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Gear & Apps

Initial Thoughts on Godox Flash Systems for Working Professionals, Pt. 1

By Pye Jirsa on August 22nd 2018

For this review, I tested six Godox flash units, all on loan from B&H. While most know me as a Profoto photographer, this is not a sponsored article, nor is any of the information in this article otherwise biased or paid for. I’m going to give you my real-world take on my experience with the Godox flash system, which includes why I want to give it one more shot.

As you will read, I wasn’t able to get the radio system to work consistently. It would be unfair for me to post a complete review given the set that I received. It would also be unfair to ignore my experience. Therefore, let this article be Part I of my initial thoughts on Godox Flash systems. Stay tuned for Part II once I receive a new test kit.

The Lighting Gear Tested

Camera Used

I Wanted To Love Godox

I’m going to say from the top that I really wanted to love Godox. It is not because I’ve any desire to switch from Profoto; I’m very happy with my Profoto gear. As an educator, I desperately wanted to love Godox. I need a reliable solution that I can wholeheartedly recommend to photographers who aren’t yet able to invest in the Profoto ecosystem. I wanted an intermediary step, and even though my experience wasn’t ideal, I still believe Godox (and other similar Chinese made flashes) is that step.

Why Godox/Chinese Flashes Should Be Feared

There used to be a lot of arguments against cheap Chinese made flashes like Godox, Flashpoint, YongNuo, etc. Their build quality was bad. Their color temperature and power output varied, especially when batteries lost power. They’d overheat during regular use, or just stop working altogether. Early wireless radio systems were inconsistent and couldn’t be relied upon.

However, most of these issues have been or are being resolved. In the last five years, these flashes have made incredible strides in each of these areas to the point where today, most photographers will not be in situations where they will notice the difference between an inexpensive versus brand name flash. The key here is “most photographers.” Fractionally small variances in color temperature and power will indeed still matter to commercial and editorial photographers; however, in the world of portrait and wedding photography, most photographers will not see a difference in “light quality” that would justify the difference in price.

These inexpensive flashes are pushing major brands to up their game. It forces the major brands back to innovation in order to differentiate their product. In short, it forces them to create value in an industry that has been overpriced and with consumers that have been overcharged for years.

My Past Experience With “Cheap” Flashes

Over the past five years, I’ve had several opportunities to test a number of Chinese-branded flashes, such as Yongnuo, Flashpoint, Godox, and other inexpensive flash units. However, I’ve always found their reliability lacking. A few years back I tried using Yongnuo Speedlites. I found myself taking multiple spares to each shoot simply because it was common for a flash to stop working.

Read my full review on the Yongnuo 560 III’s here.

There were also significant inconsistencies with the flash’s power and color temperature. Bulbs and the entire units would overheat and burn out with typical mid-day use. Li-Ion battery packs would expand and become unusable over time. Flashes and batteries would arrive DOA. Worst of all, they would constantly misfire, making it difficult to land the perfect shot and expression without overshooting. In close distances (20-30 feet) they would fire consistently enough. But, at 30-100+ feet they’d consistently misfire. This meant that basically anytime I was shooting an environmental portrait or dance floor image, I was struggling.

But that was then. This is now.

Today, I have a lot of friends and associate shooters in our studio who use Godox and swear by them. They swear by their consistency, the way that they work, and how they constantly fire without misfires, so I was really excited to give it another shot.

Build Quality, First Impression

When it comes to build quality, these flashes are built significantly better than what I remember from three to four years ago. The Godox XProC Remote still feels a bit light and cheap in its design, but the flashes themselves are significantly more solid. In addition, the poorly designed menu systems that plagued older designs have been solved. The Godox menu system is very simple to use. As shown below, we can turn on a flash, and adjust power settings by (1) pressing desired group button, then (2) cycling mode from off to TTL to Manual, then (3) turning the dial as desired.

This means that turning on and adjusting a flash can be done with four total button presses. The efficiency of menu operations may not sound important. However, when shooting fast-paced events using multiple flash groups, a simpler and more intuitive menu system means fewer moments missed. The menu system and design probably rival anything outside of Profoto, which has set the bar at 1-2 clicks to toggle power and adjust flash settings. But, outside of that single comparison, Godox has created an intuitive menu design that will allow most users to completely skip having to read the manual. This includes its superiority over the menu system in the Canon 600EX II-RT. Overall, these new Godox units are well built and very easy to navigate, adjust, and control.

In The Studio Vs. In The Field

After receiving the Godox flash units from B&H, I tested them in the studio and they performed very well. In fact, they were fantastic! When shooting regular portraits from a 10-20 foot distance, everything worked fine, but then I took them out into the field to shoot two separate weddings.

When testing new gear, I always bring backups. In this case, I had my Profoto gear along for the ride. Within the first few shots, I saw the flashes immediately misfiring. The setup was quite simple. A flash behind the couple, shooting from about 20 feet away. The couple was placed in a dark area within the frame. We aimed to rim light them to make them pop out from the scene.

Here’s the final image we were aiming to create.

Unfortunately, it took several misfires to get to the final image with the correct expression and lighting. You can see what it looks like when the flash doesn’t properly trigger below.

There were no unusual circumstances that might have negatively impacted the flash unit’s performance, yet I experienced approximately 50% misfires. However, this wasn’t a big deal. I was working in close proximity to the couple, and a few extra shots didn’t matter too much because we were about to have a break in our day. I could have used that time to test and switch back to my Profoto gear if needed.

During the break, I wanted to test the units a bit further before trying to push their capabilities during the various wedding events and portraits that were about to take place. I had my assistant mount two AD200s with different colored gels so that I could see if one unit was firing more than another. I was using the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Godox XProC Remote on camera. Looking at the animated GIF below, you can see how the flashes begin misfiring as I step back, then begin firing again as I move forward. None of the images were altered or removed from this sequence.

As we stepped back to about 50 feet, we could see the flash on the right begin to misfire. “Not a big deal, probably just interference,” I thought. Albert and I selected an obscure set of channels and tested the same setup again. This time, I wanted to increase the distance and also move over water (which is known to interfere with radio signals). After moving away and diagonally to the other side of the fountain, here’s the result:

You can see from the GIF above, once we are across the water and about 100 feet away, the flashes stop firing almost completely.

You might be asking why we would we test this near water. Everyone knows that water interferes with radio signals. The reason is simple. We are constantly shooting near water. On top of that, our bodies are mostly water. Being separated by 100 bodies on a dance floor creates a significant challenge for a radio system to compete against. These are situations that we are constantly facing at virtually every wedding we shoot.

No matter, maybe it was just these particular AD200s that were causing issues. Albert and I went back to the case and pulled out the Godox V860IIC TTL Li-Ion flashes as well as the AA variant to mount onto our stands and test again. This time, we used both the remote and another flash to test the wireless transmission. The results were the same as you can see below.

As we stepped further back, the misfires increased.

I was terrified by the results. I immediately went back to my Profoto A1 system for the remainder of the wedding to avoid risking any potential misfires. Later in the evening, I asked the couple and their entire family to come to stand in front of the fountain to watch the fireworks. I couldn’t imagine the stress I would feel trying to capture the image below while stressing about potential misfires. To me, those days died with the end of Pocket Wizards and their horribly finicky cables. There’s just no chance I’m going back to that time where I am constantly in fear of missing a shot like the one below due to my flashes not firing.

What Did It All Mean?

I approached my second shooter, Brandon, who loves his Godox flash systems, and I asked about the consistency he’s experienced with the system. Brandon explained that while he does experience misfires, it seems to be nothing like what he was seeing in my flashes. I thought it was odd as well, considering I had never really heard anyone online talking about these flashes misfiring. To me, one in every ten misfires is worth talking about. Five in ten misfires can make your job impossible.

As I mentioned earlier, these units were delivered brand new from B&H. Maybe this particular venue was to blame. Maybe it was just that wedding. I don’t know. So, I took it out one more time. We were in San Jose preparing our lights to shoot an indoor ceremony. I decided to give the flashes another shot. Unfortunately, I got the same exact results. I tested different channels, units on camera, off-camera, I simply couldn’t get the flashes to fire consistently. Once again, I switched immediately back to my Profoto A1s.

The True Cost Of Gear

For a lot of photographers, this may not be a big deal. Most portrait photographers work in close quarters when lighting. They are in that sweet spot between 20-30 feet. Most photographers are working in-studio or on-location where they’ve plenty of time to troubleshoot gear or swap a flash if needed. For these photographers and situations, you may never even notice your gear misfiring. When there is an issue, swapping a flash or taking a minute to troubleshoot isn’t a big deal.

For me and the Master/Associate Photographers at Lin and Jirsa Photography, even one out of ten misfires is significant and worth noting. The reason is how it creates opportunities for missed moments and inefficiency in our post-production workflow.

Let me give you an example. Getting the perfect expression and movement in a dress during a dance floor twist is difficult in and of itself. When a flash is misfiring, there’s a high likelihood that the right shot isn’t lit up.

Take a look at the image below.

Capturing this image with the perfect expression and pull on the dress took nearly 30 shots as you can see below.

How frustrating and time-consuming would it be to see that image, only to realize that it wasn’t properly lit due to a flash misfire. When this entire sequence was captured in less than a minute during a high-pressure window of five minutes inside the ballroom, even occasional misfires are a big deal. The images above were lit consistently without a single misfire coming from my Profoto A1s to camera left.

Similarly, when my couple session time has been trimmed from 60 minutes down to 10, every minute counts. The image below was the last shot from a 10-minute couple session before the grand entrance. It was set up and captured during the last minute while the planner was saying, “Okay, Pye, time to head back.”

In these moments, every minute wasted fiddling with gear is 1-5 additional photos that could have been delivered.

On top of that, what about the culling and post-production nightmare it creates from having to cull additional images. How about the time it takes to fix and composite images when the flash didn’t fire at the right moment?

These are all the points that we summarized in our previous article on 10 Ways to Light and Shoot the Same Scene.

In that shoot, we had a once-in-a-lifetime moment to capture an image that I’d never seen before at a location I’ve photographed many times. From 500+ feet away, my Profoto B2 was firing consistently with each and every shot.

Can you imagine the feeling you’d have walking away missing a moment due to your gear? Can you imagine what your clients might say?

This is the cost of misfires and unreliable gear.

Concluding Conversation

I’m not satisfied with my current conclusion, so I’m going to ask for your help. I’m going to request a new kit to test one more time. This time, if I can get the radio system to work consistently, I will proceed to do detailed testing on light output, recycle time, light quality/shape, etc.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your honest and open experiences with Godox and similar flash systems below. If it was a good experience, share it. If it was negative, please share it as well. I’d love to start an honest conversation void of “fanboy/girl” bias.

For me, I love what Godox is offering on paper. But I can’t wholeheartedly stand behind it with a glaring issue in the radio system reliability. Even if I did receive bad units, what does that say about their quality control? How is it possible to receive multiple faulty units in an order of six units consisting of three different models. I still have not had the experience I would need to comfortably recommend these flashes as a solution for working professionals. However, I will update these thoughts once I’ve tested another set.

No lighting system is perfect. Each will have their strengths and drawbacks. Profoto lighting systems have been the most consistent and reliable over time, bar none. For this reason, I used them even before our studio joined the “Legends of Light” ambassador program.  However, their primary drawback is that the gear comes at a significant price. For those that are more established in their careers, that price might be an easy pill to swallow to enjoy the reliability and simplicity Profoto gear provides. For others, the price is just too far out of reach and a stepping stone is necessary.

Regardless, lighting equipment, like our cameras, are all simply a tool. Pick the best tools you can afford. Some tools will make your life easier as a photographer. However, none of them will create better imagery in and of themselves. That part is up to you, as is the rest of this article and discussion.

Please, post your experiences and thoughts below, and please, please, please, keep it civil.

 

 

About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. miha zero

    Hello Pye,

    I have noticed that a lot of people who have problems with Godox triggers are actually using rechargeable batteries instead of Alkaline in transmitters (x-pro/x1t). Just wondering what batteries did You use in Your trigger during Your test?

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  2. Robert Arnold

    Great review, and finally finished all the comments, which altogether give a very comprehensive view on the current status of Godox.  They are getting better but still have QC issues among other things.  My friend bought 3 860’s, we were gelling them at ¼ power and one unit had less than ⅓ the output.  Retested at full power and it didn’t get any better.  He was able to get a replacement unit no problem, but we wasted a good 15 minutes before doing portraits at a wedding.  I don’t feel the headache is worth it, but some photographers don’t mind/care.  I feel there’s enough problems that can arise at a wedding, and why would I want to add another factor that will make us look less than professional 5-10% of the time?  Some friends say that for the money you can save, just buy a few spares, but that doesn’t replace the time loss at critical moments.

    Pye, I really credit you for giving such an un-biased and complete review even though you partner with Pro-foto.  It’s just one of the talents that make you a great educator and we appreciate it a lot!

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  3. Robert Arnold

    Hey Pye, can you compare Profoto B1’s and say Elinchrome 400 HS or the new 500?  I’ve been wondering how much more effective power you can get with HS compared to HSS, and if it’s worth the difference in build quality/ lower price.

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  4. Deirdre Ryan

    I used to shoot weddings and there was one of my last ones, a 12 hour wedding that I had set up my Canon 600 RTs and was using the wireless trigger. My amazing assistant had the Godox system and set up as well. 

    The time came for the grand entrances, he was standing right by me shooting along with me. NONE of my flashes fired! But his did and the day was saved. The rest of the reception I had problems, but thank God he was there with his Godoxes.  

     Coming from a mainly photojournalist, commercial and editorial portrait background, I had a Dynalite kit with four heads. Over the years it’s served me well and the colour was beautiful. But last year, it slowly started to die :( The kit is so old, it’s in Dynalites case like a museum piece, and they couldn’t get the parts anymore.   So I did countless hours of research. I used to work at Samy’s Camera when they were still on La Brea above the Pet Smart. So I had access to their rental dept. and knew which companies made the best and I have friends here in NJ, help me by showing what they used. 

    I wasn’t impressed with Alien Bees, I really love Hensels, but I couldn’t wait any longer for their new battery powered strobes to come out. I like Elinchrom but the battery powered packs were a hassle for me in the field. I came super close to getting the Broncolor Siros L, but I wanted a system that didn’t completely rely on batteries. ProFoto, sorry guys, but I hate the design! I need that exposed tube and you can’t get that with them unless you purchase something to help out with that.So I bite the bullet and purchased four Flashpoint XPLOR Pro 600s, extra batteries, their AC Adapter, and a bunch of other stuff because my mounts were going from Dynalite to Bowens. I also got the Flashpoint R2 Pro 2.4GhZ wireless transmitter for Canon. 

    Shooting products in studio I used their AC Adapter so that instead of using the batteries, I could just plug them in for power. 

    Interesting, there have been a few misfires and one light gets overheated and shuts off. Now I’m using the model lights, but still this shouldn’t be happening. I also got the Flashpoint  Zoom Li-On R2 flash for Canon. 

    That’s been overheating too, it must be the way I’m shooting, sometimes I’m going very fast. Back when I was a photojournalist, if you didn’t get the shot, that was IT.  

     Overall I’ve been really happy with the system, but I have some testing to do once this job I’m working on is finalized. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Thanks for the comment! I’d love to hear an update after you do your testing. 

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  5. Stephen Gomez

    I’ve been using the Godox system for some time now, since the V860 II were released. I’ve since switched all my lighting equipment to Godox. While I dont shoot wedding, I haven’t experienced misfires to the degree that you have. I believe I have had maybe 5 misfires total over the last couple of years. Granted I mostly shoot portraits and the distance of the light to the transmitter isn’t very far.

    I own all the equipment that you used in your review, so i’m going to attempt to replicate it on my end and see if I can come up with the same results. Since I have both the Xpro and X1T triggers, i’m going to use both and see if one preforms better than the other.

    Over all I found your review very fair. Keep it up.

    -Stephen

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  6. Leo Jimenez

    My experience with the ad200 at a sweet 16 last night 8/25/18: Using the Canon 6d mk2 set at AV 160 iso 1600-3200 F2.8-f5.6 depending on the shot, had 2 ad200 set at 16 power with maggrid and cto jell on each corner facing the DJ lights I had to ask him to shot off the laser lights.  I was bust shooting 3 shots I found the ad200 over heating. I really needed the power for that room dark wood ceiling beige walls the lighting sucked. After the entrance before the special dances I placed my godox V860ii on camera and end out replacing the ad200 with V860ii for the rest of the night jacking up the iso.  

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Interesting! Super appreciate the info, I’ve seen them overheat outside in heat, but not inside at 1/16th. Crazy

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  7. Moisés Gonçalves

    Hi Pye,

    From my experience, Godox has been nothig but great! I’ve been using the 860II, 200Ad and the later AD600 Pro but i’m still using the X1T-N transmitter, so i can’t comment on the new XPro transmitter.

    However, a friend of mine is using the new XPro transmitter and he said to me it was even better than the current i’m still using so that’s a good sign!

    I have experienced miss fires, but nothing remotely like this. It was more like 1 miss fire in 25 shots and i believe it was due to recicle times, even across water and at 80 meters of distance!

    I really believe this was one of those cases of bad luck… that and you still using Canon. LOL :p

    Godox is evolving immensely, and i know this might be a bad comparison, but i feel Godox is evolving just like Huawei did. At the beggining they were just bad, plain and simple, but now Huawei is crafting one of the best smartphones out there.

    So i’m really looking for the next test, and i believe it will work better! Try the other X1T transmitter as well, just to see if there’s any difference… one never knows right?

    Final note, i just want to thank you Pye for everything, i’ve learned so much from you, you’re just like a mirror that i look up to to draw inspiration and knowladge. Once again, THANK YOU!

    Best regards,

    Moisés Gonçalves

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  8. Grant Beachy

    I had a pair of B1’s and a  pair of 600ex for canon, and I have zero regrets about switching.  Currently have all Flashpoint branded 600 pro, 2-ad200s, and 2-li-ion speedlights with the R2 pro transmitter.  To be fair, I haven’t experienced any misfiring issues whatsoever, so that would color my experience but here’s the rest…
    -started with the regular xplor 600s, but couldn’t love them because of color shift.  Pro addressed that.  Also faster recycle times, and much better modeling light than b1s. Finally the biggest advantage.. The flash tube isn’t recessed back into the light, so if I want to fill a modifier I can.  It’s a genuine difference, and even the frosted dome from profoto couldn’t do the same thing on beauty dishes, and soft boxes. 
    – AD 200 is my location punch that I can get up in places where having an expensive light would make me very nervous.  The peace of mind has allowed me to get more creative.  
    -the speedlights aren’t on the same level of fit and finish as the canon, and bare bulb flash has some uneven spots straight on.  Thankfully I never use bare bulb.  Magmod pretty much runs my wedding light shaping, and the point is moot.  
    – The r2 remote has the best overall amount of simplicity and options.  Flash head zoom remotely is great in weddings where I want to adjust on the fly.  I’ve had zero problems with Canon, so couldn’t offer insight on your problems.
    -Here’s the biggest thing that profoto can’t offer.  A large selection of modifiers at prices that don’t anger me.  The new Mag Box is solidifying that availability, and works quickly and effectively with the ad200 as well as the speedlights,  I’d pay the up front for Profoto, but it’s like owning a BMW.  Every thing you want to do to it will cost you.   There is no way a pack of gels should cost 100 dollars,  or grids, or nearly anything that Profoto is gouging on.  Figure out the trust cost of ownership with modifiers and the initial investment looks like a starting point.  Modifiers are critical. 

    Anyhow, some feedback from someone who’s had both.  

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Wonderful insights, thank you! 

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    • Robert Arnold

      Thanks so much for the comments, and thx Pye for the review!  I have Profoto D1’s and am think to move to Godox.   Grant, have you tried Pye’s experiment firing at a distance?  That was the big question here and I’d love to hear the answer.  I’ve also heard good things about the AD600 Pro, but am still scared about the misfirings.  I also saw on a forum that the old X1 triggers may be more reliable, but they are a royal pain in the neck to use.  I have heard from friends that they keep a few Godox “spares” around when problems arise, but I don’t work/focus well when 5% misfiring is a problem.     For the same token, I have been having a major problem with my D1’s (no batteries, A/c only).  I set the to the P1 function, which means that if they somehow get unplugged, and then are plugged in again, should cause them to immediately start up on, and also at the previous power setting.  But often, even though they go on, they power down to the lowest setting of 4.0 or 4.1.  It can take me a while to notice, and that means extra post work in Lightroom which is a pain.  I’ve got 8 units and they all do this, but not consistently, and so far Profoto doesn’t have a solution for me.  Anyone else have this problem?   Also, about the Godox, if you have 2 different channel setttings and switch from one to the other, all the other settings get screwed up.  So you can’t switch back and forth.  I’ve heard about a workaround by using both the Pro and old X1 units together… but that’s pretty sloppy.  If you could answer about the distance test I’d be obliged!

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  9. Andrew Miller

    Guys, we know you love ProFoto.  To the extent that you would give your life when defending them.  

    I find this article really biased towards making out that Godox / Yongnuo are cheap, dirty and nasty and won’t get the job done.  Clickbait (again) from SLR Lounge.  

    In reality, the real world real testing reality over a consistent period of time, they provide outstanding value for money versus ProFoto and have enabled a huge number of photographers to get to grips with shooting images, that they always the ability and vision to do, that only the big names could do with the big name expensive gear. Even your second shooter/assistant states they do not have the same issues as you yet you seem to ignore that for the majority of the article

    Yes, they are less expensive (not cheap – there is a difference) than Profoto.  But to be honest, ProFoto has built its reputation by being the 1st on the block with large wattage battery powered strobes.  They went expensive for a reason – to differentiate themselves.  Just like BMW perhaps.  They made you buy a whole load of non-industry standard proprietary light modifiers if you wanted to fall for the hype.

    You moan about misfires and taking 30 shots to get the perfect one – is that more about YOU rather than the kit you are using?  29 misfires out of 30?  That’s not normal, as many of the comments below testify.

    I use Godox for everything – TT350, TT685, V860ii, 360-II, AD200, AD600 and I’ll be getting the AD400.  I don’t have anything like the “misfires” you do, shooting 40 weddings a year plus 40 pre-weddings sessions a year plus the usual events, parties, babies etc that a normal working photographer does to get by.  Good, solid, reliable kit.  I’ve used them with Cactus triggers (wired) before Godox produced Fuji triggers. Again – solid, reliable kit.

    I can use the Godox kit (mix of Canon & Fuji receivers/triggers) I have to remotely trigger both stills and video on a remote camera reliably.  

    I’ve used the same Godox kit with both Nikon, Canon, Fuji and Sony on my workshops and it’s all fine.  The ONLY issue I have had is camera/trigger related due to not updating firmware or recycle times being marginally slower than I want to shoot at – my fault, not the kit.

    Now, ProFoto is great.  But so is Godox and Yongnuo.  ProFoto hates them.  They are taking market share and building an excellent following.  

    If Godox gets some kind of servicing system going around the world ProFoto will be even more worried.

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    • Tomas Ramoska

      Andrew Pye shoots different calibre weddings just decorations on few tables could cost more than one  typical wedding. He need different calibre gear.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Andrew, I had a bad experience w/ Godox, mirroring experiences in the past, and so I talked about it. Seems like the only diehard here is you. I stated repeatedly the merit that Godox is bringing to the industry, and I’ve also stated why I repeatedly choose Profoto. I’ve never defended Profoto’s price, they are not cheap. I’ve only agreed that there needs to be an alternative for those who are working up or unwilling to spend that price. I’ve also asked the community to help, in a situation where I’ve heard a lot of great things, but my experience still doesn’t match what I’ve heard. I never stated 29/30 misfires, so not sure where you pulled that from. And if you’ve never used Profoto/Broncolor, then it might be hard for you to understand the difference in quality that I am speaking of. On top of that, I’m giving it another shot versus writing it off. Seems like the only one here hurt or “giving your life to defend” is you. But, appreciate your comment and thoughts nonetheless. 

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    • Robert Arnold

      Andrew — Disagree – big time.  As Pye said, the old unit sucked, but now they’ve improved and that’s why he’s reviewing.  It looked like a fair review to me, and I know many wedding pro’s who also have other issues with Godox.  Bottom line is, you still get what you pay for, Godox is becoming a real contender, the AD600 Pro is a new standard for them, and like EVERYTHING, you pay more for that.  So cut out the false bias accusations here and face the music.

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  10. Marcel Laponder

    Try it with the X1 controller. I use both the AD600 and AD360 and rarely have misfires.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Will see if I can get one, I tested the system using the flashes as a trigger as well. 

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  11. Tessa Simpson

    I think the comment about possible Chinese inconsistency of manufacturing may be an issue.  I bought the Godox  PB860 power packs (to speed up full power recycle times),and had send back the first three before I found a reliable one.  Was I just unlucky?  The second one I received looked like it was second hand! (And had the wrong charging transformer).  After sales service leaves much to be desired. Now I have two that work great, it’s not a problem.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      That’s where I am heading towards as well, that if you want to go this route, there may be a need to buy and test to ensure they work. I have a feeling quality control is done by testing these units in close proximity and with a very limited battery of tests. After sales service will be virtually non-existent. 

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  12. Graham Carruthers

    Perhaps on the second trial see if you can also get hold of the simpler radio trigger to see if there is a difference. 

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  13. Michael Anthony

    Ive been vocal about this for over a year and get hammered every time I speak about it…..godox lights misfire 3-5% of the time……if i were shooting portraits only then its a minor inconvienience for the price.  however for wedding work it’s not usable….

    i love what godox is doing, but this is a huge issue they need to solve

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Thank goodness. Been feeling like a crazy person here Michael, like I’m the only one experiencing these things. Still, 3-5% could work for most situations. 3-5%, however, is still enough to make me never take them out when shooting a large wedding. Unfortunately, the consistency issue I faced was more along the lines to 10-30% in relatively close proximity (30-50ft) and significantly worse (50%+) at 100-150ft range. 

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    • Jeffrey Bourgeois

      You are not crah-zah Pye :)
      We switched to the Godox system (AD200 and V860IIC) a few months ago and have been experiencing the misfires/interference issues you mention as well, even in close proximity. We kept thinking we were doing something wrong!  Bittersweet to hear we are not the only ones.

      We’ve noticed more issues with our V860s (misfires and overheating) vs. the AD200s.   We now use the AD200s solely for off camera work.  Seems to be more reliable and faster recycle times, but a heck of a lot heavier!  My shoulders are whooped at the end of a wedding.

      We will continue to use Godox b/c we are learning to “work with them” and frankly are the best bang for the buck at the moment. Being a small studio can’t afford the Profoto setup.  Let me know when you want to sell/upgrade yours ;)

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Haha, Jeff Bourgeois I sure hope I get to see you guys sometime in the next, oh I dunno, decade? lol, seriously though, when you guys coming to Cali, for a trip down the 405 and a reenactment of the Californias. 

      Joking aside, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one. I agree the value is tremendous if they work consistently. To get to that place, seems like there’s a decent amount of testing/trying different units to get the right mix. I think what we are seeing is a QC issue. But, let me know how it goes for you guys. I’ll post an update hopefully in the next month or so. 

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  14. mark arnold

    Whazzzzzz up?!?!? I would call what you are dealing with is Chinese quality control.  big variation… especially in the electronic circuit boards.  I would not be surprised you picked up interference.  I started with the cl-180/cl-360’s then moved to the AD200/860vii ( 2 years)for canon.  I recently added the X-1 pro.  I have had either the AD200 or 860vii over heat on occasion.  I am in Dallas…. summertime, we turn on the ovens down here.  I have had the system miss-fire or miss sending output setting when around some video crews doing  live feed during south eastern asian weddings.  I notice if your are a rapid burst shooter (say 2-3) quick hits there can be a miss fire.  I have shot over a lake with the X-1 to a 860vII.  The flash was laying on the ground and angled up. distance:200-300ft.  I was in the country.  Usually, I have very few miss-fires.  I range from low power setting to full power on the AD200’s.  I would say they are not as rock-solid as the Prophotos.   Love the AD200’s.  sweetness.  At times then can be a tad too strong… but really a great flash.  Especial when you need to have flash at the back wall of a 1000 guest count reception and fill the front side of the dance floor(think across from the stage side) with light.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      I’d agree, that’s what it seems like as well. Good to get your thoughts Mark, thank you! 

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  15. Mike Glish

    I have the XPro controller for Fuji, 2 x V860 II speedlights, and 2 x Flashpoint  Studio 400 studio lights.  My main activity is product photography.  I have never had a hickup with any of these.  In Pye’s article he mentions that with a wedding or similar you often have only a short time to get a good photo.  Also if you screw up, your client is going to be really upset.  They aren’t going to get remarried to give the photographer a second chance.

    Product photography has neither of these concerns.  However, “time is money” and if it takes a longer time to set up, take usable photos of 10s or 100s of products, then the photographer is losing money.

    The XPro controller user interface is excellent.  It has a large screen, easy to use buttons that typically have only one function, and a logical menu structure.  If I want to change how my lights are grouped for differential power, or I want to quickly changer power, it is so simple to do quickly and get it right the first time.

    I find the display of the V860 II hard to read in low light.  If the speedlight is on an umbrella stand and the display is angled downward,  the display can be hard to read.  The XPro screen is lit well for me is always easy to read.

    For me, reliability has not been an issue.  Ease of use means that I can adjust the light power and grouping easily and quickly with little error due to confusion.  I highly recommend Godox and the Flashpoint  equivalents.  Flashpoint user guides are heads and shoulders better than the native Godox user guides.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Great comments Mike. In your setting, you are also not really ever coming close to range issues either. I could see the system (and those like it) working very well for what you do. 

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  16. Jason Gurtler

    Please make sure that all firmware is up to date. Canon and Godox is a funky marriage. I’m a Nikon shooter and have had no issues with Flashpoint or Godox R2 system. 

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    • Jason Gurtler

      Also, I definitely appreciate everything that you do for the photog industry. I’ve learned so  much from SLR Lounge. Thank you. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      I plan on it with the new kit. The past kit was up to date, but I’ve been curious if this is a Canon/Godox marriage issue. Though I know a lot of people using it with Canon without much issue. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Thanks Jason for the second comment, appreciate it! 

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  17. Chris Duzynski

    Hello:  I shoot Sony and have the Flashpoint equivalent of 2, 860’s and 2, 200’s as well as the wireless trigger.  Initially, using the wireless trigger I was getting misfiring about 10% of the time.  Contacted Adorama tech support and they suggested that on the Sony bodies, I turn off the E-Front Curtain.  Problem solved; have not had any misfirings since.  And kind of unusual, IF I use the 860 as an on-camera trigger for the 200 (not the wireless trigger), I can leave the E-Front Curtain enabled on the Sony bodies.  Don’t know why the inconsistency, but it works for me.  Great system flash units.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Interesting, sounds like a specific issue to mirrorless bodies yes? Glad it’s working for ya tho! 

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  18. robert carlsen

    Hey Pye, I recently moved from Canon to Sony and did the Godox route. I do have B1 and B2’s, but when the A1 came out, I was among many others concerned about the cost. I reached out to others with the X-pro and 200’s and they don’t have any issues. Kinda hit and miss. Still trying to get a cost-effective system that consistently works. Will be interesting to see your next case study will show. Thanks for the post and test.  

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Thanks Robert for the comment, if the next kit comes back, solid, it will be a case of QC. To that, we will simply recommend getting a few spares to have on hand for those that want to go this route. 

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  19. Timothy Bennett

    Hi Pye, thanks for the review. I have been using godox  equipment for three years now, i started with the AD 360 and then purchased an AD 200. I have had great results with both, I do get an occasional misfire do to recycle time, however i have used my AD 200 at 50-75 feet and across water and they have worked flawlessly. I recently had an overheating issue at a wedding 2 weeks ago, the unit started misfiring consistently and when i looked at the back of the unit it had the little thermometer icon. I immediately turned it off and back on, and it worked perfectly for the rest of the day. I use the X-1 trigger and i really like the ease of use and portability. Overall i am happy with the godox lineup and am planning on getting a second AD 200 and one TT-685 soon.

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  20. Brian Edwards

    two V860IIs  and an Xpro for less than the cost of one Nikon SB910 was the answer to my dreams.  They simply work well together.  Added Mag Mods and I am happy.

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  21. Patrick

    I am using the ad360-II and the ad600 with my Canon 5D III. I never had any problem with them.

    I never had more than one or two misfires over a full day, but mostly none. Last week I also shot from over a small lake, about 70-90 meters (230-295 feet) away, and had no problem or misfire at all.

    Recently my ad600 hit the ground hard while on top of a lightstand due to gust of wind, it got some scratches on the rear (the battery) but kept performing flawlessly!

    I am also working with another photographer who owns 2 Profoto B1s.

    In comparison they are no more reliable and have horrible battery life.

    Also, the optical slave flash function of the Profoto is really bad, as if they are not meant to be used together with other brands. We mostly just put the Godox flashes on optical slave mode and fire the Profotos via the remote – that works much better than vice versa. 

    My photographer friend now has also bought a pair of ad200s, but we haven’t tested them thoroughly, yet. 

    There is only one major flaw with Godox (at least in Europe) – you absolutely can’t get service. 

    If a unit would have a problem you’d have to buy a new one. That’s ok for me, because they turned out to be long living and reliable and also significantly cheaper (2-3 times) than Profoto. 

    In the US it might be even better regarding service as I hear that Adorama offer really good service for the rebranded Godox products they sell.

    I am really wondering what happened when you where testing your units.

    But since it happened on two separate occasions, I believe either the flash(es) or the remote had some kind of fault.

    I hope it works better for you next time! 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      I hope it works better as well. To your comment about customer service, I would agree. I almost feel like going this route, we are better off buying a new unit versus trying to use customer service. Unless like you mentioned, you go with a US rebrand. Definitely one of the benefits of name brand gear, but you expect that service with the cost. 

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    • Patrick

      To be completely honest, I don’t feel as if Godox is cheap enough to consider service optional. But unfortunately, they don’t offer you much choice in this matter.

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  22. MERINDA EDMONDS

    Thank you Pye for all of your hard work!  I really appreciate the in depth review.  I currently use Yongnuo flashes for wedding receptions and need to add more power to my equipment list with either the Godox system or Profoto.  You bring up good points on misfire.  I think many people just accept miss fires as a common thing.  I just wish Profoto wasn’t so dang expensive!!

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    • Motti Bembaron

      Why should we accept misfires as a common thing? Because we do not use Profoto?  They do not happen with Gododx unless you have a faulty trigger. I used to have PW and they were lousy. Godox triggers can easily work 40-50 meters (13-160ft) away and no misfires. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      I know Merinda, we all wish it. Fortunately and unfortunately, the R&D that Profoto and other big brands put into their equipment is what makes it possible for Chinese manufacturers to copy and reproduce cheaper. It’s this double-edged sword that forces brands to constantly stay ahead of the curve, otherwise, within a couple years, the copies/clones come out and sell for far less than the original. It’s good for consumers, but man does it suck for the people doing the R&D in the first place. But, I do agree, I wish Profoto was a bit less expensive. 

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  23. Arlene Griffin

    Did you do the firmware update and switch the triggers distance mode when you went past 30 meters? I had a similar problem with my AD200 before realizing there was an option for distance.

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  24. Marcel Martinéz

    I use the Godox ad200 every day of the week and absolutely love it. Before that I was using the 860 speedlights. Love my ad200

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  25. James Korin

    Hi Pye, I have invested in the Flashpoint system and have a couple of AD200’s, the Zoom Li-On, as well as the XPLOR 600. They are definitely not perfect and seem to have color temperature issues.  I normally do not have a misfire issues that are real noticeable.  The XProC transmitter does have an option in the menu system which has a distance function (1-100m and 0-30m).  Perhaps try toggling between the 2 to see if it has any affect on the consistency.  I usually keep mine at 0-30m since I primarily use the off camera flash set up on the dance floors.  

    I recently rented a Profoto A1 as I may one day invest into the Profoto system, but I was experiencing battery drainage issues while using the A1 during the wedding reception and bouncing it off the ceiling which were not that high.  Also, I noticed that the TTL function was inconsistent while using bounce flash and often gave me a 10.0 reading.  Perhaps this was what was draining the battery?  But I was able to catch this error and change it to manual every so often.  I am curious to hear your thoughts on the battery life of the A1.  

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Great thoughts James! A1 gives about 200-250 full power pops. If I bust them out early in the day to overpower the sun, I’ll end up needing 2 batteries to carry me through the reception. If I just pull them out at the reception, a single battery will power through thousands of shots since they are set at a much lower power setting. 

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  26. Doug Falconer

    In your review you mention the end of pockerwizards and their finiky cables, I understand what you mean and also remember the fun of checking connections every dozen shots.

    However, as you said, that was then and this is now. I’m a Nikon shooter and currently use old Nikon sb800 speedlights with pocketwizard tt5 transceivers and a tt1/ac3 combination on camera. 

    For me this combination just works, hot shoe connections, so no dodgy cables, ttl, hss, 6 stops adjustment of three independent groups of lights from thumb wheels on the ac3 on top of the camera.

    The only concession I would recommend is that for long distance use (100 feet +) I will use the larger heavier tt5 transceiver unit on camera, its external antenna cures the very very occasional misfire the small light tt1 transmitter allows at those distances. 

    If you can get hold of a set add them to your comparison list, things really have moved on. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Haha, weren’t those cables a nightmare!? The SB800 + PW pair was much more reliable than Canon setups. 

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  27. Motti Bembaron

    50%  misfires? That’s not good at all. I have three Godox triggers and even the old ones have maybe 5% misfire, and that’s on dance floor with dozens of people around. The new triggers (2.4GH) are excellent. Not sure why yours behaved so badly.

    The only time I experienced high percentage of misfires was when working in a computer room of a school doing school portraits. I found out that close by modems and routers can cause issues. 

    However, other than that, they work amazingly well. You should give it another try with a different trigger.

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  28. Herm Tjioe

    AD200 has been nothing short of a stellar performer for me.  I have made the switch.

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  29. John Hendricks

    This is just another affiliate ridden article with soft points that are overall meaningless in order to preserve a good relationship with b&h, and everyone knows you’re a profoto sellout pye, when it comes to giving money to slrlounge can we really trust any “review” on this site? just stick to education bro 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      John, always got to expect comments like yours with virtually every review that goes up. Think about what you are saying. Wouldn’t sponsors want me to talk only about their products, and only positively ? Wouldn’t B&H and affiliates want me to write in a way that only sells products? Yet with each product I touch, I tell you all how it is and what my experience is. Personally, you can trust what you wish. I’ll keep doing what I do, which is just put out information based on results from real working environments. Take it for what you will. Oh and yes, there are affiliate links, that’s one way we pay the bills. B&H  and our affiliates know we don’t tailor content in any way to please, we create content for our readers. But you have a good day sir. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      [Pye Jirsa has deleted this comment]

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  30. Michael Doran

    Hi Pye based on what I’ve read here i came to the conclution that you didn’t know that most of the godox flash systems have a radio range of about 33feet  ( 10 meters ) some godox triggers can go up to 100 feet but the flash unit it self has a range of 33 feet i remeber reading it in the manual of either the ad600bm or the x1c trigger 

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    • Motti Bembaron

      I can trigger my Godox flashes from much further than 10 meters. 40-50 meters easily.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      They are rated for 30-100 meters, or 100 to 300 feet, unless I’m mistaken. It would seem odd to only operate within 30 feet, especially since I know a lot of professionals getting consistent fires at ranges far beyond 30 feet. I think I had a bad batch, speaking to their quality control, nothing more. I’ll keep you all posted tho.

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    • Michael Doran

      Okay, yes check with them but may i make a suggestion ? Don’t go with only 1 trigger go with the older model too becasue I’ve been using the godox system for 2 years now and i only experienced missfire when we where using 2 cameras with 2 triggers on the same strobe that posed a problem when we where shooting at difrent power level, to see that you had so many is not normal maybe you had an defective trigger, btw you are doing a great job keep us posted :)

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  31. Michael Miller

    What about Phottix Mitros+, Indra 500 and 360, Oden II transmitters and receivers?

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    • Pye Jirsa

      I had a very solid experience with the Mitros+ system and their reliability. Everything Phottix makes is quite good, the only argument against them is that they weren’t significantly less expensive, just a bit less expensive. But, they are quality products. 

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  32. Sean Thurston

    I’ve been using the FlashPoint branded units for over a year now. Both the Evolv200’s and Zoom Li-On have worked well. I will occasionally have misfires but nothing like you were experiencing. 

    Here’s a recent shot at 1/1 on Evolv200 shooting at ~50ft at 200mm. No issues even in heavy fog and we shot this multiple times.

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  33. Ryan Stone

    Maybe you were in multi mode and not group mode? (Meaning multistrobic, not multiple units). 

    I’ve had good luck with the Godox stuff so far, 6 TT685 units and 3 AD600 strobes. From this weekend with a fill and a key with cheap shoot throughs in open shade. During this 60+ min formals session I got one misfire and it was a full power pop. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Unfortunately, was in the correct modes. Tested across multiple transmission methods as well, an on-camera master flash, on-camera radio, etc. Nothing due to recycle times either. 

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  34. Patrick Ziemer

    [Patrick Ziemer has deleted this comment]

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  35. Vince Arredondo

    I cant say more than good things about it. I have 2 Ad200 and a bunch of 860II and no problems at all with missfires. The bounce cards fell, thats the only issue i have had. The AD200 are a solid option.

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  36. Thavatchai Patummas

    I’ve enjoyed my Godox rebrand from Adorama xplor600TTL and non-ttl, both have performed well for my studio sessions.  I haven’t had any misfires. I’ve had not firing at all but rarely.  I usually replace the batteries in the transmitter and I’m good to go.  I’ve used the battery powered version of the V860, I enjoyed using it more than my Nikon flashes and I never had a misfire with OCF to Nikon/Godox transmitter setup for events (…so far)  

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  37. Will Gavillan

    I think it’s a mistake to lump Godox/Flashpoint with Yongnuo gear. They are at different levels both in price and reliability/features. Then there are the Profoto/Elinchrom/Broncolor(s) of the world, which again are a step up in price/reliability, if not features. This is how I see it, IMO, but YMMV. I am a Godox/Flashpoint user, and have been impressed with the strides made since the original AD360. I look forward to more Pro models and hopefully a push on the big boys to lower their prices at some point.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      It’s been a while since I’ve tested Yongnuo, but the quality of the flashes seemed about on par. However, I do agree that the larger units like the AD200 and above are build significantly better. 

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  38. John Cornicello

    Like you, I wanted to find flash equipment at a better price point for my students and hobbyist friends. With a little research and visits to conventions like WPPI I skipped over Godox and went to Interfit (full disclosure, I am now one of their “creative pros”). I have had very good experiences with their flash units, mostly using the S1 (similar to the Profoto B1 but with battery and a/c power) and the Honey Badger (a/c only, no TTL or HSS, which I rarely use). I would invite you to add Interfit and maybe one or two others to your further testing.  I believe that Interfit has an office near you in Irvine. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Great suggestions John! Yes, it would be nice to have something to recommend with those learning or on their way up. 

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  39. Jared Gant

    I have been using Godox products for about 2 years and for the most part they’ve been solid. That being said I often do stadium-style light for my receptions dances and will notice that although they’re both set to the same power, one will take longer to cycle, or misfire periodically. Very similar to what you’re experiencing here. It certainly isn’t as routine as it appears your misfires were. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Honestly, it’s you and Trevor that made me test this thing out, haha! Glad it’s working better for you though. 

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    • Jared Gant

      Again this weekend I stayed in on channel 11 and had super fresh batteries. No misfires. 

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  40. Sean DeWitt

    I switched from Profoto to these in order to save money. I bought one XPIor 600 pro (AD 600Pro) and 3 eVolv 200’s (AD200).  I couldn’t be happier. I find the recycle time to be much faster with the Xplor 600 Pro than with my Profoto B1. I can now 

    shoot a bouquet or garter toss and hold my trigger down in continuous mode and the 200’s don’t misfire. This is with a Sony A9! It also freezes motion better. I used to put my B1 on Freeze mode and still get motion blur when trying to capture people jumping. No longer. I also haven’t had a single misfire. Maybe I’m lucky but this is the first bad thing I’ve heard about the system. It sounds to me like you have a defective unit. It could also be that Canon gear you’re still using. LOL! Just kidding, love you, Brother!

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    • Pye Jirsa

      This is great to hear. Seriously man, sometimes I wonder about the Canon thing, lol ;) 

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  41. Andy Rodriguez

    When I purchased my first ad600, I was a bit skeptical. But after using it for over a year, I LOVE it! I’ve used profoto and other high end strobes in the past and honestly, at least for my work, I can’t justify spending 2 to 3 times more on those systems when godox does the job.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      A lot of people are in the same boat. If it works, that’s fantastic. 

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  42. Kim Farrelly

    I’m a Fuji shooter, so for me Godox has been a great bit of kit as they make a good range of camera specific strobes, I use the 600 and the 200 triggered by the XPROf, and the 685F (usually on camera) also. I’ve found them to be mostly reliable but also have had a few misfires here and there, I find they work best in manual mode & I never more than 50 feet away so the distance thing is not something I’ve noticed. Using the bare bulb is great on the 200 but that is where i get me misfires, with he ‘normal’ flash head on my AD200 just works. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Appreciate the thoughts, I know going past 50 feet might not be a situation a lot of people are in. It would be interesting to test it out, and come back and let us know how it works for ya. I’m always shooting manual as well. 

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  43. Kevin Frenzel

    I have been using Godox for about a year and a half, I made the switch to all Godox about a year ago. It was a big switch for me leaving the Canon gear I had been using since 02 for OCF. 

    I have photographed 10 or so weddings and 300-350 portrait sessions with them. IME I have never experienced the misfire issues that you have. 

    The biggest obstacle I have faced was using them on TTL in very low light situations. They do not like to put out small amounts of light. 

    The color temps seem stable, although I think they are two blue so I often use correction gels. 

    I have only ever had one of the 200’s overheat on me. We were in full sun on a 105F degree day and I was shooting on full power. Took a couple hours for it to over heat. 

    I ran tests with the R2 vs the Canon 600 and found the R2 to perform on par with the Canon light. The TTL was actually a bit better in indoor situations and much better outdoors in varying light conditions. 

    I have had a couple times where the R2’s decide not to fire consistently when used on camera. Easily fixed by turning the unit on and off. Has only happened a few times so I haven’t looked into it much. 

    What I like about the Godox 200’s specifically is the size and easy ways you can modify the lights. I can fit one in my camera bag for a wedding and clip it, pin it, rubberband it . . . so many ways to stash a 200w light around a room quick and easy. It is very handy to have in your pocket. 

    They pair wonderfully with the Mag Mod System. 

    I had always been a bit jelly and drooling over the Profoto gear, but I have been so happy with these little lights that I have stopped looking elsewhere, which is a big change for me. 

    For the price point I would definitely recommend them. They aren’t the best flash ever made, but they are good enough IME. Think Honda Civic not Ferrari. 

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Appreciate these thoughts and experiences! I definitely agree with the analogy to a Civic, but having owned many Honda’s, you also expect them to just work. Haha, that baseline reliability of simply firing was what I was looking for. But, hopefully the experience with the next set will differ. 

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  44. Jeff P

    Oh, I have a Godox flash and trigger in my Amazon cart. I’ll wait for your follow up before I hit the checkout button.

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    • Pye Jirsa

      Hopefully the comments will provide more insight from more users. I’m looking forward to trying out another kit to see if it was just the flashes I had received .

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    • Motti Bembaron

      Get it, you will love them.

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