Review: Profoto B2 250w Off Camera Flash

 

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This review is the second part of my Profoto Review. Previously I covered the B1 here and this time I will touch on the Profoto B2 250w Off Camera Flash. The B2 is a pack and head system consisting of a generator and up to 2 heads connected to it. The B2 as per it’s description, is a 250w strobe. That is half of the B1 but in practical terms, it is equivalent to step 9 out of 10 on its bigger brother. Other then the power, it retains most of its bigger brother’s traits: TTL, HSS, fast flash duration with multi-shot and built in wireless receiver.

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The B2 however has quite some difference between it and its brother. Weighing in less then 3kg with a single head, it is a lot more portable. It is also smaller, a full set taking up similar volume as the B1 without the battery.

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One of the useful feature is the ability to plug two heads into it and running them asymmetry.  This means that both outlets could be of any power stepping as long as they add up to 250w. Ratios tested are: 9.0-9.0 , 8.0-9.6 , 7.0-9.8 .  This is really great since one could be a main light running at 2 stops above the other which acts as a fill resulting in little lost of usable light out of system. One thing to note is HSS as similar to B1 requires a minimum of power 7 and above. It does work in asymmetry so you can use the above ratios as long as both are above 7. An additional notable thing regarding power is the knobs that set them. In the B1, its a linear knob of 0.1 with a down press and turn for a greater jump. On the B2, its based on the speed of the turn: Faster results in greater jumps while slow turns will be for fine tuning. A little flick could be 3-4 stop jump or 0.1-0.5 depending on the speed.

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The B2 heads come with modelling lights. I never went around testing the exact output but by specification they have similar output to the B1 per head. However one of the ability lost is to vary the modelling light on the B2 which is only on or off.

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A really interesting small improvements in the B2 is the battery. The battery is smaller then the B1s and like it comes with a test light. However this time on pressing it once holds the light for a few second to let the users see its power level. It is also a whole lot brighter and in green for easy identification.

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If you own any Profoto mods, the B2 is a good fit into your system. The heads accept all mods the B1 could. The only thing lost is the ability to zoom as the heads are rather short.

With all the above, how does the B2 perform out-field? It is technically a B1 in a pack and head system with just a touch less power. Everything great about the B1 is in the B2 and now in a lighter and easier to manage package. Some will say isn’t it a step backwards with the cables and all, but when you need to Boom in the open, B2 is really the saver here.

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Taken outdoor, the B2 acts as the main light on the boom and fill light at the bottom in a clamp shell setup. The generator acts as the counter weight similar to such systems.  The back light in this picture is a B1 with a zoom reflector.

The pictures taken from the B2 is as good as the B1 with the added portability. Below are shots taken with the B2 as Key Light. In most situation, its also running on HSS with a second head acting as a fill.

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Kobato

Homura

Tsubasa

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The B2 did had some issues when I first purchase.

  1. The first generator was faulty. It just did not work after a few pops. The distributor did a great job and replaced it promptly.
  2. The knobs on the generator needs to be redesigned. It catches small particles like sand or dirt and becomes jammed/hard to turn. Both my knobs could no longer rotate more then 180 degree without requiring significant amount of effort. The distributor offered to fix it but I have yet the time to do it.

One last comment about the B2. It comes with a great carrier that could be sling or hooked to a stand easily acting like a sand bag. This is much more useful then the case of the B1 which is more like a shoe carrier.

The B2 is a really great system. If not for the cost, I would have recommended it to anyone who needs a outdoor system with HSS and consistent lighting.

This ends my B2 review. Do remember to visit my B1 review here for more of the performance aspect such as TTL and HSS.

5 thoughts on “Review: Profoto B2 250w Off Camera Flash”

  1. very nice review 😀
    i see you using RX1 on B2/B1, and can use HSS 1/1600. what trigger you using for that? pocket wizard or air remote? thank you

    1. I use a Phottix atlas 2. My understanding is pocket wizard and the profoto air (not ttl) on speed mode should be able to achieve the 1/1600 sync too.

        1. Yes I totally agree on it. Leaf shutter is really nice with high sync But due to wireless limitation the 1/1600 can only be obtained by certain trigger (atlas and pw). Most triggers will probably go till 1/1000. With wired, it depends on how fast your light is.

          Still the chance of a leaf shutter dslr is probably a far off dream.

  2. The B2 is the world’s first off-camera flash that can be used for both. The B2 head is small and light enough to be put on a bracket on your camera. Do either that or put it on a monopod or stand. The choice is yours. Both solutions have their advantages but are equally convenient.

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