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Xplor/Godox – How it has changed my workflow

UPDATE September 10 2017

I recently posted an article on my use of all Godox units in one session. The article includes the use of this product. You can view that post here.

UPDATE September 8 2017

In my post about the Parabolix 35D I have some of my recent client work and how I used the xPLOR/eVOLV units during the session.

UPDATE: July 29 2017

I have written an article about how I achieved using the Xplor/Godox 600 and 200 strobes in HSS with my Pentax 645Z. You can read that article here.

One of the Xplor/Godox 600 strobes using an 86″ PCB PLM modifier on top of a Flashpoint Junior Steel Wheeled Stand – 12′. Those stands were a lifesaver since I needed all 12 feet of height!

Prior to using the Xplor/Godox line of strobes I shot exclusively with PCB Einsteins. Paul’s t:1 performance combined with his Vagabond line of batteries, the Cybercommander controls were bulletproof. Combine that with his customer service and well….for me it was a winning combination. But with Paul’s unfortunate passing years back, PCB’s innovation has lagged behind other strobe/modifier manufacturers. I adored Paul and I was so fortunate to have him as a sponsor for a short time. In my mind he was a true genius and yes, a bit of an eccentric fella, but geniuses are so often an ‘acquired taste’ but thank gawd for them.

Paul’s Einstein line never included HSS so for my outdoor workflow I simply used ND filters of various brands and types when I wanted to reduce ambient light. Variable ND filters were convenient, but I found that the color shift took a bit of post processing to reduce. I did find nanotec’s ND filters to be the best for my needs, but by reducing the ambient it also reduced the power of my strobes.

So I was an early adopter of the Godox line of strobes starting with their 360 line, moving onto the Flashpoint Xplor600/AD600 line and finally to the eVOLV200 units I found my niche. Having all of the units that communicate from one trigger along with the flexibility of combining several strobe bodies to create higher WS output…..gosh what could be better? The innovation of Godox combined with the service in the US of Adorama or Cheetahstand is a wicked combination. There were two instances early on when I purchased Godox AD600s on eBay when I could not get any service. But when both Cheetahstand and Adorama started rebranding the Godox line under their own names, well customer service in the States changed for the better.

I certainly realize that every photographer’s needs are different and mine differ from job to job. Sometimes I may use only two lights, sometimes three and sometimes 7 or more. It always depends on what my clients want for the mood of the shot. By having the ability to combine two lights into one, or to change my Xplor strobes from a monoblock into a pack/head design is so innovative. I have read opinions that other shooter’s clients ‘insist’ on specifying brands of strobes/cameras/lenses, but I have never encountered that situation. My clients care primarily about these issues:

  • The concept of the shoot.
  • The quality of the image
  • Does the image convey the intended mood?
  • Will the image help sales?
  • Does my demeanor keep the talent engaged, thereby obtaining the expressions needed for the shot?
  • How easy am I to work with?

Not ONCE has a client asked me about what brand of gear I plan to use. Nor do they ask me about the brand/model of vehicle I own. Or the brand of clothing I wear. My client’s jokingly say “Oh Mark is using his little magic Instamatic..” whenever I decide it’s the right time to use my Fuji X100T. The reality is I find photographers seem more concerned about what other photographers feel/say about gear than how their clients feel about their product. In my business I’m only as good as my last session. And if my clients don’t like ALL ASPECTS of my work, then I’m not asked to return to shoot another session.

I had a client who I shot four years ago ask me to do another shoot for his cover band. I delayed answering simply because I felt they wanted a typical band shot, which I was not willing to do. As we talked he said “I want you to shoot whatever and however you want to do the shoot.” So we began. And in this case I knew I was going to use multiple lights of varying power, with multiple modifiers. And guess what? The Xplor/Godox line of lights could not have been a better combination. I literally used every Xplor/Godox light I own for this session. The smallest number of lights used at one time was four and the most was nine.

My whole point to this post is to say that the Xplor/Cheetahstand/Godox line of lights is the most valuable lighting system I’ve ever owned and used. In my mind innovation in lighting is moving much faster than camera bodies and I love that! Find what works best for your style of shooting.

For this job I needed to use both my Canon and Pentax. The XT32C on top of my 645Z is my favorite trigger.

My original Godox purchases,two 360s, yes the old original one that use their USB receivers plugged in. Like I said, for this session I needed all of the lights I own.

Shot with the 1200ws head that combines two 600s into one head. Shot through a gobo attachment using a window gobo.

Six light shot using Xplor 600s, eVOLV200S and 360s. Smoke was created using a smoke machine. Fans used to keep smoke off the faces of the talent.

Shooting groups is not easy and this one took seven lights to get right. Set needed to be illuminated without taking away from the focus of the talent.

Nine light shot. Thank god for those 12 foot stands! Finding the right set for this shoot was fun.

It’s all fun and games until one of the lead singer’s head starts smoking! LOL. Using smoke is great, but it CAN be a royal pain in the ass too…..

5 thoughts on “Xplor/Godox – How it has changed my workflow”

  1. Hi Mark,

    I’ve been excited following your exploits with the Godox Xplor 600, so I bought one on Amazon in September 2016 and it just died suddenly with the dreaded E1 error. I have not had any luck getting Godox to respond via godox@godox.,com and it is too late to get Amazon to allow a return. Your blog article mentioned getting units serviced, so where/how do I find service in the US? Thanks and keep up the beautiful work!

    • Ivan I’m always so sorry to hear when a fellow shooter encounters problems with gear. I had NO LUCK with Godox servicing my strobes. Like you I had no luck even getting a response. Very poor customer service, yet innovative designs. I’ve had two units repaired by Cheetahstand, but they were his branded units purchased from his company. I buy my Godox gear primarily from Adorama under their Flashpoint brand because they have excellent service. But having said that I have NOT ever had one of their units I need to send in for repair. I would write/call either Ed at Cheetahstand or Helen at Adorama and ask them if they know who can repair the Godox light.

  2. Hi Mark,

    I continue to come back to your blog to see what you are up to, especially with Godox. You were the first to talk about how much sense their system makes. After I understood the big advantages they bring, it was a no brainer. I now have 1 AB600, 2 Evolve 200’s and 2 Lithium speedlights and its all I use.
    Now it has really caught on and you can get amazing support for their products from Facebook groups and from Adorama, Cheetahstand, and Molight (in the US) As you have eluded to, Godox has poor service, so it’s very important to purchase from resellers that back the product. Cheetahstand will service products in the US regardless of where you purchased. Unfortunately, they won’t repair units from outside the US.

  3. How are you finding color matching between the various Godox lights?

    I find them a bit whiter than PCB Einsteins… and I used a mixed light system, it’s easy w the R2 controllers to put a Buff trigger on them and have full control of all the lights from the camera position… But I am having to run some color balance tests… and was wondering about the 300 and 1200 WS R2 studio strobes and their color performance, which I’ve read, on the 300 WS units that the color is quite off, but Adorama is sticking to the spec sheet which says all are identical…??

    I bought them mainly for remote use, but am finding in studio they can be quite nice, particularly for boom mounted lights using the extension packs… which themselves need to be tested for color shifts.. Any data or experiences? Thanks.

    • I have no data. I only have my images. I find that there is a very slight difference between Einstein/Godox/Profoto/Priolite strobes. I found very little difference between AD600/1200 heads in terms of color. If your work is completely dependent on color accuracy I have no good advice for you. Sorry.

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