Photography News Issue 49

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Photography News | Issue 49 |

ProfotoA1 Say hello to the world’s smallest studio light

The world is changing, and quickly – how photography is used to capture and create images is very different now to what it was five years ago; in five years' time it will be different again. The Profoto A1, the world’s smallest studio light, is a reliable, professional-quality solution for modern image makers who want to make great pictures away from the studio, yet still need the option to sculpt and shape with light. Photography is all about light, not just how it is used but also its quality. The A1’s innovative round flashhead with unique design Fresnel pattern diffuser, powerful 76Ws output and ability to use magnet-fit light modifiers makes for a light with huge creative potential. Add a Li-ion rechargeable battery with the capacity for 350 full-power manual flashes, the option of TTL or manual flash control and integral LED modelling light, and you can appreciate that the A1 is something very special. It's designed to be easy to use without having to refer endlessly to a manual, and the large LCD rear-panel features an extremely user-friendly menu system – there’s no need to spend time scrolling through item after item to find what you need. Last, but certainly not least, is the fact the A1 meshes totally with Profoto’s lighting system, whether that is with

mains-based units such as the recently launched D2 or the brand’s Off Camera Flash system with the B1X and B2 – perfect partners for the A1. The A1 has AirTTL Remote built in. Canon and Nikon options are available now, with other brands to follow in due course. So, with wireless connectivity and a working range of 300m, the A1 on the camera hotshoe can be used as a master unit controlling four groups of Profoto lights, giving TTL or manual flash control – and it’s a light source, too.

With two lights providing backlighting to a wedding couple on the dance floor, an on-camera A1 can add that all- important but subtle glow of light to their faces. Over these pages, we catch up with the Profoto A1’s product manager Johan Wiberg to find out more about how this revolutionary light came to be developed, and take a closer look at the A1’s extensive features list.


LEDmodelling light

The head contains two LED modelling lights, one to give a wide light spread and the other to give a telephoto effect. As the flashhead is zoomed the output of the two LEDs is continuously varied

Magnetic light shaper mount Light shaping tools can be added very quickly to the A1. Supplied in the boxwith theA1 is a dome diffuser, a wide lens and a bounce card. A soft bounce and gel kit are available for the system, too.

to suit the coverage of the lens. So, at one extreme, one LED is fully on and at the other off, and this swaps over at the opposite end of the zoom range; at intermediate focal lengths you get a combination of the two. The LEDs have a colour temperature of about 3200K, so you get a warm effect with the camera’s daylight white-balance setting.

Flashhead Rotate the serrated grip in the direction of the + symbol and the head zooms in for a telephoto effect and the – symbol for a wider light spread. In the menu, there is the option for manual and auto zoom as well as five presets. The round flashhead has a unique Fresnel pattern – the result of in-depth research by Profoto – to give a smooth light drop-off ideal for light shaping.

TTL/MAN switch

This control’s function is self- evident, but there is more to it than just switching flash modes. You can use the TTL setting to determine the

correct exposure – whether you are using an on-camera A1 on its own or as a wireless master in a multi-light set-up – and once you are happy with the result simply slide the TTL/MAN switch to manual and light output from the A1 and the other lights will stay constant.

Li-ion rechargeable battery A fully charged battery will give up to 350 full-power flash bursts. Used in TTL auto mode or lower power manual settings, the A1 will be capable of a great many more flash bursts. The battery can be fully recharged in 80 minutes from totally flat. The design of the battery and compartment means it can be changed very quickly and single-handedly while it is sitting on the camera hotshoe or lighting stand.

AF Assist Lamp

For autofocusing in poor light situations, the AF Assist lamp projects a pattern of red lines to help the camera get accurate focus. The lamp can be turned off when discretion is needed, left on continuously when the flash is powered up or set to auto so it works when the light levels are low.

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