About two weeks ago, I picked up the Profoto B2s after much debate. While every photographer and gear junkie knows the struggle – do I get the B1 with one more stop of light and no cords? Will I find the battery pack restricting? …maybe I will just buy both the B1 and B2! – I ultimately went with the B2s for the following reasons: Keep reading for my Profoto B2 Review
Even more important than which ones I got, I should mention why I made the jump:
After many months of reading, watching, researching, and drooling, I pulled the trigger on the B2s. Special thanks to Mike Allebach and Neil vanNiekerk who have have written some of the definitive reviews on the B2, which I read over and over. If their photos don’t show you the capabilities of these lights and make you want to buy one, then there is no hope. Now granted, this review isn’t nearly as comprehensive or glamorous as theirs – no pretty women to look at or cool shots of the lights themselves. In fact, quite the opposite. This review stems from my receiving the Sigma 35mm ART back from the factory after the rear barrel became loose (thanks for the free fix Sigma!) and seeing the light falloff from my porch light in my hallway and thinking “Wow, that is gorgeous! Let’s take a photo there.” Could the photo have been improved if there was a beautiful woman holding onto a bedsheet, looking through the window and the light highlighting the curves of her body? Absolutely. Unfortunately, all there was to photograph was a close second – me.
The shot was created quite easily:
Sidenote: I cannot endorse the ART series of lenses from Sigma enough. I have never shot with such sharp and solidly built lenses in my life. Shooting at 1.8 is just as sharp, if not sharper, than shooting a 5.6 or 8 on some of my other Nikon lenses. It is just that sharp! I currently own the 35mm and 50mm ART and am considering selling my Nikon 14-24 and getting the 20mm, 24mm, or 24-35 f/2 for wedding and dance floor shots.
I can see the Profoto B2s being implemented into all of my portrait work. They are just that good and easy to use. As a wedding photographer, I own and can easily see myself using the 2′ octobox and grids at every wedding to create moody and dramatic images of the couple. I can also see myself using a one or even two umbrella set up for family shots at the altar. A quick note about this – one of the reasons why I upgraded from speedlights to the Profoto B2 beyond the reasons mentioned above, was the workflow and perception. Whenever I shot group shots, I would always have to take three or four images to dial in the light. Then, if the light wasn’t fully recharged and I was changing my settings based on what I thought was consistent light, it was like trying to hit a moving target. Now, I can just pop on the Profoto Air Remote, switch it to TTL if I want, and fire away. Instead of dropping the lightstand and making adjustments to the back of the flash, I can control everything right from the camera. This may sound petty, but when minutes count, it helps. Also, I believe that clients remember the inconveniences of their wedding day. They may not see or remember all of the behind the scenes things you did to make it flow more smoothly, but if you are fumbling around for 3 minutes to get the lighting right and you have 20 family members waiting, it tarnishes your perception as a professional.
This is one of those purchases where you research and research and research and research and then you buy it and say, “Man, why didn’t I buy it a month ago? I could have used it for…” I would say that if you are considering buying one, just do it. Commit to the system and take the plunge. I would only buy this if I was regularly shooting portrait work on-location, high-end weddings, and could rationalize that with one wedding or a few portrait gigs I could pay for it. If you are a beginner with GAS – gear acquisition syndrome – than this isn’t for you. Learn the basics on something much cheaper.
Two things I dislike about the system:
Here are a few more from yesterday’s testing.
Tomorrow I will be taking the B2s out for a test run with a dancer and seeing how they perform in an urban, daylight environment with no assistant to help me. Last one, Profoto B2 Review.
Thanks for reading! I know it wasn’t technical, but neither am I. I will be sure to write a review for it after I use it in a wedding or two. Thanks for reading my Profoto B2 Review!