Reviews |Profoto A10

Profoto A10 Review

Profoto A10 review
Review

Price when reviewed

£949

$1095
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Our Verdict

I have used a range of flashguns and studio lights, but the Profoto A10 is one of the easiest to use. Unlike some off-camera systems, it’s very easy to pair with a trigger and it connects quickly whenever it’s turned on and in range. It also fires consistently and produces very attractive, natural-looking illumination.

There are far cheaper and more powerful flashguns available, but the ease of use and quality of results from the Profoto A10 inspire you to use it. If you’re a portrait photographer who sticks resolutely with natural light, perhaps it’s because you haven’t tried the right flashgun?

For

  • Rechargeable battery and magnetic modifiers included
  • Produces natural-looking light
  • Intuitive interface makes it very easy to use

Against

  • High price
  • Not as powerful as some cheaper units

What is the Profoto A10?

The Profoto A10 is what Profoto likes to call a small studio light, but as it has a hotshoe, looks like a flashgun and works like a flashgun, most photographers call it a flashgun.

It’s available in different fits to suit Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm cameras and it can operate in TTL (through the lens) or manual exposure mode.

While it has a hotshoe to enable it to be mounted on a camera, the A10 can also be used off-camera and it’s supplied with a small stand or it can be supported on a standard lights stand or tripod.

Specification

  • Product type: Flashgun
  • Launched: 23rd September 2020
  • Power: 76Ws
  • Energy range: 9Ev (f/2-f/10)
  • Recycling time: 0.05-1.0s
  • TTL: Yes
  • Compatibility: Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm cameras
  • Wireless connectivity: AirTTL built-in, 20 channels, 2.4 GHz (2404 to 2479.3 MHz), Profoto AirX (Bluetooth Low Energy technology)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-ion, powers up to 450 full-power flashes
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 16.5 x 7.5 x 10.8cm
  • Weight: 560 g (1.2lbs) including battery
Profoto A10 review

Features

Profoto has built on the original A1 and A1X to create the A10. It has much the same technology but it adds Profoto’s new AirX Bluetooth system. This enables it to be wireless connected to and controlled by a smartphone. You can even use the A10 to provide light for your smartphone photography.

Profoto’s AirTTL technology is also built-in which means the A10 can be controlled remotely by a Profoto Air Remote TTL or the super-simple Profoto Connect. Provided you have the right fit Connect, the A10 can work in TTL mode off-camera with any camera. For instance, I paired a Canon-fit A10 with a Sony-fit Profoto Connect on the Sony A7C.

Like earlier incarnations of the A1-series, the Profoto A10 has a round head and a fresnel lens that are designed to make the light appear more natural with smooth fall-off. These elements, according to Profoto, also enable the A10 to make more efficient use of its 76Ws power output (approximately equivalent to GN40 @ ISO 100).

In addition, the Profoto A10 can operate in HSS (high-speed sync) mode, making it suitable for shooting high-speed action and fleeting moments. However, the recycle time is around 1 second, so it’s not designed for shooting fast bursts of images.

As with previous units, the Profoto A10 has a magnetic mount that makes it compatible with a range of Profoto Clic light shaping tools. It comes supplied with a Clic Dome and Bounce card.

Unlike most flashguns, the A10 is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery, which clips in and out of its body. A battery charger is supplied with the unit and you can get up to 450 full-power flashes with every charge.

There’s also a built-in zoom function, which can be operated automatically or manually.

Profoto recently introduced the Profoto OCF Adapter, for A-series flash units. This enables the A10 to be used with a wide range of Profoto Light Shaping Tools.

Profoto A10

Build and Handling

The Profoto A10 looks and feels like a high-quality flashgun.

In response to comments about the A1 and A1X, the A10’s tilt and swivel mechanism has been made much stiffer. In fact, I found I had to use two hands when tipping the head down so that it pointed towards my subject. That gives it an air of robustness.

Profoto might be a high-end lighting manufacturer, but it puts a lot of effort into making its products easy to use. The A10 is a great example of this because its operation is very straightforward.

For a start, its menu is concise and easy to follow. If you plan to use it off-camera, for example, it’s very easy to set the channel for it to use to communicate with the trigger. And if you’re using lots of lights, it’s just as easy to assign it to a group.

Profoto A10 review

Once you’ve set the same channel on the A10 and the trigger (I used the Profoto Connect), the light and trigger connect very quickly after they’ve been powered up. There’s no faffing about, they just connect and work.

It’s also very easy to pair the A10 with the free Profoto app, and once that’s done, you’ll be notified if there’s a firmware update and you can install it without having to connect the light to a computer.

Profoto A10 TTL switch

A switch on the side of the A10 lets you swap quickly between TTL and manual exposure mode while the large dial on the back of the flash lets you adjust the output. If you’re in manual mode, you’ll see the power of the value adjust between 0 and 10, but if you’re shooting in TTL mode, you’ll see a flash exposure compensation figure applied.

 

Performance

I used a Canon-fit Profoto A10 on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and with the Profoto Connect on the Sony A7C to enable me to use it off-camera. I also used it with an iPhone 12 Pro connected via the AirX Bluetooth technology.

Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Sony A7C, the A10 performed flawlessly. It fired every time unless the camera was set to a fast continuous shooting rate which didn’t give it time to recycle, and the results were consistent.

The results in TTL mode proved very good, but I also experimented with manual exposure mode, which makes the distance to the subject more critical. It’s handy to start in TTL mode to see what output the A10 uses, then switch to manual using that setting as a base and adjusting accordingly.

I primarily used the A10 with the Clic Dome in place and the results look very natural. Even when I was shooting with my subject backlit by the low sun, the flash balanced it nicely and created a natural-looking result in TTL mode.

I usually carry a camera with me wherever I go and when I was testing the Profoto A10, I also slipped that in my coat pocket to use it at a moment’s notice with the Sony A7C.

In dull conditions, it adds a bit of pep to your subject so it stands out nicely from the background without looking too stark. It’s also easy to adjust either it or the camera settings to make things look a bit more dramatic if you want.

With the A10 mounted on a camera, it switches to HSS mode as the shutter speed is pushed up beyond the normal sync speed. There’s a maximum sync speed of 1/8,000sec, and when I tested it at that setting, it worked perfectly.

The A10 also performed well with my iPhone 12 Pro, but at the time of testing, the automatic exposure setting wasn’t available and I had to control the flash output via the Profoto app on the phone. This is pretty straightforward, but the output adjustment range is quite wide and you need to make large alterations to have a significant impact.

Profoto A10 Sample Images

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