This Flash Survived a Concert: Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 TTL Review

The Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 TTL Round Speedlight is a versatile and portable lighting option that works on and off camera.

The Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 marries a round flash head to the body of a traditional speedlight. It has a modeling light built-in, and is surrounded by a magnetic light modifier attachment ring. This setup allows you to easily attach a huge variety of small light modifiers to the Zoom Li-on X R2 including diffusers, grids, gel holders, etc. To say that the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 was inspired by the Profoto A1/A1X would be an understatement, but that’s a conversation for another day. Find out how the Flashpoint Li-on X R2 performed in the real world after the jump.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Round flash head
  • Magnetic accessory attachment system
  • Fast recycle time
  • Improved hot shoe locking mechanism
  • Focus assist beam works with Sony cameras
  • They’re super affordable. If you break one, just buy a new one!

Cons

  • Round head takes up more space when stored

Gear Used

We tested the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 TTL On-Camera Round Flash Speedlight with the Sony A7R III, Sony A7R IV, Flashpoint R2 Pro Transmitter for Sony, and a 22″ 5-in-1 Collapsible Circular Reflector.

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 TTL On-Camera Round Flash Speedlight were taken from the official Adorama product page:

  • GN: 92ft / 42m @ ISO 100 (50mm)
  • Energy Output: 75ws
  • Flash Exposure Control: TTL Manual Flash Remote TTL (Master or Slave, with Groups) Remote TTL or Manual Flash (Master or Slave, with Groups) using the Integrated R2 Radio System HSS
  • Lens Coverage: 28-105 mm with automatic or manual zoom control Wider, with Round Head Accessory Wider, with Round Head Accessory Kit
  • R2 Radio Range: >330ft / 100m
  • R2 Radio Channels: 32
  • R2 Groups: 4 Master (A camera/B/C/D), 5 Slave (A/B/C/D/E)
  • Triggering Modes: Hot Shoe R2 Radio Controller (integrated) Sync Port Optical Slave S1 Intelligent Optical Slave S2
  • Bounce Function (Tilt and Swivel): 0 to 330° horizontally and 7° to 120° vertically
  • Auto Focus Assist: Auto sense LED. Range 2.0-32.8′
  • Model Light: 10 level SMD LED
  • Power Source: 7.2V/2600mAh Li-ion polymer battery 2.6Ah 18Wh
  • Power Control: 1/256th power to full power in 1/10th [Tenth’s] increments
  • Recycle Time: < 1.5 seconds
  • Full power flashes per charge: Approx. 480
  • Flash Duration: 1/300 to 1/20,000s (t0.1)
  • High Speed Sync: Up to 1/8000s
  • Exposure Compensation Range: ± 3 stops in 1/3 of a stop increments
  • Dimensions: 3.0 X 3.6 X 7.75″ / 76 X 93 X 197mm
  • Weight with battery: 18.8 oz / 534g

Ergonomics

The defining feature of the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 TTL On-Camera Round Flash Speedlight (Godox V1) is undoubtedly its circular-shaped head: an LED modeling lamp integrated into the head. It’s a not-so-subtle copy of the Profoto A1/A1X’s head design.

Aside from its round head, the rest of the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 is similar to most conventional speedlights. The round head features a magnetic attachment ring that supports a variety of different light modifiers. A friction fit snoot can fit over the round head, while the barn doors utilize the magnetic attachment ring.

Additional light modifiers that work with the magnetic attachment ring include color corrective gels, a reflective white card, honeycomb grid, diffuser plate, and dome diffuser.

A large LCD takes up much of the rear of the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2. Beneath the LCD are the command dial and various buttons that adjust the settings. You can see all of those settings easily thanks to the LCD’s backlight (blue by default, orange in slave mode). The backlight provides a bit of illumination for some of the semi-transparent buttons as well. Disappointingly, the labels for the various buttons do not light up in the dark, which would’ve made adjusting the light’s settings in the dark a lot easier.

With the Zoom Li-on X R2, Flashpoint has opted to go with a twist-lock hot shoe mechanism. This takes much less time to secure than their previous screw-down locking mechanism. The hot shoe is also reinforced in the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 as well.

The Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 uses a new 7.2 V/2.6 Ah rechargeable lithium-ion battery. With the light set to full power, it has enough juice for up to 480 flashes.

Build Quality

For the most part, the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 feels well built. While we have seen users reporting that the hot shoe was snapping off and getting stuck inside hot shoes, requiring drastic removal measures, our experience has been positive. We mounted it onto our A7R IV’s hot shoe while photographing a punk rock concert. Despite multiple concert-goers bumping into the light, the twist-lock kept it firmly attached to the A7R IV throughout the show. The light isn’t weather-sealed, so be mindful of airborne cans of PBR if you plan on using it in similar scenarios. We’d certainly caution against using it outdoors in the rain or snow.

One area that Flashpoint can improve on with the Zoom Li-on X R2 is the center command dial on the back of the light. The dial and the circular disc where the labels are printed both felt very loose. The dial also serves as a directional pad, and it was easy to accidentally change the Zoom Li-on X R2’s mode while it was mounted on top of our camera.

Ease of Use

If you’ve had experiences using speed lights before, the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 shouldn’t be a challenge to operate. Of course, we suggest getting familiar with the menus before taking the light out to a shoot. The last thing you’d want is to leave your client waiting while you’re fumbling through menus.

The Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 that we tested was designed for Sony hot shoes, but it’s also available for Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Pentax. You can mount it onto your camera’s hot shoe and use it as an on-camera flash. It can also function as an off-camera flash by controlling it using one of Flashpoint’s R2 transmitters. You can even use the Zoom Li-on X R2 as a transmitter to control other lights that use Flashpoint’s R2 (Godox X) transmission protocol: useful for event photographers who prefer having both on- and off-camera lighting options.

The magnetic attachment ring that surrounds the zoom head makes attaching the various light modifiers a snap (literally). You can also stack multiple modifiers if needed. We ran into a minor annoyance when attempting to turn the round head backwards to bounce light off of surfaces behind us. For some reason, the round head can only face backwards when turning to the right but not the left: an odd design choice for sure.

The flash output was accurate when using TTL mode. For the most consistent results, we suggest using the light in manual mode. High-speed sync is supported when your shutter speed exceeds the 1/250 maximum sync speed, but it has to be activated using the sync button on the back of the light first.

Image Quality

With just 75 watt-seconds of light output, the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 is obviously nowhere near as powerful as traditional studio strobes. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to produce pleasing images with it though. As long as you understand how the size and intensity of light work in photography, you’ll be able to create some pleasing results using the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 as a light source.

Below is a collection of sample images all lit with the Flashpoint Zoom Li-On X R2. It was used both on and off camera, either as a direct flash or adjusted using a variety of modifiers. These include the included magnetic dome diffuser, diffuser plate, reflecting off of walls or ceilings, or reflecting off of a 22″ 5-in-1 Collapsible Circular Reflector. All of these images were captured using either the Sony A7R III or Sony A7R IV.

Conclusions

Likes

  • Great battery life
  • Round zoom head with loads of easy to attach magnetic light modifiers
  • Consistent light output
  • Redesigned hot shoe locking mechanism
  • Multi-purpose (works both on/off camera and as a transmitter)

Dislikes

  • Loosey-goosey command dial
  • Round head can only turn backwards fully when rotating clockwise

The inclusion of the round head is obviously the biggest selling point of the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 (Godox V1). It’s well built overall, delivers consistent results, and the new twist-lock hot shoe mechanism is much easier to secure than Flashpoint’s older screw-down style. The magnetic light modifier attachment system is very easy to use as well. All of these positives are marred by inconsistent build quality and a questionable design choice. The command dial on the rear of the light (along with the circular disc in the middle where the controls are labeled) is way too loose. The inability for the round head to turn backwards fully when turning counter-clockwise is an unnecessary annoyance.

The Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 TTL On-Camera Round Flash Speedlight (Godox V1) earns four out of five stars. Want one? They’re only $229