Get smarter with the Adorama Flashpoint Xplor 600Pro TTL
After four months of using the Adorama Flashpoint Xplor 600Pro TTL for tests, location assignments, and abuse by freelance assistants, I can attest to its reliability. In general, if electronics are going to go bad they’ll do so almost immediately, and so far, the Xplor 600Pro has passed this test.
The largest project I’ve tackled with the Xplor 600Pro has been a multi-day shoot for an investment company. The 600Pro was the key light in a multi-light setup for formal group portraits and the only light for individual portraits and for some of the more casually staged shots of teams working together. I used an Elinchrom Rotalux 150cm Indirect Softbox modifier for the group portraits and a 36x48-inch Chimera lightbank for the individual portraits. For the team at work photos I used the included reflector and bounced the light from the white acoustic tile ceiling.
For the group photos I used the light in manual mode, but for solo portraits I used it in E-TTL II mode with a Flashpoint R2 Pro C trigger on the camera to adjust both manual and TTL controlled output. Whether in manual or TTL modes the color and exposure levels were consistent, and I had no misfires. Adorama claims the limit of the battery is 370 full-power shots. I found that even with the modeling light at full power it had sufficient capacity in TTL mode to go all day long. Once drained, the recharge time for the 600Pro’s interchangeable battery is around three hours.
I also used the Xplor 600Pro for a child’s portrait and for photos in a local machine shop. For both assignments I used the Flashpoint R2 Pro wireless TTL control system with a Nikon D850. For the boy’s portrait I used just the 600Pro in a 59-inch Elinchrom Rotalux Indirect Softbox; for the machine shop I used it with the Flashpoint eVolv 200. In both situations the light performed flawlessly. The fast recycle time meant I missed no opportunities to capture the child’s fleeting expressions. The bright, centrally located modeling light let me accurately see the shape of the lighting effect and made focusing easier, especially in the machine shop.
Two accessories I deem essential weren’t available for my tests but should be by the time of publication. They are the Flashpoint AC Adapter Unit for the Xplor 600Pro R2 Series Monolights and the XP600Pro Portable 600ws Extension FlashHead. Any time I have a light up high on a stand, boom or pole, or used in an indirect soft box or parabolic reflector, I want the weight and the size of the light source to be minimal. Like a strobe on a rope, the extension head solves that problem, making it one of my favorite accessories for the older Xplor 600 and the eVolv 200.
The only problem I have with the Xplor 600 PRO and the Xplor 600 HSS TTL is the stand mount. The low profile, smoothly rotating mount on the 600Pro with its two receivers is an improvement over the tall ratcheted version used on the 600 HSS TTL. However, they both have a socket that’s too shallow and doesn’t accommodate the half-inch-tall safety ridge at the top of heavy duty stands made by companies such as Matthews Studio Equipment, Avenger, and Kupo. Although many lightweight stands use a thin-lipped safety ridge, heavy duty stands, boom arms, and mounting studs use the taller collar so that lights and other mounted equipment sit securely and safely on the 5/8-inch pin. When the receiver isn’t deep enough, the light sits slightly cockeyed on the pin and is secured to the mounting pin only by the force applied by whomever sets it up. The designers need to make the receivers deeper or position the locking screw far enough down to accommodate the safety ridge.
Flashpoint is Adorama’s brand for lighting equipment, and the Xplors, like the others in the R2 radio system family—the StreakLight 360 TTL, eVolv 200 R2 TTL Pocket Flash, and the Flashpoint Zoom Li-ion R2 hot shoe-mount flashes—are versions of the equivalent Godox lights. The difference between a Flashpoint Xplor 600 and a Godox AD600 is that Adorama takes care of servicing Flashpoint branded versions under a two-year warranty. Godox has no factory service in the United States, leaving replacement or repairs as the responsibility of the seller.
The Flashpoint Xplor 600Pro TTL is priced at $899.
Ellis Vener is a contributing editor of Professional Photographer.