Using Flash with a Leica M to create portraits – featuring Profoto B2 vs Neewer Vision5 Strobe by ErickPHOTO

As a photographer I enjoy making lifestyle portraits that have bright lights and dark shadows, lots of contrast. Working outside in the midday can sometimes limit you, more when the sun is on the wrong side of your frame. Portable hotshoe flashes are great to fill in some shadows in the day but there are times when I have to control the light and simply throw the sun beams into the shadow. For that, you need units that are about 200 watts and up.

The Profoto B2 unit is portable, rechargeable and delivers 250 watts of power! enough to throw that sun into shadow as long as the unit is close to your subject. But the Neewer has 400 watts! Much more power and much cheaper.

Note: On my Nikon I can get HSS at any shutter speed, but on my Leica it limits me to 1/180sec since the HSS isn’t fully compatible or not even sure if it ever will with Profoto.

Leica M + Cron 28mm / Neewer Vision5

The photo above was taken at 1/180 and f/4 with the Strobe at 1/32 Power. The Neewer Vision5 unit allowed me to remove most of the sun that was hitting my subject on camera right, look under the arm, the shadow that is casting the shirt and how is not in complete shadow, that is the sun throwing some fill light. In other words my main is the Strobe and my Fill is the sun.

Leica M + Lux 50mm / Profoto B2 and Neewer Vision5 Strobe

In the photo above, I mixed lights, can you tell which is what?. The backlight is a Profoto B2 unit and a Neewer Vision5 for front fill.

I’m sure you are asking yourself why shoot with a Leica instead of a Nikon or any other DSLR and the answer is that I have two reasons:

  1. Leica Lenses that have great sharpness and nice subtle blur similar medium format.
  2. Very compact, I can carry many prime lenses and two cameras in a very compact bag over my shoulder.

So, what unit travels best?  the Profoto has a built-in glass that protects the flash tube while the Neewer has a removable plastic cover that when removed leaves the flash tube exposed. In that case, the Profoto can take more abuse. Other than that, I kinda prefer the Neewer unit, it doesn’t have cords, but that means the unit itself is top heavy on your light stands. Also, there isn’t a way to run DC power on the Vision5 and use the unit plugged into DC nor AC.

Sony A7 Mark 3 + Summilux 50mm / Neewer Vision5 and Profoto B2

Again, can you tell me which light is the main and fill? No. I’ve been testing color and speed on these two strobes…  there is a place for each but in general you can achieve about the same with either unit.

If you’d like to check out prices or order your own unit, check the links below that will take you directly to Amazon:

Profoto B2:

Neewer Vision5:

Leica M:

Summilux 50mm Lens:

Summicron 28mm Asph:

In the end, you can do photography with almost any kind of gear, some photographer prefer ambient light, other like to add some flash and others mix all depending on the look and style that they need.

I also use Elinchrom and Hensel lights, so at this time I am not loyal to any brand, I just use whatever is available to me.

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