Flashpoint Rapid 600 Review
I’ve been using the Flashpoint Rapid 600 studio strobe consistently for about two months now. I’ve found it to be terrific in every way. When you consider the price, under $500, this light is shockingly good.
The build quality of the Flashpoint Rapid 600 (and really all of the Flashpoint strobes) was my biggest concern. Flashpoint is Adorama’s house brand. In reality these are a rebranded Godox light with a few minor tweaks. Neither light has much history here in the US and service support is, as best I can tell, nil. Need a repair? Good luck. True Adorama offers an extended three-year warranty (which I bought). But I’d like to think that the lights will last longer than warranty. Which begs the question, where would I get it serviced? I asked Adorama about repair facilities and got a non-answer. In other words, when your strobes break, they end up in the dumpster.
Buying into a light system that is presumed to be disposable bugs me. Yes, the pricepoint is incredible and if you run the numbers it still makes financial sense. But still, it bugs me. As popular as Godox/Flashpoint lights seem to be I’m hoping this will change soon. Maybe within a year or so some enterprising repair facility will begin offering repairs on Godox/Flashpoint lights.
The Rapid 600 thing is huge. There’s no way around it. It’s the largest studio light I’ve ever seen. It’s heavy too, tipping the scales at 6.6 pounds. So, yes, definitely order sandbags. Because of the size these will rarely leave the studio. If you do a fair amount of on-location work, the Xplor600 or the eVov200 are much better options.
I have no way of knowing whether size or weight translates to quality but it does make you feel that way. The heft feels good and the mostly metal housing adds to a sense of quality. The bowens mount is well executed with softboxes and beauty dishes clicking snuggly into place.
The light stand mount is all metal and, while simple, gets the job done. The tilting knob is solid and grips well. However, the little circular knob on the light stand mount should be larger to allow for more torque. The ridges also press painfully into your fingers when tightening.
The umbrella hole is just off center with a friction fit. It always perplexes me why manufacturers opt for this instead of a thumbscrew to secure the umbrella. If you tilt the light such that the shaft of the umbrella is perpendicular to the floor, it slides out of the hole or goes crashing into the flash tube. Or on a windy day, the umbrella can easily be pulled out.
One of the selling points of the Rapid 600 is the quick recycle time and the short flash duration. I’m pleased to report that both are stellar.
I’ve never used a light that recycles as fast as this one. All the way up through about 1/4 power, recycling is virtually instant. And even at full power, recycle time is only a second or two. That kind of speed is incredibly useful for being able to pop off a burst of 3-4 photos when your subject shows just the right expression.
The other part of “rapid” is the high-speed flash mode. In this mode the flash duration is reduced to an incredible 1/28,000th of a second at the lowest power. As you turn the power up, the flash duration increases. But even at 1/16th power the duration is still a water-stopping 1/10,000th of a second. The downside is that in high-speed mode the color temperature changes drastically. But there are ways around that.
Color balance in “color mode” is incredibly stable. My unscientific tests showed only a 200K change in color from full power to the lowest power. Incredibly, the color stayed absolutely stable until the lowest two power settings when it warmed by only 100K at 1/64th and then another 100k at 1/128th.
In “high-speed mode” the story is different. The change was 3500K over the entire power band. Yes this is extreme but remember three things:
- In the top half of the power band, the change was only 500K
- It’s not often that lights would be set at radically different power outputs when shooting scenes that required short flash duration.
- You can always use gels to align color temperatures.
Buttons and display
The buttons on the Flashpoint Rapid 600 feel good and well placed. The display is bright, readable, and the information is easily presented. I don’t really have a whole lot to say about the interface because I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time with it. That’s because when I’m in the studio I’m using the R2T32 remote. I find the R2T32 to be terrific. I have easy control over almost every function of the Rapid600 from the R2T32. But that’s another review.
These are terrific strobes. If you’re on the fence – go for it. The performance and price leaves little room for questioning whether this is a good buy. These aren’t Profoto or Broncolor but they come amazingly close for a third of the price.
Seasoned shooters know that when you buy an off-camera strobe, you’re not just buying a single light. You’re buying into a whole ecosystem of lights, modifiers, remotes, and accessories. That’s what makes the Rapid 600 a homerun.
Flashpoint/Godox has done something that no one else has come close to pulling off –they’ve created a fully integrated flash system that includes everything from small on-camera speedlight flashes to robust studio strobes like the Rapid 600 and everything in between. The flexibility of that is enormous and it’s made me a devoted fan.
I have used almost every major lighting system on the market. I expect a lot from my strobes and I’m probably too quick to find fault. With that context I say that I absolutely adore the Flashpoint Rapid 600. Time will tell about the long-term build quality. I hope my initial affection doesn’t fade.