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Xplor/Godox600, eVOLV200 and Pentax 645Z, HSS!!! Updated 10-30-18

Update October 30 2018

No need to do this workaround anymore. Flashpoint has released their new Flashpoint R2 Pro 2.4GHz Transmitter for Pentax. You can read my findings here.

Update September 26 2018

I am preparing for a publicity shoot where I want to use my 645Z, so I had to remind myself how to shoot HSS with the method I explain below. A spider had built a cool web in my backyard so I had this crazy notion to use my eVOLV200 with the Pentax. BTW Flashpoint will be releasing the Flashpoint R2 Pro 2.4GHz Transmitter for Pentax (XPro-P) which will allow HSS without all the shenanigans I went through to make it happen. I sent this shot to a friend of mine who hate spiders. Now she’s not talking to me….LOL!!!!

EXIF 1/1000th f4.5 ISO 100.

UPDATE February 16 2018

I have confirmed that the new Flashpoint/Godox AD600 Pro works in HSS with the Pentax 645Z as explained below.

UPDATE September 8 2017

In my post about the Parabolix 35D I have some of my recent client work which was just released. All of those images were shot using HSS with my 645Z.

UPDATE August 31 2017

A visitor recently asked if the older AD360 line of strobes achieve HSS with a Pentax 645Z based on the method I describe below in my original article. The answer is YES it does. Rather than just ‘say yes’ under an ‘assumption’ that it would I decided to actually test it. I’m preparing for a dance session in two days and my partner who is making the move to all xPLOR/eVOLV units herself asked if she could borrow my old AD360s for the shoot. As a gift I had purchased an xPLOR TTL 600 for her so she wants to combine that with my old AD360s using my XTR-16 receivers. So a quick test before charging all of the units for her proves that the AD360 line works!

Pentax 645Z 1/1000th, f5.0, ISO 100. When using an older AD360 you need to manually set the strobe to HSS on the light itself. And if you’re going to ask me why I didn’t shoot this against a pure white seamless, I just did this as a courtesy to a reader. There’s no banding and if you want to see FOR YOURSELF, test it yourself.

UPDATE August 20 2017

I ran a test yesterday of various modifiers along with the new AD-B2 mount and discovered that when you are using the USB receivers in the eVOLV200s the only level of modeling light that can be activated on the AD-B2 is the lowest level from the FT-16 controller.

UPDATE: July 29 2017

I have just completed testing HSS with the eVOLV200 strobes with my Pentax 645Z. I have included my test shots with “Bob” and all Flashpoint USB triggers and Cactus v6II settings are the same as the Xplor/Godox 600 lights. But I have outlined how I set the eVOLV200 lights below.

All test shots with the eVOLV200 were shot at 1/2 power using the bare bulb head through a Fresnel modifer. It is necessary to disable all built in wireless receivers in the eVOLV200. The USB plug in receivers are necessary to make this work. You must also engage HSS using the button rather than depending on shutter speed on the remote to automatically engage HSS.

I’m using the ‘old’ 433mhz USB receivers along with the FT-16 transmitter. (see full setup in my Original test below)

Reference shot using only ambient light. The modifier I like to use is a Fresnel lens. It effectively replicates the look of sunlight.

1/500th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.

1/1000th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.

1/1600th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.

1/2500th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.

1/3200th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.

1/4000th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.

A few people contacted me to let me know they have been able to use HSS with a Pentax 645Z using other brands of lights with the Cactus v6II which I very much appreciated. But even though they have had HSS/645Z success with Profoto’s B1’s, Speedotrons, Photogenic Studio Max, etc. I wanted to make this work with the Flashpoint/Godox line of lights. Why? Well because for my work they fit my workflow with incredible innovation and the largest eco system of strobes. Using an xPLOR600 as either a monolight or pack/head system is just one reason. Combining two of them to make a single 1200 ws head when I need that power, creating their upcoming eVOLV200 twin head all combine to make it the line I love to use. I’ve had my fill of purchasing other strobes just for my 645Z, namely Priolites to achieve HSS. Now I no longer have to use separate brands of lights to do my commercial work no matter what brand of camera I’m using for the job at hand. And that’s great since I use three different brands of cameras!

Thank you to Cactus for developing a tool that is both remarkable and functional. It’s been a godsend for my work.

Original Test Review

Flashpoint R1 Flashpoint Commander Transmitter

To put it simply HALLELUJAH!!!! Oh my gosh for the past four years I have wanted with all of my want to have an option for HSS and my Pentax 645Z other than my MBX1000 Hotsync Priolites. Priolites do NOT use HSS, but rather hypersync and as the shutter speed increases the slight shading of banding increases as well. I’m not talking about black bars, but what looks like a graduated neutral density filter was applied to the image. Sure I could remove it in those instances where it’s obvious, but in my mind for $2600.00 per light it should NOT be something I have to do. Anyway there are several other issues that bothered me, but as ‘the only game in town’ for shutter speeds over 1/125th of a second when using strobes, I like other shooters was stuck. Ricoh never manufactured modern leaf shutter lenses for the 645 and based on their current financial situation and market share I seriously doubt they will. Plus leaf shutter lenses are expensive and limited to whatever focal length is produced. It’s one of the limits that smug shooters of Phase One or Hassy bring up when talking about the 645Z. I just laugh and now I snicker…

So here’s how I figured it out. I now use a Flashpoint R1 Flashpoint Commander Transmitter with older 433mgh USB receivers in my Xplor/Godox 600 strobes. The FT16 is placed on top of a Cactus v6II transceiver. And as you can see by the shots I’ve displayed below it’s a godsend. Will I miss 1000ws from my Priolite? Oh hell no, not when I can simply combine two Xplor600s and hook them to my 1200ws head. HSS using my beloved Xplor600 with my Pentax 645Z means Christmas came in July 2017 for me this year! Hallelujah!!!

How the scene looked in mid day Bay Area sunlight. That’s my buddy “Bob” who fills in for my tests.

One of my trusty USB receivers plugged into my Xplor 600

All radio signals turned off and HSS enabled. You MUST physically enable HSS on the strobe to make this work. The quarter power is just what I selected for the test. And yes you can use any power level you want.

On the Cactus v6II set the Camera System to Pentax.

On the Cactus v6II set the Flash System to Manual Flash.

The Flashpoint R1 Flashpoint Commander Transmitter goes on top of the Cactus.

1/500th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.

1/1000th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.

1/1600th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.

1/2500th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.

1/3200th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.

1/4000th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power. That’s the 645Z’s max shutter speed.

A pulled back shot of the scene at 1/4000th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.

Will I like it if Cactus develops a firmware update for their triggers so that I don’t have to use the USB receivers? Sure! It would also mean I could use my eVOLV200s with my 645Z too. But for now I’m damn happy to have figured out how to use my 600s in HSS with my 645Z. No shaded banding whatsoever using my Xplor/Godox strobes.

I truly am one happy person!

20 thoughts on “Xplor/Godox600, eVOLV200 and Pentax 645Z, HSS!!! Updated 10-30-18”

  1. Congratulations on achieving the emulated HSS with the Godox 600 (via stacking the Godox transmitter on top of the Cactus V6 II).

    I have achieved this almost a year ago but using speedotron 103 flash heads and also photogenic Studio Max III strobes as well.

    I was able to use it with Pocket Wizard Flex TT5(P2 port) combo on top of the Cactus triggers.

    Looks like others have used the Prophoto B1’s with the Pentax 645z by stacking triggers also as I have seen in YouTube post. All this because of the Cactus V6 II triggers, so kudos to the cactus team!!

    Looking forward to trying out this technique with other more affordable stropes which have self-contained li-ion batteries.

    Thanks for sharing your findings.

  2. Really awesome to see this – and experience your excitement. I have the Evolv 600 and a 200 (about to get the second head and a second 200 as it looks too good). A little jealous though as I’m getting some banding on my Sony A7R2 at 1/4000… sort of frustrating… but I am indeed loving this system!!! Anyway, thank you for sharing! I remember reading your posts when first looking at the Flashpoint/Godox/Evolv system…

    • Thanks Scott. I literally laughed out loud regarding your comment about my excitement! Yes I was SO HAPPY when it worked because I can now use my 645 in HSS without banding for my commercial clients! I’m sorry to hear that your Sony gets some banding. I have no idea about Sony gear so I’m afraid I cannot offer any assistance. I hope you find out how to prevent the banding. I didn’t like it with my Priolites.

  3. I don’t have to use a USB receiver in my AD360ii Canon, just stack the XT1-C on top of the Cactus V6ii on camera. That way you can trigger all your lights.

    • Hi Pablo, I just attempted to use the Cactus with my XT1C and it didn’t work. I’m just as happy with the method I discovered that works for me. You can view some of those images in my Parabolix 35D review where I shot the entire session with my 645Z using HSS.

    • Hi John, I’m glad this helped you with your 645Z. I was a loyal PCB Einstein customer as well and used Paul’s strobes exclusively for years. I do NOT know of any way to perform HSS with Einsteins. If you find a way, please let me know.

  4. Mark, I just wanted to let you know that I purchased the eVOLV200 and it works great with my Z, and I love this light. I also purchased the Dual Power Twin Head because of your recommendation. My next step is to see which of my PCB light modifiers are compatible. Sorry to see my PCB long throw modifier isn’t. I’m not sure if I should buy a second eVOLV200 next or the 600. In any case thank you very much for doing the leg work on this and passing it along.
    All the best,
    John

    • Hi John, thanks for letting me know the post helped you. It’s hard to say about your choice of an additional 200 or a 600. I love both so I can’t help with your decision. I will say that having ‘options’ is always my choice. The ability to combine two 200s with an AD-B2 head gives me almost the same power as a 600. BUT when I need to put the light on a boom or on a focusing rod, then the 600 with a H600 remote head is my choice.

      I wrote an article about how I modified my PCB hard modifiers so I could use them with my Bowens mount strobes. The only one I could not figure out how to modify is the PCB Long Throw. So I replaced it with a Bowens long throw. The reality is the Adorama Glow 70 Degree Magnum Reflector throws a more focused beam of light than the PCB Long Throw. I tested it based on what Paul told me when he was alive. He told me that his silver beauty dish without the deflector plate shoots a more focused beam than his Long Throw. I doubted him (foolishly!) and tried it. Of course he was right and it taught me to NOT trust the shape of a modifier for its focusing ability. I miss Paul every single day. For me he was the Steve Jobs of lighting for photographers.

  5. Thanks for writing about this! I too have Priolites (MBX500 + 1000) just for my Pentax 645Z but recently am loving the size and output of Godox AD200. Right now, I have 3 AD200 for a portrait setup but only thing missing is being able to shoot over 1/125.

    Can you confirm that at the moment you’re still trying to figure out HSS for AD200 to work with the 645Z?

    Much thanks again for documenting your process and progress.

    (I have 3 Einsteins + Vagabond Extreme but am ready to part with it as I’m loving the AD200 too much lol)

    • whoops, for some reason I totally missed that this post WAS using the ad200 + 645z lol — thought you were using the Godox 600. I guess what I have and do want to use is Godox’s new X Pro transmitter [upgraded from the XT1 transmitter] as it has been real convenient to adjust power levels on the fly and/or turn on/off lights wirelessly. I’m personally wanting to find a way to enable HSS on 645Z with Godox’s trigger.

      • Hi JJ, please read the entire post here. I am able to achieve HSS with the 645Z using a Cactus v6II trigger and an older Godox transmitter. I have not been able to achieve HSS without the Cactus trigger or with any of the Godox 2.4Ghz triggers. In the setup I have described above I am able to control my strobes from the 433Mhz Godox trigger so that’s not an issue. When I am not using my 645Z I use the Flashpoint R2 Pro controller.

  6. Hi Mark, I was wondering if you tried the XPro-p trigger with the Pentax 645Z yet and if HSS works as expected. It would be really nice to abandon the Cactus stacking and utilize the native 2.4 Ghz receiver.

    • Hi John according to my order mine should arrive this week. I will do an assessment of the trigger and post it here once done. I really don’t have any doubts that it will function fine, but of course the nuances of gear is not apparent until I’ve used it. My main concern will be using it with the AD200 units. The Saberstrip v2.0 units I use don’t allow for access to the USB socket in that modifier, so I’m looking forward to the Pentax Pro trigger.

      • I ordered another AD200 and some Magmod accessories. Really like the AD200. I will be ordering the XPro-p soon as well. It dosn’t look like there will be a Flashpoint R2 Pro MK2 coming for Pentax. I will await your review and assessment. Thank you for your contribution to the photo community.

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