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GODOX AD200 REVIEW PART 2

Godox BD-07 Barn Doors, Grid & Gel – a Mini Review

Godox BD-07 barn doors

In a fit of excitement at getting my AD200’s, I promptly ordered a couple of sets of BD-07 too.  For those unfamiliar, these clip onto the front of the AD200 and allow you to shape the light using the barn doors, grid and change the colour by using gels.

The units clip on firmly to the AD200 head and don’t take up too much extra room.  However, like I’ve found with many others, the barn doors are of very limited use on a flash.  To the point where I’m seriously considering removing them to save a bit of space and faff.

The grid is perhaps the most useful but alas it slots into the unit and I’ve found once it’s inside, it is difficult to detach.  This may be because I have short finger nails.  My wife can prise them out but I have to pull the entire BD-07 off then push the grid out from the underside.  This basically slows me down.

The gels clip on using some magnets. In a similar fashion to the Magmod.  But to be clear, the magnets are nowhere near as powerful.  I really like this feature and I’d love to see colour correction gels rather than the ‘creative’ colours it comes with.  As it stands, I won’t really be using these much either since as a wedding photographer it is rare I use creative gels.  However if you are a portrait or studio photographer.  Or if you just have lots of time on your hands then these could be useful to you.

I can’t help but feel a little disappointed with the BD-07’s.  It’s a case of close but no cigar. That said they weren’t very expensive.  £26 from Amazon so it wasn’t a big gamble.

In practice I’ve found myself using the Maggrip more so I can leverage the magmod accessories.

In the field

So my first outing for my AD200’s was almost the perfect test. I had been booked for a prewedding shoot around London. This would involve lots of walking so travelling as light as possible was key. I really wasn’t keen on taking the AD360 with me. So the AD200’s were perfect. They slipped right into my bag like a regular speedlight and I was so sure they would deliver that I didn’t feel worried that I wasn’t taking my trusted and beloved AD360.

In fairness, for much of the shoot we were using power which a normal speedlight could deliver. However as the sun rose, I started venturing into HSS territory and a plain speedlight probably would not have been able to deliver the power I need.  The AD200 did give me enough power to light my bride & groom even at a distance.

It was after my first shoot when I quickly realised that I wouldn’t really use the bare bulb heads. The speedlight head was all I needed.  Combine it with the flexibility of my new magmod accessories and it felt like a total game changer.

The next week I photographed a wedding in Nottingham where the AD200 was simply carried around in my Think Tank belt pouch.  During the wedding speeches I attached one to a lightstand and pointed it up to bounce light off the large white roof.  Set to TTL we both used the same flash to provide the lighting. Again, it’s more discrete than setting up two speedlights like I used to do.

By my second wedding, I simply stopped packing the AD360. It was left at home. I even left the Bowens softbox. My plan was to use the AD200 and modify the light with Mag mod accessories.  It was a very sunny day, very sunny indeed. However, the AD200 never left me wanting for more power. That said, I do confess to using both units to light the main group photo. For this I simply asked my assistant to aim one at left side of the group, the other to the right. I could not have done this with my single AD360.  It’s not the prettiest group photograph I’ve done but the lighting conditions outside the church were challenging. It won’t win any awards but it got the job done.

Full power from Godox AD200

Later in the evening I used one AD200 from camera left to light up the bride and groom, kindly held by the best man.  My assistant crouched behind the newlyweds with a second AD200 for the backlight.  Of course at this time of the day speedlights would have worked just fine but the point not for the earlier photo.

Value for Money

Due to the fact the Godox AD200 is the size of a speedlight, the natural inclination is to compare them to the price of a speedlight.  Then they’re not cheap at around £275 at time of writing from third party sellers on Amazon.  However, they’re significantly more powerful and much more flexible.  They should really be thought of as pocket strobes.  At which point, the price point makes a bit more sense.

Interestingly the AD360 seems to have tumbled in price. At this moment in time you can get the AD360ii including battery from Essential photo for £325. Which is the same price as they are selling the AD200 for.  I’m wondering if this is to clear stock?

So right now your choice is this. Do you want portability/speed? Or the most power?

For me the choice was clear.  I’d rather have 2x AD200’s any day.  I know some wedding photographer’s are happy with their assistant carrying around a huge battery pack attached to a 120cm softbox.  I often shoot solo so I am happy to pay extra for something more portable and which makes my life easier.

Summary and conclusion

It’s easy to see why the Godox AD200 has generated such a buzz within the wedding photography market.  Godox seem to have created a flash which no-one knew they needed!

It’s a powerful yet incredibly portable flash. The ability to change heads is quite frankly, innovative. It is useful for location photographer’s who wish to use ‘proper’ light modifiers with the bare bulb head. The speedlight head is convenient to photographer’s like myself who want speed & flexibility.  The release of the barn doors and magnetic gels are a good start but Mag mod aren’t going to be fearing competition anytime soon.

I can’t wait for the release of the LED head which I am hoping may replace my LED panels or who knows…maybe even my Lowel GL-1.  The only downside is I may find my wife who is a videographer stealing my gear!

I wonder if Godox have realised that by releasing the AD200. That whilst their competitors are no doubt right now worried.  That they have also put a firm nail in the coffin of their very own AD360.

Right now I’m struggling to see why I would choose the AD360 over the AD200?  Sure it’s big brother is a third of a stop more powerful.  Yet is that a dealbreaker in the real world?  I don’t think it is.  I can often move my light source a bit closer.  If I need more power then the AD600 is arguably a better step up.

I’m no longer using my AD360.  Interestingly I’m not even using the bare bulb head. As I said before, as a wedding photographer being quick is crucial and the flash head is allowing me to do that.  It has shown me that the main reason I’ve been using the AD360 was that I needed more power than a single speedlight could muster.

My two Godox AD200’s has effectively replaced two TT600 speedlights and crucially my AD360 as my monolight of choice.  Everything fits in a single bag now and I no longer turn up to weddings looking like “The littlest hobo” with my big flash over my shoulder on a pole.

Will I miss that extra 1/3 stop of light?  I honestly don’t think so.  If need be I’ll use the second AD200 and in effect get more power than before.  In fact I have done a few tests with the magbeam to extend the reach and throw light further. So maybe I won’t even need two AD200’s. For now though I will leave that for a future blog post.

It’s not often I describe a piece of kit as a ‘game changer’ but in all honesty that’s how I feel about it.  Whilst I’ve only been using it for a few weeks, it has become an indispensable piece of equipment for me. Engagement shoots, wedding photographs. This really is the perfect solution for me.

Where to buy

I’ve had a few messages from people who have asked where I got my Godox AD200 units from. The answer is almost always Amazon UK.  This is mainly because I’m an Amazon Prime member and I can get things delivered the very next day.

If you are planning on buying the Godox AD200 then please consider using the following link to help me fund future reviews and my hosting costs.

Godox AD200 Flash Strobe from Amazon UK

Thanks!

Bride & groom wedding photograph at The Gherkin in London

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