Profoto has been hard at work redesigning its lineup with ultra-portability in mind. It has been exciting to watch them significantly scale back on bulk and weight with the newest wireless offerings. Today the company introduced the latest kid to enter the scene, the Profoto A2. It looks like a baby B10x and is about the size of a cup of coffee. As with most Profoto lighting, you can also expect to pay Profoto prices for this fun-sized 100ws light and remotes. Buying into this system starts at $995.
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The A2 could be a great addition to an existing Profoto lighting kit as it easily integrates within the system. It is meant to be the best of both worlds between the A10 and the B10x. The biggest plus for the A2 is that it is smaller than the A10. The Profoto A2 is slightly more powerful than the Profoto A10, and you get about 50 flashes less per charge. Sadly, you cannot adjust the 3500K color temperature of the modeling light, although it is dimmable. This should be an included feature at this price point.
Figure in the cost of an extra battery and a remote. It is only a few hundred dollars less than the 250Ws Profoto B10x and the 500Ws B10x Plus. I am ultimately wondering, who is this for?
The email announcement left me feeling perplexed. On the one hand, I can see where a few A2s would be perfect for wedding photographers to add to their arsenal. Two to three of them on the dance floor combined with an A10 would be a wedding photographer’s dream. Profoto’s consistency would be a fabulous addition to the annoying laser light show from the DJ booth. Color correcting would also be much easier and fewer images would need to be converted to black and white.
The cost of convenience and quality would set you back at least a few thousand dollars. You could always buy a few cheap speedlights or alien bees and set them to slave mode. But then you have the hassle of having to dial them in separately. This is where investing in the convenience of the app and the Profoto system pays off, if you can afford it.
I see the perks of grabbing a Profoto A2 for on-location street photographers. It is light, ultra-portable, and has lightning-fast recycle time. However, photographers will need an extra set of hands or pack a light stand if they don’t want to handhold it. If I am hauling gear regardless, I would rather grab the B10x for its extra power and versatility. It only weighs 1.7 pounds more than the A2 and is much more powerful.
Street photographers might find the convenience of an A10 suits their needs a little better. This would be especially true in a thriving suburban city like New York City. I would feel better having an A10 on my camera rather than needing to utilize a light stand or handhold the A2.
The 100Ws will be great for photographing in the shade and organically balancing sunlight. Its HS will also be fun for portraits and some moody fashion images when playing with motion. Fashion photographers will still need the power of the B10x to freeze the movement of fabrics. The B10x also provides enough versatility to get the best of both worlds.
Expect To Pay A Premium
It’s Profoto, so be prepared to shell out some cash. The remote most people will want to buy is the new Profoto Connect Pro, which is an additional $399. Once you figure in that cost plus $119 for an extra battery, I am left wondering why people wouldn’t just buy the B10x instead for $1,999?
Most Profoto users are already heavily invested in the system and have corresponding lighting modifiers. Users will need to purchase an OCF Adapter II for $199 to use the OCF modifiers with the A2. Or, they can invest in the new ultra-portable Clic style modifiers. Prices start at $59 for Clic creative gels and extend to $299 for a Clic octabox. It will accommodate the same click accessories that come with the A10, but it will not ship with it.
Although the modifiers are reasonably inexpensive in terms of Profoto pricing, they are on par with many other lighting brands’ pricing. The price of ownership quickly adds up. I don’t see portrait photographers buying the A2 for their primary light source.
Looking Forward To Our Review
I’m confident the A2 is a high-quality flash because Profoto doesn’t make crap. Although, I am left wondering who is this ultimately for? It will be interesting to see how photographers add this to their workflow. Even though I would probably not add this to my workflow, I would love to see it in action. I look forward to seeing what the Phoblographer staff thinks of it when we get one in for review.
And if you are ready for them to take your money already, you can pick one up for yourself at Adorama.