The Godox V1: Profoto A1 Killer?

The Profoto A1 was supposed to be a revolution in speedlights (though the company refers to it as the "world's smallest studio light"), though it carried with it the typical Profoto price tag. The Godox V1 is a very similar light with a much more affordable price. How well does it work in practice? This great video review discusses just that.

Coming to you from Dustin Abbott, this excellent video review takes a look at the Godox V1. The V1 is quite the intriguing flash, as it has many of the same features as its Profoto counterpart (including the same output of 76 Ws), but it comes in at a price well below the Profoto A1 and even below the flagship flashes of companies such as Canon and the like. Furthermore, if you're already deeply invested in the Godox system, it works well with other lights in the catalog. This, combined with its high level of portability and other features, make it an intriguing option for anyone from wedding photographers to on-location portraitists and more. I know I'm certainly thinking of picking one up for my Sony system. Check out the video above for the full rundown on it. 

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64 Comments

Motti Bembaron's picture

It does not have to be a "killer", it's just another excellent option and extremely affordable one. People who are invested in Profoto will keep buying it regardless of price or ROI it gives them (real or perceived). People who are looking for a new system might very likely choose Godox but there are always people who will choose the more expensive option either due to brand recognition or other reasons.

Edit: Saying that, it seems Profoto took about $100 off the A1 price so maybe they feel they needed to compete a bit better.

I am a Godox user but I don't see myself buying the V1 any time soon. I have the V860 and V860II and both are great. The V1 does not give me anything extra that I need. I will buy the $7 round attachment and the round modifiers kit that go on it for the V860.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Some kits on E-bay sell the flash with two batteries. http://tiny.cc/s5uk8y (The Canadian Ebay)

Motti Bembaron's picture

This is in response to the YouTuber comment. He says that having a propietary battery can be an issue when the battery is empty. He said that he could not find, yet, just a battery to purchase. I agree that you need to have a second battery and they sell a kit with two batteries.

V860 ii also has proprietary battery. The problem is that it is very hard to exhaust :)

Motti Bembaron's picture

You are right but still, Although I have four Godox that use the proprietary battery, I have seven batteries. Always good to have some extra. But you are correct, it takes many flashes to kill the battery.

Grégory Carti's picture

The real Revolution was the AD200. But it's always appreciated to find a cheaper solution than the overpriced Profoto products.

Motti Bembaron's picture

The AD200's are truly amazing flashes.

Mohammed Alamin's picture

It is fantastic in every way. Love it.

Alex Herbert's picture

I bought 2, and was considering a 600, honestly I think I'll just get a third AD200

Reginald Walton's picture

Why does everything have to be a "killer" instead of just an alternative or competitor? Besides, it's not going to kill the Profoto version.

Michael Jin's picture

Because they're not "competing". Godox is severely undercutting Profoto in terms of pricing while essentially offering the same thing. That's not competition.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Walmart killed 90% of small businesses in the US by offering products way cheaper and outsourcing it to China effectively a double whammy for everyone.

Amazon is selling many products for a lot less than physical stores.

Why is that a competition and Godox's is not?

Documentation to support this stat? Or total BS? Walmart didn't put close to 90% of small businesses out. It didn't even put 90% of RETAIL small business out.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Do a search on the term The Walmart Effect and you will read some interesting facts.

According to Investopedia:
"The Walmart Effect is a term used to refer to the economic impact felt by local businesses when a large company like Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) opens a location in the area. The Walmart Effect usually manifests itself by forcing smaller retail firms out of business and reducing wages for competitors' employees. Many local businesses oppose the introduction of Walmart stores into their territories for this reason.

Here is the page:
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/walmart-effect.asp

"Research published in 2014 showed that neighborhoods with Wal-Mart supercenters enjoyed gains in taxable retail sales and the increase in total retail business permits. This research was published by Wal-Mart :-)"

here is a summary of research done on the Walmart effect:
https://ukessaynow.com/blog/how-wal-mart-stores-affect-local-economies

Here is another article that deals with the Wal-Mart effect on small retailers.
https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/study-proves-walmart-super...

There are many more if you look.

Outsourcing low-cost labour overseas resulting in low-cost merchandise, low (OR NO) municipal taxes and very low wages seem to be at the core of competition in the US.

Michael Jin's picture

You seem to have rather bizarre fixation on Walmart. Brick and mortar is so last decade...

Seriously, though. How do you randomly fit Walmart into a discussion about lighting gear?

Motti Bembaron's picture

The key word in our exchange is competition. Or you already forgot your previous comment that Godox does not compete fairly? Why is Godox competition is any different than Wal-Mart or other large boxes (to a lesser extent)?

In the '90s those large retailers used aggressive price reduction by outsourcing low labour manufacturing overseas, low retail markups and low labour workforce in their store to drive away small businesses that could not compete.

Those small privately owned businesses were generally located in a prime city location with lots of traffic (high tax revenue for the city) and generally paid much better salaries.

Godox uses the same tactics to compete against established names like Profoto.

Michael Jin's picture

It's not any different and I never claimed that it was. Again, that's not competition. It's disruption. Competition assumes that both sides have a chance (however small) to win.

With the caveat that I didn't have time to read those articles, I would posit that there is one significant difference between the Walmart effect and the Godox vs. Profoto argument.

Walmart didn't just offer lower prices, they offered convenience as well. A one-stop shopping experience in areas where you would otherwise have to visit at least 5 different stores in order to check off the same list. So while prices were certainly a factor in the long term, I believe convenience was what got people in the door.

Godox isn't offering a different "experience". They're not selling a wider range of products and competing with multiple, unrelated business models all at the same time. They're simply beating Profoto's prices, period.

On one hand, I can totally respect a company who treats their employees well, invests heavily in R&D, and passes that cost on as a slight markup to the consumer. On the other, I've seen first hand how companies get too bloated for their own good and while their employees enjoy certain financial benefits, the majority of the $$ is being pocketed by management or simply wasted through mismanagement. I'm not saying I know which way Profoto leans because I honestly don't know a lot about the company. But I wouldn't blindly support or defend their prices until I knew one way or the other.

Motti Bembaron's picture

It's interesting you mention how companies get too bloated and the management pockets most of the bonuses. I just read an article about Boeing being paid by NASA bonuses for bad performance (hundreds of millions). This is just the last of many bad things we find at Boeing lately. Speaking of a tax-funded bloated company that has tons of retired government bureaucrats.

As for what you say, Wal-Mart definitely offered convenience (on top of good prices) but the end results are the same and very many small businesses had to close doors.

I would argue that Godox offered the exact same thing, convenience. Their radio ecosystem controls all their flashes and strobes. They were one of the first (maybe even the first) to come up with not only an amazing battery capacity but also a built-in radio (look at the dismal Nikon radio gadget for comparison). Their flashes are also triggers and receivers so you can have on-camera flash and control other strobes or flashes. One of their best innovations was the AD200, a true smallest strobe available.

No one reinvents the wheel here but they offer an amazing convenience for a FAIR price. By the way, Godox has been manufacturing flashes since 1993, they have been around for a long time, they certainly know what they are doing.

You should have seen the contraption I had on my camera when doing wedding using Nikon flashes and Alien Bees strobes in receptions, it was insane. With the Godox system, I travel light.

As for how companies treat their employees, you are absolutely right, it may be a factor to consider when investing in a specific system. I am sure Profoto, being a Sweedish company treats their employees very well but do I know how Goox Employees are treated? Why can we assume they are treated badly?

Did Apple care how employees in Foxconn are treated? Foxconn assembles all iPhones and it's one of the most important companies in Apple's supply chain. When news came out that employees are paid extremely low and work crazy hours, Apple tried to be the hero and loudly condemned the company and promised to pressure the company to do better. However, that was lip service, Apple management knew exactly what is going on there.

Everyone tries to compete on price, quality and customer service. Speaking of customer service, I can't tell you the last time I called for service (any service) that was actually in North America. They are all in India and North America (for French-speaking). Again, cost reduction to get more profit and compete.

I don't see Profoto going away any time soon but meanwhile, we have more options that are at par as the brand names and are at fair price.

Michael Jin's picture

I never said that those things were competition, did I? Godox isn't competing. They're disrupting by refusing to play the same game that lighting manufacturers have played all these decades (or at least, through their low cost labor, low cost manufacturing and lax domestic IP laws, playing the game very differently in a way that brands like Profoto are unable to).

Motti Bembaron's picture

"... low-cost labor, low-cost manufacturing..." Well, Walmart and Walmart. How much in Walmart is manufactured according to your competition rules? How much in any big box retail store is made according to your ideas? Practically none.

Michael Jin's picture

Again, where do you see me claiming that Walmart is competing with small business? They aren't because there's nothing resembling competition there.

Walmart's competitors are companies like Target and Amazon, not Aunt Mary's General Goods Store.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Whatever you say.

Nicolas Meunier's picture

Profoto is in no way in danger, the brand in danger are more amateur oriented brand, some have already died like Bowens. Profoto is in every rent house or every big rental studio on earth... where their is 0 Godox. So OK, some amateurs are buying Profoto strobes but, that's not the goal of the brand. Theses days I have a A1X, 2 B10 and one B4... and a bunch of modifier like the Cinereflector or magnum... and in addition, I can rent everywhere, I have service in the hour, I have the most reliable flashes... and all my friends, who own Godox Flashes can not say the same. But yeah... most of my flashes have been paid with only 2 ou 3 days of work, the price is not an issue, reliability and quality of light is the most important for me. Right now I am travelling by plane, with only one carry-on... with a Nikon Z7, 24-70mm S, Profoto A1X + 2 B10 + 2 batteries for everyone, Octa 2 and 2 nanopoles... I have enought power for 800 full power flashes in bright daylight, no cable, no adapter, nothing to worry about...

Michael Jin's picture

I would not consider Bowens to have been an "amateur oriented brand" at all. But yes, it seems like the high end brands (Profoto and Broncolor) seem fairly safe while Godox in its various forms is taking over the low end and killing off the mid-range brands. As an Elinchrom user, I feel fairly secure, but at the same time if Godox decides to release pack and head products that are comparable, then I would definitely be concerned because Elinchrom does not have a very strong USA presence as it stands. Fortunately, it seems that Godox is mainly targeting Profoto products, which makes sense since Elinchrom is a bit more esoteric.

In automotive terms, Godox has pretty much become Honda/Toyota and Profoto and Broncolor need to position themselves as BMW/Mercedes.

Chad Andreo's picture

What this reminds me of when I see this is “Keyboardless iPhone just might be a Blackberry Killer(professional industry standard)”

Company’s need to change with the times to survive.

Richard Twigg's picture

The way I see it, Godox/Flashpoint/etc made much more lighting options available to people like me who could never afford Profoto to begin with. My work is much, much better for it.

Alex Herbert's picture

Exactly, I don't see it as competition, because I would NEVER have splashed out on Profoto gear anyway. Godox are an enabler, they enable the poor to have decent lighting.

Michael Blue's picture

What Ive learned, Godox is a throw away when it breaks. Also the menu system is not as intuitive or simple as profoto which was very important to me as well as the quality build of profoto. But yeah you're right I'm not ditching my top Quality profoto gear for a cheap Chinese knockoff. It has its place for many people just not people like me that are invested in profoto quality and ease-of-use.

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