The Sony variant X1Ts with AD600 and speedlites

I received a beta version X1Ts Tuesday (4/26/16) afternoon.

The X1Ts supports 3 or 5 Groups. This is selected as a Fn 6 option. Its the first thing I changed when I turned the X1Ts on for the first time. I changed it to 5 groups, A – E. Any of the groups can be TTL or Manual. Once they are set, there is a feature that permits changing the power of all the groups. i.e. if two groups are TTL and two are Manual. To control all the groups for power pass the Using the feature all can be increased or decreased in power. So, 1 EV up changes the TTL groups 1 FEC up and the manual groups I EV up.

The only other Fn option I changed from its default value is Fn 5. I changed it to permit reducing power, on lights that support it, to 1/256. The AD600 will go to 1/256 in M mode.

FEC set on the X1T and FEC set in the camera are additive. So, -3 EV on the X1Ts and + 3 EV on the camera result in 0EV exposure compensation. Or, plus 3 on the X1Ts and + 3 on the camera are +6EV which gets the light really bright.

If camera FEC is adjusted with some groups in TTL and some in M only the TTL groups change.

The key to using the X1Ts effectively is to read the manual and practice to get comfortable with how to use the three buttons to change parameters on the lights in each group.  In TTL mode the plus/minus EV changes do not show on the light’s display. They do show on the X1Ts. When in M mode the power setting does show on the light’s LCD.

I tested the XTR-16/16s with the X1Ts. They work as expected. Setting the mode to – – turns the light off. Setting it to M mode turns it on at the last power setting. Pressing the Gr button gives access to change power via the control wheel.

The hot shoe on top of the X1Ts is a single pin shoe. My immediate reaction was disappointment. However, placing a TT685s or V860IIs on this shoe with the speedlite as a slave in any of the groups, permits complete control of the light. After playing with it for a few minutes I realized that may be an advantage over having the on-camera light always constrained to Gr M as it is if the light is directly in the hot shoe. Edward confirmed that Godox chose the single pin hot shoe as a cost containment consideration to keep all three X1T variants at the same price.

A couple of additional observations related to the TT685s and the V860IIs speedlites. Based on the menus and buttons it appears that they are functionally identical. The firmware numbers are different, so probably can’t use the same firmware for both lights. Will have to wait to see how Godox handles that on it downloads page.

One thing that Godox should address is the limit to 3 groups when the light is in radio slave mode. When used in combination with AD600 strobes, the speedlites will have to be placed in groups A, B or C and the XTR-16 and AD600 lights will be have to be in D and E. That’s an unfortunate limitation if one wants to use speedlites with more powerful lights.  Its an even greater limitation if one wants to use only speedlites in a more complex lighting scheme. I expect that when a speedlite is in optical wireless mode it has to conform to the manufacturer’s TTL specs. It seems, however, that when its in X system radio wireless mode, either as a master or a slave its capabilities could be extended to 5 groups.

For example, this shot of Manny was lit with two AD600s, a TT685 and a V860II. All were in TTL mode.

I had to use +3 FEC to get the speedlites to show on Manny’s hat. In a realistic situation I expect that wouldn’t be the case. The Speedlites were in groups A and B, and the AD600s were is C, D.  Normally I would have the main and fill lights in A and B and the kickers in C and D.

When I was using Canon 600EX-RTs I did headshots with 4 lights in TTL, it was quick and easy. Limiting the speedlites to 3 groups seems unnecessary and limiting.

For some of the testing, I was on a Skype video call with Edward Tang, Anthony Shom Scott and Robinson Arob. We confirmed all the functionality for Edward. It’s my understanding that Edward planned to call Godox after we confirmed that everything worked as it should with the X1Ts firmware to ask them to release it for production.