As expected after last week's photo and specs leak, lighting manufacturer Profoto has launched an on/off camera flash unit called the Profoto A1. But if you were expecting a simple speedlight, Profoto is definitely branding this as more powerful than that. In fact, they're calling it "the world’s smallest studio flash."

The new A1 is styled much like most on-camera flash units, but is equipped with the powerful features of a Profoto studio head. The 76Ws unit uses a lithium ion battery that is claimed to be good for up to 350 full power bursts and which charges in under 80 minutes. Profoto also says that the A1 recycles "four times faster than other on-camera solutions," as it can emit a full power pop every 1.2 seconds.

A stand-out feature of the A1 is its circular lens, which is said to produce light that is "natural and beautiful with a pleasing soft-smooth fall-off." The rim of that circular lens housing is also magnetic, and accepts a range of clip-on modifiers that can be changed quickly and easily. The head offers a manually operated zoom function and the rear display is large and easy to read.

The A1 heads are equipped with Profoto’s Air Remote TTL system so they can work in groups alongside other A1 heads or any other Air Remote studio heads from the Profoto studio head range. Finally, the A1 offers variable power over 9 stops in both standard and HSS modes, and includes an LED modeling light for previewing the effect of the flash or using on its own as a light source.

The A1 is currently compatible with Nikon and Canon systems, and will be with Sony models in the future... but it doesn't come cheap. As previously reported, the Profoto A1 will cost you $995 USD... quite the pretty penny when you compare it to some of the full-featured speedlights other options out there from brands like Godox.

For more information on the Profoto A1, visit the Profoto website or watch the introductory video below.

Press Release

The world's smallest studio light

The Profoto A1 might be the smallest flash we’ve ever made, but it’s still built to the same impossibly high standards we’ve set ourselves over the last fifty years.

Our focus with the A1 was to create a flash that delivers a truly high quality of light, which is why it features a round head which delivers light that's both natural and beautiful with a pleasing soft-smooth fall-off, that blends seamlessly with the ambient light.

Thanks to a smart magnetic mount built into the head, light shaping tools and modifiers can be clicked on and off quickly and easily. Within seconds you're being creative with light, shaping it. It also has a zoom function that allows you to make fine adjustments to the spread of light by simply twisting the zoom ring on the head, and for accuracy it has a modeling light built-in to the head – so you can see what you're going to get before you press the shutter.

We made it our mission to make A1 the first on-camera flash that's easy to use from the box. The user interface is simple and intuitive with a large high-contrast display at its center. The less time you spend learning and fiddling, the more time you'll spend shooting. And that's ultimately what counts. Despite its size, or lack of it, the A1 punches above its weight in a good number of key areas.

Battery life is key when a photographer is right in the thick of the action, because the last thing they need to have to stop mid flow to change the batteries. The A1 has its own Li-ion high capacity battery built-in which lasts up to four times longer than AA batteries with no performance fade. So, you can shoot for longer with confidence.

And this is a flash that can keep up with you because it recycles four times faster than other on-camera solutions – that's every 1.2 seconds at full power. Put simply, you'll never miss a shot.

And while it's true to say the Profoto A1 is our very first on-camera solution it's also just as effective off-camera as a standalone unit, and integrated into a larger system of lights. That level of versatility is possible because Air Remote is built-in, which means the A1 offers seamless connectivity with freestanding lights like another A1 or bigger Profoto lights like the B1X.

And with AirTTL you'll get a perfect exposure super-fast. Better still, you can lock the exposure with a single 'click' while still being free to fine tune that exposure in manual, giving you even greater control.

So, this is so much more than our smallest flash yet. This is shooting on the move, shooting with confidence and shooting with light shaping excellence. This is shooting off-camera and for the first time with Profoto, on-camera. This is the Profoto A1 – the world's smallest studio light.