Profoto C1 Plus Review in Progress

Profoto C1 Plus Review
Review

Snap Verdict

The Profoto C1 Plus reviewed here was announced at the same time as the Profoto C1. Both are small flash units that can fit in your coat pocket or handbag.  They are designed for use with a smartphone, but they can also be used with mirrorless and DSLR cameras. However, as they can both be controlled by Profoto’s iPhone app, an iPhone is the natural partner. Although an Android version is said to be in the pipeline, Profoto currently only offers an iOS version of teh app and it’s compatible with the iPhone 7 and higher. 

We have a sample of the C1 Plus and I’ve started shooting with it. It’s very straightforward to use and it certainly elevates the quality of the results that you get from a smartphone. I need to do more testing over the coming days, but I can share some first thoughts and images here. I’ll update this review as soon as possible.

 

Price and Availability

The C1 and C1 Plus go on sale immediately and are set to retail for £259/$299 and £469/$499 respectively. The C1 Plus is available now from Wex Photo Video.

The Clic Accessories retail for:

Clic Dome £49/$49
Clic Grid 10 £49/$49
Clic Grid 20 £49/$49
Creative Gel Kit £129/$129
Clic Grid and Gel Kit £129/$129
Individual Gels £49/$49

 

C1 Plus Specifications

Price at Launch £469/$499
Flash Max output 4300 lumens, 1700 lux
Flash Colour Temperature Range Adjustable 3000K-6500K (±200K)
Flash Colour Rendering Index (CRI) 90-98
Continuous Light Max Output 280 lumens, 140 lux
Continuous Colour Temperature Range Adjustable 3000K-6500K (±200K)
Continuous Colour Rendering Index (CRI) 90-98
Battery 1500mAh Rechargeable Li-Polymer battery built-in, life >2000 full-power flashes or >40 minutes continuous light at full power
Connectivity  Profoto App for iPhone 7 onwards using Bluetooth, AirTTL receiver built-in
  79 x 37mm or 79 x 64mm with dome
Weight 176g or 208g with dome

 

C1 Specifications

Price at Launch £259/$299
Flash Max output 1600 lumens, 800 lux
Flash Colour Temperature Range Adjustable 3000K-6500K (±200K)
Flash Colour Rendering Index (CRI) 90-98
Continuous Light Max Output 280 lumens, 140 lux
Continuous Colour Temperature Range Adjustable 3000K-6500K (±200K)
Continuous Colour Rendering Index (CRI) 90-98
Battery 1500mAh Rechargeable Li-Polymer battery built-in, life >2000 full-power flashes or >30 minutes continuous light at full power
Connectivity  Profoto App for iPhone 7 onwards using Bluetooth
  74 x 49mm
Weight 120g

Features

With a diameter of 74mm  and height of 49mm, the C1 is the smaller and simpler of the two units. It also has a fixed diffuser dome whereas the C1 Plus has a detachable diffuser dome. The C1 Plus has a diameter of 79mm and a height of 37mm by itself or 64mm with the diffuser dome.

The Profoto C1 Plus is compatible with a range of ‘Clic Accessories’ including the supplied dome. These Clic Accessories include a 10-degree grid, 20-degree grid and a creative gel kit. 

As well the accessory compatibility, the C1 Plus distinguishes itself with a couple of simple controls and an AirTTL receiver built-in. This means that it can be triggered by the Profoto Connect and/or the Profoto A1X flash. It can also be used to trigger the phone camera.

Key differences between the Profoto C1 Plus and C1 

Aside from the Clic Accessory compatibility, the key differences between the C1 Plus and C1 are that the C1 Plus is larger and has more powerful flash output. The C1 Plus also has a button to turn the constant light on and off as well as buttons to adjust the power of the output. The C1’s constant light and power output is controlled solely via the Profoto smartphone app.

Build and Handling

Anyone who has used a Profoto A1 or A1X will see some similarities between the A1’s head and the C1 Plus. It’s made of plastic but has a fairly high-quality feel.

As it has a flat base, the C1 Plus can rest on a flat surface to fire light upwards. However, there’s also a tripod bush to allow it to be mounted on a tripod. A mini tripod like the Manfrotto Pixi makes a good choice because it can be used as a grip or as a stand. 

 

 
I started by using the Profoto C1 Plus to shoot some selfies on an iPhone 7. While is manageable without a smartphone grip, it requires two hands, one for each device. Fitting the smartphone in a bracket or frame with a cold shoe and then attaching a cold shoe attachment with the C1 Plus turns it into a one-handed affair, which is easier.

 

I also found it helpful to use the self-timer in the Profoto app. This enabled me to set trigger the release, then compose the shot rather than have to balance the phone and do both at once. 

How to Connect the Profoto C1 Plus to a Smartphone

1. Turn on your Profoto C1 Plus by pressing and holding the white
button until the status indicator illuminates.
2. Makes sure that the Bluetooth is turned on one your iPhone and start the Profoto app.
3. The App will find the C1 Plus automatically, just tap to connect your phone and the flash.

How to Use the Profoto C1 Plus with a Smartphone

1. Open the Profoto App and make sure that the camera screen is visible (if necessary, tap the hamburger menu option to locate it).
2. Press the Capture button on the C1 or C1 Plus to trigger the phone to take an image, or tap the capture button on the smartphone camera screen.
3. Use the power buttons on the C1 Plus or the controls in the app to adjust the flash strength. The app also gives control over aspects such as the camera white balance, the flash colour temperature and the overall image exposure.

Performance

So far, I’ve used the Profoto C1 Plus with an iPhone 7 to shoot a few selfies. My aim was to try to create a soft, warm glow and give an early-evening feel.

You can set the exposure and flash power to automatic, but I wanted to take a bit of creative control. It can be helpful to start with Auto and then adjust the settings a little until you get what you want.

It took me a little while to find the right balance between the ambient exposure and the flash output. I also found it worth shooting two or three images before making any exposure adjustments. That may be because the flash needs to dump some power with a flash before the correct exposure is created, but it could also be connected with the iPhone’s exposure system. However, after a while, I found some settings that worked and the results were nice and consistent.

I increased the warmth of the flash light to give the evening sun look I was after. I also kept the dome on to soften the light. You can see the results below. The light is visible but subtle and natural-looking.

Selfie Images

Using the Profoto C1 Plus with a Camera

As the Profoto C1 Plus has an AirTTL receiver built-in, it can be triggered with a Profoto Connect in the hotshoe of a compatible camera. I’ve used it with a Connect and a Sony A7 III, and so far, it works well, firing every time.

One of the most attractive features of Profoto’s AirTTL system, and the Bluetooth connectivity of its products, is that it works very reliably. The Connect and C1 Plus detected each other straight away. There’s no faffing about with passwords or QR codes. As soon as teh Connect is in the camera’s hotshoe and switched on, it starts firing the C1 Plus when the shutter release is pressed.