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Flashpoint XPLOR (Godox) 300 Pro – Update August 31 2020

Update August 31 2020

My gf is a Robert Hall fangirl. “Mark have you seen Robert’s latest Youtube video about his 300? He is having the same issues I have with the swivel that comes with it! Look!” OMG if he lived in the same state, hell even if he lives in Michigan and we live in San Francisco I’d worry if it weren’t for COVID preventing flights! LOL. Anyway I did loads of stuff to try to keep the included lightstand swivel from creeping down since in its OEM state it does not tighten down enough to securely hold the native Godox modifier I bought for it. It’s the only time I’d use the included swivel, with large modifiers I use the new S2 bracket. But for ultra portability when needed I love the combo especially having adapted mine to produce a quality of light like a focusing rod modifier.

What I finally figured out is to sand the plastic covering off of the fiber washer, file slots into the washer and the metal portions of the swivel and viola, it now holds securely. Not as solid as bouncing it up and down, but good enough for her/my usage. Now if I could only figure out how to sabotage Hall’s damn Youtube channel! LOL JK he’s a nice guy.

The top shows how the OEM swivel comes. As you can see in the set below the OEM originals I have sanded off the plastic covering from the fiber washer and carved grooves into the washer and the metal portion with a file. More ‘bite’ now when tightened down.

Update August 10 2020

I continue to be very impressed by the construction and power of the 300 Pros. I was able to light an outdoor dance shoot in mid day at Sutro Baths in San Francisco. Using a hard modifier and one 300. Incredible for both HSS and non HSS applications.

Turning day into night with a single 300 Pro

Update June 11 2020

I have awaited the Bowens screw on adapter for the 300 Pro in high hopes that I would be able to use it with my Aputure Spotlight Mount modifier which I use for gobo work. And my gosh it is perfect for my use!

Prior to owning the Flashpoint AD-AB Adapter Ring for the 300 (FYI you will also need the Flashpoint XPLOR 400PRO Bowens Mount Adapter) I had been using the S2 bracket. And prior to the 300 I had been using the 600 remote head WITH a DIY spacer adapter since the bulb was too long and impacted the Aputure’s first lens. No more now! Yes this unit is 1 stop less bright than using a 600 but the convenience and performance outweighs that one stop advantage. Especially since distance or ISO can overcome that 1 stop loss of light.

And for those who are not DIY’s or don’t want the hassle of making the spacing adapter, THIS IS SO YOUR JAM! I won’t be using the screw on attachment except when using it with the Aputure. I find the S2 bracket much more convenient and easy to remove/install. But man for the Aputure Spotlight it’s pure heaven!

One other item I wanted to mention. If you are using heavier modifiers with the 300 and plan to use the OEM included lightstand swivel mount, you may wish to reconsider. Although the included swivel is fine for lightweight modifiers I found that having to overtighten the swivel pivot is not confidence inspiring. The very small knob does not offer a lot of leverage either. Personally I much prefer using the S2 bracket for medium to heavy modifiers.

Update May 7 2020

I ran a test of the 300 Pro’s modeling light today. I placed my Sekonic L-358 light meter 6 feet from the light source of each of the units.

Here are my results with meter set at 1/60 of a second ISO 100 without any reflectors. All modeling lights set at maximum (except for the 200 OEM Fresnel head, no adjustments, just on or off):

  • Xplor 600 Pro (100%) f1.8
  • Xplor 300 Pro (Setting 10) f1.1
  • Xplor 200 with OEM Fresnel Head (No adjustments) Could not register a reading EU
  • Xplor 200 with the Round Head attachment (Set at level 3) f1.0

Update May 6 2020

I decided to test the little 300 Pro using two of my favorite modifiers, an Elinchrom 39″ Rotalux Deep Octabox and the Elinchrom 69″ Rotalux Octabox. Both create delicious light and I use them often during publicity work with a focusing rod. I wanted to find out if the 300 has enough oomph to allow me to use it in these modifiers. And guess what? OH YES IT DOES.

The 300 Pro in my 69″ Elinchrom octa

1/8th power first fully focused and then fully flooded.

Fully focused.

Fully flooded. The even light distribution of focusing rods is wonderful.

Elinchrom makes a line of modifiers known as the “Indirect Litemotiv” line that are available in various shapes. The inner fabric is different than the Rotalux line, but the whole “Indirect” concept is facing the strobe inward toward the interior of the modifier akin to a focusing rod system. But it is a fixed system instead of having the ability to focus or flood the modifier. Fstoppers Reviews the Elinchrom Indirect Litemotiv Softboxes covers the advantages of the indirect system. 

FStopper’s Conclusion

“All in all, these light shapers are awesome, and I did not want to return them to Elinchrom. The octabank is a beast! I shot quite a number of agency test and portraits with it and loved the result. The light is so soft and flattering; it was almost impossible to get bad lighting out of it….”

The 300 Pro will make my work life even easier than before.

Next the Elinchrom 39″ Deep Octa

First fully focused and then fully flooded.

Westcott Zeppelin 47″. Works just as well in my Zeppelin 59″

 

I’m not going to go into the meter readings I got using both modifiers with the 300 Pro but suffice it to say that I will not hesitate to use it for any studio work with a large modifier. I am considering selling half of my 600s to replace them with the 300 Pros! No remote heads, no cables, no mounting my 600s to the lightstand. 

OH and I’ve also posted how well this little 300 works with my Aputure Spotlight Mount!

Update May 5 2020

Further down in this post I have explained why and how I plan to use this strobe. Short story is it has quickly become my favorite strobe. Yes we are all in the horrid COVID-19 situation right now and currently photo gear is the least important aspect in life. But as a working (well currently unemployed) photographer trying to stay sane is easier when I have gear to test. Even better when the gear turns out to be fantastic!

Anyway I wanted to fabricate a cage for the little 300 Pro to use with my focusing rod modifiers. When I purchased the matching Direct Mount 33.4″ octa I had this crazy idea to DIY my own cage using parts from a Direct Mount modifier. So I searched Adorama’s used/return section and found a Direct Mount missing some pieces for 35.00, exactly half the price of the new Direct Mount I had ordered. So I ordered it and was off to the races! Now I’m going to say up front that I really don’t want to outline every step I took to figure out how/what to make the cage. Why? Well for two reasons, first Flashpoint plans to release a Bowens attachment (not the excellent S2 bracket which already exists) that bolts to the 300 Pro. At that point anyone can use the 300 in a Bowens cage for focusing rods. Easy!

Secondly, why did I go through all of the trouble and expense to DIY a Direct Mount Cage in the first place? Primarily it’s because I LOVE the simplicity of the 300 and don’t want to bolt a Bowens mount to it. If I need to use this with a Bowens modifier of any type I will use the excellent S2 bracket made for this thing. And I don’t think many people will know just how valuable this 300 is for focusing rod lovers. No remote head. No monolight attached to the lightstand. Just the little light on the focusing rod. I weighed the 300 with my DIY cage against my 600 Pro remote head and the Bowens cage. Guess what!? The 300 with my DIY cage weighs 4 ozs. less! And of course that does not include the 600 Pro body that must be attached to the lightstand.

I chuckled a bit thinking to myself “Wow if Profoto or Broncolor came out with this compact unit as a focusing rod strobe people would have thought it was a genius move!”  Sure some may feel that a paltry 300 measly watt seconds is too low. But consider raising your ISO from 100 to 200 then equals a 600 ws strobe at 100 ISO. Oh yeah and only purists feel that 100 ISO is the ONLY way to shoot publicity? Kinda like thinking only one f stop should ever be used….food for thought.

So I completely disassembled the 25.5″ used Direct Mount I purchased just to get to the cage. Then I cut the mounting pole to size and attached a female to female coupler.

The three mounting arms are not equidistant from one another. So I had to measure them to determine which arm went into which hole. Two are 64mm apart, one is 71mm.

The entire strobe fits on the end of my focusing rod including the power unit and the battery! Incredible.

If you happen to be wondering why I choose to NOT attach a full 600 Pro monolight to my focusing rods….well I don’t need to answer that question.

Fully focused position.

Fully flooded position.

And yes the quality of light is just as good as any of my other strobes. So here’s the second test I conducted. I wanted to see if the 33.4″ Direct Mount Glow I purchased and modified with a solid disk diffuser would match or come close to my beloved Parabolix 35D modifier. Of course I had to use Bob due to COVID but I’m confident the results with a real human face will be the same. Time will tell once COVID is over….sigh

Left Parabolix 35D which is a 35″ modifier. Right is the Direct Mount Glow 33.4″ with my DIY diffusion disk.

The setup to compare quality of light from both modifiers on Bob. In both cases the modifiers are NOT pointed directly at Bob, but angled so that the edge closest to the viewer reflects most of the light. It’s my preference.

The Parabolix was set in the same focusing position (distance from the rear of the modifier) as my disk diffusion panel on the Glow Direct Mount.

And here is the comparison image.

Which is which? LOL you can guess all you want. For me this was to determine if the Glow Direct Mount’s (with my DIY disk diffuser) quality of light is comparable to the 35D with focusing rod….which is 12x the Glow’s price BTW. Don’t get me wrong, the 35D is a modifier that produces delicious light. But for portability and set up the little 300/Direct Mounter is a winner.

So…for my work the quality of light from the Glow with my diffusion disk is more than good enough to take on location for portrait work. Rather than hauling my Parabolix I will be satisfied using the Glow and my little 300 for a good share of traveling portraiture. No it’s not a silver bullet, but for a portable solution for focusing rod quality of light it works for me.

Here’s the begging part….Adorama/Flashpoint/Godox – ANYBODY please make a direct mount cage for the little 300! I almost want to keep the 300 secret to myself for focusing rod strobes! LOL

Flashpoint XPLOR 300 Pro TTL R2 Battery-Powered Monolight

April 27 2020 Original Post Date

I normally do not combine my reviews of items. But this is an exception. For those who follow my blog it’s clear that cameras, strobes, stands, modifiers, etc. are tools to me, not jewels. To date the only piece of photo gear I covet like a child’s favorite teddy bear is my beloved Fuji X100V. I love its performance, how it looks and how it feels in my hands. In short…well I love the thing. As of today I can say that I now have one other favorite piece of kit. The Flashpoint XPLOR 300 Pro TTL R2 Battery-Powered Monolight and for the very same reasons I sighted with the Fuji too!

My two pieces of photo kit that I just love to handle and use. The little Fuji and the little 300.

I like to watch videos by Robert Hall because he’s factual and pretty engaging. His video about the 300 in his typical fashion is chock full of stats and tests. My review is not to repeat his comprehensive tests, but about my own findings of the strobe. It was there as I was watching the video that he mentioned the XPLOR 400 Direct Mount Parabolic where at 17:06 his wife (and it’s so obvious Hall MARRIED UP, WAY UP! LOL) adoringly demonstrated how the Flashpoint XPLOR 400 Direct Mount is put together…kinda.

One of the issues that initially worried me is the strobe does not have an adjustment in its menu system to allow power adjustment increments. The default is 1/10th of a stop each time the adjustment wheel is moved. But thankfully this is overridden using the R2 triggers. My preference is one third stop adjustments which works well with the remote. Just keep in mind that if you are adjusting the power levels on the strobe body your only choice is in one tenth increments.

When I travel via airlines with all of my strobes I remove all the bulbs and batteries in checked luggage. What’s nice about the 300 is the removable reflector which also is the bulb protector (Like the 600 Pro but much smaller) will prevent me from forgetting a cone from my backlighting situations. The 300 is now going to be my defacto backlight strobe! And like my 200s it is small enough to pack in my carry on camera bag.

The build quality of the 300 is on par with the quality I feel is built into the Fuji X100V. Here I’m just comparing the overall length of the unit against one of my 200s.

Although I’ll most likely never use it except to store it, the included case is very well done.

The ability to use the included swivel bracket in a vertical or horizontal position is key to how I work. More on this later in this post.

The mounting point is notched and mated to the removable swivel mount. VERY solid and does not allow the strobe to rotate around the mount at all. Very well engineered.

For an unknown reason by removing the washer and inverting it, it prevented the swivel from creeping when cinched down. Just FYI in case you find your swivel moves a tad when completely tightened down.

In the examples below you will see that the ability to angle the modifier (it will also depend on the shape of your modifier) downward allows more of an angle when the swivel mount is used in the horizontal position. I’d estimate it gives me around 5 degrees more of an angle adjustment with this modifier. So for me rather than having to carry an extension I just use the swivel in the horizontal position.

The next series of images is just to test the power of the 300 in full overhead sunlight using HSS and my preferred outdoor/high wind modifier, the CLAR Fresnel lens Mount Pro. In these tests I’m using it in the fully flooded position. (and it was damn windy this day) All images shot with a Canon 1DX Mark II with the 24-70 f2.8 Mark II lens

1/250th f2.8 ISO 100, strobe at 1/8 power level. Sun is camera right 45 degrees to the side of Bob’s head.

1/1600th f2.8 ISO 100, strobe at 1/8 power level. Sun is camera right 45 degrees to the side of Bob’s head.

1/3200th f2.8 ISO 100, strobe at 1/8 power level. Sun is camera right 45 degrees to the side of Bob’s head.

1/250th f2.8 ISO 100, strobe at full power level. Sun is the backlight for Bob’s head.

1/3200th f2.8 ISO 100, strobe at full power level. Sun is the backlight for Bob’s head.

1/6400th f2.8 ISO 100, strobe at full power level. Sun is the backlight for Bob’s head. (white spots are bokeh’d sun reflections off of car windows)

For what/how I shoot outdoors in full sunlight the 300 is just right for my work. Recycling time is just about 1 second at full power. At a 1/4 power or lower I’m confident I would not miss an expression change shot during a session. Recycle is damn near immediate. About twice as fast as my 200s. (which are not the Pro versions btw) And since I never use TTL I did not test that feature nor do I plan to do so.

I am so impressed with the 300 Pro that I am fabricating a cage to use it as my defacto focusing rod modifier strobe. In those cases where I need more power as when using modifiers over 70″ I will revert to my 600 Pro remote head. But the 300 is so small and emits sufficient power for me to confidently use it with my focusing rods. Bravo for this amazing strobe.

Glow EZ Lock Parabolic Softbox For Flashpoint XPLOR 400 Direct Mount (33.4″ – Silver) – Godox AD-S85

Throughout my career I have searched for what I felt was the optimum portable strobe/modifier combination for my work. I’m NOT a wedding or event photographer so my needs are very different than those professionals. And the modifier/strobe combination I searched for was to be used primarily indoors rather than outdoors. A two light set up that produces excellent quality of light, is very portable and easy to assemble are my criteria. 99.9% of my modifiers use the Bowens mount system, it’s what I prefer. So when I saw the proprietary Flashpoint/Godox mounting system on the 300 Pro I was a bit disappointed. But once I saw the incredibly small diameter of the 33.5″ octa modifier and the fact that the new S2 Glow bracket solves the Bowens issue with the 300 I was sold.

In 85% of my work I use focusing rod modifiers, simply because I along with my clients prefer the quality of light a focusing rod modifier produces. And although I cannot adapt the Direct Mount modifier as a focusing rod system, I found a way to closely replicate the quality of light found in my focusing rod systems. No I cannot focus or flood the light like I can with a true focusing rod, but this is ultra portable and great to use while coming very close to the style of light I prefer.

I used a M8 1.0 pitch dye to thread the end of the modifier’s rod.

To attached this reflective disk onto the rod.

A M8 nut holds the disk in place as my only diffusion. This replicates as close as possible a focusing rod quality of light.

I simply keep the M8 nut attached to the zipper on the modifier.

The modifier comes with a grid, an outer diffusion panel, two reversible color temperature disks and one inner diffusion disk, which all attach via Velcro to the inner side of the modifier.

And it comes with this little reflector:

I ‘think’ its purpose is the same as the solid disk I use…I have not tried it though, but may…..

The following images illustrate just how small in diameter the modifier is compared to Bowens mount units. Incredible!

The Direct Mount ring literally fits inside a Bowens ring!

Sometimes size does matter! LOL

The Glow S2 Round Flash S-type Bowens Mount Bracket for Round Head Flashes is WORLDS APART from the original Godox S2 bracket. This is the one which allows me to use the 300 with any Bowens modifier. And my gawd that awful scratchy ratcheting swivel system is gone! Smooth as butter….

Yes the modifiers is INTENTIONALLY aimed away from Bob. With focusing rod modifiers I find that using the side of the modifier produces delicious light.

Distance from Bob can be seen here. This is the 33.4″ Direct Mount modifier.

Strobe at 1/16th power level, 1/500th f2.8 ISO 100 Modifier with hard disk only.

Strobe at 1/16th power level, 1/500th f2.8 ISO 100 Modifier with hard disk only.

Strobe at 1/16th power level, 1/500th f2.8 ISO 100 Modifier with inner diffusion panel only.

Strobe at 1/16th power level, 1/500th f2.8 ISO 100 Modifier with inner and outer diffusion panels.

 

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