Flashpoint XPLOR 600 (Godox AD600) VS Profoto B1

There has been a lot of buzz around the new Chinese battery powered strobes lately. I bought into the frenzy early and initially I bought  Jenbei HD-600V because it was the updated version that supposedly had a better trigger. You can see my review of that light here. I wound up selling that light in favor of the Flashpoint Streaklight 360 bare-bulb flash when they went on sale. They are currently on sale for $279 (12/05/2016). The 360 had less power but it had the ability to adjust the power from the remote, which is the main reason I sold the Jenbei HD-600V. 

I've used the Flashpoint Streaklight 360 almost exclusively, except for studio shoots, for several months now. I am impressed, to say the least. Paired with the Godox S-type bracket the combination is hard to beat especially since they have released the 2.4Ghz triggering system to achieve HSS and TTL with a single trigger. It's a lightweight package that is powerful enough to tackle 90% of situations that you may encounter. This photo is from a shoot with the Flashpoint Streaklight 360. 

 

Godox AD360 with an 18" white beauty dish. 

Recently Adorama put their XPLOR 600 TTL on sale so I decided to try one out. I don't typically use TTL but I reasoned that it's there if I need it otherwise I can chose to ignore it. Having some experience with the Profoto B1 I was anxious to compare the performance of the XPLOR 600. I didn't compare the two lights head to head on the technical aspects but here is an interesting video that does a better job than I ever could. 

Interestingly the performance of the XPLOR 600 matches, and even exceeds, the Profoto B1 in some instances. But that is not the entire story. Having dropped a Profoto B1 I can attest to their build quality. The controls and the mounting system the B1 has are also far superior to the XPLOR, but that is to be expected with the difference in cost. The XPLOR does have the option of using AC power, with an adapter, as well as a remote head setup. 

I have only used the XPLOR 600 once since receiving it. I volunteered to take a portrait of architectural photographer Mike Duernickx. I went to his house and set up. He also happens to own the Profoto B1 that I have experience using. My initial impressions are that the XPLOR 600 is an improvement in every way to the manual Streaklight 360 that I have been using except in one area, weight. I have a very large boom stand that weighs around 36lbs. When I mount the Streaklight on it I don't even have to use a counterweight. But with the XPLOR I used 2 10lb weights as a counterbalance. It made raising and lowering the stand a chore. Not to mention mounting the XPLOR is a little trickier. You don't want to have all that weight on the plastic mount, which I will discuss next. So I turn the mounting spigot down and let the light hang upside down. Back to the mount on the XPLOR. I may be spoiled form using the Profoto but the mount on the XPLOR is absolute junk. It's plasticy and notchy operation is frustrating, to put it mildly. Aside from the physical attributes of the light it operated almost flawlessly, with a few misfires. Here is a photo from the shoot. 

I used an 18" white beauty dish for this shot and a Godox V850 on a stand the the left with a 7" reflector and diffuser disc using the S-type mount. 

As stated above the XPLOR is a good light and will work fine if you have a really solid stand and weight it down. For most of the location work I do that is just not practical. There is the option of using the remote head and rigging up a way to mount the flash head lower on the stand. This idea appeals to me. mainly because the light would act as a weight and negate having to carry around sandbags. But there are some claims that the extension head reduces power, making it just about 1/3 of a stop more powerful than the Streaklight 360. So the real question is what do you really gain from the extra weight of the XPLOR 600? Aside from having a modeling light, I can't think of anything. 

If I were going to do a shoot indoors with one setup I wouldn't hesitate to use the XPLOR but for everything else the Streaklight 360 will be my go-to light. I do appreciate the functions of the XPLOR, like changing to HSS automatically when you go over the sync speed of your camera, and in the rare event I want TTL it's there. Luckily for me Adorama just put the Streaklight TTL on sale! After I have used it on a few shoots I will follow up with a review and maybe even a video? Stay tuned.