My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

Started Mar 3, 2017 | Discussions
David Franklin Senior Member • Posts: 1,069
My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon
6

Last week, after participating in a thread in this forum - https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/59010733 (“The Orlit RoveLight RT 610 – a great idea. Is it a great product?”) with questions about the Orlit Rovelight RT 610, I ended the thread by noting that I had just ordered one and promising to write a limited and brief review after my first real-world use of the light that I planned would occur yesterday, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. I did use it on the shoot, a cover and inside spread shoot for a national magazine.

While I can’t show pictures from the shoot – and they wouldn’t be very illustrative in any case – partly because the publish date is months from now, I can talk about how the light worked for me.

First, I will mention something that will not likely affect others, because it’s probably a one-off quality control error in packaging. However, it did happen to me. When I first received the unit, and removed it from its very nice black ballistic nylon travel case to look it over, I took off the front black plastic protective cover which bayonets off the unit with a short Bowens mount twist-off, after pushing the release button on the side. I then turned the unit to the horizontal orientation, and the partially frosted glass dome which covers the flash tube promptly fell of the light onto the floor, breaking into many “interesting” pieces. By the way, when I called Adorama to explain this, they very promptly sent me a replacement ASAP, which I received this morning. I assume some person on the assembly line just forgot to secure the glass cover properly. This is definitely not something that you could take as typical of the construction of this unit; overall, it seems to be made very well, to very close tolerances of high grade “engineering” plastic.

The unit came from Adorama with, aside from the light and aforementioned soft case, a charger for the large capacity Lithium Ion battery (already almost 100% charged), a synch cord, plus – both separately boxed – an “umbrella” type bayonet mount front reflector and The Orlit TR-611 C Transceiver. Even the boxing seems well made, something I’ve noted in many of the better quality Chinese-made photo goods.

The battery must be removed to be charged, and it has, on its underside, near the metal contact strips that mate it to the light, a four-light LED charge indicator for easy assessment of battery level. The battery module itself is removed and re-attached in an unusual two-step process: to attach it, one must first slide two very short pins, one on each side of the module, into a molded slot in the battery module well, which is placed at the rear top of the light. Then, you push the module along the slot until it stops, now forming a hinge of sorts, and swing the module down into the well until a latch on the side of the well snaps shut. It’s harder to explain than do, and the fit is very, very tightly.

Now to the meat of my review. Please understand that this review is not a complete one, but what I learned, by playing with the unit the night before the shoot, and using it in conjunction with 3 other Canon 600 RT’s during the shoot itself.

First of all, the instructions included with the RT 610 flash, and the TR-611 C are minimal, especially compared to Canon’s monumental book-length manuals. If you have no experience using Canon’s RT system, you might have to spend quite a bit of time figuring out the intricacies of these units, although the large rear screen of the RT 610 flash unit is clear, large and legible, certainly a step above my little Canons’ puny screens.

In the end, with the pressure of the shoot hanging over my head, I was never able to quite master the art of using the TR-611C transceiver with both the Orlit RT 610 and my Canon RT flash units together in TTL mode. It seemed – but it may have been just the lack of time needed to work this out – that I was never able to get both the Orlit and Canon lights to work together consistently and accurately in TTL. Too bad, because the extra control buttons, top mount flash shoe, nice screen and lower price on the TR-611 C transceiver would otherwise have given it a nice advantage over the Canon unit.

However, and this is great news, I was able to successfully use my Canon ST-E3-RT with both my Orlit RT 610 and three Canon 600EX-RT in TTL, almost without any issues at all, and the units worked together very accurately in TTL!!! This was a great success, as far as I was concerned. The far greater output power of the Orlit, plus what promises to be a much greater number of equivalent power flashes per charge (that is, per battery replacement on the 600EX-RT’s), plus the far greater availability of more conventionally mounted light modifiers, makes the RT 610 a great compliment with, or even replacement for, my Canon 600EX-RT’s to use in TTL or manual with my 5D3 or 5D4.

There are three relatively minor things that gave me pause. The first was that, for some strange reason, when I first would test-fire the all the flashes together with the ST-E3-RT test button, only the Canons would go off the first time. Then, after the first failure, every subsequent time, the Orlit would go off flawlessly with the others. After turning things off and trying again, the same pattern would occur each time. Head scratcher. The second annoyance was that I hadn’t tried out the umbrella shaft holder slot in the RT 610’s lower assembly before the shoot. When I got there I found, much to my despair, that the shaft hole was too small in diameter to use either of my relatively slim shafted Wescott umbrellas; I just bounced the light off a foamcore instead. Maybe I just don’t understand that there is a way to fit it my umbrella, but, for now, I’m stymied. Last, compatibility with the Canon 600EX-Rt’s depends on many things, but one of the most important is to match all your units together in setting the “ID number.” This number is a four digit number for the Canons. In the Orlit 610 menu, you have the choice of only a two digit number for the ID. Therefore, it may be hard to match up those numbers properly. I used the number “30” for the Orlit, and the number “0030” for the Canons, and it worked, but that combination was not very obvious from the onset.

Overall, I was quite happy with the Orlit 610 RT, and for a relatively immature product, I think it works extremely well. And, the fact is that the unit is equipped with a USB port for a computer connection, in order to implement future firmware updates, a good feature for improvement and future-proofing. As far as I am concerned, the jury is out on the TR-611 C transceiver until I can experiment with it further. Overall, however, I’m glad I bought Rovelight 610 RT, and it should provide a very useful addition to my Canon TTL lighting kit.

Regards,

David

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Jonathan Brady
Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 5,930
Thanks David!

I ordered one the other day and then shortly thereafter cancelled it, convincing myself that my 5 flashes (3 are Yongnuo) are sufficient for my needs.

It's great to read your review and impressions though! I'm still kicking it around...

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Jonathan Brady
Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 5,930
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

Hey David,

With a few more days to play with it, have you managed to get the included transmitter to work properly?

Also, do you know of any light modifiers which might work well with this?  I'd be especially interested in 1/4, 1/2, and full CTO gels as well as maybe a 1/4 straw gel.  The MagMod gels have ruined me as far as simplicity and convenience go and I'm sure there's nothing that easy for this, but anything that works would be great!

Thanks man!

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OP David Franklin Senior Member • Posts: 1,069
Best answer I can offer
1

Well, sorry to say I didn't do any further testing as yet. I've been too busy lately and too happy with the unit so far to further experiment right now. However, I'd be surprised if it turns out that the Rovelight transceiver will be useful with combining Canon units with the 610 RT. For just a group of Rovelights, perhaps it will work well, but, as of now, I have only one. No matter, the Canon transceiver works very nicely.

As to light modifiers, certainly the Bowens mount on the 610  is nearly ubiquitous; you'll have no problems with things like soft boxes. As to CT color filters, I don't know how you would handle that right now; perhaps they will later come out with accessories like tungsten filter colored glass cover domes for the flashtube, perhaps not. Of course, you can always do what I have done for lots of different light sources - buy the very large cut sheets or rolls of CT filter gels. Expensive but gets the job done. The jury is out as far as exactly how extensive the 610 "system" will get. I hope it grows; if so; I'll buy one or two more.

Just saying...Hope this helps.

Regards,

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nighttime Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon
1

Re: the glass bulb cover, I dont think its a matter of not being installed correctly at the factory, I think they just come off during shipping; mine was loose as well, but fortunately did not fall off as one side was still clipped in.  As soon as the covers and the spare bulbs are generally available I definitely plan on getting a spare of each.

Re: the question of using gels, I have not used any gels with my unit yet, but I definitely want to!  The plan is to clip a gel inside of the Phottix Spartan beauty dish Ive used it with most.  I have the clips (Manfrotto Multiclips) and the sheet of gel, if it works out Ill post a few pics of how it all mounts up.

I did do some testing to see just how hot the glass gets after a few full power pops, and it was around 100F, which is well below the max temp of even the non high temperature Lee filter material (180C/356F).  It goes a little higher initially, but quickly cools to around 100F. (If anyone is interested in the exact numbers Ill test again.)  I think whatever method is used, whether the gels touches the glass or not, as long as the glass cover vents are clear the gel sheet should be fine.

hman982 New Member • Posts: 16
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

Thanks Much!  I am between these, and the Phottix Indra or the DigiBee (non TTL).  I've used the Profoto B1's, but for a hobbyist, they are out of my price range.

Did you have strobes before?  What made you decide on these over other options (besides cost)?

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matheuss New Member • Posts: 1
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

I've seen some coments about issues with the HSS on the 5D Mark IV. Does anyone know anything about this? Thank you

tonidavid New Member • Posts: 10
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

matheuss wrote:

I've seen some coments about issues with the HSS on the 5D Mark IV. Does anyone know anything about this? Thank you

I don't own it yet so it's not first-hand feedback, but from what I've read, the strobes and the TR611-C triggers require a firmware update to be fully compatible with the 5D mkIV. The updated firmware is available (at least for the original Jinbei-branded HD 610), but there seems to be a very rudimentary implementation on the interface side of things as it doesn't provide feedback of whether the update through USB went well or not.

https://blog.foto-morgen.de/firmware-update-fuer-jinbei-hd-610-hss-und-tr-611612/

https://www.foto-morgen.de/jinbei-firmware-update/

OP David Franklin Senior Member • Posts: 1,069
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

hman982 wrote:

Thanks Much! I am between these, and the Phottix Indra or the DigiBee (non TTL). I've used the Profoto B1's, but for a hobbyist, they are out of my price range.

Did you have strobes before? What made you decide on these over other options (besides cost)?

If you're addressing that question to me, yes I've had many very expensive "studio-type" flash systems before. I'm a very experienced (read "old guy" here) photographer. First - crank up the way back machine - three or four Ascorlight QC8's, then about 15 Speedotron 4800 power packs with maybe 20 big flash heads, many big  Profoto packs and heads, and then Buff Einsteins with gazzillion accessories. What made me buy the Orlit 610? My drive to lighten and downsize my medium to small size flash kit, making one-man jobs possible, by using the Canon RT system - the 600's with Canon's transceiver, in particular, mainly in TTL mode. I see the Orlit 610 as away to augment that system with one or two bigger units, while still maintaining a manageable size and weight limit on my gear. Finally, I just had to "take a flier" and experiment with it to find out if it would work. So far, so good; still needs some small refinements (firmware) and some accessories before I buy more, but it does work, and the price makes me squint when I look at Profoto's B series.

Regards, David

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Brad Orner New Member • Posts: 4
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

Thanks for the well crafted review, David.

I also have a fleet of Einstein srobes with gobs of softboxes, gel holders and other bits for them. I also have the battery packs and even went down the pocket wizard road to use the Einsteins with my Canon speedlights. The pocket wizards turned out to be too unreliable and the PW/Einstein modules were later deemed too dangerous as they could over heat.

This Orlit light is very intriguing, I would love to adapt my Paul Buff soft boxes for use with the Orlit should I buy one (or more). Have you found any good  speedring adapters for the PCB softboxes to make them Bowens compatible?

Thanks, Brad

OP David Franklin Senior Member • Posts: 1,069
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

That's a good question. If you mean being able to adapt Paul Buff branded Einstein (Balcar) accessories, like softboxes, to the Bowens mount for the Orlit 610, the answer is no, but I haven't as yet tried in earnest. If you (or anyone else) find out, please let me know on this thread.

Slightly off topic, the worst thing about Einsteins is the horrible weak Balcar mount. I know, some people say it's fine, but from having so many other systems, I can tell you that it's easily the worst I've tried; when I add a Chimera 4' x6' softbox to an Einstein, I have to pray that no one walks too heavily by it for fear that it will detach and fall off the light, damaging everything in its path. Otherwise, the Einstein's are simply terrific made-in-USA bargains, really the first successful foray of low price/high value marketing to challenge the traditional, high-level pro strobe makers at their own game.

Therefore, somehow re-purposing my Einstein accessories, with a semi-permanent adaption to the Bowens mount and the Orlits, would be a double blessing. Again, let me know, and, if I can figure it out first, I will do the same for others.

Regards,

David

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javiair Regular Member • Posts: 400
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

That review just thru my whole thinking out of whack! Its not a bad thing, tho. Up until a few days ago, I was going to buy the Xplor 600.. now with this Orlit 610 system, I have been doing my reading and researching and this review helps me out thank you.

I do have a question regarding fan noise. I saw a video comparison between the Xplor 600 vs the Orlit 610 on Youtube and one thing I noticed was the loudness of the fan on the Orlit compared to the quietness of the Xplor 600.

Fan noise was not mentioned but did you notice any on your Orlit?

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TomKol New Member • Posts: 1
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

I have Jinbei version of those. When I have received flash and transmitter, they weren't working with 5d MK4. After update of the firmware (from vendor page) it started to work in TTL and HSS with my camera. Unfortunately it is not possible to make flash power correction in HSS, either from the transmitter or the camera. I have compared with Canon 6D and there all works fine. Other issue is that, when I take pictures of the same scene with different shutter times, the exposition is not the same; differences are up to 0.5 EV.

OP David Franklin Senior Member • Posts: 1,069
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon
1

javiair wrote:

That review just thru my whole thinking out of whack! Its not a bad thing, tho. Up until a few days ago, I was going to buy the Xplor 600.. now with this Orlit 610 system, I have been doing my reading and researching and this review helps me out thank you.

I do have a question regarding fan noise. I saw a video comparison between the Xplor 600 vs the Orlit 610 on Youtube and one thing I noticed was the loudness of the fan on the Orlit compared to the quietness of the Xplor 600.

Fan noise was not mentioned but did you notice any on your Orlit?

I've never seen, touched, or, more importantly, heard an Xplor 600, nor do I know what you consider "loud." Nevertheless, I'll give you my impression.

The 610 fan ONLY runs when the LED model light is on. When running, my particular unit sounds a little louder than some fans on some flashes I've used and owned. More importantly, it sounds a little "ragged" to me, as though there might be a very tiny amount of "interference" as the fan blade just barely contacts something as it's spinning. I've had many flash heads which have eventually developed this over time, but only one other which had it from the start. The cure? Rotate the head around a bit to see if it helps. If it doesn't, live with it or open it up and clear a path for the fan blades.

Since what I'm planning to do - and so far have only actually done - is to use this unit in conjunction with my Canon 600 RT's in TTL mode. Using the modeling light will not be important for me; it's not a mission critical function for my work. Plus, my very early unit may be unique and not indicative of others. If this noise is  a big concern for you, it might not be the flash for you. But, you'll have to listen to a unit yourself to determine that.

Finally, the (20 watt?) LED really shouldn't require very much of a fan at all. Perhaps if it wasn't there at all, moderate use of less than 5 minutes or so wouldn't even raise temps in the unit very much anyway. Maybe it should be set to run only when a thermal sensor hits a high enough temperature to matter. But that's just my speculation.

Regards, David

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javiair Regular Member • Posts: 400
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

David Franklin wrote:

javiair wrote:

That review just thru my whole thinking out of whack! Its not a bad thing, tho. Up until a few days ago, I was going to buy the Xplor 600.. now with this Orlit 610 system, I have been doing my reading and researching and this review helps me out thank you.

I do have a question regarding fan noise. I saw a video comparison between the Xplor 600 vs the Orlit 610 on Youtube and one thing I noticed was the loudness of the fan on the Orlit compared to the quietness of the Xplor 600.

Fan noise was not mentioned but did you notice any on your Orlit?

I've never seen, touched, or, more importantly, heard an Xplor 600, nor do I know what you consider "loud." Nevertheless, I'll give you my impression.

The 610 fan ONLY runs when the LED model light is on. When running, my particular unit sounds a little louder than some fans on some flashes I've used and owned. More importantly, it sounds a little "ragged" to me, as though there might be a very tiny amount of "interference" as the fan blade just barely contacts something as it's spinning. I've had many flash heads which have eventually developed this over time, but only one other which had it from the start. The cure? Rotate the head around a bit to see if it helps. If it doesn't, live with it or open it up and clear a path for the fan blades.

Since what I'm planning to do - and so far have only actually done - is to use this unit in conjunction with my Canon 600 RT's in TTL mode. Using the modeling light will not be important for me; it's not a mission critical function for my work. Plus, my very early unit may be unique and not indicative of others. If this noise is a big concern for you, it might not be the flash for you. But, you'll have to listen to a unit yourself to determine that.

Finally, the (20 watt?) LED really shouldn't require very much of a fan at all. Perhaps if it wasn't there at all, moderate use of less than 5 minutes or so wouldn't even raise temps in the unit very much anyway. Maybe it should be set to run only when a thermal sensor hits a high enough temperature to matter. But that's just my speculation.

Regards, David

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Thank you so very much for the reply. Of course loudness is relative however you did say that it is louder than some fans you have used or owned. But to me its not a deal breaker if the fan is on only during the modeling light however like you said, why would a 20watt LED need a fan?

Again... thank you

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llmogen New Member • Posts: 1
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon
3

Since I have not found any other reviews, i decided to post what I found regarding third party compatibility.

I have the following-  Orlit 610  & TR-611 (stock fw, version unknown).  Yongnuo YN600EX-RT (fw 1.9.0), YN600EX-RT II (fw1.13), and the YN-E3-RT (fw1.23), YN-EX-RX (fw 1.03), 580EX. ST-E3-RT, AlienBee 400.

1. TR-611 (fw version unknown) works correctly with Orlit (obviously), will trigger all YN devices (both gen flash & EX-RX), but HSS does not work on YN flashes (with fw I have).  Sync cable between YN-EX-RX & Alienbees will trigger AB400 as well. *see point 4 for YN-E3-RX & 580EX issue*

2. YN-E3-RT will trigger all YN devices (duh), but will not trigger Orlit 610 at all.

3. Canon ST-E3-RT will trigger everything correctly.  It will control all YN flashes (HSS too).  It will also trigger the Orlit 610 with HSS as well. (tested at 1/8000).

4. YN-E3-RX will not work with 580EX regardless of trigger.  When 580EX is put into the YN-E3-RX's hotshoe, you cannot even 'test flash'.

Essentially, it seems, the 3rd party triggers (TR-611 & YN-E3-RT) do not work well with each other's systems; (trigger but no HSS is less useful). Get the Canon trigger, and everything works.

I did have an issue with regards to channel selection; I was originally on Channel 4, and nothing was stable (YN flashes would not 'maintain' sync).  after using the Canon trigger to scan, I chose the strongest channel (for my location, channel 12) and once I set everything to Channel 12, everything works together.

I hope that answers everybody's questions- if anybody has any other compatibility tests they want me to run (with my equipment listed above) feel free to ask, and i'll run them as I can.

Johngiat New Member • Posts: 1
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

David,

The guide number of 210 for the Rovelight 610  is only just a bit higher than for the Canon 600EX speedlight of 196.

Did you do any comparisons of the actual output?

I acknowledge that the comparisons of watt seconds and guide numbers are not so clear to me but I did notice the guide number comparison and would be very interested to know if you could confirm that the Rovelight is significantly more powerful than the Canon speedlight.

John

mgrover70 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

I just did my first real world test with the 610. I did smaller shoots using the ST-RT remote and it worked pretty seamlessly with the 600 speedlites. However on this shoot I had a tremendous amount of misfires. I expected the 600 to overheat or the recycle time not to keep up but the 600's never misfired. The Orlit misfired a lot sometimes in a succession of shots. I'm just wondering if you figured out why yours misfired before I try to figure this out. Thank you!

mgrover70 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon

Yes, for sure. I had a shoot recently I actually struck the 610 and used the speed light because I couldn't get the Orlit output lowered enough. I realize that's not a problem many people will have but even on normal settings it is a lot more powerful.

OP David Franklin Senior Member • Posts: 1,069
Re: My promised short review of the Orlit Rovelight 610 RT for Canon
1

Johngiat wrote:

David,

The guide number of 210 for the Rovelight 610 is only just a bit higher than for the Canon 600EX speedlight of 196.

Did you do any comparisons of the actual output?

I acknowledge that the comparisons of watt seconds and guide numbers are not so clear to me but I did notice the guide number comparison and would be very interested to know if you could confirm that the Rovelight is significantly more powerful than the Canon speedlight.

John

Well, today is a cloudy and lazy day without a shoot or meeting on my schedule. So, I decided to see for myself what is the answer to your question about the relative power of the Orlit as compared with my 600EX-RT's.

I placed the Orlit 610 with the mounted umbrella reflector and the 600Ex at about 8.5 feet from a good working Minolta Flash Meter IV, pretty much still a standard of the industry, with the diffuser dome directly facing each of the lights, in turn, all mounted securely on stands.

Here are the figures for the results in real f/stop numbers, not make-believe guide or WS numbers:

Orlit 610, at full power manual: f/16

600EX-RT, at full power manual, manual zoom set at 24mm - about the spread of the Orlit light beam with above umbrella reflector: f/8.3

600EX-RT, at full power manual, manual zoom set at 200mm - the narrowest beam setting possible for the flash: f/16

For a "control" light source, I used a PC Buff Einstein 600 WS AC powered flash, at full manual power, from the same position: f/16.3

The above comparison between the Canon 600EX-RT and the Orlit are about what you'd expect. The umbrella reflector to the 24mm setting are probably a pretty close basis for comparison. At 24mm the Canon-rated Guide Number of the 600EX-RT is something like 118, and, if you were trying to shoot the canon through a diffusing lightbank or bounce it off an umbrella, you'd best use that beam angle to light up the largest area (the lit area determines the "softness" of the light, for a given distance, the bigger the area of the lit portion of a reflector or diffuser is, the softer the lighting appears and the lighter are the produced shadows). Furthermore, one could use a narrower reflector for the Orlit when they become available and wind up with higher light levels per the area lit, to more equally compare it to the Canon zoomed to its 200mm setting.

As to Orlit compared to the Canon 600EX-RT, I'd say that the Orlit, at similar beam angles,  truly puts out about 1.5 - 2.0 f/stops more light. This is just a guess, but an educated one.

As to the Orlit compared to the Einstein, I was a little surprised. I expected the Einstein to put out much more light than the Orlit. It used a very similar reflector, with a very similar beam angle, maybe just a little wider. Overall, my seat of the pants evaluation of the two leads me to believe that, at similar beam angles, if the Einstein is a true 600 watt second AC flash, then the Orlit is about a 400 to 480 Watt second unit; that is quite good, actually.

Regards, David

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