From Stockholm with Love: the Profoto A1 has landed

I’m in a gritty, grainy, black and white kind of mood these days: the X-Pro2 is set to “pushed” Acros—my Moriyama preset—and I don’t give a crap about noise. I’m even aiming for it to be honest.

Last night I attended the Profoto launch event for their new A1 and it felt like a family reunion: Patrick and Vendela whom I’d met in Stockholm; Andres and Jae from Profoto Canada; Guy from Photo Life; and to top it off, Fuji Guys Billy and Francis manning a Fujifilm booth. Yup, Fujifilm and Profoto were collaborating on this event with the GFX 50S front and centre during a shooting session with photographer Miguel Jacob. Using full TTL. Wait what?? The A1 doesn’t do TTL with Fuji you say? Now it does: the Fujifilm version of the Air Remote trigger is a reality. Not out yet (damn it) but December 18 has been set as the official release date.

A few words about the A1: I wrote about it when I came back from Sweden but after seeing how Miguel used it last night, I think it’s worth revisiting. When I first saw the promotional videos from NYC and accompanying print material (ahead of the announcements) I was a bit underwhelmed. The images were indeed spectacular...but most of them had merely integrated the A1 as either fill or as a remote controller—for me, this didn’t gel with the product’s tag line describing it as The World’s Smallest Studio Light. If it’s a studio light then, in my book, it should stand on its own.

Fast forward to yesterday. The shooting session lasted an hour. Miguel Jacob worked with two models—male and female—on a makeshift fashion shoot. Super simple setup, white seamless...yada yada yada. But most importantly: apart from a fun “paparazzi” skit to end the evening, he used nothing but a single A1 during the entire session. I’m adding emphasis because THAT for me is the clincher. He had a GFX 50S shooting JPEGs, tethered to Capture One, the new Air Remote set to TTL and guys...the images streaming to the screen using a bare off-camera A1, with nothing but the included dome diffuser, were nuts. Some of the pictures could’ve been sent to the printer right there and then. I’m not kidding. And to be frank, I now feel a tad lazy that I haven’t used my own unit to its full potential...but then I don’t have a proper trigger do I? ;)

I’m chomping at the bits this morning. I messed with a frankensetup a few weeks ago, placing the A1 on top of an old Cactus trigger to get it working off-camera...but although it worked (in manual mode) it was a flimsy, laughable solution I wouldn’t even attempt in front of a client. So I’ve had my hands tied. The power of this light lies off-camera. Sure, its design makes it a much better solution when used on-camera, something I’m certain event photographers will use to their advantage but...I just don’t shoot that way. Seeing Miguel’s results last night, watching TTL nailing it frame after bloody frame, using the A1 bare or in an umbrella...let’s just say that remote can’t come soon enough and is likely to change quite a few things about my kit going forward.

In the meantime: back to that graininess ;)
Have a great weekend

Shot with the X-Pro2 and XF 35mm f/1.4 R