UPDATE: November 21 2016
I shot with the 1200ws head during an on location tango shoot in the Mohave desert. The unit performed flawlessly and gave me the ability to do things that would have been difficult or impossible with only a 600ws head. The innovation and flexibility Godox/XPLOR offers photographers is excellent.
1/6400th f2.8 ISO 400.
This is my initial test of the Flashpoint Portable Extension Head 1200 Ws unit. To my knowledge at the time of this writing, Adorama is the only US company who is carrying this unit. One of the most attractive aspects of the Godox line of battery operated strobes is the ability to turn the units into pack/head units when needed. So when they announced the ‘future’ release of combining units to produce a single high powered head I was impressed. I own Priolite Hotsync MBX1000 units for my Pentax 645Z to use hypersync. I like the option of a strobe whose watt second max is higher than 600 or 640 watt seconds. The thought of having the ability to combine four of my units to produce a 2400ws head is CRAZY and gives me even more options when needed.
Like most photographers I tend to use my strobes at half of their maximum power or less, but there are instances where I need maximum power to create the look I want in a shot. Often more power is needed when I am shooting outdoors on location and want to use a smaller aperture to ensure that more of the detail of the environment is visible. My rule of thumb is aperture affects flash intensity and shutter speed affects ambient light. So when I need to use HSS, but also want to narrow my aperture are the times I need a ton of oomph! Sure I can increase my ISO but then the ambient light increases too. So having 1200 WS is like having a car that has 50% more horsepower….it’s there when I need it.
And for 299.00 which INCLUDES the bulb is for me, a bargain. I already have multiple XPLOR600 and AD600 units so combining two to make 1200 is easy. To my knowledge Godox is the only light manufacturer to offer such an innovative approach to lighting. In comparison my Priolite MBX 1000 cost 2400.00 for a single light that uses hypersync not HSS. In my usage of the Priolites banding occurs at higher speeds. Sure it can be corrected in post, but I prefer to use as little post processing as possible to correct things.
Two AD/Xplor 600s total 1100.00 plus 299.00 for the head making for a total of 1399.00 and I get two lights with wonderful performance. Just makes sense to me. I only hope Godox develops a transmitter for Pentax so I can use HSS with my 645Z and I’ll sell my Priolites.
I set both of the strobes to the same channel and group. In this test I am using a Canon 1DX Mark II with an EF 24-70 2.8 L Mark II lens set to f2.8 ISO 100. The strobes are being triggered by a Godox XT32C and set to max power (1:1) for all shots. I have not compared the power output of the 1200ws head to the 600ws head, nor do I plan to do so anytime soon. I’m right in the midst of my high season with client work which lasts until mid summer.
- The recycle time at full power using two units is about half of the time compared to a single AD600.
- At half power the recycle time is about 1/4 of the time.
- And at 1/4 power the recycle time is almost null.
- The 1200ws bulb is longer than the 600ws bulb so the normal protective cover will not fit over the bulb. I purchased a Phottix Indra Front Cover, to keep on the remote head with the bulb installed. I removed the foam insert in the cover to allow it to fit onto the bulb/head perfectly.
- The modeling light intensity is the same on the 1200 head even though it’s attached to two units.
- The head comes with two bags which have the new access panel on the top to allow for cords to be threaded through them so you can keep the bags zipped up.
I used two modifiers for this initial test. One is a PCB Retro Laser modifier which is no longer made. Shame since it is my go to modifier for extreme long distances where I need to focus light. I have not found anything more efficient than the Laser and covet having one. So I also used the Bowens High Performance Reflector which is available for comparison.
All shots done with power set to full (1:1) using a Canon 1DX Mark II with an EF24-70 f2.8 L Mark II. All flash shots using f2.8 at ISO 100. Distance from strobe to wall is 72 feet.
Here is a reference photo of the scene without using any flash.
Using the Bowens High Performance 12.5″ Reflector
Using the PCB Retro Laser Modifier
Again this modifier is no longer available and that’s a shame. You are able to adjust the focus of the beam which has proven brilliant for my work when I’ve needed a modifier like this. You will notice in these shots that I did NOT adjust the beam properly so it appears that there is space between the upper and lower beam. When Paul designed the Retro his strobe units use a single circular bulb element in his Einsteins. The 1200ws head uses two separate elements housed in the same bulb which is why an upper and lower band of light appears in these shots. Please excuse this as I didn’t have to time to adjust the beam properly. Although I have not tested my premise I assume that the banding of light will not appear in ‘normal’ modifiers. No light separation was apparent when I tested the unit with the Bowens High Performance modifier.
In Actual use
I have an upcoming on location shoot next week in the Mohave Desert photographing two tango dancers with fire and smoke. I will be using the 1200 head for some of the shots along with the Retro Laser and Westcott 59″ Zeppelin with the Mounting arm. I’m very excited about this project and the new lighting tools at my disposal. More later….