My name is Tracie Maglosky, I am a wedding and portrait photographer from Cincinnati, Ohio and an Olympus Visionary.
I recently had the privilege of testing out the new Profoto A1 at a wedding using my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Markii, thanks to The Pixel Connection. While the Olympus version of the A1 has not been released, I was eager to test the A1 in an everyday application. I went old school and used a bracket for the A-1 along with a Profoto TTL-O so that I could unlock all of the capabilities.
1. Reliability/ Portability/ Consistency
2. Features & Accessories
3. Battery Life
As Mother Nature would have it, it rained all day forcing us to shoot indoors. Luckily, we're fortunate to have an amazing place like Taft's Ale House in Cincinnati. The speakeasy under the main bar area is quaint and warm and a perfect place for a first look. Our challenge here was space and the A1 proved to be a perfect solution! I'm the first to admit that I'm already a HUGE fan of Profoto, so in general as a brand, I trust them to be cutting edge, high quality and worth the investment. I'm pleased to say that I am now even more convinced that Profoto feels our challenges in the field, anticipates and solves them.
In the second set of images we had the opportunity to shoot the sunrise at Anchor Beach in Connecticut. This time we tested the A1 as the key light. Just as I've come to love and expect, the A1 performed flawlessly making the shoot a total dream.
1. Reliability, portability & consistency. Real talk here. There is nothing more frustrating at a wedding then speed flash malfunction. The perfect shot is set up, everything is ready to go and the flash decides it's gonna do its own thing. Automatically, troubleshooting mode (aka survival mode) takes over, dragging us out of creative process. Do I need fresh batteries? Am I shooting too fast for my recycle time? Are my camera and flash communicating properly?
I can honestly say, I have never been LESS frustrated at a wedding than I was using the A1! The 1.2 second recycle time at full power is such a critical feature for moments that cannot be retrieved. Imagine a world where you can carry a studio store that fits right on top of your camera and it will never be the reason for a missed shot! Keeping up with fast moments in a dark reception hall shooting at 15fps not wondering if the flash will keep up is quite liberating as well.
2. Features & accessories. The round head, which makes so much sense, and separates it from any speed-light is genius and the ability to focus to a more narrow light with the twist if the zoom ring is so handy. Now, we have the smallest studio strobe with a modeling light so we're no longer guessing using the very common "eyeball it" method when using off-camera flash. The crazy thing is that I used all of these features without even thinking about it because they just make sense. The optional accessories including the gels, dome diffuser and bounce card received use throughout the entire day and I would have loved to have had the soft bounce as I'm sure it pairs beautifully.
3. Battery life. Remember how I said I shot inside the entire day? With the exception of one outdoor rain shot, that is completely true. I used the A1 the entire time and I left the wedding with 1/4 battery life still left. That is remarkable! Let me add that the battery life indicator on the back is so nice to have as well.
4. Integration. If you're already a Profoto user, the A1 makes total sense as a studio light and a replacement for a speed flash, with the TTL build right in, there isn't much to think about. If you're wanting to dip your toe into Profoto or grow into studio portraits, I can't think of a better way. The A1 is a great compliment to the B2s or B1X or any other Profoto set-up that a photographer could grow into because it can be used as a transceiver.
5. Price. This one is a solid yes for me. The decreased frustration, increased quality, consistency, integration and time-savings both while shooting and editing means the A1 is an investment that our studio is happy to make.
One of my mantras as a mirrorless shooter is that I love gear that gets out of my way. I love to create and I don't want to have to think about whether or not my gear is keeping up. A1 feels like part of the family. Giving it back hurts...but only until mine comes in!
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