I have used Canon’s own external flashes for a very long time and they work superbly well. But when it comes to studio flashes we use the brand Profoto. When they launched their Profoto A1 portable flash, the step felt natural to change completely and have everything from the same brand and that they can easily communicate with each other.
PROFOTPO A1- YOUR PORTABLE LIGHT
Profoto A1 talks to both Profoto B1 and B2
Now all the light I use can talk to each other. Not long ago it was my rescue, I was out on a photo assignment in Arboga and had forgotten to put down my Profoto Air remote (it is the thingy that does so that my camera communicates with my flashes)
At first I almost got a little cold sweat going when I realized I didn't have my air remote with me but then I saw that I had my Profoto A1s with me I felt a little bit better, because Ione fo the great things with the A1:es are that you can attach them to the camera hot shoe and use it as a trigger for the other flashes.
-Phew I thought and pretended that it was my intention from the start :)
I used an A1 to trigger my B2 that I had an umbrella on, but I didn't want the light from my A1 to affect my portrait so I turned the flash so it wouldn't point at the person I was taking a photo of. You can turn off the feature on the flash so that it does not send out any flash out put at all but only the signal that makes them communicate with each other but I was a little too worked up to get it right just then. Was glad that I was able to carry out the assignment. I considered for a few seconds if I was going to photograph with only natural light and a reflector, but was glad I didn't need it but found another solution.
Keep the light you are experiencing at the time of your shoot
If you want to keep the light you have around you (ambient light) and not overexpose your photo but get a good exposed person if you are taking a portrait, then it is easy to use a flash. Because then you first expose your image to the light that it there (ambient light) as you want to remember it. It is your shutter speed that determines the light that is around your object / person. Then you add your flash to determine how much flash power you want on the person you are shooting. You decide the aperture according to how much you want to be sharp in the image.
Profoto A1 Duo Kit
When we made our investment in our Profoto A1 we bought their Duo kit so we have two flashes but only one charger which is sometimes annoying when we need to charge all your 4 batteries, it as you may understand will take a while, even though they do charge quite fast. But I highly recommend that it is good with extra batteries when you are out in the field and photographing and cannot easily charge them. We chose to invest in their Duo Kit because it is convenient when you are out in the field and have to take photographs of a person. You then have one flash that you point towards the persons face and the other to light up the background or as a hair light. Which lighting set up you choose depends on what you want your image to look and feel like. P>
I like to be out in the woods on foot prefer to not carry so much heavy equipment - unless I have to. That is why I think these small flashes work incredibly well. They come with their own foot which is like a circle underneath and they are super easy to hang up on a branch in the forest and stable enough to place on the ground or on a rock. The head of the flash is quite heavy so you have to try a bit until you get them to stand stable and at the right angle because the ground is rarely flat, but you can make it work!
Profoto A1 vs. Canon 580 Speed Lite
Overall I am very pleased with our new flashes. If I compare the Profoto A1 with the Canon 580 which I also have two pieces of, Profoto is more reliable when shooting with multiple flashes in succession, ie. Profoto's flashes reload faster and are ready to take a new shot faster than Canon's external flashes, even when I've used them with super-fast rechargeable batteries. That was what I saw as the biggest drawback and made me interested in investing in new flashes just because when the batteries start to die out it takes too long for them to recharge i.e. to take another shot. Even when I thought I was quick to change batteries as soon as I felt that their recharge is not up to par. I always had a plenty of extra batteries to handle a full day of using the external Canon flashes. But they work great if you don't have to take images in a series close after eachother. P>
The only less positive thing I have to say with our Profoto A1s is that they are a little heavy to have on the camera but then you should try to avoid having any flash on the camera - so it is easily solved. The other is that the flash head itself is a bit too loose, ie it moves a little too easily around. But it is not a problem as long as you use the flash with a tripod but is only negative if you move with the flash attached to your camera. P>
Despite the drawbacks I have experienced, I highly recommend the Profoto A1 flashers as they are more reliable and faster in recharging than my Canon 580 are.
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We are Helen and Roger and we love to create and happily share what we create with our cameras / drones and our family lifestyle.