Before getting my Godox setup, I made peace with and quite enjoyed using a manually controlled non-TTL radio remote flash set up.
Before that, I cut my teeth on a budget 3 light set up. Due to the high cost of brand name and 3rd party TTL/HSS flash systems, I thought these features were beyond my reach. Strobes were not even considered since they seemed to be even more expensive.
What happened then? Glad you asked. It started when I purchased a Godox TT350 flash to use as a low-cost on-camera TTL flash because it:
- Was very affordable at around $80 especially considering the bullets below. That is literally a fraction of what the similarly sized factory option costs and also less than most 3rd party options.
- Has TTL which is perfect for run and gun photography.
- Has high-speed sync which was quite a surprise.
- Is small enough to fit in a camera bag easily while also feeling very balanced on a mirrorless camera.
- Came with a Sto-Fen-esque modifier, stand, and case included.
I was very happy with this as an on-camera TTL solution. But over time, I found that this flash had many tricks up its sleeve. In my haste, blinded by the low price, I had not realized that though. I would have if I opened the manual, but this flash was the epitome of plug and play:
- The TT350 was a part of a larger Godox brand agnostic (more on that below) system with 5 groups and 32 channels. They currently have Sony, Canon, Nikon, MFT, and Fuji versions as I write this. Sorry, Pentax.
- This flash itself had a radio trigger that could be used to fire any recent Godox flash or strobe.
- Since each TT350 flash is also a remote I have radio trigger back up redundancy aplenty should the X1T trigger fail.
- The Godox AD200 (aka Flashpoint eVOLV 200) exists.
The AD200/eVOLV 200 is a 200 watt second, barely larger than a flash, strobe/flash hybrid battery powered dealie and worthy of its own review.
- Comes well kitted, like the TT350, with charger, stand adapter, strobe and Fresnel flash head and a padded case to hold it all for around $300, or barely more than a factory flash. I bought the kit that also included the barn door, grid, and color gels for $30 more.
- Rated for 500 full power pops per battery charge.
- Friends doubted this so I tested this myself and it is indeed true. I stopped at 500 and there was some battery life left. 200-watt seconds is tame by strobe standards, but it was so bright that after the first few pops manually set at 100% I moved it from across the room to an adjacent room with the door shut and it was still readily apparent when it fired. After 4 or 5 hours of regular use for hundreds of shots at a recent shoot, the battery level indicator had not moved. This is a shot of the eVOLV 200 right before I packed it up at the end of the night.
- The flash recovers at 100% power in 2 seconds and:
- Is capable, like the TT350, of TTL and HSS up to 1/8000s shutter speed.
- Has LED modeling light built into the Fresnel flash head.
- So self-contained that taking your show on the road and outside day and night and for travel would be a breeze.
- Has multiple mounting points and is small enough to use inside regular flash modifiers like my octobox and rectangular ones.
- Works with Bowen mount modifiers, if you already have them, by itself with a simple adapter and teamed up with another AD200 using this adapter for more power.
- Has a full complement of modifiers made just for it. Have picked up an $8 diffuser and a small octobox (with a grid, diffuser, and dish adapter included) pictured above and there are even more.
It just works. Put in the batteries, set the groups/channels, position them where you want them and go. No further configuration necessary. Took hundreds of shots during this shoot and this system did not fail me at all. And with TTL I was able to move the lights around depending on the number of people in the portrait and TTL sorted it out. They even trip HSS by themselves when your shutter speed pushes past 1/250s. Plus, if you do prefer to control proceedings yourself they have full manual controls built in as well.
Note: If you use HSS w/ Sony mirrorless cameras, and I would imagine others, it is recommended that you turn off the front e-shutter or you are likely to see banding. Such is the nature of how HSS works with many mini bursts and is not specific to Godox. Noticed this and it was easily remedied after a quick read and visit to the cameras menu system. The added physical shutter racket should be no problem since stealth is not typically a concern when using flash.
I fully expected the AD200/eVOLV 200 standalone unit to work with all Godox radio triggers. But to my surprise, the Sony specific TT350S flashes act as remote controlled radio flashes for any Godox trigger regardless of brand. And since, as stated earlier, TT350 flashes all have radio triggers built into them all you need to do is pick up one flash if you have more than one camera system. Recently, I put a toe back into the micro four-thirds system and found that a MFT flash will drive my existing TT350 flashes as well as the eVOLV 200 with full TTL and HSS. Here is a shot of a TT350-S (Sony version) being TTL controlled by a TT350-O (MFT Olympus/Panasonic version). One flash set up can now be controlled by multiple cameras regardless of brand.
Are there better spec'd, more established and powerful flash systems available? Without money as a factor, of course. Are there any out there that offer this level of functionality, build quality, auto/manual control, and portability at this price point? I am not aware of it. These were barely more expensive than my previous manual only system.
As an added bonus all of this gear is compatible with the more powerful Godox offerings should you choose to expand or upgrade your lighting in the future.
If you are on a budget or like a good deal and use Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony, or MFT the Godox system is definitely worth a look.