Profoto’s B10 and B10 Plus made headlines when they released them. They were portable and powerful. 2018 was the year. Profoto launches the B10X Plus and B10X Plus in 2021.
Design, Build Quality, Noteable Hardware Features
The B10X was designed to be easy to use. The B10X, like all Profoto products is complex from the inside but easy to use from the outside.
Profoto products are easy to grasp if you have handled them before. The buttons are just three, and all are clearly labeled. The dial for the modeling lamp controls the color temperature as well as the brightness. The main dial, which is larger than the one for the modeling lamp, controls both the flash output and acts as the main menu dial.
The dials can be adjusted in gloves because they are large enough. They feel great in the hands and feel luxurious.
Mounting modifiers are easy with the Profoto B10X. It can fit all Profoto light modifiers within the RFI or OCF range. Mounting modifiers is simple as they simply slide on, just like any other Profoto light. OCF II magnetic modifiables have been released. However, it is more difficult to add grids or gels to the B10X. This requires a special adapter. Profoto should add a native magnetic mount for the B10X, so that grids or gels can be attached directly to the light like the A1 and C1 series lights.
Be careful with how heavy the light shaping tools that you use on your B10X or B10X Plus are. These lights are not unibody, and they have an unscrewable bracket for the light stand. This means that you cannot use them with large modifiers like the 5′ Octa or 4×6 Softbox. You will most likely break your light.
The B10X works best when used in conjunction with OCF modifiers, of which there are many.
The B10X and the B10X are very similar in design. The B10X is designed very similarly to the B10.
It is simple to use and navigate the software. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to control many features of the light, including temperature and modeling lamp output. Even cooler, the control app can be used to update firmware, set groups and channels, as well as other functions. This is especially useful if multiple lights need to be updated. It worked flawlessly once when I updated the firmware between looks (on a B10X, not a a b10X).
Profoto Camera App is worthy of a separate review. It is worth checking out. The B10XX and B10XPlus have full Profoto Camera app support. This allows you to use your iPhone with the most recent Profoto equipment.
The flash performs exceptionally well across all power levels with only a slight temperature shift, which is typical for flash. Profoto’s flash is superior to comparable products from other companies.
The power output is extremely consistent. My B10XX and B10XPlus units showed no noticeable difference. They worked well with a fixed aperture lens. I was able to do stop-motion with consistent lighting.
The B10XX produces one stop less than the B10X Plus. They also use identical batteries. They produce impressive 400 flashes at 250W, and 200 at 500W. This is a good compromise, especially if you are working in direct sunlight.
Because that description is too vague, I won’t comment about how they can overpower the sun. If you are working on location a lot, I recommend getting a zoom reflector or magnum for them. The battery is greatly reduced by having a magnum, which provides two additional stops of power. My magnum is almost always at home.
You can charge the batteries while you are using them. This is a great advantage of the batteries. However, you shouldn’t expect consistent recycling times regardless of the battery level. Both flashes will not recycle as fast if they are too hot or low in power. This is a safety feature, as far as I know. If you work in a studio that requires constant recycling, you won’t be able to purchase Profoto B10X and B10X plus. You can live a good life with a Profoto D2 powered by mains power.
I found the shorter recycling times to be a big plus. It was a big advantage for me as a fashion photographer who works with lots of movement. I could work faster and miss less “perfect moments” lasting just 1/200 seconds. This difference is not as noticeable on the B10XX Plus than on the B10XX. The original B10 Plus is great, but it takes 2.6 seconds to recycle at full power. This is very disappointing. However, if you take more photos, the battery will be less charged.
The biggest reason to upgrade from a B10X to a B10XX Plus is the increased light output. The B10X already provided a staggering 2500 lumens of lighting, but the B10X offers a maximum 3200 lumens. The B10XX and B10XX Plus both offer the same constant light output. The only differences between them are flash power output, recycling times, and battery life.
This means that photographers have more options when it comes to video work and maybe one less light in their camera bag. Many other photographers are now doing video and are eagerly awaiting this advancement. This will allow you to work with higher ambient light, place the light at greater distances and use larger modifiers.
The fan is located in each light and tends to kick in very quickly. It is quite quiet so it won’t disturb your shoot.
B10XX and B10XPlus are both battery powered. However, you can charge the lights as you use them. This makes the lights ideal for interviews or work. It is easy to set the temperature with the bi-color LED (3000-6500K). One of my portrait shoots was without a CTO gel. I was able use the constant light with the right temperature setting to replace the strobe.
The B10X Plus and B10X Plus can be used in certain video applications.
You will be asking yourself the most important question about the B10X or B10X Plus. This is whether they are worth upgrading from the original B10 or B10 Plus. These two main differences are the better recycle time and video light output. The upgrade is worthwhile if you find the original B10 too slow and underpowered.
If these two issues are important to you, I would recommend that you upgrade. The B10X is an evolution of the B10-Series light, and not a revolution. The original B10 light is still powerful and very adaptable.
The B10X comes in at $2,000 while the B10X PLUS is $2,300. Profoto flashes are not cheap, so it isn’t an inexpensive flash. Because of the improved recycling time, I will be buying a few B10X light bulbs.