If you’re a Profoto B10 flash owner, you’re going to enjoy the latest Profoto AirX update.
Not long ago, Profoto updated its Apple iPhone app to let the Profoto B10 trigger a flash with the Profoto Camera App. Let’s be clear here; no one is going to go out and buy the Profoto B10 just to shoot with their phone. I think that would be a pretty stupid idea. But instead, you now have an extra added capability. My Profoto B10 has a Sony transmitter, Canon transmitter, Fujifilm transmitter, and I can also personally use it to shoot photos. Better yet, I don’t have to use the constant light. Instead, I can enjoy the natural pop that a flash can give you. Profoto has developed a proprietary technology to do this. You can take a look at our Profoto B10 review and spot the update there for yourself. So how does it work? We spoke to Marko Pirc–who found his way to Profoto after working on the Lumu light meter for your iPhone.
We’ve been working with the new B10 update for a little while, and we found a few bugs with it: it’s not perfect yet. When I’d shoot a photo, it would sometimes be really bright. Then, I’d adjust the light output a bit, and it would be better. That’s the thing you should know–it doesn’t have TTL just yet apparently. But that feature might come. Further, you can also set the shutter speed and ISO within the app.
According to Marko, the B10 implemented internal, closed-loop calibration, which measures the light output of the flash tube and constantly self-calibrates based on that. “Every time you take a photo, this ensures that you always get a correct and consistent light outcome, even if your B10 unit (particularly flash tube inside) starts to age,” explains Marko in an email interview with us. In real-life use, that would sometimes mean that the B10 would fire after the shutter sound goes off, and yet the flash output is still captured. And that’s probably going to be the most challenging part for most photographers. In fact, the exposure won’t be finished. Instead, you’ll shoot at a slower shutter speed. Even though the iPhone’s sound would tell you that the shot is over, it really isn’t. The signature sound of the shutter speed is just to let you know that a photo was taken, it doesn’t signal that the exposure is done.
“When you take photos with iPhone, B10 needs to generate a bit longer HSS flash pulses than when you use it with DSLR/mirrorless,” says Marko. “So when you switch to taking photos with iPhone for the first time, B10 needs to flash 0-15 times to self-calibrate also for smartphone…” According to Marko, the number of flashes needed depends on how old the flash tube is. As you keep shooting, it’s going to get better and better.
Profoto’s aim is to polish the app and the process in the future so it will need even less self-calibration.
So the bigger question is concerning why you’d use it? Well, as you may know, some things don’t require you to unsheath Excalibur, so to speak. Instead, your run of the mill option will work. You can use it for photojournalism and be less intimidating. If you’re shooting quick product photos, you can use that. If you’re doing something for a personal hobby of yours and you don’t need your real camera, then this works just fine.
The Profoto B10 is around $1,600. I wouldn’t recommend buying it just for your Apple iPhone. Use it with a dedicated camera and your phone.