Update September 28 2020
Before explaining my testing I want to state that I liked the pack/head combination of this 1200 Pro R2 much more than I ever imagined. I have not used a pack/head system extensively in my professional photography career so this was the first time using one. So here goes….
My personal experience is NOTHING can suck more power out of a strobe than using it outdoors through a gobo. NOTHING. So to compare the 1200 to the Portable 1200ws Extension Head For The XPLOR 600 I normally use with my Aputure Spotlight mount this is how the scene looks in natural light. Midday in September in the SF Bay Area on an overcast day. The 1200 Pro is set to full power, 1:1 and the lens on my Aputure Spotlight is the 36 degree model. It is 23 feet from the fence behind my Cake Kalk& electric motorcycle and I’m using a Rosco Construction steel gobo.
Here are the shots from this setup.
It takes an incredible amount of power to cast shadows like this outside in mid day. So much so that the very bright modeling light of the 1200 Pro is not bright enough to illuminate the pattern for me to align it to Katie or the bike. So I had to shoot and adjust the angle/focus of the modifier in order to get the angle I wanted for the shot. It is here I will say that I prefer the 1200 Pro over using my 2 separate 600 combined. The reason? It’s SO MUCH EASIER to lug one power source (meaning the pack) rather than 2 separate 600s. The power difference is insignificant too.
The rest of the shots were created using a Glow Grand ParaBox Pro Softbox (70″) with focusing rod.
For these two images I placed the talent in front of the Para which was facing me. A Sunbounce Mini white reflector was used to reflect light and dimension back onto their faces. Power on the 1200 Pro was set at 1/8 power with the modifier fully flooded.
Next a more ‘traditional’ use of the 1200 pro and modifier. I placed the strobe in a mid focused position to create this portrait of Alex. Power was 1/32nd for his shot.
To show the scale of the modifier/strobe combo I created these shots.
And now we move to a much more conventional use of the strobe/modifier.
In summary I will simply say that the Flashpoint 1200 Pro R2 is a remarkable tool, remarkable. Even at 1:1 power the recycling time is one second or less. And at 1/2 power or less it’s almost instantaneous. Having this much power in such a lightweight and easily portable unit is a godsend for my work. Fitting in with the rest of the Flashpoint/Godox eco system makes it a tool I plan to keep in my arsenal for use when it’s the right tool for the right job. I have several upcoming sessions where I plan to use it extensively.
Update August 30 2020
I have been able to test this strobe with actual humans during COVID. Keeping socially distanced is easy with a 1200 ws strobe. At this point in my tests I have not used full 1:1 power so I cannot say how quickly it recycles. I will say that at 1/2 power it is damn near instantaneous. And at 1/4 or lower it IS instantaneous.
In this image the Elinchrom 69″ with focusing rod is completely flooded and I am standing directly in front of the modifier. In a fully flooded position with a modifier this large sucks a lot of power from a strobe. In essence is creates a huge ring light. Not a problem with the 1200.
Update August 26 2020
So I decided to use my new electric motorcycle a Cake Kalk& to test the use of the 1200 with one of my favorite large modifiers, an Elinchrom 69″ Rotalux Octa. I have modified the Octa to accept a focusing rod which is my preferred quality of light for almost all of my client work.
In the picture below the focusing rod is in fully focused position. I decided not to use this position since it did not offer me the coverage or quality of light I was after.
Here you can see how I’ve mounted the pack to the light stand as a counterweight to the modifier. You will notice that the octa is not facing the rack of cables.
And here is Sofia. The 1200/69″ octa is camera left with the octa facing so that the light is bounced off of the right side of the octa. This allows me to control light spill. The 1200 EASILY fills the large octa and I was shooting at ISO100 1/125th f4.5 with my Pentax 645Z with the 1200 at 1/32nd power.
Original Post August 24 2020
The Flashpoint XPLOR Power 1200 Pro R2 is Adorama’s first Flashpoint pack and head system. In the past their strobes have been all in one units more commonly known as monolights. They have offered Flashpoint Portable 1200ws Extension Head For The XPLOR 600 that combines two Xplor 600s into one 1200 system. I own two and use them when my work calls for a 1200 ws head. Since we are in the midst of COVID19 as I assemble this post, I have been unable to schedule any ‘human’ sessions, but have one coming up in late September. I had scheduled dance sessions in July, but with the shelter in place orders in CA, I had to cancel them. Until then I have the opportunity to assess the physical aspects of this strobe and compare it to the 1200 extension head I have been using. So for right now I will cover some of the physical aspect of this pack/head system.
I’ve never owned a pack/head system and used monolights for my entire professional career. I find monolights so convenient especially now that they are battery powered. The Flashpoint XPLOR and Godox lines have such a robust triggering ecosystem that ties so many of their products all together. I do like the convenience and option of using two Flashpoint 600 heads in combination to create a 1200 ws unit or to just use them separately. The down side of that combination is traveling on location. It’s both a blessing and a curse. If I only need to lug one 600 to a part of the location I can. But lugging two is just not fun, I hate lugging.
Here are the physical statistics of the 1200 Pro 2 and the 1200 Extension Head
- Extension Head Cord length 9 feet
- 1200 Pro 2 Cord length 11 feet
- Difference 1200 Pro’s cord is 2 feet longer
- Weight of 2 Flashpoint Monolight 600s (non pro version) without bulbs: 11.6 Pounds
- Weight of 1200 Pro 2 12.8 Pounds
- Difference 1200 Pro is 1.2 Pounds heavier
On the YouTube videos I’ve seen about the new 1200 Pro most people were hoping or wondering how to attach the pack to a light stand. I fabricated a mount to use to attach them to a light stand. It’s been one of my most popular post to date. So many people say I should make and sell them. Naw, not my thing. Here is a photo of my 1200 extension head set up.
I wanted to see how this would secure the pack to both a C Stand and a regular light stand.
First the C Stand
Placing the 1200 Pro’s pack just above the ground between the shorter legs of the C Stand prevents it from swinging right and left.
By positioning the J hook on the opposite side of the 1200’s pack I create tension on the strap to hold the pack securely against the C Stand’s two legs. In this configuration it also is low and opposite of the long leg of the base which counterbalances a large heavy modifier very well.
Next the regular light stand. Keep in mind this is NOT some cheap flimsy light stand.
Here you will notice that I rest the rubber base of the 1200 Pro on the cross bars of the light stand.
The strap goes through the handle of the 1200 Pro
And like with the C Stand I have the J hook on the opposite side of the 1200’s pack so I can create tension to keep the pack snugly against the light stand’s center pole. This can be accomplished by one of two ways. First by raising the clamp up on the shaft of the lightstand until the strap is tensioned. Or by looping the strap a number of times around the handle of the pack. Either way works as well as the other. It just depends on the light stand you’re using.
OK so I need to reveal that I’m a bag whore. I mean I LOVE bags, LOVE THEM. I cannot even state how many bags I have for all sorts of things. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of and although I have tried to find a 12 step bag program, I didn’t really try that hard. Well now that’s out of the way you’ll know why I’m gonna talk so much about the 1200 Pro’s bag!
This is far and away THE BEST included strobe bag I’ve ever seen. EVER. Here are the reasons why:
First off it’s a rollie. Did I mention I hate lugging? I hate lugging, but rolling is fine.
And behind that zippered panel are backpack straps built into the bag! Now don’t get me wrong, putting this on my back would not be my first choice, but when I’ve been on location humping up and down stairs, rocks, cliffs, you name it having the OPTION of turning this into a backpack is great! Especially if I have my gf put it on her back! Hahahahaha. Seriously this is a great added feature.
On one side is an elastic pocket with a nylon strap to hold a tripod. Pretty normal stuff, but still a great added detail. And then….
There is a strap configuration on the other side which I’ve never seen before. So I thought I’d try to put a C Stand into that area and it worked great! I don’t know about you, but the fewer trips I have to make back and forth to my vehicle the better. Of course the rollie bag has an extendable pull handle you can see in this shot.
The interior top flap has zipper pockets that are well made and useful.
Of course there is the proper spot for each of the strobe’s elements. Well padded and easily configurable too.
Two front pockets. Funny as the top one’s storage pouch goes UP under the Flashpoint label, I was expecting it to go down. The lower zipper’s pouch goes down as expected.
The zipper to the very right of the main compartment zipper runs the full length and width of the bag’s front cover. It is CHOCK FULL of extra dividers for the interior. Way more than anyone even me would ever need.
One more bag which holds the 1200 Pro’s battery pack. Very cool that it has vents on both sides, a clear panel to see your settings and D rings on either side to carry it over your shoulder if needed.
OK enough about the bags already, here are the most important parts of the 1200 Pro. The battery pack and the head. For anyone familiar with Flashpoint strobes the controls are the same and will look very familiar to you. I find this an excellent development of their ecosystem so we don’t have to relearn controls when new products are released. The 1200 Pro is no exception.
I want to bring up a user error (meaning me) event that occured. When I plugged the head into the pack I ‘thought‘ I had seated the plug well. The modeling light came on, the pack powered up, but when I tried to test flash the unit from either the test flash button on the pack or my trigger, nothing. Well in the end I had NOT fully seated the plug into the pack’s receptor completely. Total user error.
Like the 600 Pro the 1200 Pro comes with its own reflector and protective cap. As well as a stepless and smooth metal swivel mount.
The flash tube and the outer glass housing are separate units. Both fit very securely into the flash head.
The battery lever ejects a handle at which time it’s very easy to pull the battery from the pack.
Cooling fans flank both sides of the pack. The state of the battery’s charge level can be viewed on the pack or the battery itself by pressing the button on the battery.
A view of the interior of the pack and its battery terminals which connect to the battery. As you can see there are several attachment points which are different then the Flashpoint monolights.
My next process will be to test the 1200 Pro against the 1200 extension heads. And finally using them both with actual human subjects….unless I’m prevented due to COVID19 lockdowns. Stay tuned….