The Profoto B10X and B10X Plus are great portable lights that perform consistently and without missing a beat. They are well made, they connect quickly to a compatible trigger and they’re very easy to set-up and adjust. The only pain point is the price. However, if you earn a living from photography then it’s worth investing in a decent set of lights that you know you can rely on.
It’s also good to know that the B10X and B10X Plus fit into Profoto’s ecosystem which means they can be triggered by any of the Profoto Air Remote TTL and Connect triggers or the A-series of small lights (flashguns) and they’re compatible with a large range of modifiers.
Excellent built quality
Reliable wireless connectivity
Intuitive interface makes it very easy to use
Fan noise with constant light
What are the Profoto B10X and B10X Plus?
The Profoto B10X and B10X Plus are portable studio lights with maximum output of 250Ws and 500Ws respectively. They come with a snap-in rechargeable battery for power, but they can also be connected to a mains supply.
Both lights are compatible with Profoto’s extensive range of light modifiers, or light-shaping tools as Profoto refers to them, and the company’s Air Remote TTL triggers.
Product type: Portable studio light
Launched: 9th September 2021
Flash power: B10X: 250Ws, B10X Plus: 500Ws
LED modelling light output: Both lights: 3250 Lumens,
Wireless connectivity: AirTTL built-in, Profoto AirX (Bluetooth Low Energy technology)
Power: Rechargeable Li-ion or mains
Dimensions (LxWxH): B10X: 11 x 17.5 x 10cm B10X Plus: 11 x 23.5 x 10cm
Weight: B10X: 1.5Kg (3.3lbs), B10X Plus: 1.9Kg (4.2lbs) including battery and stand adapter
The Profoto B10X and B10X Plus make relatively minor upgrades to the original B10 and B10 Plus. In addition to a few cosmetic changes the key differences are a boost to the continuous light power and faster recycling times.
The modelling light uses LED technology and the output is increased by 30% in comparison to the previous lights. This takes the maximum continuous light output to 3250 lumens.
Meanwhile, the recycling times now range between 0.05 and 1.3 seconds for the B10X and 0.05 to 2.2seconds for the B10X Plus.
The B10X and B10X Plus can be controlled wirelessly and triggered by an Profoto Air Remote TTL, the Profoto A1, A1X, A10 or the Profoto Connect. Their range is up to 300m/1000ft and they can be used in TTL or manual mode.
Profoto has also give the B10X and B10X Plus its Bluetooth-enabled AirX technology which enables them to be used with a smartphone.
Build and handling
As they’re designed with portability in mind, the Profoto B10X and B10X Plus are comparatively small studio lights. You can fit a couple of either lights in a mid-sized backpack and still have room for the charger and a spare battery or two.
Aside from the fact that the B10X Plus is bigger than the B10X, the two lights look identical. They have a solid feel and a smooth finish that looks very smart.
One of the key selling points of the B10X and B10X Plus is that they are very easy to use. Their interface is straightforward and easy to navigate so you can be up and running with them in just a few minutes.
A display on the back of each light shows the selected channel for triggering the flash, plus the flash power in 1/10th stops and the remaining battery power.
There are just three buttons on the back of the light. Going from left to right, the first button turns on and adjusts the modelling light, the second (larger) button adjusts the flash power and the third button is the power and flash test button.
Pressing the central button accesses the menu enabling you to change things such as the channel, flash group and flash duration or activate features such as slave mode and Air and Bluetooth connections.
I used the Profoto B10X and B10X Plus as two-head kit, triggering them via an AirTTL or Profoto Connect in the hotshoe of a Sony A7 IV. On every occasion, the lights connected quickly with the trigger and they fired consistently.
I also joined pro portrait and wedding photographer Robert Pugh for an outdoor portrait shoot to see how he felt they compare with the B10 and B10 Plus that he uses for his work. He used the new lights without skipping a beat because they work in exactly the same way, delivering consistently powered light and triggering reliably. As you might expect, however, the new lights don’t offer enough difference to make it worthwhile upgrading from the predecessors.
During the two-hour session with Robert we shot a total of 290 images between us, using both lights at around half-power and without the modelling light. We tweaked the power between shots to get a different look and even shot a few in a burst. At the end of the shoot, the B10X Plus battery life indicator had dropped by one bar out of four while the B10X still showed four bars.
Later, after recharging the battery to ensure it was at 100%, I was able to get over 1200 full-power flashes from the B10X Plus before the battery was exhausted. The light was set to manual mode with the power set to 10 but the modelling light was again off. Profoto rates the battery as having a 200 full-power life with the B10X Plus and 400 with the B10X. Clearly, that’s a conservative quote designed to give photographers some headroom and perhaps to allow for ageing of the battery.
There’s control over the white balance and brightness of the the constant/modelling light
Profoto’s estimate of up to 75 minutes (B10X) and 65 minutes (B10X Plus) for the battery life in full-power continuous lighting mode, however, proved accurate.
In constant mode, I was able to use an aperture of f/8 and shutter speed of 1/30 sec at ISO 200 with the B10 X Plus at full-power and around 1m from my subject. That’s perfectly usable for video, however, the fan noise is an issue. It’s not loud, but there’s a constant hum that could be problematic depending upon the location of the microphone.
Like the B10 and B10 Plus before them, the Profoto B10X and B10X Plus are high-quality lights that are perfectly suited for use by a professional portrait photographer either in the studio or on location. They are small and light enough to be carried in a backpack to remote locations while their battery life ensures that you’ll be able to shoot plenty of images.
They’re also compatible with Profoto’s huge range of light shaping tools so you can get the look that you want.
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