Tronix Explorer XT3, XT SE, and Mini

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Which Battery Pack is Right for You?

Innovatronix battery packs allow you to take your studio lights on location without having to buy a whole new proprietary system or rent a generator. Each one has two outlets into which you can plug your regular studio lights. The top-of-the-line Explorer XT3 is for photographers who use high-powered lights or have long shoots. It gets about 500 fires from an 800 W strobe at full power (2,400 Ws peak power). The midrange Explorer XT SE pack gets around 300 full-power fires from a 350 W strobe (2,400 Ws peak). And the Explorer Mini for quick shoots gets around 100 full-power fires from a 400 W strobe (1,200 W peak). Recycle times are around 1-2 seconds for all. As with any battery pack, it drains very quickly when the modeling light is in use. Obviously, this will also affect how many fires you get.

Each pack has three lights (green, orange, and red) that indicate battery level. A more detailed battery meter would be helpful, but most other battery packs have the same readout. The noise from the packs is on a par with the typical cooling fan on a strobe—much quieter than a generator.

Aesthetically, the packs have a pretty industrial, no-frills design. Each comes with a carrying case that's useful for transportation and helps protect the pack from the elements when on location; however, the carrying strap is attached to the access panels on either end, so it makes it a bit awkward to access the receptacles.

In testing these packs, there was the occasional refresh hiccup where the strobe took about twice as long as it should have to refresh. This might be an issue for photographers who need absolute consistency, but if not, it's a minor setback. Overall, these packs do exactly what they're designed to do, and do it pretty well.

Company:  Innovatronix, Inc.
Price: XT3: $790; XT SE: $429; Mini: $349
Web: www.innovatronix.com
Rating: 3.5
Hot:  On-location battery power; quieter than a generator
Not:  Aesthetics; can't use modeling light long

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Combining my two biggest passions, music and photography, I get to capture the best moments of shows from a unique and creative perspective. Hopefully, exciting the viewer about the music as well. Plus, I get a buzz off being inches away from music legends! When I'm not shooting shows, I work with Scott Kelby and the gang at Kelby Media Group as Scott's photo assistant and the photo studio manager. I've been a contributing photographer to some of Scott's bestselling books, including The Digital Photography Book Set, as well as managing his hugely popular guest blog series. Previously I worked with Joe McNally absorbing all I could about lighting and photography while assisting on jobs for National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, FedEx, Nikon, and Micron.

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