Godox is one of those companies that is currently producing budget versions of high-end camera accessories with great success. They work well and are a fantastic alternative for those needing cheaper alternatives with high-end features. Clearly, they can’t produce the same level of build quality as the more expensive versions, but they do provide the same basic facilities.
Therefore, we will check out the Godox AD600 strobe which promises to provide all the power and functionality you’ll need from a strobe for the average photoshoot.
The Godox AD600 is a 600 Watt, battery-powered strobe which comes in two versions, with and without TTL. On the surface, it looks like a regular studio strobe, with the same basic design. On closer inspection, the unit feels less sturdy than the likes of a Profoto B1 and also weighs less at 2.66kg. It’s also a little smaller than the aforementioned B1.
The front of the strobe has a Bowens mount, which means the bare bulb protrudes and unless protected can easily take a knock and possibly break without a modifier attached. The rest of the build is reasonably solid, which we will get onto later.
All the controls are well laid out with an easy to read LCD screen. The interface has nine buttons and a jog dial for dialing in all settings. A more complicated layout than other strobes, which could be simplified for easier access. The menu system is accessed through the jog wheel, but for the majority of the time, the Godox radio trigger will be all you need for functionality.
On the subject of the radio trigger, the Godox X1 is the standard for a Godox system which lets you control everything on the strobe. The triggers themselves are not exactly small, but you live with the size as basically, that’s what you have to work with.
In this respect, you have to be super conscious not to accidentally knock the trigger when it is attached to a camera. One thing that is needed on the remote is the ability to switch the strobe on and off remotely. In every other respect, the trigger works fine and has all the functionality needed.
The included battery can be charged up while attached to the strobe or separately. It should be good enough for 500 flashes, which beats out the Profoto B1 along with having that bit of extra power. This could be one deciding factor when you’re on a full day shoot to know you have enough power in hand.
High-Speed Sync is worth mentioning as the feature allows you to ramp up shutter speeds, but it also means a little less power. For situations like events and sports, this is ideal for freezing the action. HSS can be easily set via the remote, but it can also automatically kick in after 1/160 shutter speed. One remedy for this is simply switching the camera on and off.
The Godox AD600 in Use
The Godox AD600 definitely has enough power for outdoor or studio shoots. Linked up with the Godox radio trigger, everything you could ever want to change can be done on the fly.
The power output can also be changed from 1/1 to 1/256 in 1/3 stop increments, ideal for dialing in the right amount of power. And this goes for the other settings, a quick change on the remote trigger and you’re good to go.
Color is also very consistent from the AD600. The differences in color channels, in reality, is hardly noticeable. This means an even and consistent color temperature which you can rely on. Also, the amount of flashes you get from each battery charge is significant. Around 500 per charge is a healthy amount and in most cases, and you probably only need one backup battery in case of emergencies.
Size and portability are also reasonable, especially when you compare it to the B1. High-Speed Sync and TTL are also much-needed factors. One missing feature is the ability to plug the strobe in to the mains and shoot away all day, but I guess you cannot have everything.
How Does It Compare?
The immediate comparisons are going to be with the industry-standard Profoto B1 or D2. In the favor of the AD600, it weighs less, outputs more power, has more flashes per charge, and costs less. But, the B1 has a much better build quality, a simpler layout of buttons, and has been tried and tested in the field for many years.
This means that if you want one hundred percent peace of mind that your strobe will take the knocks of everyday shooting and keep on going, then the B1 would be the choice. Very simply, if you cannot afford a B1 or justify the price, then the AD600 is a very good alternative.
|Godox AD600||Profoto B1|
|Power||600 watts||500 watts|
|Flashes Per Charge||500||325|
The AD600 may have a few negatives against it, such as build quality, but as a strobe that can deliver consistent light, it’s a very good performer. The battery life is excellent and gives the top brands a good run for their money. As far as functionality goes, all the bases are covered from HSS to TTL if you buy that version and it’s also got a small enough footprint to be carried around all day.
In many ways you can’t fault the unit for what it delivers for the money and when you discount the build quality, it’s hard not to justify not owning one. Obviously, if money wasn’t an issue the B1 would be the one to buy every time, but we live in the real world and price is always a consideration. So, if you don’t mind the slightly less than hundred percent build quality, the AD600 is definitely a strobe you should shortlist.