I have always been primarily an outdoor photographer. I started out taking landscapes in my home state of Colorado way back in 1995. I loved the things natural light would do depending on the time of day ect... But as I have progressed I began to realize you can't always find the perfect light. So several years ago I began to experiment with off camera lighting and I became hooked. The main problem with adding off camera lighting was, without spending a fortune your only option was a cord connecting your camera to your light. But about 5 or 6 years ago inexpensive radio triggers started to appear, like the Cactus triggers ect... I still have a set of those somewhere. Within the last few years there has been an explosion of radio triggers and battery powered off camera lighting. If you follow the websites Lighting Rumors or Flash Havoc I am sure you are aware of the dizzying array of products available now?
Like most of you I am not independently wealthy or sponsored by a manufacturer..., yet. So I purchase all of my own gear and I try to be as honest as possible in reviewing it. Like a lot of people I bought one of the manual Yongnuo flashes and radio triggers that came on the market a few years back. I showed those in a previous blog post. They worked fine for testing and experimenting and are totally reliable flashes. But they lack the ability to adjust the power without walking back and forth to the light and setting groups. I found the Godox line of speed lights intriguing because they operate off a lithium battery pack instead of AA or AAA batteries. Also, they have a decent trigger system that allows you to adjust the flash from the camera, set different groups on different channels, as well as adding their popular Winstro line of bare bulb flashes. But even their AD360 bare bulb flash doesn't fair to well with power output when used in HSS mode, which is becoming increasingly important to me. See this HSS test done on Flash Havoc.
I consider the Profoto B1 to be the holy grail of location lighting on the market currently. Unfortunately the cost of these is a bit out of most peoples' budget. Enter the Jinbei HD 600-V, also known as the Flashpoint Rovelight offered by Adorama. There are some minor differences I will cover later. The HD 600-V is basically a 600 watt lithium powered studio strobe, pretty much like the Profoto B1. The HD 600-V is an upgraded version with a new trigger. There had been a lot of complaints about the previous triggers not working. You can read the initial review of the HD 600-B / Flashpoint Rovelight here.
Even though the HD 600-B seemed like the perfect alternative to the Profoto B1, the complaints about the trigger put me off on this light. Once I read that they had designed a new trigger, that apparently works on a different frequency, I decided to go ahead and order one. I got mine from eBay and it had to be shipped from China since no one in the US currently carries this model.
My initial impressions are that this light is a great value! I did an impromptu shoot to familiarize myself with the settings, ect.. before I used it in a real world situation. This shot of my dad was taken in mid-day sun in the shade with the light set on about 1/4 power. I underexposed the ambient light in the background by about 2 stops. I was using a 48" octagon soft box without the diffusion baffles.
I really like this light for several reasons.
It is very portable
It comes with a nice carrying case
It is easy to learn to use
The battery lasts a long time
The trigger is functional and simple
It has a Bowens mount
It comes with a handle to make it easy for an assistant to handhold
It is built well and feels solid
The bulb and battery are replaceable and readily available from Adorama
It has HSS!
There are a few things to note about this light however. It is fairly heavy. So you should have a sturdy stand with some sort of counterweight to keep it from being top heavy, especially of you are using a large modifier like a 48" soft box. The trigger is functional and minimalist but I would prefer if it had an LCD display to let you know what power you were on, setting groups, ect... The trigger and light do go to sleep after a few minutes and you have to press the power button on the remote to wake them up. Getting HSS to work is somewhat of a science fair. If you shoot with Nikon you can get a Yonnuo YN-622N, mount that to your hot shoe then mount the TRS-V trigger on top of that. This supplies the pre-flash signal to the light. Or if you shoot Canon you can use 2 YN622s, one on camera and one connected to the sync on the back of the light with a cord and just use the supplied remote to adjust power. I plan on making a BHS video soon of a shoot I have been planning. Keep checking back or watch my Twitter account for notices and updates on this light.
Update: Current owners of the Flashpoint Rovelight can exchange their trigger for the new version of the trigger. See details here.