Godox Flash and Speedlight Review

godox flash review

Godox Flash and Speedlight Review

Godox flash Review

Godox Flash and Speedlight Review:

Original review written Jan 2018, updated May 2019

QUICK SUMMARY

Pros: 

•Low Price

•Built in transmitter/receiver function in all lights

•Relatively Reliable

Cons: 

•Cheap build quality on some speed-lights (TT series)

•Very unreliable when using two shooters sharing the same channel

 

DETAILED SUMMARY

Introduction – My need for the Godox System:

Until the past few years, aftermarket options on lighting accessories were slim if you wanted a quality product. There have always been companies that have made lighting accessories, but it was incredibly challenging to find a product that was reliable, built well and worked seamlessly with your existing equipment. The only aftermarket options out there for firing speed lights remotely were Pocketwizards, and while they work incredibly well, they were also expensive. I used them for years in partnership with my Nikon speed lights, Norman and Paul C Buff strobes, but the equipment I had to lug around didn’t fit my shooting style, so I looked for a more compact option.

Flash back to a couple years ago when Nikon and Canon both released speed lights with built in radio triggers. Finally, a way to remotely and accurately fire flashes without additional equipment! There was only one problem: the flashes were $600 each! Even as a full-time pro, I couldn’t justify (and still can’t) spending $600 per flash, especially when I needed a minimum of 6 to accommodate my needs properly. After some research, I landed on the Godox system, which fit my needs and my budget so I decided to give it a shot. While they’re not perfect, as I will explain in the following product review, the price is right and they work well for what I use them for. I’ve been shooting with Godox lights for two years now, which comes out to almost 200 photo sessions. From these two years of shooting, I’ve had time to explore the features of these lights and discover what I like and what I don’t like.

The Equipment:

Here are the Godox lights and accessories I currently own or have owned and am basing this review on:

X1 Triggers
XPro Triggers
AD200 Pocket Strobes
TT685 Speedlights
V860II Speedlights
TT350 Speedlight
V350 Speedlight

We regularly use these with a variety of cameras, including the Nikon D850, Df and D4.

Design: 8/10

The Godox speed lights take inspiration and design cues from Canon’s series of speedlights. If you’re a Canon user, you should have a very seamless transition. If you’re coming from Nikon speed lights or any others for that matter, you’ll spend a little more time getting used to the layout, but overall it was very easy for me to learn. What helped me learn quick was watching some Youtube tutorials on the features of these speed lights. One feature I particularly like with the Godox flashes is they have a great hot-shoe locking mechanism that fits securely on light stands and cameras. Nikon’s has always been terrible (sorry Nikon), so this was a very refreshing feature to have. In addition, I absolutely love the fact that the V860II comes with a rechargeable battery. This means no more fussing with AA batteries which not only saves space but adds a connivence factor with the added battery life. The X1 triggers are very easy to use as well, and have a lot of hidden functions and features which make it easy to use, and it draws such low power I only change the battery twice a year (and keep in mind I shoot on average 100 photo sessions per year). In regards to the AD200, the design on this is almost perfect but has one flaw – the mounting system isn’t entirely flush with the body of the strobe, which means sometimes the unit comes un-swiveled from the mounting screw. I’ve solved this issue by getting a good set of vice grips and really making sure it’s on there tight. You can also put some Loctite on there if you don’t plan on removing the mounting screw.

Update: MagMod has released a thread adapter that they designed specifically for the AD200 and other flash units. I now use this adaptor on the AD200 in conjunction with their MagShoe and it works absolutely flawlessly. It can also be worked with other cold shoes.

 

godox speedlight review godox flash review

Features: 9/10

Godox has almost everything I want in a flash system. The fact that I can pick up any piece of Godox equipment and have them all work together is amazing. Wireless transmitting between speedlights, triggers and strobes makes switching and adding new equipment into my workflow easy. There are still a lot of features I haven’t played with, but just about everything I’ve used has suited my professional needs. If I had to nit-pick, I would prefer a feature that told the user how much battery life there is left. The only feature it has in regards to this is a visual notification in the form of a battery icon, indicating there’s a low battery.

Integration, System Mechanics and Reliability: 7/10

The overall reliability of the Godox system has been very good, but not perfect – I’ve had some small issues. Occasionally there are misfires, and when the battery in one unit is low, it affects the entire system. As an example, if I’m using a 3 speed light setup and one of the batteries is low, it affects all of the units which means you have no choice but to change the batteries asap, or you’ll experience misfires. I’ve learned to always make sure my batteries are fully charged and since then I’ve never had an issue. Since writing this review originally, I’ve stopped using their speedlights with AA batteries and have noticed the entire system is much more reliable.

Another small problem I’ve experienced was with the V860II. When I first purchased the units, I had a couple instances where the screen was completely blank when mounted to a camera. The unit still worked, but the screen didn’t. I had to remove it from the camera, take the battery out, and put it back in for it to work. It hasn’t happened for quite some time, and I believe this was a small issue with the Nikon specific version, which has been fixed via a system update.

There is one major problem I have with the Godox system integration and that is they are very unreliable when you have two photographers sharing the same lights remotely. Even with the “multiple photographers” option on the XPro triggers selected, we’ve never been able to get them to be reliable. We’ve done tons of troubleshooting, talked to Adorama (Flashpoint) reps at shows and have asked online in various forums for advice, but we’ve never been able to figure out why there are so many issues when you have more than one photographer sharing lights. My recommendation is if you have a 2nd shooter for a wedding or other event where lots of photos in succession are being captured, to have each photographer use their own set of lights on their own unique channel. To minimize the amount of light stands in the reception area, use a dual flash bracket such as a MagMod MagRing.

 

Fort Collins Wedding PhotographerShot with the Godox V860II and D3s

Build Quality: 6/10
This is the biggest flaw of the Godox system, and the one aspect of this system that may deter you from buying these speed lights. On the TT series flashes, the build quality is absolutely terrible. I’ve had 3 hot-shoes fall apart on me, and 3 others lose their bounce cards. It’s such a let down because the electronic components work great – but at only $110 a speed light, it’s easy for me to replace the unit and write it off as a business expense. What I do find odd however, is even though the TT685 and the V860II share the same design, I haven’t had any major issues with build quality on the V860II (with the exception of a bounce card falling out on one of these as well). As a result, I will no longer purchase any of the TT685 series flashes. If you are going to buy a TT685, I recommend buying the “FlashPoint” rebranded version from Adorama – they come with the excellent customer support.

In regards to build quality on all of their other products, I have yet to experience any issues. If I was reviewing the Godox system excluding the TT685, it would score an 8/10.

Overall Value: 9/10

As I stated in my intro, the price of these flashes compared to their more expensive counter-parts is amazing. Sure, they’re not perfect as we have discussed, but for the price of one Nikon or Canon flash you can buy 4 Godox speed lights depending on which one you decide get. This makes the availability of having multiple off-camera light solutions affordable for those who don’t have a huge photography budget. Because I’m an on-location wedding and engagement photographer in Colorado, I regularly drop lighting equipment and break it. As a result it’s much easier for me to replace a V860II than a Nikon SB-5000 which for my needs makes the value worth it.

Conclusion/Final Thoughts:

If you are an on-location shooter like I am, I 100% support buying into the Godox system. While there are some flaws, it’s easy for me to either overlook them or work around them. Here are some final thoughts and suggestions:

•If you’re concerned about reliability and build quality, go with “FlashPoint”, Adorama’s brand. They’re re-branded Godox lights that have the customer support you want. You can also go with “CheetahLight” – the owner is very quick to pick up the phone and offer help.

•Stay away from the TT350 speed light. I purchased it to act as a trigger with some speed light functions built in, but it’s very unreliable and I consistently get misfires with it.

•I would recommend not purchasing the TT685 flashes. Either I have the worst luck in the world, or they’re just all built terribly.

•You will love the functionality and wireless capabilities of these flashes.

 

Shot with the Godox V860II and D750

Brookside Gardens weddingShot with the Godox TT685 and Df

grand hotel steamboat springs weddingShot with the Godox AD200 and D3s

Sean Lara is a Wedding Photographer from Fort Collins, specializing in on-location, artistic photojournalism.

7 Comments
  • David Beale
    Posted at 11:26h, 08 January Reply

    Nice honest review. Thanks.

    I have several Godox lights, just adding a AD-200 to my set up.
    I have a pair of V860’s with those awesome batteries and a smaller 350 when I just want a small on camera flash. I also have the big AD-360 which is more power than I usually need. I just got the Pro Trigger and love it. Not sure how it would work with two camera’s shooting the same flashes independently. Never tried to do that as I shoot alone. Sure you will like the Pro trigger when you get it.

    • SeanLara
      Posted at 11:48h, 08 January Reply

      Thanks for the comment David! I really enjoy my AD200 – I’ll probably end up buying another at some point. The Pro Trigger is definitely my next purchase.

  • Paul Wossidlo
    Posted at 13:05h, 08 January Reply

    Nice writeup! Found the link in a FB group before the moderators deleted it. I switched over from Nikon flashes to Godox last year, and I’m currently running one AD200 and three V860ii-N. Love them for weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.

    I don’t think you’re having bad luck with the TT685, you’re just having good luck with the V860ii. A few months ago the foot came apart on one of mine (from Flashpoint by the way) and the flash fell to the ground. I switched to a spare flash, but noticed that the foot was wobbly. The screws from the inside that hold the foot together will work themselves loose. Fortunately it is a simple repair, but it is something I try to check regularly.

    Regarding the use of two transmitters: this is a feature that was introduced on the Xpro, and supposedly the latest firmware for the X1T also has it. There is a custom function you have to enable.

    For the AD200 mounting, you can use a rubber washer (plumbing supply) to provide enough friction. I found an old quick-release mount in my “old photo hardware” box that works pretty well and has the added benefit of not having to thread the AD200 on the stand each time.

    Just curious, have you had any issues with the conservative thermal protection on these?

    Thanks again!

    Paul

  • Miha
    Posted at 09:56h, 09 January Reply

    Nice review !

    I own xPro and it offers option to use in group or as single trigger. Hence allowing You to keep your settings on all flashes regardless of what other shooter sets on his camera. I have tried this in combo with X1T on other camera and it worked flawlessly. You can even put lenses in TTL it will still work.

    Miha

    • SeanLara
      Posted at 16:53h, 10 January Reply

      PERFECT! I will definitely be picking some up then and replacing my X1T’s. Thank you!

  • Zibi Kedziora
    Posted at 23:18h, 10 January Reply

    Hey
    Many thanks.
    Great honest review.
    There is polish brand Quadralite, same products as Godox and Broncolot but a bit better built quality. Same pricing as Flashpoint.

  • Mike
    Posted at 16:55h, 03 February Reply

    Thanks for the review. The AD200’s look like a great little flash, and at the price per power ratio the seem to hit a sweet spot. Ordered 3, can’t wait for them to arrive.

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