I’m guessing Godox has ruffled the feathers of quite a few speedlight makers over the last few years. The company has been producing very cost-effective lighting kits and accessories which have enabled the budget conscious photographer to buy into lighting setups which would have cost a pretty penny only a few years ago.
Now they have the Godox AD200 which is more or less the same size as a standard speedlight but can throw out 200 watts of power. This gives you the compact size of a speedlight, without the bulk of a studio strobe, with almost 3 times more power than a speed light. It’s not going to completely replace a studio strobe, but for those who want more ‘umph’ than a speed light with something that’s extremely portable, the AD200 may just fit the bill.
The outside of the Godox AD200 looks more speedlight than studio strobe. It’s compact, solid and has all the features you need built-in, such as the Godox 2.4G wireless X system which also supports full TTL functions. A built-in wireless system means less headache of one less bit of kit to worry about on a shoot. You will still need the wireless flash trigger X1, but it’s well worth the investment, especially when you can run everything on full TTL mode. However, you can still use a 3.5mm sync cord jack if you wanted to trigger the flash the old school way.
Included with the Godox AD200 is a carrying case, lithium-ion battery, battery charger, umbrella swivel, bare bulb head, fresnel head and some modifiers like barn doors and grids. The umbrella swivel isn’t very useful, but the other extra items are a nice inclusion.
The front of the Godox AD200 has two light set-ups. A GN 60 with a AD-S2 standard reflector which is set at a permanent 28mm and the GN 52 set at 35mm. These two cover a bare bulb and the usual looking speedlight frontends to use with whatever modifiers you like. The Fresnel head version has a small LED modeling light, but it seems like it’s more an afterthought as it doesn’t really give out much to be usable. The rear of the flash has a digital readout and an array of buttons for accessing all the flash functionality. The facilities include channel selection for single or multiple other units, power adjustment from 1/1 to 1/128, 1/8000s high-speed sync, flash exposure compensation, first and second curtain sync., modeling lamp, multi-flash, manual flash, and custom functions. There’s also screw hole on the top and side for easily fitting onto a light stand. Godox also sells a bunch of accessories depending on your needs.
One big advantage of having this unit over a speed light is that it takes a 14.4V/2900mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Speedlight owners are well aware of the number of AA batteries they need to cart around, so having a single rechargeable battery is so much easier. The other benefit is the battery indicator on the rear digital display lets you know when power is low. Not always the case with speed lights. The battery is quick to charge in just a few hours and according to the Godox website, one charge is good for ‘500 full power flashes’ and can recycle in 0.01-2.1 seconds. The quick recycle time is definitely going to benefit the likes of wedding photographers who need to be blasting through the images. With low power settings, the Godox AD200 kept on recycling without a hitch, almost forgetting that I had an on-board flash, shooting away without any waiting time.
The Godox AD200 doesn’t always have its own way, especially with high-speed sync. and continuous shooting. If you are really pushing the flash at fast shutter speeds continuously, the unit can start to overheat a little. At no time did it get critical, but when it started to heat up just simply back off with the speed, but not to a significant amount.
TTL and Manual Flash
For ease-of-use, there’s nothing like full TTL on a flash. The Godox AD200 has full TTL function and can cope with up to 3 stops of exposure compensation, moving in a third of a stop increments. With the wireless system it works flawlessly leaving you to focus on composition, but there’s also the usual fully manual modes and multimode if needed. There’s also the benefit of multiple groups and channels, allowing up to 32 radio channels in all manner of configurations. You will probably never use all of them at once, but the option is there, especially if you use more than one unit on a shoot.
There are some drawbacks to the Godox AD200. It doesn’t have a hot shoe, so it’s primarily an off-camera flash. It also kicks out quite a bit of light, which means in some situations a speed light will be better, like for high ISO images or you need to keep a good deal of ambient light. So, just like a studio strobe, it’s when you need that extra deal of power.
How Does It Compare?
The market isn’t exactly flooded with these type of strobe/flash units, that are nearly as compact as a speedlight and want to be a studio strobe as well. One alternative is the Cactus RQ250. This has more power, is wireless and is competitively priced.
|Godox AD200 200Ws 2.4G TTL||Cactus RQ250|
|Bulbs||Bare bulb and fresnel||Bare bulb with lens reflector|
Godox is clearly value for money and this definitely applies to the Godox AD200. The usual trend with Godox is that the more budget prices come from a less than solid build, but in the case of the Godox AD200 it’s built rock solid. This is why it is not as cheap as some of its other speed lights. it’s inevitable if you use speedlights or strobes on a regular basis, they are going to take knocks which the Godox AD200 up to now has taken in its stride.
The Godox AD200 is basically a mix between a speed light and studio strobe, with benefits of both. It works fantastically well, has a long battery life, fast recycle time and works over and over. It won’t completely replace the speed light or studio strobe, but it can cover both bases very well.
Great crossover flash/strobe
Built in wireless