Flashpoint XPLOR 600 Godox AD600 review
Godox is a Chinese flash light and flash accessory manufacturer. Their products are available under the Godox name worldwide, but they are also rebranded as Flashpoint by Adorama in the US. They are pretty much at the forefront of flash photography at the moment, because of their innovative products and relatively low prices compared to the competition. These features include TTL (through the lens) metering and HSS (high-speed sync), a function particularly useful if you want to ‘freeze’ action or overpower the sun in bright daylight.
For on-location flash photography, the Wistro (in Godox terms) or XPLOR (Flashpoint) series is the one you need to look at, as these are all battery operated and quite portable. They all have a 2.4 GHz radio receiver built in and are all compatible with the X1-T or Flashpoint R2 radio remote. These radio remotes are now available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji and Olympus cameras.
The Flashpoint XPLOR 600 (or Godox AD600B) is the most powerful off-camera flash they currently have. This 600 Watt Monolight is the most comprehensive self-contained full featured 600ws strobe that goes virtually anywhere, with wireless TTL control, High-Speed Sync, powered by its own powerful 11.1 volt Lithium Ion 8700mAh battery, capable of over 450 full power flash bursts on a single charge. The flash is fully featured, even for pro work with settings like FEC, rapid stroboscopic flash, first or second curtain sync, Just like the other XPLOR flashes, it features a USB port for upgrading firmware and new camera system compatibility (just recently the Fuji GFX was added).
There are also two optional remote heads available, the Remote 600 and 1200 (you’ll need 2 XPLOR 600’s to use the latter at 1200 Watt). These remote heads have an 8-foot extension lead that connects to the main body. It significantly reduces the weight and size of the mono light so you can safely use it outdoors in the wind on a stand or boom. The Godox AD600 (and XPLOR600) also uses the popular Bowens S mount, so you’ll be able to use all light modifiers with this connection and fit them directly on the mono light or extension heads.
Flashpoint XPLOR 600 (Godox AD600) in use
I’ve been using two AD600’s for over a year now on Sony cameras, and recently with Fuji too. The build quality is excellent, and I’ve only had one bulb burn out on me in all this time. The replacement bulbs cost around $100 (quite a bit cheaper than the competition) and it is a good idea to have a spare lying around just in case. The batteries are interchangeable of course, so I’ll always take a spare if I’m only using one flash on assignment.
For a Sony mirrorless shooter, who needs to change camera batteries quite often, the XPLOR 600 is a breath of fresh air really. I’ve never run out of power even during a full day of shooting, and often don’t bother charging the battery for the second day.
Recycle speed is quite fast and ranges from .01 to 2.5 seconds depending on the output, with a built-in cooling fan to keep the unit cool and stable. All of the system functions are displayed clearly on the LED display, and the browser system is quite easy to navigate through.
I generally use the REMOTE 600 head with an 80 cm soft beauty dish and a monopod operated by an assistant to get the light directed to where I want it.
I have my camera set up to independently use the compensation dial for exposure and flash compensation for flash power. I’ll almost always be using TTL metering to get a decent balance between natural light and flash light and modify this balance according to my preference using flash compensation and exposure compensation.
It’s the fastest way to get things done, and no, my wedding clients don’t like waiting too long for me to get things right. Once you’ve chosen your settings, it’s generally consistent with each scene you’re shooting. Using the remote head and HSS does take its toll on output power, but only slightly. You’ll still be able to overpower a bright midday sun with this setup.
Investing in the Flashpoint or Godox system has the advantage of cross brand compatibility. You’ll be able to use any of these flashes with a 2,4 GHz receiver on any modern Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fuji or Olympus camera as long as you have the right radio remote. And Godox/Flashpoint even built-in on many hotshoe flashes like the Godox TT350F or Flashpoint Zoom Li-on R2 TTL . This is particularly useful for wedding photographers who want to have the flexibility of a walk around flash and a controller for off-camera mono lights during the opening dance.
If you’re looking for a quality, high powered off-camera portable flash that won’t break the bank, there is really no other option than the Flashpoint XPLOR 600. With at least 450 burst at full power, short recycle times, HSS and TTL compatibility and a built-in 2.4G R2 Radio Remote System, you’ll be able to overpower the sun on almost any occasion. Having said that, often the Flashpoint eVOLV 200 will get you there too, and it’s about 50% cheaper and even more portable.
As the Wistro/XPLOR system has cross-brand compatibility, you’ll be able to use any of your flashes with the 2.4 GHz receiver in five groups at a range of up to 30 meters. There is also a USB port so you’ll be able to upgrade the firmware in the future without sending it back to the manufacturer, quite interesting as Godox does at some interesting functionality yearly (like the Godox A1 smartphone app in September 2017). And yes, Flashpoint/Godox/Neewer rebranded flashes can all be updated with the same Godox firmware on their site.
The straightforward menu system and LED panel are very easy to navigate through and the entire system is quite portable, especially if you use it on location with the optional Remote 600 head. A thermostatic fan will keep the temperature of the flash unit stable, ensuring you’ll be able to use it throughout the day.
The Flashpoint XPLOR 600 also has a relatively stable color temperature of +/- 200 @ 5600k, making it stable enough for 95% of users out there. Thanks to the Bowens mount system, you’ll probably be able to use your current softboxes or at least have access to many low-cost modifiers on the market. You’ll be able to achieve many off-camera flash effects and scenarios even with one unit and the right modifier, so all in all, a highly recommended purchase.