Head-to-head: should you choose the new Profoto B10 Plus 500 or the B1X 500?

Posted on June 06, 2019

The Profoto B10 250 AirTTL (released back in 2018) is an amazing portable flash that also boasts a seriously good continuous light, so it is great for both photography and video.

Ever since its launch we have been asked "when will Profoto bring out a 500 watt version??"

Well the answer is now. For all our clients who are power hunger the new Profoto B10 Plus 500 AirTTL is here and fantastic!

Profoto B10 Plus Vs Profoto B1X

So does the introduction of the B10 Plus 500 mean the older Profoto B1X 500 is no longer relevant?

No it doesn’t.

The B1X has some features and capabilities that means that it will remain relevant in the Profoto range especially for the demanding professional photographer.

The Profoto B1X versus the Profoto B10 Plus

Compared to the B10 Plus, the B1X:

  • offers the same power output (500Ws),
  • is physically larger,
  • weighs more (3.0kg vs 1.9kg),
  • has a higher price, and
  • does not offer an adjustable colour temperature continuous light.

Which begs the question; why would someone still consider the B1X?

Here's some things the B1X does have over the B10 Plus:

  • delivers faster flash recycling, especially in high-volume work,
  • offers more shots from a single charged battery (325 vs 200 full-power shots),
  • is physically more robust,
  • is better suited for use with large RFi Softboxes,
  • has Profoto legacy features (like a physical sync-cord port),
  • accepts colour-temperature glass covers (from -600°K - 600°K), and
  • accepts protruding glass domes (preferred with some light shapers).

The B1X is for professionals that are long time Profoto users and expect Profoto products to be professional workhorses that are “built like a tank”. Here is a further explanation of the points above.

B1X is faster and more capable in high-volume shooting situations

The B1X only seems slightly faster (2.0 sec vs 2.5 sec at full power) when looking at nominal specs, but in tough conditions the difference will increase because the B1X has a more powerful cooling system.

You can also shoot much longer with a fully charged B1X compared to a fully charged B10 Plus since the B1X battery holds much more capacity per charge.

B1X is physically more robust

The B1X is in every inch a classic Profoto product made for tough physical use and abuse. The housing is glass fibre reinforced and all parts are dimensioned to make it “built like a tank”.

B1X is better suited for use with large RFi softboxes

The B1X is robust enough to hold the weight of large RFi softbox sizes and the big handle on the back makes handling easy. It has a very wide light spread that fills the largest RFi Softboxes.

Why is this missing on the B10 Plus?
The B10 Plus is compatible with most Profoto light shapers but the design focus has clearly been to optimise the performance specifically with OCF Light Shapers. As a result it has a narrower light spread which adds more punch when used bare or in combination with OCF Light Shapers and Umbrellas.

In addition, RFi sizes larger than 3x4' or Octa 4' are not recommended to use with B10 Plus due to their weight.

B1X has Profoto legacy features that have been removed on B10 Plus

The B1X has the sync cable connecter that enables use of PocketWizards (as an alternative radio trigger to the inbuilt Profoto Air) or sync cables.

On the B1X it is also possible to replace the flashtube without having to contact a service station. This is a valuable feature for studios or rental houses that may need to replace flashtubes on a regular basis.

Why is this missing on the B10 Plus?
The sync cable connector was removed to save internal space. Again due the design focus optimised for size and simplicity only service stations can buy and exchange flashtubes on B10 Plus. Studios or rental-houses that change flashtubes on a regular basis need to be aware of this when considering the B10 Plus.

In summary, the B10 Plus is a great new addition to the Profoto battery powered flash range and will suit a larger number of photographers and videographers however the B1X still remain relevant for those demanding photographers who require robustness, speed, and serviceability of consumable parts like flashtubes and glass covers or domes.

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