Gear

Profoto beefs up battery power with the new A1X

Profoto has given its hot-shoe mounted studio flash head an upgrade, increasing versatility and giving users more flashes per charge. The new A1X has over 30 updates compared to the original A1, the key improvements of which are based around the battery capability. The unit has an upgraded battery pack that now delivers up to 450 full power flashes on a single charge – a significant increase over the 350 shots available with the original model – and boasts faster recycling times, shaving 0.2 seconds off the A1’s time. Camera compatibility has also been extended, whereas the A1 was only available for Canon and Nikon cameras, the A1X is now also available for Sony users, although it only works with a limited range of models.

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The A1X is just as elegant as its stablemate – the A1 – and has an easy to read display

Claimed to be the world’s smallest studio light, the A1X seeks to offer key benefits over standard hot-shoe flashguns not only by offering a more powerful battery, but also by featuring a circular, motorised flash head that delivers softer, more natural looking light. The head is surrounded by a magnetic click-on mount that makes it easy to attach and remove any of the six dedicated modifiers, plus it also offers a modelling light so you can see exactly what you’re going to get, before you press the shutter. All this in a unit which stands just over 10cm high and weighs 560g including the Li-ion battery pack.

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The Profoto app and optional Connect allows you to remotely control the A1X

If the thought of using studio flash fills you with dread, you’ll be reassured to hear that the A1X offers full TTL control for point and shoot simplicity where the head’s sensor takes the hard work out of calculating the correct exposure. While those photographers wanting to get more advanced and shoot off-camera or with a multiple light set up are sure to like the 20-channel Air Remote functionality. High Speed Sync (HSS) is also supported, plus the units will work up to 300m apart with a clear line of sight.

The clear and simple display on the back of the A1X further underlines the simplicity of use; there aren’t loads of buttons and switches to try and understand. The A1X is available now with a starting price around £1000.

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The A1X is great for shooting on location…

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…and produces results that look like this. Image by Ruby Law