It seems that every time I close my eyes, Godox releases a new product. Their array of hot-shoe flashes, portable strobes, modifiers, and other flash gear seems to have no end. The great thing about a company like this with a fast product cycle is that technology develops very quickly. Starting with basic flash triggers just a few years ago, Godox now offers multiple solutions and supports TTL and HSS technologies for all major brands. Their new Godox XPro trigger series is no exception, with versions for Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm already on the market. Let’s take a look at the Fujifilm version of the trigger today, the Godox XPro-F.
When I reviewed the Godox X1T flash trigger last month, there was a little confusion as to why I would review the “old” trigger when there was a “new” trigger on the horizon. It is important to note that the XPro trigger is not an update to the X1T trigger any more than a Nikon D500 is an update to a Nikon D750. They’re different products. The XPro trigger represents all of Godox’s most recent technology and build quality, but the X1T has the same core functionality. However, we’ll compare them throughout the review as most will be looking to purchase one or the other.
Design and Build
The XPro trigger is quite a bit sexier than the X1T with its angled design and large LCD screen. The ~30-degree angle that the trigger sits at makes it easy to read while in use on a tripod, but also makes your overall camera package significantly larger — especially in the case of small mirrorless cameras. The back of the trigger also protrudes far enough that you bang your forehead on it each time you bring the camera to your eye.
Overall, the fit and feel of the trigger is of a much higher quality than the X1T triggers. It feels closer to the build of flashes like the V860II, which is a very well crafted piece of gear. The new buttons don’t have any play to them. They fit well on into their designated holes and give a satisfying click when pressed. The two switches on the side (power and focus-assist lamp) also feel like they are much more a part of the whole unit now. The one exception to this increased quality is still the cheap screw foot that Godox insists on using for all their flashes and triggers. Below is a comparison of the two triggers for shape and size.
The increased number of buttons makes functions quick and easy to access now. Each button is either labeled next to the button or on the screen for the four buttons directly beneath it. Their functions can change, and those changes are reflected on the screen so you always know the function they will provide.
The ability to quickly select any of five groups, simply by using the buttons next to the group name, and change their power or mode is an excellent feature. Unlike some other triggers that require you to scroll through groups or toggle switches to choose between them, the Godox XPro makes it extremely quick and easy.
The new jog dial is exceptional as well. It makes changing settings and navigating the menus a breeze. There’s no more skipping over the item you were actually hoping to select here. This is a quality dial.
One button I didn’t think I would need was the Zoom button. It seemed superfluous. However, after using it, I found that it was extremely useful. It allows you to switch from the main screen, which shows all of your groups and basic settings at a glance, to a larger screen showing all the settings for the current group. The larger numbers are easier to read and all functions for that group can be adjusted easily on this screen.
One of the main reasons I decided to pick up the new XPro trigger for my Fujifilm cameras is because of the design faults of the X1T trigger. The trigger was designed to fit well on DSLR-sized cameras but blocked easy access to the shutter dial on Fujifilm cameras like the X-T2. Also, the jog dial was quite inaccurate and I often found myself jumping past the menu item or power setting I was trying to get to or the dial having no effect at all.
Improvements Over X1T Triggers
Aside from the solid new design and higher quality construction, the XPro has also fixed a couple of my other complaints about the X1T trigger. When I reviewed the X1T, I noted that the communication between the trigger and flashes could be improved and that sleep mode would kill the trigger until the batteries were removed.
I’m glad to report that both of these are now much improved. The trigger will successfully way from sleep when the camera shutter is half-pressed or any of the buttons on the trigger are pressed.
Turning the trigger on now sends a quick message to all flashes within range and sets their powers according to the values in the trigger. This is a huge improvement over the X1T. However, when waking the trigger up from sleep, the same is not true. The trigger simply brings itself back online and does not check in with flashes in the area. I hope that this can be fixed in an upcoming firmware update.
Another useful new feature is the ability to change all groups of flashes by a specified amount simultaneously. Let’s say I’m shooting at f/2.8 with three groups of flashes set up at 1/16, 1/32, and 1/64 power respectively. For my next shot, I want to shoot at f/4. Typically, I would have to change the power of each flash individually, but with the “All” function, I can dial all flashes up by 1 stop at the same time. With a single turn of the jog dial, I am able to set the flashes to 1/8, 1/16, and 1/32 simultaneously. On a recent food shoot, this was extremely useful for getting variations for the client quickly.
One final improvement is the focus assist lamp. It’s no longer a blinding red projector beam, but a more subtle pattern of red shapes. It works effectively in dark situations but is still too obnoxious to use in situations where one needs stealth. I would still like to see something more like the Nikon speedlight implementation in future triggers from Godox.
Here is something I still cannot understand. All of this money poured into R&D and advancing technology, but the user's manual is still indecipherable. If there is anyone from Godox reading this, please get your manuals professionally translated. It would be nice to read them and see if I’m missing anything with your products.
What I Liked
- Vastly improved build quality
- Much easier to operate
- Fixed sleep-mode issue
- Trigger pings flashes as soon as it is turned on
- All the features you would need from a trigger
- Ability to change multiple group power settings at the same time
- The new focus-assist lamp
What I Didn’t Like
- Still not designed well for smaller cameras
- Cheap plastic screw foot
- Manual still not translated well
This is a great new trigger, and although there aren’t really any new features to be had, a few annoyances have been improved upon. I love that the build feels more sturdy and sleek and the increased number of buttons along with the larger screen makes operation much faster. Overall, if you’re just looking to get the job done and save a few dollars, pick up the X1T and you’ll be a happy camper. If you’re looking for something a little quicker and easier to operate, pick up the XPro trigger. Either way, you get access to the same technologies (TTL and HSS for your brand) and the whole Godox ecosystem. You can get yours on B&H now (currently on pre-order).