Review: Flashpoint Xplor600 Monolight (Canon TTL)

At this point in the game, if you’ve been trying to figure out which TTL monolight to purchase, then the Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight isn’t exactly going to make life any easier. In a photography world with options from Profoto, Interfit, and Phottix you’re already quite confused about what to go with. But now you’ve got a very affordable option. The Flashpoint Xplor600 is based off of the Godox system and even uses their transmitters. It’s capable of deliver TTL flash output for Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras. Additionally, it can do things like high speed sync, stroboscopic modes, and offer almost full control over the monolight from the user’s remote.

One thing’s for sure though: f you’re a photographer looking to step up from the standard speedlites, the Xplor600 is an absolute incredible choice.

Pros and Cons

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (7 of 13)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 5.6

Pros

  • Consistent and accurate TTL transmission
  • Reliable
  • Incredibly sturdy construction
  • Modelling light works and stays on with the battery connected
  • Battery life lasts forever. One month’s worth of portraits and product photos lasted me a month
  • Wireless: so no need to hook up to a wall or tape down extension cords.
  • Available in three flavors of Sony, Canon and Nikon
  • High Speed Sync transition is automatically done by bumping up your shutter speed
  • Super affordable and super powerful

Cons

  • The transmitter isn’t as simple to operate as a standard Godox transmitter, but it works well enough for the most part. This can be fixed with firmware updates

Gear Used

The Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight was tested with the Canon 6D, Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art and the Sigma 85mm f1.4 lens. For the most part, I used the diffused umbrella reflector but I also used seven foot Westcott umbrellas.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Adorama listing of the product.

Model
Xplor 600
Product Type
Battery operated studio flash
Wireless slave mode
R2 2.4G Radio transmission mode
(compatible with Nikon, Canon & Sony)
Optical transmission mode
(compatible with Nikon, Canon & Sony)
Flash modes
Local: M/Multi
2.4G slave mode: TTL/ M/Multi
Optical slave mode: TTL/ M/Multi
Slave unit compatible camera
Nikon: M/RTP flash
Canon EOS: M/Multiflash
Sony: Comming Soon
GN (1/1)
183 (ft ISO 100, with standard reflector)
Flash duration
1/220s-1/10000s
Power
600W
Power control
9 steps: 1/256~1/1
Multi flash
100 times / 100 frequency
Flash exposure compensation (FEC)
Manual FEB: ±3 stops in 1/3 increments
Flash sync
HSS @1/8000s,
first curtain sync,
second curtain sync
Flash delay
Custom Function @ 0.1~10s
Fan
Manual and Thermostatically controlled
Beep
Switchable
Modeling lamp
Switchable 10W LED – Can be adjust light brightness in three steps
Optic slave flash
S1/S2
Display
Dot matrix LCD screen
WIRELESS (Optical and R2 2.4G)
Wireless flash function
Slave off
Controllable slave groups
5 groups: A, B, C, D, E
Distance
Optical = Indoor: 39.4~49.2 ft/12~5m
Outdoor: 8~10m/26.2~32.8 feet
R2 2.4G = 262 ft / 80m
Channel
Optical = 4 groups: 1, 2, 3, 4
R2 2.4G = 32 groups: 1~32
Power status
LED level readout
Recycling time
0.01s-2.5s
Charger Power Input
100-240v 50/60Hz 1.0A
Power saving
Power off automatically after 1 hour’s idle operation
Triggering ports
3.5mm, PC, wireless remote sensor
Color temperature
5600±200k
Size
8.65 x 9.65 x 5 in / 220 x 245 x 125 mm (flash tube & reflector not included)
Weight
5.86 lb / 2.66 kg (flash tube & reflector not included)
Approx. 6.4 lb / 2.9 kg total

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight product images (2 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight is designed and shaped like a lot of other monolights out there. Some opt for putting all the control and settings on the back of the light while others go for the side. Flashpoint takes the latter approach.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight product images (3 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The controls on the Xplor600 are pretty straight forward when you look at the light. There’s a mode button, menus, HSS, modeling light, groups and channels, test button, and then a wheel dial thingy for you to make selections and lock them in. To figure out what you’re doing, there is a bright LCD screen to give you some sort of confirmation.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight product images (4 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

The umbrella reflector comes off when the user chooses to release it with the press of a button on the side. This button can also help you lock in the protective cover for the bulb.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight product images (5 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Move towards the back and on top and what you’ll find are two covers for sync ports and one for connectivity. You’ll also spot the battery pack towards the back.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight product images (6 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

This battery pack has a button on it that lets you also see what the current power levels are at. The entire area here is built very well.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight product images (7 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

In fact, taking the battery off will require some extra strength on your part. Maybe this is so that the company ensures accidents don’t happen–batteries falling on faces aren’t exactly fun situations.

In Comparison

The biggest comparisons made here will be to the Profoto B1, Interfit S1, and the Phottix Indra 500. The reviews are linked accordingly.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Interfit S1 product images (6 of 10)ISO 2001-30 sec at f - 2.8

When we’re talking about ergonomics, both Interfit and Profoto really stick to the feeling of making their monolights feel like a tube. Interfit’s offering has very solid build and a pretty simple interface. Compared to the Xplor600, neither light really has anything that makes one or the other really jump out at me demanding me to use one or the other with the exception of the way they mount to a studio stand.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Profoto B1 500 TTL product images (1 of 9)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 5.6

The biggest differentiating monolight here is Profoto’s B1. For starters, you’ll need to get used to the fact that you don’t need an umbrella reflector–it’s built in. Profoto’s offering looks futuristic, professional, and is essentially a light outputting tube cannon.

Profoto, Interfit and Flashpoint all have batteries that integrate into the design–and that’s wonderful.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Indra 500 TTL product images review (8 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 3.5

When you put the Xplor600 against the Phottix Indra, the Indra needs to hook up to a physical battery pack via a cable. This is perhaps the Indra’s biggest flaw. Of all the monolights, it’s the smallest and has the largest LCD screen with the biggest family of transmitters that can work with it. I lean much more to the Flashpoint Xplor600 in this case because of the battery that integrates seamlessly into the body design.

Rating

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

I like the Xplor600, but Profoto has it beat here with the integrated reflector.

Build Quality

So how tough is the Xplor600? At one point it took a tumble four and a half feet and landed on the side with the umbrella reflector. The reflector was a bit misshapen but it was put back into place easily. The bulb was completely fine too. The overall body didn’t have a scratch. To me, that marks a very solid build quality.

In Comparison

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Indra 500 TTL product images review (5 of 8)ISO 4001-25 sec at f - 2.8

Profoto, Interfit and Flashpoint all have an incredible build–with Interfit’s only major flaw here being how it mounts to a studio light stand. If anything, the loser here is Phottix. That cord is a potential liability unless it’s secured properly and during my time with the light, it took a tumble and the frosted dome glass broke.

Part of the great thing about the Xplor600 is that the frosted dome on the umbrella reflector seems to be made of a super hard plastic. I’d equate to an opaque window. Either way, that means that it won’t shatter.

Rating

Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Flashpoint Xplore monolight can surely hold its own with Interfit and Profoto here.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight product images (8 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.5

If you’re a Godox flash user, fear not–for the most part. This monolight uses a variant of the same triggers that Godox has but puts its own spin on it. This one is a bit more difficult to use as controlling a group individually can be a bit confusing to do. But if all you’re doing is shooting with TTL, then you won’t have an issue except if you want to bump up the exposure compensation on another Xplor600. If you’re using a single light, this won’t matter.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight sample extras (5 of 12)ISO 1001-2000 sec at f - 2.0

What it will result in sometimes is you needing to go over to the light and make a manual adjustment if you don’t figure out the grouping issue perfectly.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (2 of 13)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.5

What’s really cool is that the light is small enough to hide behind something like a typewriter, as I did in the image above.

In Comparison

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Interfit S1 product images (9 of 10)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 2.8

There’s a very big draw towards using Interfit due to how simple the transmitter is to use–and providing your reliability isn’t out of whack with your unit. The transmitter has just the right amount of buttons that tell you to do exactly what you need to.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Profoto B1 500 TTL product images (8 of 9)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.5

On the other hand, Profoto’s transmitter is the most complicated but can also give you more direct control. When you start looking at Phottix, users of the Odin system may be very comfortable working with the light.

If the Xplor600 fixes its issues with the transmitter, then it’ll be completely golden.

Rating

three-Phoblographer-Star-rating

Flashpoint can easily fix the issues with the Xplor600, but at the moment it provides the most complicated setup.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (9 of 13)ISO 16001-25 sec at f - 2.8

Monolights typically have a significantly faster flash duration than speedlights and hot shoe flashes. For that reason sometimes, you’ll end up killing loads and loads of ambient light at sunset. At the right times, that’s completely fine. But at other times, it will mean that you’ve got to put the camera on a tripod and really slow down the shutter speed at night.

Typically, you can expect this with all monolights. In fact, the image above was shot at 1/25th to get the ambient light to soak into the scene.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight sample extras (10 of 12)ISO 1001-4000 sec at f - 1.4

This image was shot at 1/4000th and at f1.4. To be fair though, it was a totally different lighting situation.

The TTL transmission of the Flashpoint Xplor600 is very accurate with the Canon TTL system. You’re not going to be able to do second curtain flash, but that’s a Canon issue. Phottix, Interfit, and Profoto all do a great job when it comes to output and TTL transmission.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight sample extras (2 of 12)ISO 1001-2000 sec at f - 2.0

Something I was sure to notice though is color consistency. Sometimes the Xplor600 was warmer than I felt it needed to be–though to be fair this was only occurring in HSS. Even further to the point, this is easily fixed in Lightroom and you don’t need to sit there complaining about it that much–though someone of you will, you should probably be going for Profoto or Broncolor then.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight sample extras (4 of 12)ISO 1001-1250 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight sample extras (7 of 12)ISO 1001-2000 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight sample extras (8 of 12)ISO 1001-2000 sec at f - 4.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight sample extras (12 of 12)ISO 1001-4000 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (1 of 13)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (3 of 13)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (8 of 13)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (10 of 13)ISO 16001-40 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (12 of 13)ISO 16001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight samples (13 of 13)ISO 16001-40 sec at f - 4.0

In Comparison

Profoto B1 500 TTL Monolight

The Profoto B1 is going to give you the best image quality–hands down. But comparing the Flashpoint Xplor600 to the Profoto B1 I’m not sure is very fair. You’ll only see the difference with HSS and color consistency.

When put against both Interfit and Phottix, you’ll probably see warmer results come out of the Interfit light. Those can be better for skin tones. Phottix is also pretty great, but colors from the Phottix don’t seem to pop the way that they do with Profoto, Interfit and Flashpoint. Part of this could come from the flash duration and another part is surely due to just the nature of the bulb and light.

Rating

Phoblographer-Star-rating

At this price point, it’s unfair to compare it to Profoto. But it performs just as well as both Phottix and Interfit and both of those are more expensive offerings.

Let’s be honest here, if you want Profoto and Broncolor quality, then go for them.

Conclusions

Likes

  • Great build
  • Reliable light output and consistent workability
  • Portable
  • Stellar battery life

Dislikes

  • Fix the damned transmitter issues.

The Flashpoint Xplor600 is a very awesome light overall. It outputs consistently accurate TTL lighting, it offers manual control, fast flash durations, has incredible battery life, superb build quality–it’s just incredible. Plus it does all this at a very affordable price. It’s hard to beat that.

My only major qualm with the light is the way that the transmitter works. It’s very tough and sometimes impossible to control each group individually from the transmitter. This is very much unlike most Godox products. Once that gets fixed, it will be perhaps the best budget friendly TTL monolight on the market.

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Flashpoint Xplor600 monolight receives four out of five stars. Want one? Check out the Amazon listing for the latest pricing.