A few months ago I wrote a piece entitled “Has Profoto lost it’s way?” In that piece I lamented about how my studio purchased a Canon EOS R6 that we couldn’t use with our Profoto strobes. The reason why we weren’t able to use the R6 was because Profoto had yet to update the firmware of their air triggers.
Well, here we are, coming up on nine months since the R6 release and Profoto has still yet to update the Air trigger’s firmware for use with the B1 and B1X. I’ve been sitting on this $2,600 asset since September 2020. I’ve waited long enough — I needed an alternative.
Author’s Note: Following the publication of this piece, I found out the Air trigger can work with the R6. There’s a setting on the R6 that allows for the type of shutter, and this needs to be changed to Mechanical in order to work.
My needs were simple
I shoot on location as much as I do in the studio. Meaning I needed a light that would be at home in both situations. I came up with the following list of requirements:
- I needed the strobe to be battery powered
- At least 250 watt seconds to help me overpower the sun here in Southwest Florida
- Portability: Something that would be easy to travel with and setup and breakdown quickly on location
- Availability of a decent variety of light modifiers
- I didn’t want to break the bank with a whole new flash system
- Lastly and most importantly, it MUST be compatible with the EOSR6
I thought that list was reasonable.
In my real estate work, I’ve been using the Godox AD200
For about a year now, I’ve been using the Godox AD200 in my real estate work. What I like about it is not only it’s power — 200 watt seconds — but its portability and compatibility with so many camera systems.
Godox has a trigger for virtually every camera system. I use multiple systems — I run a YouTube channel and literally review everything. Meaning that I already had a Godox trigger for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji and Panasonic/Olympus. And with those triggers, I can use the AD200 with all of my cameras — including the R6.
For whatever reason, the Godox triggers play nice with the R6. I don’t know what it is about the Profoto triggers and Canon, but in order to work with the R6, I need a firmware update that has still yet to come.
The Godox XPro triggers also have two very distinct advantages over the Profoto triggers. Specifically, the XPro tells me what the flash’s power setting is without me having to walk over to the strobe and physically examine the display to see where it’s set. The Godox trigger tells me right from the display on the trigger — nice!
The second big advantage the Godox triggers have is significant — price. How much more economical are the Godox triggers? I can buy six of them for the price of one Profoto trigger. There’s no getting around that kind of math … the Godox’s are an extraordinary value.
I needed more oomph!
As cool as the AD200’s are — and they ARE, I shoot a lot of portraits against the bright sunny backdrops of the beaches down here and 200 watt seconds through a diffuser isn’t always enough power to overcome the sun for a large group portrait. So I have a trigger that works with my R6, now I just need a flash with a bit more juice to get the job done.
The Flashpoint XPLOR 300 Pro (Godox AD300 Pro)
Having essentially given up waiting on Profoto, I started looking into what else Godox had to offer beyond the AD200’s. Truthfully, I hadn’t really needed another flash system for the last eight years, in a sense, searching for a new strobe was like starting over for me.
Much to my surprise, they have a variety of strobes and speedlites that would meet my needs. The one that stood out to me was the AD300 Pro.
300 watt seconds is just enough oomph to get the job done. The strobes are battery powered and very portable — especially for the amount of output they’re capable of producing. They’re easy to use and very easy to set up. Additional batteries don’t break the bank either.
Most importantly for what they are, the price point for the AD300 pro is unbelievably attractive! Again, to put it in perspective, I can buy five AD300 Pros for the cost of just 1 Profoto B1X. Those kind of economics are too much to overcome.
Handling and performance
The first thing that struck me about the AD300 Pro is how comparatively small, lightweight and portable it is versus my Profotos. Granted, the B1X has 200 watt seconds more power, but it’s considerably heavier (6.61 vs. 2.76 pounds) and I think it’s also fair to say the Profoto is built better.
Setting up the Godox is a breeze, you attach the swivel piece that attaches to the light and the stand, put on your modifier and away we go! Adjusting power, group and ratio settings simple as the control layout for the XPRO is highly intuitive and easy to use. As I mentioned previously, what I like best about the XPro trigger is that it tells me what the current power setting is on the AD300. A simple thing, but it’s so convenient!
The button and dial layout of the Godox is simpler and much more intuitive than the Profotos. The Profotos on the other hand require holding multiple buttons simultaneously to get to a desired setting, they’re not easy to use or configure and there is a bit of a learning curve. The display screen is bigger and easier to read on the Profoto, but the AD300 Pro’s is adequate. However, because I can see the power setting on the XPro trigger, the back display isn’t as important to me.
Recycling times are quick with the Godox, even at full power, and at lower power settings, recycling time is negligible to instantaneous.
In the end, what matters is results. I’ve been using the Glow EZ Lock Collapsible silver beauty dish, and the combo has been divine! I love the results!
Now it’s not all sunshine and lollipops with the Godox. There are a few shortcomings you need to be aware of. Specifically the build quality of the housing. It’s strong, but it’s not up to the level of Profoto. That’s hardly surprising to me, again, given its price point.
The swivel clamp that connects the flash to a light stand can have a hard time supporting heavier light modifiers. Large umbrellas with diffusion can weigh the strobe down and the modifier can droop from it’s intended position.
Most notably is the number of light modifiers that are available natively — that is without the use of an adapter — are currently very limited. The adapter option is certainly a solution, but to me it’s just another piece of gear that I need to bring to a shoot. I definitely prefer native accessories.
The price to value relationship of the Flashpoint XPLOR 300 Pro is simply outstanding. 300 watt seconds of power in a compact, lightweight and affordable package is very compelling. It’s simply been a joy to use and as for my Profotos — they may very well be on the block for sale or I may keep them in the studio. Most of my gear works with them, except for my R6.
- Maximum Power: 300 Watt Seconds
- Power Control: 9 Stops
- Flash Duration: t.1: 1/220 to 1/10,200 Sec
- Color Temperature: 5600K ± 200K
- Sync Speed: 1/8000th (High Speed Sync)
- Wireless Channels/Groups: 32/5
- Delay Range: 0.01 to 30 Sec
- Price to value relationship is outstanding
- Price of accessories — batteries and triggers is also very reasonable
- Limited number of native light modifiers
- Clamp between the flash and stand isn’t strong enough to support larger modifiers
- Not much else
Flashpoint XPLOR 300 Pro TTL R2 Battery-Powered Monolight
The ingenious freshest member of the world renowned R2 Family of Wireless Flash. 300WS in a cylindrical futuristic body featuring R2 Wireless triggering, High Speed Sync on demand, 2600WAh Lithium-Ion rechargeability, intense Bi-Color LED guided modeling, enhanced Custom Functions. TTL, Manual and MultiStrobe modes.