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Monthly Archives: November 2017

Why I Switched from Profoto to Godox

Godox’s Broad Range of Lighting Tools Covers Everything from Li Powered Speedlights to 600 w/s Portable Strobes

Godox Review:  It was time to upgrade my entire lighting system. My Profoto Compact heads {in perfect working condition} we coming up on their 10th anniversary.  In my Profoto arsenal, I had two 300 w/s heads, one 600 w/s head, and an AcuteB600R.  Advances in flash technology in the past years have brought HSS, TTL, {wireless} radio triggers into the mainstream {no more need for Pocket Wizards} and portability in the form of Lithium-Ion battery packs.  Only two years ago Godox was still taking baby steps in the strobe arena.  Today, they have, IMHO, the most affordable and comprehensive cordless, radio triggered, strobe and lighting ecosystem on the market.

Godox works seamlessly on Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. It’s the transmitters that do the heavy lifting and are coded for each camera line.  All strobes are cross-compatible with each camera system. The transmitters are designated {stamped} with a  C for Canon, N for Nikon, S= for Sony and F for Fuji. Some flashes in their line are full manual while others are both Manual, HSS and TTL. The Godox flash system works on a 2.4 GHz wireless X system to achieve wireless control in 1/3 stop increments. Wireless trigger on-board control is fairly straightforward compared to other brands I’ve used.  For instance, I tested out the robust Elinchrom ELB 400 Action To Go kit with their TTL – HSS trigger and simply couldn’t figure it out.  Even after a call to the Elinchrom support department, which was very knowledgeable and helpful, it was still a hassle and counter-intuitive to use the remote.  Not so with the Godox radio triggers and flash system.  It’s essentially plug and play. They just work seamlessly.

Godox’s Newest Addition,   Introducing   The XPRO Flash Commander

Godox newest radio trigger will be shipping soon.  “Xpro series is more user-friendly with more simple operation, users can directly assess group selection(s) to adjust the output.

SIGNIFICANT NEW FEATURES INCLUDE …

  • Large Dot Matrix LCD Screen Displaying 5 Groups
  • Individual Group Buttons
  • Displays One Group Larger with More Details
  • TCM Function – TTL Change to Manual
  • Modelling Light Control – by Group (Currently On /Off Only)
  • Adjustment of Group Power Levels (ALL Button)
  • Large Graphic Menu System with Multiple Custom Functions
  • Xpro series are included in the X system family, which can control all Godox products with build-in 2.4G transmission.
Godox XPro radio trigger

With the soon to be released XPro radio triggers for Sony {Canon and Nikon currently available} you’ll be able to access each group/flash individually without menu diving. Quicker access to all menu functions.  Retail is $69.

 


Performance

I’ve used my Godox flash system on countless luxury real estate shoots, headshots/executive portrait sessions, and studio product shoots. I’ve never encountered a single misfire.  The color temperature is consistent over a long shoot and jobs that have spanned several days. I haven’t mentioned the Lithium Ion batteries yet.  Read on to find out why they get a standing ovation.

Godox is made in China, and sold under a few different brand names {and is exactly the same – only the name and printed branding is changed}:  Godox is also branded and marketed as:  Flashpoint EXPLOR,  Flashpoint, eVOLV, WISTRO, and AD as in the AD200, you’ll see the speedlights referred to as V or TT.


Show Me The Money

I had faced with the same dilemma three years ago when I switched from Canon to Sony. At the time Sony had made some quantum leaps with EVF and mirrorless but had a small lens lineup.  A short three years later, they’ve flushed out an amazing line of lenses and are the leaders in mirrorless camera technology. Canon was starting to phase out support of some of their legacy L lenses…WTF?  And I needed to update both my lenses and glass.  The bill was upwards of $20k to upgrade my Canon system.  I weighed out the pros and cons and ultimately switched from Canon to Sony.

As I mentioned earlier, it was time to upgrade my lighting system.  I have more than one brand and needed a lighting ecosystem that I could work with, in each genre of photography that I specialize in.  To wit: Luxury real estate photography, portrait photography, food photography, pet photography, and wedding photography, studio product photography.  After almost 18 years as a photographer, you get to develop different brands. And because the economy is always in flux, its great to have different income streams that generate income when one genre is slow the other is busy.

Senior high school portraits with the EXPLOR 600 in a Westcott XXL Rapid Box as main light and 2-360’s modified by two Cheetah 55″ x 12″ strip banks.

An example of low key and hi key portrait backgrounds. EXPLOR 600 as key light, twin V860II’s for background lighting. Actor headshot left, Real Estate Executive portrait right.

Luxury Real Estate Photographer Marc Weisberg luxuryrealestateimages.com

Luxury real estate photography in Laguna Beach with Sony a7sii, V860II’s in manual mode.

Luxury Real Estate Photographer Marc Weisberg luxuryrealestateimages.com

Luxury real estate photography in Laguna Beach with Sony a7sii, and AD200 in manual mode.


How I Made My Decision

Last December I made the decision to switch from Profoto to the Godox system.  I’m big on reading reviews in lieu of being an early {first} adopter. And all the reviews for Godox’s flahses on the market were impressive. In a sense, I was an early adopter.  To me, however a real early adopter, just orders the product as soon as it hits the market, not reading reviews. My decision was based on the following criteria…I wanted a system that was:

  1. Completely wireless
  2. Internal radio triggered / Internal radio receiver
  3. Lithium-Ion battery
  4. Cordless {Totally independent of power cords, with the exception of the Flashpoint 360}
  5. TTL {I don’t rely on TTL but when photographing events it’s super helpful.}
  6. HSS {Great for those occasional times you need to shoot outdoors on a bright sunny day and bring down the sky a couple of stops. Synch speeds of upto 1/8000 sec.}
  7. Compact {highly portable}
  8. Redundancy {always have two of each (primary flashes) for back-up}

The Cost of Upgrading To A Profoto System

Profoto B1 $1,895 x 2 = $3,790  At the time there was no HSS/TTL trigger for for the Sony system.  Profoto has brought one to market.

Profoto B2 250 AirTTL with two heads = $2,695

Profoto Grand Total = $6,485 = Cost prohibitive.  Cha-ching! And we still haven’t added in radio triggers here which is approx another $120 each.


Compare the Value and Savings of a Complete Godox System.  All featuring built-in 2.4 G wireless X System} A few caveats when purchasing…some flashes must be purchases for your specific camera brand as noted below.

2 – V860II  speedlights, HSS / TTL {must purchase for your specific camera brand} :  $179 x 2 = $358

{Compare the V860II to the top of the line Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT for $479, IMO the Godox is  built just as well and does everything that the Canon flash does for about 1/3 of the price}

2 – Flashpoint Streak Light 360 {360 w/s with Li battery packs, must get Canon for Sony cameras} HSS / TTL version   $429 x 2 = $858-

1 – AD200 TTL Pocket Flash Kit {200 w/s HSS / TTL the physical size of 2 speedlights with the output power of 3 speedlights, one version for all brands, the radio trigger must be compatible with your brand} $300-

1 –Flashpoint XPLOR 600, Bowens Mount 600 w/s HSS/TTL {Make sure that you purchase the XPLOR 600 for your camera brand Canon will work with Sony.} $749-
If you want to save some money and know you’ll never use HSS/TTL go with the full-on Manual Flashpoint XPLOR 600 for $550-

2 – X1T Radio Triggers {Supports all flash functions M, HSS, TTL} 2x $46 = $92-

1 – XT32 Radio Trigger {The Canon triggers works perfectly with the Sony system. The XT32 does not supportTTL on any camera system. I use it only for full Manual control} $46-

* Please Note One Anomaly:  I’ve noticed that each of the aforementioned triggers, when in the hot shoe and turned on, will deactivate the EVF Live View on all my Sony bodies. 

GODOX Grand Total= $2,403

WINNING! That’s a 60% savings.  A no-brainer. And a complete flash ecosystem that fits all the criteria listed above. During Xmas, I found the 600 and 360 on sale and save another couple hundred dollars bringing my total purchase well below $2,000 which is a heck of a deal for a comprehensive lighting system.  When investing in any system you need to think of upkeep and maintenance costs. Replacement flash tubes for the Godox system is a fraction of the price of Profoto.  A typical flash tube replacement for a Profoto B1 is $163- while the Godox 600 is $50-.


Godox’s Lithium-Ion Batteries Deserve A Standing Ovation
Specs on paper are one thing.  Real life shoots tell the real story. The Li battery in all my Godox products deserves an SOV!   The Li batteries for the V860ii are nothing short of amazing.  Fully charged, they’ve never run out of juice on a full day’s luxury real estate shoot. Similarly, the AD200’s Li battery has done the same.  The Li power packs for the 360 flash system have lasted me three days on location photographing over 1,000 headshots 1/4 manual output pushing f/5/6 through Cheetah 55″ x 12″ strip banks on a grey seamless.  And they still had at least 1/2 the power left in the packs.  The Flashpoint XPLOR 600 almost lasted three days of location portraiture and 1,000 headshots at 1/4 manual output through a Westcott Rapid Box XXL pushing out f/8.0 at approx. 6 feet from my subjects.  I’ve never gotten anything close to this from my Profoto heads. While I do have 4 backup batteries for the V series speedlights, I do not have any backup batteries for the AD200, 360’s or the XPLOR 600.  It just isn’t necessary becasue the last so long.


Godox Review

Godox Review


Enter Bowens Mount and Some Accessories to Round Out the Godox EcoSystem

I’d been using the Profoto mounting system for a decade and brainwashed myself into thinking that that mounting system was somehow better than others.  Truth be told, I now love the Bowens mounting system. It comes standard on the XPLOR 600.  IMHO it’s easier to deal with and less expensive in the long run.  There were a few extras that I needed to get to flush out my new Godox kit.

I got these to hold my Flashpoint Steak Light 360’s and to mount light-shaping tools:  Godox S-Type Speedlite Bracket for Bowens.

This handle to use on the AD200 do I can light free-hand no-stand for my luxury real estate photography.

 

These covers to protect the flash tubes on the Flashpoint Steak Light 360’s

These pigtail cord splitter to tap into both battery ports and speed up the refresh time on my  360’s to 1 sec.

 

 

Because I save so much money on the Godox system, I had plenty of money to purchase a few new light shaping tools.  

I’m over the moon in love with the Westcott Rapid Box 48″, Octa XXL for Bowens.  I also own the Elinchrom 39″ Rotalux Deep Octa.  Both are double baffle.  But the Westcott takes less effort to set up and break down this umbrellas style octabox,  a mere 10 seconds and it costs less and is made every inch as good.  I’ve also tested both of them an see no visible difference in light quality output.  I purchased the Wescott on sale at Xmas for $199! I take this to all my on location headshot and executive portrait photo shoots. It produces gorgeous light and a super compact and highly portable package. It comes with its own carrying case, weighs next to nothing and is about 3 feet long and 6-7 inches wide with fully collapsed.

Godox Review

Finally, I’ve switched out my umbrellas {for more controlled lighting on my seamless backdrops} in favor of these innovative umbrellas style collapsable, Cheetah 12″ x 55″ Quick StripBox that have a double baffle and ship with egg crate grids from Cheetah.  I purchased two.  They ship for $128, are built just as good as Westcott’s similar product and cost 1/2 as much and literally take less than 10 seconds to set up {because these strip boxes are based on an ingenious umbrella design instead of the more common armature spoke system.

 

Marc Weisberg is an award winning photographer and Sony Artist of Imagery based in Irvine, California. Specializing in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Weddings & Family Photography, he’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and technically flawless images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 949.494.5084…. or email.

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