output.

The new OCF Zoom Reflector can add 1,2 f-stops and the OCF Magnum adds up to 1,8 f-stops of light. And the Magnum comes with a very nice little bag that you can hang on the outside of your backpack.

More focus on OCF

As a portrait photographer, often outside the studio on-location, I think these addition to the Profoto range is really made for me. Maybe once or twice I have packed a Telezoom or a Magnum in the car, but with the small and lightweight OCF version, I probably will have it with me more often than before.

Nowadays I mostly work with Deep Umbrellas, even my favourite 5-foot softbox Octa stays in the studio. That is often a decision made to make things a quick and easy to carry as possible.

OCF Magnum

When you see and hold the new OCF Magnum reflector, you will understand what I mean. That smart decision to make a sturdy and form fitted bag for it makes all the difference. I like to have as much as I can in my backpack, and just one bag for stands etc.

Working in a modular fashion with bags that you can easily connect to a backpack makes me want to use them. If it takes too much time to pack and unpack lighting modifiers, I will leave them at home.

Will I buy a Profoto B1X?

Probably not.

I already have three B1 and one B2, I don’t need more lights than that. Maybe I will buy a new battery or two, having 50% more capacity is never a bad thing.

If I didn’t own a B1, I would be happy for the improvements and buy the B1X. But now I get the, for me, most useful update for free, so thank you, Profoto.

More info on the Profoto page for B1X.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • LouCondon July 4, 2017, 05:57

    I have an Intermit S1 battery & AC powered strobe now but I’m selling it to a friend soon. I noticed that with the new B1X being released that B&H Photo is including a “Free” transmitter module with the older B1 strobes. That seems like a nice incentive to get the B1 over the B1X to me. LOL They say the new modeling light is 80% brighter but your only going from 20 watt LED to maybe 24 or 25 watts. Not much of a jump to me. Good review.

    • Stefan Tell August 6, 2017, 23:59

      If you can get a remote for free when buying the older B1, I think that is a good deal. But I can´t say for sure how they have improved the components inside the B1X compared to B1. As an owner of a couple of B1, I have no need for this upgrade right now. And thanks.

  • Happy Payne October 24, 2017, 02:53

    I just got the Profoto B1X and any umbrella I place on it just slides around in the mount. Is there a way to keep it stable?

    • Stefan Tell October 27, 2017, 12:01

      interesting, I have never experienced that problem with any of my Profoto lights. Is it Profoto umbrellas you are using? Other brands have sometimes slightly different diameter on the rods.

      The quick and dirty solution would be a small clamp, but you should not have that problem at all.

  • Johnny Liu November 2, 2017, 18:11

    Hello, thank you for the write-up! Have you tried the ocf magnum on the b2 yet, and does it work well? Since you can’t “zoom” modifiers on the b2 head…

  • Klavs January 7, 2018, 00:57

    Great review!
    I just got the B1X and a profoto XL deep umbrella. I purchased a manfrotto stand but I don’t know how to attach both the light and umbrella. All items are ‘female’. Do you know which rods or adapters I would need?

    • Stefan Tell January 10, 2018, 00:26

      I just use the hole in the B1/B1X to attach the umbrella rod. With the XL it can “sag” and slide a bit sometimes when you point the light a bit too much up.

      Hope that helps.

  • Wiley Fane January 27, 2020, 00:23

    Great article! I’m just learning flash photography and I have a chance to purchase lightly used B1 for a fraction of a new B1x. I see on profoto’s website that the latest firmware is E4. Would this have all of the previous 3 updates included?

  • Wiley Fane January 27, 2020, 00:26

    Great review! I am learning strobes and have a chance to purchase a B1 at a significant discount than a new b1x. I noticed on Profoto’s website that the latest firmware update is E4. Does this mean that it would also include the previous 3 updates?

    • Stefan Tell April 7, 2020, 09:01

      Sounds like a good deal, and regarding the firmware, all the previous updates are included in the latest.

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