First impressions of the Godox XPro – The ultimate flash trigger?

Sep 27, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

First impressions of the Godox XPro – The ultimate flash trigger?

Sep 27, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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A few days ago I received the new XPro trigger from Godox. Designed to overcome some issues with the X1T and XT32 triggers, the XPro has received a warm reception so far online since the initial announcement. But how well does it really work? And does it eliminate the issues of the previous triggers?

While I didn’t have many issues with the X1T myself, my answer is a pretty resounding yes. The XT32-inspired design is wonderful, eliminating some of the ergonomic issues of the X1T. It also has that great big LCD with a lot more buttons, which makes workflow a breeze.

Godox equipment instantly intrigued when I first learned of the Godox AD180 a few years ago. I was hesitant to purchase, though. It was a new, untested company, with a very different type of light. A 180Ws strobe in a slightly-larger-than-speedlight sized package with a small external pack.

It seemed to good to be true. And when these sorts of things appear, they often are. They don’t live up to the hype and a short time later, the company usually disappears. Sometimes, though, the claims are actually true and we witness the start of something quite revolutionary. For Godox, it seemed to be the latter. As I started digging a little more into their whole system I noticed that they also offer speedlights.

My big problem at that time, though, was that they all required external receivers to use them off-camera. If I wanted high speed sync, I’d have to stack Godox and Yongnuo triggers on top of each other. That sounded like a pain and required I spend yet more money on Yongnuo triggers. I didn’t want to have to go back to external receivers, so I stuck with Nikon and Yongnuo.

Once the second generation of Godox lights were released with built in 2.4Ghz triggers, and I was sold, completely. I got rid of most of my Nikon & Yongnuo speedlights, sold my Bowens strobes and picked up a pair of Godox AD360II and a stack of TT600 speedlights along with the X1Tn trigger, and life was good. True high speed sync, outdoors, with a 4ft octabox. Yes, please!

The X1T trigger frustrated me, though. The design was functional, although not pretty. Workflow was often quite awkward, trying to remember exactly what each button did and how long you had to hold it down for to get certain menu options to appear. One click of the dial also doesn’t represent one click on power settings or menu options. So you might have to click it 2 or 3 times to actually go up or down a stop or menu setting.

The three main 2.4Ghz Godox triggering options. The X1T, the XT32 and the XPro.

One problem I didn’t run into myself, being a left eyed shooter, but heard a lot of complains about was the trigger banging into your face. For right eyed shooters, whenever you rotate the camera into portrait mode, the trigger would be pressing into your nose and forehead whenever you held the camera up to your eye. Makes me glad I’m a left eyed shooter, because I don’t know how long I could put up with that.

Then came the XT32. From a technical standpoint, the only difference between the two is that the X1T supports TTL while the XT32 does not. As I never use TTL, this wasn’t a problem. But the design is much better. It shifts the display to the top of the unit, which now leans forward, preventing those forehead-banging issues. It had several buttons and a better dial. Although it only displayed one flash group at once. Which seems kind of awkward.

As I debated back and forth between sticking with the X1T or getting the XT32, Godox announced the XPro and got in touch with me to see if I’d like to try one out. The version I received is for Canon, and I shoot Nikon, so I still don’t get the TTL that I never use. But it also means that, for now, I get no high speed sync.

What I do get, though, is a beautifully designed new interface, that easily lets me see the settings of up to 5 groups of flashes simultaneously. I can also quickly and easily adjust the power of each of those flash groups individually, or all of them at once.

Those things dangling from my DSLRs are Peak Design anchors. This way I can use the same couple of straps with all my cameras. I can also easily take them off when mounted on a tripod, slider, etc.

Until I received the XPro, my favourite “commander” UI design was that of the Nikon SB-900/910 speedlights. I can see all the flash groups at once, quickly and easily change the power or mode of any of them, and it is a workflow speed dream. Since playing with the XPro, though, my mind has definitely been changed.

As well as being an overall cleaner design, the array of buttons is well laid out, and it’s easy to see what everything does. There’s five buttons along the left hand side of the LCD, corresponding to the five flash groups. The four buttons below the LCD change in function as you go through various interfaces – each of which is labelled on the LCD itself.

Changing the power of any given group is as simple as hitting a button along the left side of the LCD and then spinning the dial. Once you’re actually changing the settings of a flash group, two of the buttons below the LCD also turn into “Group up” and “Group down” buttons, allowing one-handed operation to adjust them all.

Speaking of adjusting them all, you can do that simultaneously, too. If you’ve got five groups of flashes to adjust up 2/3rds of a stop, you don’t have to go into each one individually. You just hit the button below “All” and spin the dial. Each of them get knocked up or down appropriately. And, best of all, it caps the brightness levels to the highest and lowest power groups.

If one group hits full power, they all stop going up. If one goes down to 1/128th (or 1/256th if it’s configured that way), the rest stop going down. It’s great that it has this built in limit to prevent you from just keep powering up the lower groups and sending things out of balance.

For Canon users, another button changes the flash mode. This is where you can set it to rear curtain sync or force it into high speed sync mode. I would imagine, though, when it’s sitting on the hotshoe of a Canon DSLR, it will automatically go into HSS mode whenever your shutter speed is fast enough. Although, as I do not have a recent Canon body here to test with, I can’t say for sure.

The modelling lights for each group, too, is enabled or disabled simply with the push of a button. Although, as none of my Godox lights except for the A1 contain a modelling light, this was tricky to test. The XPro features the same switches on the side that the X1T does, namely the power, and the focus assist beam.

One feature I’m unable to test to confirm, but would be nice to have is an auto LCD on. If I have a Nikon SB-900 on my hotshoe, when I turn my camera on, the speedlight’s LCD lights up. If the backlight turns off, when I hit the button to illuminate the LCD on the camera itself, the flash’s LCD again lights up.

This isn’t so on the X1Tn. With that, if I want it to light up, I actually have to push a button or spin the dial on the trigger itself. The XPro I have seems to work the same way. But, again, the XPro I have is for Canon. So there is definitely some signal inconsistency between the XPro’s foot and my DSLR’s hotshoe which wouldn’t allow that signal to be sent.

If you don’t want to see all the groups at once, or are just working with a single flash, you can expand the view to show only a single group.

When it comes to sticking it in the hotshoe, the XPro has a metal foot, like the X1T, with a plastic but solid nut to tighten it down. Getting it off the hotshoe after you’re done requires unscrewing the nut all the way, due to a locking pin. This means it’s definitely not going to fall out by accident.

Hopefully, when the Nikon version of the XPro is released, we’ll see that it has this feature. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s very handy, especially for one-handed operation in dark conditions. To turn on my camera’s LCD light is turn a dial around the shutter release. If my left hand is supporting a big lens, and my right hand is holding the camera, I don’t want to have to push a button on the trigger with my nose to get it to light up.

One very cool feature, from a technical standpoint, is the XPro’s ability to convert TTL into manual power settings. That’s what the “TCM” button is for. This is something we’ve seen in the past from Profoto. Essentially, you set your flash up in TTL mode, shoot so that it figures out the exposure it needs to give you the shot you want, and then tap a button. Your flashes have now been converted over to manual power settings, so you can get consistency from shot to shot.

This isn’t really a big deal for me personally. For two main reasons.

  • I don’t shoot TTL
  • It’s the Canon trigger on a Nikon DSLR, so I don’t get TTL anyway

But for wedding and event shooters, this may become the “must have” feature for the future of mobile flash. TTL can be a wonderful tool for situations with ever changing light. Although it can also be inconsistent. Being able to quickly meter a shot with TTL, and then turn it over to manual means you’ll get consistent output no matter what disco lights are flashing in the background.

Even though I can’t take full advantage of all of its features, the XPro has completely won me over. I shall definitely be picking up the Nikon version once it becomes available, and the X1Tn will reside in my bag as a backup. Even now, the Canon version of the XPro will still be my go-to trigger over the X1T for shoots where I don’t need high speed sync.

Pros

  • XT32 style build design that gets the useful features out of your face
  • See and quickly change all five groups of flashes individually or simultaneously
  • Far fewer configuration options buried deep in menus
  • The menu options that do exist are laid out much better, and easier to access
  • So far, it’s as solid and reliable as the X1Tn

Cons

  • None that spring to mind, really.

It would be nice if the LCD lights up with the camera. This is more a personal quirk than a con, really. And it may be fixed by putting an actual Nikon trigger on the Nikon camera. The addition of Bluetooth might also be a handy feature, although it would possibly cut into sales of the Godox A1. As I already have an A1, it’s not something I’ll miss.

TL;DR – In short, my advice, if you don’t have the X1T or XT32 triggers yet, then don’t bother. Just get the XPro. If you already have an X1T or XT32, get the XPro and put your old trigger in the bag as a backup. The time saved due to the increased speed of workflow more than makes up for the investment. If shooting on location and regularly adjusting your lights, it’s a no brainer.

The Godox XPro-C for Canon is available to pre-order now for $69 and ships on October 16th. XPro triggers for Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic and Olympus are to follow at some point, although dates have not been specified.

Update – 28th September : I contacted Godox to find out about releases for other brands. The XPro-N for Nikon should start popping up for pre-order any day now. Sony will be the next version to come out “soon”, followed by Fuji & Olympus/Panasonic shortly thereafter.

Update – 29th October : I have the XPro-N for Nikon now, so I took it out for a bit of a spin and put together a behind the scenes vlog from the shoot with some more thoughts about the HSS & TTL to Manual conversion function.

YouTube video

 

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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46 responses to “First impressions of the Godox XPro – The ultimate flash trigger?”

  1. udi tirosh Avatar
    udi tirosh

    I am overwhelmed again and again how GODOX was a no name 5 years ago and how they are pushing the industry today.

  2. Frank Camacho Avatar
    Frank Camacho

    I assume this Godox branded trigger will also work flawlessly with the Flashpoint re-brand devices, from Adorama?

    1. mtnredhed Avatar
      mtnredhed

      All the rest have, so I’d be shocked if it didn’t. I’ve mixed Flashpoint, Godox and Cheetah. Just be careful which gen it is. The earlier gen is 433Mhz and no TTL. The later gen is 2.4Mhz and ttl. Ping brands@adorama.com (I think that’s the address), Give them a few days to respond since it’s in the middle of the Jewish holidays.

      1. Motti Bembaron Avatar
        Motti Bembaron

        Even if you have older flashes without radio you can get tiny 2.4Mhz triggers for them and control them from the new triggers.

  3. mikerofoto Avatar
    mikerofoto

    can’t update the product if you are not a Windows user, any idea if they plan support for Mac user?

    1. Motti Bembaron Avatar
      Motti Bembaron

      Apparently they are working on it.

  4. Jean-Joseph Napoleon Avatar
    Jean-Joseph Napoleon

    With the X1T you can use an on camera flash or piggyback another trigger like a pocket wizard to fire a non Godox flash. I’ll be keeping my X1T just because of the hotshoe.

    1. John Aldred Avatar
      John Aldred

      But why would you need to? If you’re going to put a flash on the shoe, you might as well just use a V860II or TT685 as a commander and flash and lose the trigger.

      And you can always put a PocketWizard onto the X1R, and keep it safe off-camera.

      I’ll be keeping my X1T, too, but only as a backup. There’s nothing the X1T’s hotshoe offers that can’t be done some other way.

    2. Jean-Joseph Napoleon Avatar
      Jean-Joseph Napoleon

      I see your point John. The reason why is because of my Alienbees and not wanting to invest in a receiver for each one knowing that I’ll be selling the strobes soon. So the hotshoe makes sense for the PW.

      I’ll go full Godox soon and maybe look into the new trigger. Thanks for your insights.

  5. PatrickS Avatar
    PatrickS

    Thank you for the review, I’m so excited for this trigger to come out!

  6. Mike Duffy Avatar
    Mike Duffy

    Does the new XPro have the ability to “Lock settings” once set?

    1. BetterRockHill Avatar
      BetterRockHill

      Yes.

  7. Motti Bembaron Avatar
    Motti Bembaron

    A great trigger. The only issue for me is not being able to put a flash on the trigger. When doing events I use the V860II as an on-camera flash that controls two other flashes. I wish they came up with a new V860 or something similar that has those grouping buttons like the XPro.

    In any rate, Godox is my choice of lighting.

  8. Marcus Avatar
    Marcus

    Can the trigger beep when all flashes are ready?

  9. Tony Frattle Avatar
    Tony Frattle

    This sounds amazing. I’m still just using Yongnuo 560 IIIs/Ivs but I’ve thought about moving into the world of Godox because I will eventually invest into bigger flashes. I like that one controller is able to run all of their products. If I buy this and a couple TT600s, will I be able to run my Yongnuo IV flashes as slaves? I don’t feel like just sticking them in the drawer instead of utilizing them.

  10. Lars Oeschey Avatar
    Lars Oeschey

    I’m thinking about a switchover from Yongnuo as well. For non-TTL I’d get some TT600, and a 685 for the occasional TTL, is their power controllable from the xpro? And I couldn’t find any dumb “trigger-only” receivers with sync cable like the Yongnuo 603, are there any?

  11. RGomezPhotos Avatar
    RGomezPhotos

    Great review. I really liked the size comparison between all the Godox triggers. I just bought the V860II-O and it works very well on my Panasonic GX8. It’s pretty amazing that the lithium battery in that flash may last you a whole day of event/wedding photography. From what I know, takes the place of 12-AA batteries. I’ll be giving the unit a thorough testing this weekend.

    I eagerly await the m43 version of the X1Pro trigger. I’m with you that I don’t think I’ve every used the flashes off-camera in TTL mode, but the display is just fantastic.on the new trigger. It will be a great piece to tie in all the other Godox lighting units.

    Keep up the great work Godox!

  12. Riccardo R. Avatar
    Riccardo R.

    In Europe is still not available. Quadralite, who rebrand Godox products for Europe, have not it in their catalogue. Cannot wait for this trigger, really gorgeous.

    1. John Sommer Avatar
      John Sommer

      We just got it in Denmark. retails at Dkr. 495 including a 2y warranty. https://flashfotovideo.dk/godox-xpro.html

      1. Riccardo R. Avatar
        Riccardo R.

        Here in Italy (as usual) still not available. I had contacted Quadralite few days ago and they replied me that its rebranded item will be on market at the beginning of next year. Meanwhile, Godox products on platforms like Amazon come only from China or Hong Kong. :(

      2. Riccardo R. Avatar
        Riccardo R.

        Hello, they ship to Italy? I visited the website but it is not available in English so I cannot know that.
        Here in Italy no shop has it, on Amazon there are only extra-EU operators with long (very long) shipping times.

  13. Rico Lee Wei-Jie Avatar
    Rico Lee Wei-Jie

    Is it able to adjust the zoom range of the flashes?

  14. Lyle Cameron Avatar
    Lyle Cameron

    Great video; thanks. Will the Godox Xpro-N TTL Wireless Flash Trigger Transmitter for Nikon work with my Nikon D850 and my two Nikon speedlights SB-700 & SB-800?

    1. Yugo Nakai Avatar
      Yugo Nakai

      Yes, but you need an external receiver (X1R-N) for each of your Nikon flash units.

  15. mario Avatar
    mario

    I found two cons: The Xpro series is nearly unusable with rechargeable batteries and it needs a usb cable type c to update the firmware. Really, Godox? Type c???

    1. justin clay Avatar
      justin clay

      That’s a good thing. It means it’s future proof. USB is the new standard. It will slowly be replacing every micro usb on mobile devices and usb connectirs on computers. It will be same end on both sides of cable and able to provide way faster speed. So while it’s an extra cable now it means you will need less in the future.

  16. Koki Nagahama Avatar
    Koki Nagahama

    I bought XPRO_N. but this is unstable when I change TTL to Manual mode TCM using NIKON SB5000 attached X1R_N.
    How about you?

  17. Hadas Hamerovv Avatar
    Hadas Hamerovv

    Question: Can one adjust the angle of it?
    I found that in many cases I hold the camera on a tripod maximum height and unless the trigger LCD screen is vertical I can’t see anything. So am looking for a trigger that allows rotation

    1. ResolvingHost Avatar
      ResolvingHost

      No rotation on this one.

    2. Cableaddict Avatar
      Cableaddict

      You could theoretically just connect it to the hotshoe via a coiled cable extension. Then attach it somewhere with velcro.

  18. Bruce Jastrow Avatar
    Bruce Jastrow

    I am using the Xpro N and noticed that when using PowerX rechargeable batteries the Xpro works, but can’t read the amount of charge in the battery. It always appears as if the batteries need recharging with the PowerX. Other batteries work fine even Duracell rechargeable. Has anyone else experienced this issue?

    1. Cableaddict Avatar
      Cableaddict

      I’ve read the same thing, and haven’t found an answer. This is rather troubling.

  19. FujiGuy Avatar
    FujiGuy

    Can X1R-N work with XPRO-F (that’s for my Fuji camera) using HSS and TTL?

    1. FujiGuy Avatar
      FujiGuy

      To clarify I want to use my SB-900 with my Fuji camera.

      1. Kaouthia Avatar
        Kaouthia

        I’ve no idea because I don’t use Fuji cameras. In theory, yes, as long as all the firmware’s updated. If it isn’t possible yet (and I don’t know, it may, like I said, I don’t shoot Fuji so I haven’t looked), then it will be at some point.

        1. FujiGuy Avatar
          FujiGuy

          Thanks!

  20. Cableaddict Avatar
    Cableaddict

    Does this work well with an on-camera (cold shoe) flash? (Like on my RRS flash ring.)

    I’ve read that the X1T must be set for “close” mode, and that it defaults back to the other setting when powered down. This would drive me bananas. If this has a similar setting, does it hold that setting after power cyclling?
    More importantly, does it trigger a flash that’s only inches away?

  21. Amrinder Avatar
    Amrinder

    I just bought XProC with X1 receiver and it does not support rear curtain sync with my Canon 5D Mk4. Even though I can select rear curtain sync on the XProC but the menu in my camera only shows first curtain sync and HSS as the options available. When I take picture with rear curtain sync selected on XProC the flash does not fire and when I remove it the flash works. Do I have bad device or there is compatibility issue?

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Canon’s always been a bit weird with rear-curtain sync. I’d ask in the Godox user group on Facebook.

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/godoxusergroup/

    2. ryanmichaeldodo Avatar
      ryanmichaeldodo

      hi i have a 6D mk2 and 580 ex ii, if i buy the xpro-c on the 6d and x1r-c mounted on the speedlite, everything will work just fine except the rear curtain? i am afraid that i still can’t use off camera flash after spending some bucks

  22. SZEKELY LEVENTE Avatar
    SZEKELY LEVENTE

    Does it work with Pixel X900N speedlite for Nikon?

  23. Yoyo163 Avatar
    Yoyo163

    can the Xpro N be set in rear Curtain sync mode?

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      It doesn’t need to be, because it’s set on the camera with Nikons. A Nikon camera can rear-curtain sync with anything, without requiring any two-way communication with the trigger like Canon and other brands.

  24. Rich Avatar
    Rich

    I need to use a new Godox XPro N Transmitter and X1N receivers as a wireless shutter release and also to fire the studio flashes. Is that possible? I’ve tried setting it up as I think it should be and the camera and the flashes fire but the flashes do not sync to the camera. I am using a Nikon D750. Is it possible to do both?

  25. Rossano Avatar
    Rossano

    I have the Xpro and the x1 with a canon 5d and 580ex. I can trigger the flash but can’t change any output setting for the flash in manual mode or ETTL. Anyone have any reason why? Or if its a setup issue?

  26. Jody Blankenship Avatar
    Jody Blankenship

    I have the v860iic with the xpro c. I have a question concerning multi mode. The only way that I have been able to trigger the strobe function is through a sync cable or by pressing the test button, is there a way to trigger strobe by the shutter button on my camera? I have a Canon rebel t7