Flashpoint Xplor 400 Pro Monolight Review

I felt it time to switch over to the new exciting technology that is built into studio lights these days. My first choice was to go with the Orlit 610 HSS TTL monolight as it could be used with my existing Canon flash system. But after receiving that unit I found that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. Recently I noticed Wescott has come out with a rebranded smaller version of that light (made by Jimbei). See my blog post here.

Adoroma ships the transmitter separately from the powerlight. I had to wait an extra day to get it. The first thing I did was to upgrade the transmitter.

Came Shipped with Version 1.4 and I updated it to Version 1.8

Came Shipped with Version 1.4 and I updated it to Version 1.8

Firmware update for Flashpoint R2 Transmitter

My transmitter came with version 1.4 on it. I wanted the latest version so I downloaded software and updated it to version 1.8

Procedure:

1) Go to Adorama’s website and type in “Flashpoint Firmware Download”

2) Look at product and click Brand Button to download file. For me this was R2 Pro 9 (XPro) Canon (F2)

3) Download F2 Installer Software

4) Open Software

5) Using special cable (Samsung battery Cable) hook transmitter to laptop usb port. It should say device is connected.

6) Select fie button “get file download”

7) Push Upgrade File (Deletes version 1.4 and installs version 1.8). Shows in green Target Verify Successful.

Done! Should see as picture shows above that it is on version 1.8.

Shown with Bowens mount adapter installed and ready to add my photoflex softbox to the unit

Shown with Bowens mount adapter installed and ready to add my photoflex softbox to the unit

Personally, I like the bare bulb on this reflector, that goes well with my photoflex modifiers. One thing I never liked about the Profoto units is that they did not have this feature.


Shown with reflector mounted for use with an umbrella

Shown with reflector mounted for use with an umbrella

Protective cap fits snugly over reflector

Protective cap fits snugly over reflector

The original reflector splits apart to give you this half reflector. There is a cover that fits on this. Once the back battery is removed, it fits nicely in the case.

I wanted a light with a good sturdy base mounting hole. Godox makes this light and they upgraded the mount from their 600 version. It is well designed and the base can be unbolted from the monolight to be used compactly. And also it can be replaced if it were ever to break. I like this option.


charge indicator button.jpg

The one problem that took me forever to find was how to light up these indicator lights on the battery!

No setting for the 400 pro yet on the transmitter? Shown I’ve set it to flash

No setting for the 400 pro yet on the transmitter? Shown I’ve set it to flash

My biggest caveat about this flash is that it misfires once every 20 to 50 shots when using the XPro transmitter? I notice here that for setting TCM (TTL convert to Manual mode) there is not a setting for the 400 pro? And what would you set if you were triggering both a 200 unit and a 600 unit at the same time? I’m hoping in future updates that it will be updated to my 400 version and that this may solve the annoying misfire problem.

Make sure you set the distance between 0 and 30 meters

Make sure you set the distance between 0 and 30 meters

Make sure you set the distance properly for the sender. Most will be using the sender fairly close to the 400 pro so I suggest setting it between 0 and 30 meters. Otherwise it may not fire if you are less than a meter away from the monolight.


Glad to have double A batteries as they last a long time. It is recommended to use Alkaline.

Glad to have double A batteries as they last a long time. It is recommended to use Alkaline.

Showing the far side of the 400 pro where the fan is housed.

Showing the far side of the 400 pro where the fan is housed.

If you read my blog post on the Orlit 610, it uses Triple A batteries and I found that the sender for it only lasted about 8 hours! You could be in a middle of a shoot and it stop working needing extra batteries. Fortunately with the Xpro I’ve yet to have to replace the batteries.


xplor ports.jpg

The Profoto B10 does not have an external trigger port? That is a big advantage for the Xplor 400 pro. As I can always hook up a trusty pocket wizard radio unit to trigger the flash.

TCM stands for TTL Convert to Manual Flash Mode

TCM stands for TTL Convert to Manual Flash Mode

I found this to be very accurate. Only the Xpro transmitter allows this feature (similar to what Profoto does). I love this feature! It saves so much time getting the exposure setting. No longer do I need to carry a flash meter.

Once TCM is pushed it converts to the manual mode. You need to dump power by hitting the flash symbol button. From then on the flash stays at that setting.

Once TCM is pushed it converts to the manual mode. You need to dump power by hitting the flash symbol button. From then on the flash stays at that setting.

Stable Color Temperature Mode

One of the advantages of modern studio lights over old is their more accurate color temperature modes. You push a button on the Xplor 400 Pro body and it now is accurate to within plus or minus 75 kelvin. That is much needed when I want to get perfect skin tones without having to do a lot of manipulation in photoshop! Note: that once you switch back to TTL mode the unit kicks off Stable Color Mode (represented by Mcolor on the the Xplor bodies LCD panel) and color temperature is accurate within plus or minus 200 kelvin.

Conclusion

As mentioned the only really annoying thing about this light is the occasional misfire. This would be a problem if I shot weddings but since I do portraits it is not so much a big deal. But again I can always hook up a pocket wizard to solve this problem. I then am stuck at adjusting the power at the Xplor body itself.

The Advantages far outweigh the disadvantage.

1) TCM (TTL Convert to Manual) mode is a real time saver.

2) Stable Color Mode saves me time not needing photoshop so much.

3) The unit is the lightest 400 studio light weighing less than 5 pounds. Making it easy to carry outside when mounted on a light stand yet won’t blow over so easily when having a modifier attached to it.

4) Adorama gives a 2-year warranty on the unit. So no needing to send it back to China if I have any problems.

Overall I’m very happy with this unit as I needed something light enough to carry by hand outside yet powerful enough to knock down the sun on sunny days.