Adorama’s Flashpoint XPLOR 600 TTL Review
UPDATE: June 22 2015
Sadly I can no longer recommend Adorama’s Rovelight. Click here for my reasons.
UPDATE June 12 2015: I have added more real world experience with the Rovelight’s HSS capabilities which can be found here.
I recently purchased the Rovelight and was able to utilize it today on an on location commercial shoot. I normally use PCB Einsteins combined with their Vagabond Mini system for portability. For in studio work, I use Enstein strobes exclusively. Because I will be doing on location commercial dance shoots this summer, I needed a system that would allow me to shoot fast action outdoors. Although the Einsteins have a fantastic IGBT and t:1 performance, when using them in situations where strong ambient light is present, their ability to freeze fast action is reduced.
The reason is without pumping up ISO too far to keep strobe power down, the short flash duration performance begins to drop at around 320 watt seconds. Tips of dancer’s fingers and feet begin to blur. In all fairness almost all strobes suffer from this fate. Only leaf shutters help eliminate motion blur in strong ambient light using strobes. So when the Rovelight was announced with its ability to use HSS (not the pulsing type, but creating a longer flash duration) up to 1/8000th of a second I decided to give one a try. At 479.95 it’s quite a bargain for a 600WS internal battery/radio receiver configuration including a transmitter.
There are several other sites which will explain the function, unpacking/etc of this unit. An excellent video review by Jason Macomber can be found here.
The purpose of my short review is to outline some of my findings. I chose the Bowens mount because I am unfamiliar with the Flashpoint mounting system and own some Bowens mounting modifiers. My modifier of choice for outdoor sessions is the Elinchrom Rotalux Deep Oct 39″. The light thrown from that octa is pure magic and my first preference. On those occasions where I will be shooting near the surf, I prefer to use the Westcott Rapidbox 36″ XL octa. Why? Because putting together the Rapidbox does not require me to put pressure on the softbox ring when assembling. With the Elinchrom I need to place the speedring on a hard surface to extend the rods inside the octa which are captured in the speedring. Not a big deal, but sometimes extremely fast set up is the most important factor.
What I really appreciate about the Rovelight is its integrated battery and receiver. The unit is a tad heavier than an Einstein, but I have found no issues using it on a good light stand. In those cases where I need a sandbag I simply use dry bags and fill them with water or sand/dirt/rocks so I don’t have to lug counterweights to/from the location. The remote…well it’s very basic, but does not misfire. For HSS I use the CellsII C trigger combined with the Rovelight transmitter.
I’ve clipped a copy of Jason’s video here which illustrates how to use both together. The beauty of this configuration is there is no need to add an exterior receiver to the Rovelight to achieve HSS. I use Godox AD360s and am able to fire both the AD360s and the Rovelight together with this triggering mechanism.
In HSS mode the recycle time of the strobe is about 2.5 times longer than when it is NOT in HSS mode. I believe that because the unit is extending the flash duration of the light, the time it takes to recycle the capacitors takes significantly longer. Remember that unlike speedlights, these units do not pulse the light for HSS, but instead extend the lights flash duration. Pretty clever.
Although this does not relate to the HSS function of the unit I need to mention that I really like having a LED modeling light on the unit. No it is not that powerful, however in those situations where I have used my AD360s in dark venues that are not equipped with them having any modeling light I can use with a portable strobe is a godsend. Having light to focus on the talent is key. And with my Einsteins using the 250w modeling light, even on low power can sap the battery quickly. Anyway it’s a welcome feature on this unit.
I have tested the light’s HSS at shutter speed up to 1/8000th on my Canon 1DX and it performs well. I have no reason to display a ‘test shot’ in the review simply because I think those are silly. What I want to see are shots that are actually used for client or for final products. My wish is I could have the ability to use the HSS feature of the strobe with my Pentax 645Z. I may purchase a Cactus v6 unit to see if that combination will allow me to use the Rovelight with the Pentax.
The bottom line is I’m pleased with the purchase and feel it presents a very good value. I’ll buy another one if my work calls for a second strobe requiring HSS for on location work.
Good review. Compared to the Einstein would you be happy with the RL alone? I know the RL also has good flash duration times for freezing motion. It’s great you can shoot Godox lights and the RL. I still would of liked to see some shots of its use overpowering the bright sun. Ocean shot? Or some of your mentions of freezing dancers outside. I was looking at the Indra which is attractive for TTL for events and its Odin system but costly. The RL controller is supposed to be updated in summer. I wish the controller had a display showing what power you are on and louder beeps when changing power.
I am happy with the RL alone for high ambient light for fast action. I have three commercial dance shoots this summer where I plan on using the RL exclusively for those sessions.
Very nice review of the Rovelight. I picked up two and plan on using at a ball this month..
Thank you. I’m sure you’ll have a great time using the Rovelights. They’re quite a remarkable portable monolight.
How is the flash duration against the Einstein in studio for action freezing.
The flash duration is similar, however I have not tested it with any ‘lab’ equipment if that’s the stats you’re seeking. You may wish to rent both to test it for yourself. For my work the Rovelight is excellent for high ambient light in terms of freezing action. Because it performs HSS that means you can up your shutter speed up to 1/8000th. Only you can decide if that’s enough stopping power. For in studio I will continue to use the Einsteins, they are remarkable at stopping action in low ambient light.
I got two of the Rovelights and use them last weekend at a military ball. I used the Odin RX/TX to trigger and had the RL remote in pocket to adjust power. The lights performed well with no misfires. The batteries held up well I started at 6:00pm and completed shooting at 10:45 or so and still had a full power indicator. Power was at 1/32..
So great to hear that Rob! Yes I’m finding that the Rove is an incredible value and a real workhorse. Thanks for stopping by and so very glad they’re working for you too! Take care.
Any possibility of using the Rove Light with the Pentax 645Z? As you know the Rove goes about HSS slightly differently than other HSS units. Supposedly it slows down the the burst (flash duration) instead of continuous pulsing as speed lights do. Anyway to utilize the Rove to up the flash sync speed of the 645Z with some kind of work around or are we still stuck permanently with the native 125th of the focal plane shutter?
Many thanks for all the information you’ve been providing.
As of right now the Rove won’t work in HSS with the 645. I wish it would!
Thanks for replying Mark. So is the RoveLight’s HSS function not working with the Pentax 645Z because of the RL, or because of 645Z? I read somewhere that Pentax has disabled the sync pulse
on any shutter speed above 125th, is that your understanding? Love that camera, but boy that low sync speed in full sunlight is a killer. Is the only work around that you know of, the ND filter route?
Or do you think that they will actually bring out some updated 645 LS lenses at some point?
Such a “great” camera, but seems they’re just lagging behind the ball on certain things the Pros want.
How do you figure out power setting in HSS on the strobe? (Newbie) do you light meter? What type of steps to you use when using HSS on the RL if overpowering bright sun or capturing fast action?
I also wanted to add ” The beauty of this configuration is there is no need to add an exterior receiver to the Rovelight to achieve HSS.”
Why does this work without exterior receiver with the CellsII-C and not other units like the Odin or Yongnuo?
Very excellent review. I just purchased the Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 and MiniTT1 for Nikon to work with my RL 600 is “HSS” and there are too many steps to make it work. Do you recommend I go with the CellSII-N?
I have used the CellsII C with the Rove transmitter. For HSS it worked well. My issue was with the Rove transmitter, but I understand their new model does not have the range issues. Best of luck
Hi Mark, I am new to using speed lights and i would like to know if this speed light Rovelight 600 works In TTL mode with a canon mark iii camera the way a canon flash mounted to the hot shoe would work in TTL mode ?
I like the idea of the Speed light adjusting itself according to the cameras exposure. That would be fantastic for me.
I do not believe the Rovelight has TTL with any camera.
Hi Mark, did you ever purchase the Cactus V6II to used with the Rovelight and the Pentax 645Z, if so did it work?
Thanks in advance.
No I have not, but plan to do so.
I have Canon 5D Mk III and three Flashpoint RL600B. I bought Phottix Odin II TTL Flash trigger transmitter for canon and Phottix Odin II TTL Flash trigger receivers for canon. I connect the receiver to the Flashpoint RL600B by the sync cable that came the receiver.
All of them can see each other. I can fire the flash and Ican turn on and off the flash in whatever group I want. The thing is the transmitter can not control oher functions. I adjust the power fron the transmitter but there is nothing change in flash. I also adjust the functions in flash bit still doesn’t work. How can I make them work. OR Phottix odin II doesn’t work with Flashpoint RL600B?
In my testing the Odins only work with triggering the light and cannot control any other functions like power levels.