HANDS-ON BY THEANO NIKITAS
You don’t have to be in the
post-baby boomer generation to
get excited about Bowens’ new,
And speaking of budgeting, you may
want to check out the optional, $290 XMSR
remote trigger. Powered by two AAA
batteries, the XMSR communicates with
the unit’s built-in radio trigger and remote
to control all functions from a distance
of up to about 100 feet. The 16-channel,
8-group XMSR was not available for this
review, so I used Pocket Wizard Plus IIs and
the monolight’s 3.5mm jack to trigger the
Nikon D5 and D500 during testing.
The XMS 750 is large, measuring
7. 56 inches high, 19.09 inches long and
5. 36 inches wide. It’s hefty at about 9
pounds, but that speaks, in part, to the
light’s solid build quality. The only slightly
loose part was the removable reflector
that’s easily released to access the
S-mount. A heavy rubber cap protects the
front of the unit.
Overall, the design is well thought-out with a number of useful features. An
integrated handle provides a solid grip,
and a lever on the side is very convenient
for adjusting the angle of the unit on
a light stand. Pull the lever out from its
locked position flush to the body and
you can quickly and easily tilt the flash to
whatever angle you need. Push the lever
back toward the body and the light is
solidly locked in place.
A hidden stand mount nests into the
bottom of the light and streamlines its
body for storage and transport. The same
lever that adjusts the angle of the flash
is also used to release the stand mount.
Unfortunately, the mount mechanism was
BOWENS GEN-X XMS 750 FLASH
frozen in this review unit and it took quite
a bit of force to move it into its upright
position. Even if it had moved easily, it’s a
little difficult to get a grip on the tubular
mount. But once the stand mount was
released, it mounted easily on a C-stand.
Given the size and weight of the XMS 750,
be sure you have a sturdy support.
I especially like the small umbrella
mount on the side of the flash. All you
have to do is slip the rod into the mount,
tighten the screw and you’re good to go.
The rear of the unit features a dial,
LED, a half-dozen buttons and a photocell
(which can be used to trigger the unit with
another flash) for operation. The buttons
and LED are lit in hot pink—an odd color
choice, I think, but it’s highly visible.
A quick start guide is included with the
flash, but I recommend downloading the
user guide from the Bowens site to get the
full scoop in an easier-to-read format. And,
because not all the buttons light up unless
they’re in use, you’ll need to memorize
which buttons control which functions,
along with the actual functionality of each.
For example, you’ll need to understand
how to access the different options for the
modeling light, which includes holding the
Lamp button until a specific indicator is
lit. It’s not difficult, per se, but there’s still
something of a learning curve to take full
advantage of the light. More importantly,
This monolight is no slacker.
PICTURED: Built tough, the new
Gen-X flash from Bowens offers
speedy recycle times.