The new Adorama RoveLight RL-600, fully integrated Lithium-ion powered strobes are now available, and Adorama have very kindly expressed shipped a sample unit over while their great introductory promotion (was) running.
The RoveLight RL-600 are completely cordless 600WS units. With large 400+ shot capacity Lithium-ion battery module, and 2.4GHz radio receiver, all neatly built inside. Making the RoveLight very portable, powerful, and super fast to set up.
Flashpoint RoveLights are based on the Jinbei HD 600 flashes. Though as it turns out the Rovelights are actually based on the MK II model HD 600 II, which have a very impressive High Shutter Speed feature, which operates at any power level from Full power down to 1/16th.
(Please note – This High Shutter Speed mode uses a form of Long Duration Sync to provide the higher shutter speeds).
The RoveLights pack some serious power, and the High Shutter Speed mode is a very usable feature. These lights really are something new and a bit special with this new dual mode High Shutter Speed function. The Rovelights are going to be a serious weapon for wedding etc photographers who want to work fast without ND filters.
UPDATE – 14th October 2015 – Adorama have opened a transmitter exchange program for owners of the original RoveLights supplied with original version one transmitter units.
The V2 version transmitters have added a power amplifier, increasing the transmitters power from 0-3 dBm, to around 14 dBm in the new units.
This has reportedly increased the transmitters range considerably, and Flashpoint are hoping this will improved overall consistency and reliability of the transmitters in general.
The heart of the RL-600 is the large removable 14.8v 6600mAh Lithoum-ion battery, which simply slides into the rear of the flash. Providing 400+ full power shots with one charge. And all fitting neatly inside the flash body.
The battery modules are also available separately, and can be recharged outside the flash while another battery is in use.
The 600WS RoveLights features an LCD display, with full power level control from 1/1 to 1/128, in 1/3rd Stops.
Power levels can be changed directly on the flash interface or through the 2.4GHz radio transmitter provided, and receiver built inside the flash.
The RL-600 are also IGBT flashes (in their regular mode), meaning they have very fast motion freezing flash durations at lower power levels, down to 1/15000th of a second.
S1 and S2 optic slave modes are provided, and recycle times are quite fast. There is a fast recycle mode option bringing full power recycle down from 4.5 seconds to 3.5 seconds (0.3 seconds at minimum power). At half power recycle is a very reasonable 1.5 seconds.
A Multi / Stroboscopic Mode is also provided.
Key Features –
- 600 WS – Guide Number 61M @ 100 ISO
- Built-in (Swappable) 14.8v 6600mAh Lithoum-ion Battery Modules
- 400+ Full Power Shots Per Battery Charge
- Built in 2.4GHz Radio Receiver with Remote Power Control
- 22 Level Power Control – 1/1 to 1/128, in 1/3rd Stops
- High Shutter Speed Mode – 1/1 to 1/16th Power (Requires HSS Trigger for Pre-sync Signal)
- Selectable Recycle Speed with 0.3 – 3.5 Second (Fast) and 0.3 – 4.5 Second (Slow)
- Audible and Ready LED Indicator
- Trigger Single Frame, Stroboscopic or Flash Delay
- s1 and s2 Optic Slave Modes
- Built in 7W LED Modeling Lamp with Auto Off Timer Option
- Flashpoint or Bowen’s Mount for Reflectors and Light Modifiers
From may initial testing the RoveLight appears to perform very well. Its very powerful, the recycle times are fast for a battery powered flash with this power, and power levels and consistency between shots is very accurate. Color consistency through the power levels appears quite good as well.
LED Modelling Light
The LED modeling light is 5 or 7 watts (specs differ), which appears to equates to around a 75 watt incandescent globe. So its not particularly powerful, though still certainly useful at times. The LED can be set to auto-off in 60 seconds to save battery power, or stay on as long as the strobe is awake.
I don’t know if leaving the LED on for log periods would eventually burn it out, and I don’t really want to find out. The modelling light can also be turned on and off remotely from the supplied TRS remote / transmitter unit.
RoveLights are available with 2 accessory mount options. The RL-600B shown here provides a standard Bowens S-type mount, while the standard RL-600 version have the Flashpoint accessory mount.
The Bowen’s mount is quite loose on the speedring inserts, so the supplied reflector and other smaller accessories can rattle around a bit. Though they definitely can’t fall out, and I actually found the loose mount to be an advantage for mounting softboxes etc quickly.
I also found the small reflector around the flash tube to be a big advantage when mounting and removing accessories quickly as well, as that acts as a bit of a shield, so you don’t have to be so careful around the fragile flash tube.
So softboxes etc mount up quickly and easily. The Phottix Luna 70cm shown below are a great combination with the RoveLight, as they snap oven quickly, and they are also nice and shallow so they doesn’t take up a lot of space.
The RoveLight swivel mount is very sturdy and will easily support larger modifiers. The swivel handle is a little small, though it does the job ok. The aim here is to be small and portable.
Adorama have upped the spec on this swivel over the Jinbei version of this light. Which is a good advantage, as Jinbei are using the swivel really designed for a small speedlight. The downside is that there is no direct handle option available like the Jinbei units provide. It would be much more sturdy to place your own handle into the Rovelight swivel though.
The swivel is attached with two regular screws though, so it could easily be changed as well if you really wanted to. Though I think the RoveLight is solid and great as it is.
One thing to be aware of here though is the umbrella mounting hole appears to be designed for smaller 7mm, or a very neat fit on 8mm, diameter umbrella shafts only (where the original Jinbei mount allows for up to 10mm umbrella shafts).
Th RoveLight has a large removable 14.8v 6600mAh Lithoum-ion battery, which simply slides into the rear of the flash. Providing 400+ full power shots with one charge.
As far as I understand this is Lithium Polymer, or LiPo, which are the long life Lithiun-ion batteries.
The battery itself is only about the size of a speedlite (folded), and weighs 640 grams. It slides in and out of the flash very quickly and easily. One small concern is that the clip on the battery looks like it could be broken easily, though this appears to be designed as replaceable part.
The RoveLight can not be used while connected to the charger, which is normal for most lights like this. Though a second battery could be charging outside the flash, while another is being used.
Also a small but very welcome detail is simply a manufacture date stamp on the battery.
Dramas with bad batches of the Godox Lithium-ion batteries have really highlighted how important some form of identification like this can be.
And of course you know exactly how old the battery actually is.
TRS Radio Transmitter
The RoveLights come with the simple TRS 2.4GHz radio transmitter unit, which provide pretty solid range, stated as around 80m. And a fairly basic power level adjustment.
The radio receiver is conveniently built inside the RoveLight, so there are no external receivers or cords needed (though they can also be used via the provided 3.5mm sync port).
I’ve had no issues with random fires or misfires, and the range appears quite good as most 2.4GHz triggers provide.
UPDATE / NOTE – The TRS transmitter actually has a small Reset Button inside the battery compartment (requires a pen tip etc to push). If you’re having any issues with the transmitter not turning on, or acting unusually etc, pressing this Reset Button may help to rectify those.
Over time the TRS transmitters have also proven to be less than reliable for many people, and other radio triggers are often used to fire the flash reliably, while the TRS is used separately just for remote power adjustments on the flash.
Remote Power Control
Remote power control is still one area the Jinbei units could certainly do with an update. Though at least there is some remote power control ability already enabled.
Power levels are simply bumped up and down in 1/3rd stops from the transmitter. You are be relying on the sound beep from the flash, or actually seeing the flash display to be certain of the current power level set.
As you reach full or minimum power there are a number of beeps to let you know. So although basic, its really a fairly easy and very usable remote power adjustment.
There is also a modeling light switch and test fire button provided on the transmitter.
Adjusting Multiple Lights
The TRS transmitters at this stage are really only designed to adjust the remote power levels of one flash. Or possibly a number of flashes all at once (while retaining the power level ratios already set directly on the flashes). As there are no groups provided to adjust flashes independently.
Though lucky for those of us who like to squeeze out as much functionality as possible, there is actually a “catch all channel” (channel 15) provided, which fires all channels together. This means that the channels can actually be used as a work around in place of groups to adjust lights individually.
Though because the TRS transmitter unit uses small dip switches to change the channels, its simply not going to be practical to be changing channels with those tiny dip switches all the time.
So I think the practical way around this is to actually use one transmitter unit dedicated to each light, and set to a corresponding channel. And then an extra transmitter unit mounted on the camera hotshoe, and set to the “catch all channel” to fire all the flashes.
So there is a hand held remote unit, with a transmitter dedicated to each flash. They could be mounted together on a small cold shoe track or DIY base.
This may look like a pretty elaborate work around, though it would only require one extra transmitter over those supplied with each flash unit.
And the functionality would actually be pretty convenient in some ways, as you could easily test fire each light separately for meter readings, because there is a dedicated test fire for button for each flash.
And the transmitter on the camera can then be used to test fire all lights together, and also very conveniently adjust all lights power levels at once (retaining ratios set) to compensate for ISO and aperture changes on the camera. This is a very convenient feature many other current radio triggers lack.
Unfortunately one small catch is that the transmitter units go into a sleep mode every 3.3 minutes of no use. Though you very quickly get used to the fact that you will need to hold the ON button for a few seconds before making power changes on the hand held remote.
So this is all a bit of a workaround, though still much better than running back and forth to flashes all the time to make small power adjustments.
Jinbei do also use the TRS remote for quite a number of their current flashes. So hopefully there is some possibility this transmitter may at the least be updated to one with a more convenient channel selection. Jinbei have asked about good transmitter interface options.
High Shutter Speed Mode
If a powerful fully cordless flash wasn’t enough, the RoveLights appear to have something pretty unusual and special with the new High Shutter Speed Mode feature.
The RoveLights as stated by Jinbie are Dual Mode flashes. And this appears to be switching from an IGBT flash to a regular voltage controlled flash in the High Shutter Speed Mode, which increases the flash durations at all power levels down to 1/16.
A long flash duration simply acts like a constant light source, at least for the short time the camera shutter is open. This in turn allows any shutter speed up to 1/8000th of a second to be used, just like using available light.
I have termed this method of achieving high shutter speeds Long Duration Sync, and commonly known manufactures terms for variations of this are HyperSync, SuperSync and Over Drive Sync.
And there is a graphic illustration and explanation of how regular HSS and Long Duration Sync function in the ODS (Over Drive Sync) post here.
A significant advantage of this method over the flash pulsing method which the recent Godox Witstro units use, is that there is no extra limit to the number of flashes allowed in HSS mode (the Witstro allow just 10 shots at full power).
And you don’t really need to worry about running to the flash and turning the High Shutter Speed mode on and off all the time either. As there is only a small loss in power (0.2 stops) in the High Shutter Speed mode. At full power there is no loss.
So this High Shutter Speed mode is significantly more practical (and powerful) than the Witstro units. The trade off though is slightly more light gradient across the image frame.
To set the High Shutter Speed mode on, hold the top right SET and EYEBALL button, and the High Shutter Speed symbol will appear at the top right of the LCD as shown (below the battery indicator).
Triggering High Shutter Speed Mode
For this High Shutter Speed mode to function though, an early fire signal, or “pre-sync” signal, is also needed. And that needs to be provided by a High Speed Sync enabled transmitter on the camera hotshoe.
Most TTL triggers should work reasonably well with this, though the popular YongNuo YN-622 offer one of the simplest and inexpensive options for Canon and Nikon cameras.
UPDATE – If the TRS transmitter is proving unreliable it may be best to just use other radio triggers like the YN-622C to actually trigger the flash, and the TRS can be hand held separately to provide remote manual power adjustments on the Rovelight.
A receiver is needed for every RoveLight used with this method though, and they are connected to the flash via PC sync cord (with a 3.5mm mini phone socket at the flash end).
Please Note – The TRS transmitter unit is the only unit which can remotely adjust the power levels of the RoveLights. No other radio triggers can do this.
So regardless of the method used to fire the flashes (with or without High Shutter Speed Mode) the TRS transmitter will always be needed (possibly in hand) if you want to remotely control the RoveLight power levels.
The Alternative triggering methods below allow the Rovelights internal radio receiver to be uses, so that no extra receiver units need to be attached to each strobe.
The disadvantage may be reduced reliability due to the TRS transmitter being relied upon to fire the flashes (with many users reporting their TRS are less than reliable for this).
The first trick here is to simply attach the regular FlashPoint TRS transmitter to the TTL transmitter on the camera. That way there are no extra TTL receivers required on the RoveLights themselves, so they can remain clean and wireless.
The hotshoe and TRS transmitter are actually just sitting on top of the YN-622C hotshoe here, just as somewhere convenient to mount them. The only electrical connection is through the PC sync cord, not actually the YN-622C hotshoe.
This may not look particularly attractive, though the High Shutter Speed functionality is pretty amazing, and well worthwhile looking a little strange on the camera.
Nikon owners have it bit easier though, as the TRS transmitter can mount straight on top of the YN-622N hotshoe. No PC sync cord is needed with the YN-622N.
UPDATE – There appears to be some issues between the Nikon YN-622N and TRS transmitter when mounting as shown below. For some reason the TRS transmitter may not consistently fire in this configuration.
So with Nikon it may be necessary to also attach a YN-622N as receiver to the RoveLight itself. And only mount the YN-622N or YN-622N-TX on the camera hotshoe. The TRS transmitter then held in hand then to control the RoveLight power levels.
The recent YongNuo YN-622C-TX and YN-622N-TX are also very popular TTL transmitter units now. Though unfortunately they do not have any hotshoe on top, and they do not provide a PC sync out signal. So there is no way to access the pre-sync signal directly from the transmitter unit itself.
Another way to access the Pre-Sync signal then, is to attach the TRS transmitter to a YN-622C receiver instead. The TRS then relays the fire signal on to the RoveLights, and still not extra receivers are needed attached to the flash units.
The YN-622C receiver and TRS transmitter do not need to be mounted near the camera, they could be anywhere between the camera and lights. Though if you only have one TRS unit it would need to be close by to use the remote power level adjustment for the RoveLights.
This is also a method that could be used with most other TTL triggers which do not have a hotshoe or PC Sync out port on the transmitter.
High Shutter Speed Mode Results
Below is a direct comparison, in and out of High Shutter Speed mode, with the RoveLight and the Godox RS600P, and Witsro AD360. Which are 2 of the other very popular portable flash units at the moment. The AD360 also having a purpose designed High Speed Sync mode.
Surprisingly outside of High Shutter Speed mode the RoveLight is around one full stop more powerful than the RS600P when using the standard reflectors, and about 0.8 stops in a softbox as shown below (Phottix Luna 70cm used).
The RoveLight loses a couple of tenths at 1/250th shutter speed due to the longer flash duration at full power, though full frame cameras with 1/200th x-sync would not be affected by that small loss anyway.
The AD360 being a 300WS flash (as opposed to 600WS for the other two units) is another stop lower than the RS600P. So a quite significant 1.8 stops below the RoveLight compared in the softbox.
So as the image above shows, the RoveLight provides significantly more light, in and out of the High Shutter Speed mode. And that’s a major bonus considering they are also much more convenient to use the High Shutter Speed mode compared to the AD360.
The Godox RS600P is a little disappointing at full power using the Long Duration Sync method, though it doesn’t technically have any HSS mode, so that is no fault of the flash. We are just relying on the existing long flash durations already available. Being a voltage controlled flash the gradient does get more even at lower power levels. The RS600P can’t anywhere near match the RoveLight at any power level, though at least they are usable for Long Duration Sync (which is very handy when mixing with the AD360 etc)
The AD360, using a flash pulsing method to produce a longer flash duration, provides a more even frame (or less gradient), than the RoveLight. Though the big trade off for that is a 10 shot limit, and needing to turn the HSS mode on and off directly on the flash. So at full power its often better to leave the HSS mode off with AD360 and just use the regular long flash duration instead (which has more gradient).
The Gradient in the RoveLight High Shutter Speed frame above may look significant, though this is generally hardly noticeable in a regular image mixing ambient light and flash in the frame. I have to use a plain white wall here to see what is actually happening.
If it helps to understand the loss or gain with High Shutter Speed mode here, if using an ND filter instead of High Shutter Speed mode to open the camera aperture, the left frames above would look exactly the same as the right. So all flashes are losing a little light over an ND filter.
The advantage is the speed and convenience of not having to use the ND filter. Or not having to close the aperture as far if trying to underexpose the ambient light.
So with the power the RoveLight provides, this is really a very significant and usable High Shutter Speed feature, if you’re interested in the High Shutter Speed method.
TIP – HSS is commonly used to achieve wider apertures for narrow depth of field in bright ambient light. ND filters on the camera lens are the other common method of achieving this. Though they do not provide any advantage for freezing motion as higher shutter speeds can do.
For more information on how HSS and Long Duration Sync methods work please see this post.
This was always going to be swings and roundabouts. The RoveLight are an all in one completely cordless unit. The big advantage of that is the speed of having everything in one unit always ready to go. And a nice reduction in size, and more significantly a reduction in gear clutter.
At around 2.8kg the RoveLights are about 200 grams lighter than the ($2000) Profoto B1 for example. Though they are still a significant chunk of weight to either be hand holding over your head for any length of time, or to prop up high on anything but a decent solid light stand, let alone a boom arm.
It is still impressive the amount of light output and battery power the RoveLight provide in the reasonably compact package they are though. As an interesting comparison, the soon to be released YongNuo YN300W lights are larger, considerably heavier, without any internal battery, and still only half the power of the smaller RoveLight.
(That’s not to say the YN300W ar not impressive studio lights).
Compared with the popular Godox RS600P, the RS600P battery pack is over 3kg alone. The whole package with case, flash head, and cord, is closer to 4.8kg. Compared to just 2.8kg for the RoveLight (which is surprisingly putting out significantly more light as well).
The RS600P, and lights like the Elinchrom Quadra, definitely still have their advantages though too. The RS600P head weighs next to nothing (as there’s nothing inside it), so its much easier to hand hold up high for any period of time (the battery pack is no stress slung over your shoulder).
Where the RoveLight almost definitely needs a support pole for holding up high for anything more than a short time. So depending on what your regular use would be things like that may need to be factored in.
Mounting the Rovelight on a light stand you would be wasting your time with anything but a decent solid medium stand. (That’s not to say you can’t get relatively inexpensive and solid stands as shown).
The RS600P are heavier to move around (4.8kg vs 2.8kg), though all the weight is at the bottom if the stand, so you can lift the stand with one hand and there is no chance of it overbalancing. Where the RoveLight is easy to lift, though you do need to be conscious of the weight up top when moving it around.
And then there is the fact that the RS600P has built in ballast with the battery back at the base of the stand. Even outdoors this is often enough to weigh the stand down fairly securely, where the RoveLight is definitely going to need extra sandbags at times.
So there are advantages and disadvantages to either system, and they are both likely to suit some people better than others.
Ideally even wireless lights like the RoveLight would eventually be designed with the option of a remote corded head when needed, so you have both options then, and the best of both worlds.
And another great option would simply be a 300WS version of the RoveLight. With the power this light has, half of that would still be fantastic, and at around 60% of the size and weight.
Like many portable strobe units, the RoveLights come with a nice padded case and shoulder strap. This is not just a soft fabric case, as there is still a rigid frame inside.
The RoveLight fits in fully assembled and ready to go. And there is room for extra battery modules and charger etc.
As nice as the case is, one small catch is that the strap holds the case on the wider side. That way the zipper opening flap remains at the top where there is no weight on it.
For the same reason there is no regular handle on either side of the case. So the only handle option is the shoulder strap , supporting the case on its its wider side.
Its still nice to have decent case provided though.
UPDATE – Flashpoint Mount –
A number of people who have purchased the Flashpoint mount version of the RoveLight have pointed out a few anomalies over the original Bowen’s mount version.
UPDATE – We have one report of a person trying a Multiblitz V-Type speedring on the Flashpoint mount RoveLight and it did not fit. So its still unclear if Multiblitz are actually compatible or not.
When adapting this mount to the RoveLight though, for some reason the small concave reflector around the flash tube was not retained from the original Bowens mount version, and a flat reflector plate used instead. This can be a little bit of a negative, as the concave reflector helps to protect the flash tube when mounting modifiers etc.
Another issue at the time of writing this though, is that the Flashpoint mount light does not come with the smaller 5″ (actually 5 1/8″) compact reflector and diffuser cap, which the original Bowen’s mount light comes with standard.
Adorama have been providing a free 8″ Flashpoint reflector instead. The advantage of which is that there are 8″ grid sets available to fit this reflector.
The disadvantage though is that umbrella mounting hole cut into the 8″ reflector does not actually line up with the umbrella mount on the RoveLights base.
EDIT / UPDATE – Some buyers have reported the umbrella shaft is now lining up correctly with the hole in recent 8″ reflectors provided with the RL600.
And also the larger 8″ reflector is not as compact, and will not fit in the RoveLight case, all set up and ready to go like the compact reflector allows. The compact reflector also comes standard with a nice diffuser cover, which the 8″ reflector does not come with.
UPDATE – Flashpoint mount Rovelight owners have been reporting a couple more issues –
The Flashpoint mount has no locking pin or mechanism like the Bowens mount does, and the spring clips are not very strong, so heavier modifiers can twist and actually fall right out of the mount.
Also the Flashpoint Speedring which can be used to fit into other standard softboxes so that they can be mounted on the FlashPoint mount Rovelight, are reportedly a slightly larger diameter than other regular speedrings. This effectively makes the softbox rods longer, putting stress and extra tension on the softbox fabric.
Technical Specs –
Overall the FlashPoint RoveLights are very impressive and well priced all in one portable flashes.
And with the support from Adorama, they should really provide a lot of bang for buck.
UPDATE – 14th July 2015 – PLEASE NOTE – Jinbei have released an updated version of the HD 600 II, now called the HD 600 V.
And the HD 600 V have more sophisticated radio transceiver modules built inside, which are unfortunately no longer compatible with the original HD 600 II and Flashpoint RoveLight radio system and transmitter units.
At this time the HD 600V are just supplied with a similar version of the original TRS transmitter unit labelled the TRS-V. Though the radio modules built inside the HD 600 V flash units are designed to accommodate more sophisticated transmitter units which should eventually come from Jinbei.
Flashpoint are still waiting on details of what new transmitter options may be possible with the RoveLights (nothing is guaranteed though).
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY –
The FlashPoint RoveLights are available now from Adorama –
RL-600B (Bowen’s Mount) – $399.95
RL-600 (FlashPoint Mount) – $599.95
Replacement Battery Module – $150.00
RoveLight – Original User Manual PDF
RoveLight – Overview