It only seems a few years ago where quality flash units could only be trusted coming from the same brand as your camera manufacturer. While these units were highly efficient and built to last, their price points felt only justifiable to the serious enthusiast or professional. Now, the likes of the Godox Thinklite TTL Camera Flash TT685N can provide all the fun of the same brand unit, with a much lower price tag.
Packing the same level of features and workings into a flash that costs half the amount of the same-brand version is a big ask. Therefore, we will have a closer look at how this unit measures up and can it truly take on the same brand versions.
The Godox Thinklite TTL Camera Flash TT685N in this case is built for the Nikon platform, with versions available for Canon, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic. Just make sure you buy the right version for your own camera platform as designated by the last letter in the name. For example, the TT685N is for Nikon cameras and the TT685C is the Canon version.
The flash itself comes with a nice protective case, mini stand, and instruction manual. The mini stand is officially for attaching the flash to a light stand, but I’ve found it more useful for standing the flash on flat surfaces for things like backlighting. They are easily lost, so it’s nice to have one come with the flash itself.
As for the pertinent specifications of the Godox TT685, these include a 2.4GHz X radio system, power from either four AA batteries or an external power supply, a recycle time between 0.1 and 2.6 seconds, and a 360-degree rotating flash head. Full TTL and manual workings are included, along with power output from 1/1 to 1/256 in third stop increments.
Godox has kept similar workings as the same-brand versions, with a rear dot matrix LCD screen and a similar array of buttons. Along with the typical on/off switch, there is a central jog wheel for dialing in settings, with a button for changing the Flash modes, one for slave groups, and a test fire button.
The metal connection which attaches to the camera’s hot shoe features a firm lockdown dial. This feels like a quality made item, ensuring a strong connection between flash and camera. On the top of the Godox is the ever-useful bounce card and wide-angle diffuser which can be discreetly tucked away when not in use.
The Godox Thinklite TTL Camera Flash TT685N in Use
As you’d expect from a high-quality speed light, the flash head turns in every direction possible, although it can be a little stiff at first. Attached directly on the camera, the Godox springs into life when pressing the shutter button halfway when it’s idling, always feeling ready to go at a moment’s notice.
The mode button on the rear of the camera toggles through TTL, Manual, and Multi modes, with TTL providing the most automatic use. TTL performs all the behind-the-scenes exposure work, leaving you to just dial in exposure compensation when needed. For bright light conditions, high-speed sync (HSS) can be dialed in up to 1/8000 second, with second curtain sync also available in TTL mode for the likes of night-time shots.
For the most overall light control, manual mode is the way to go, with the options from full power to 1/128. This is where the little jog wheel and set button come in useful, especially with off-camera flash.
When using the TT685N on a light stand or with a bunch of other speedlights, each unit can be triggered with either the optional X1T or other Godox flash units. Although it’s an additional cost, the X1T-F wireless transmitter makes it so easy to dial in settings for each flash unit. Plus it can work up to 100m away and has never produced a misfire.
The TTL mode works the best for no-nonsense illumination, without having to fiddle with many settings. In this mode, the flash does a respectable job judging exposure and is an easy way to capture on the spot action. When you have more time to deliberate over the quality of light, its easy to dial in the appropriate settings, which produce a good color temperature and the expected power levels.
Usually, it’s the build quality which falls down with these cheaper units. However, the Godox feels very robust and unless you drop the thing onto a hard surface a good bunch of times, it should last for years.
How Does It Compare?
It wouldn’t exactly be fair to lineup the Nikon SB-5000 against the Godox, simply as it costs nearly four times the price. The nearest Nikon equivalent camera flash comes in with the Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight. This unit costs a few hundred dollars more than the Godox, but it has similar capabilities.
The Godox has slightly more power range and can be seen as having equal features to the Nikon. But the Nikon will always have a more solid build quality and the peace of mind that it can take professional abuse.
|Godox Thinklite TTL Camera Flash TT685N||Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight|
|Guide Number||196.85’/60m at ISO 100||92’/28.04m at ISO 100|
|Control||TTL, Manual, Multi||TTL, Manual, Multi|
It’s safe to say that the Godox Thinklite TTL Camera Flash TT685N ticks all the boxes as a high-quality speedlight. Full TTL and manual workings have been covered, with the same levels of power output as you would expect from a same-brand unit.
As part of a wireless setup, it’s simple and straightforward to use, being very easy to dial in just the right amount of output in both TTL and manual modes. The price point and value are not in any question here, so can the Godox cover everything from occasional to professional use?
If you only use a flash once in a while or for studio light use only, it’s a very reliable option. What you’re really paying for in the same-brand versions is bullet-proof build quality and something you can take out in all weather.
In other words, the cost of the same-brand version comes down to peace of mind. But with careful use, the Godox can provide just as much fun in a more affordable package.