The Round Head Flashes Compared: Profoto A1 Versus the Godox V1

Are you looking for a new flash and intrigued by the Profoto A1? Maybe you’ve seen the internet rumblings about Godox’s V1 light and the alleged backdoor drama between the two lighting companies and wondered if this new light beats the top priced flash? Which round flash is the best bang for the buck and should you switch or stick with your square flash? 

Coming from Rob Hall and Francisco Hernandez is a video chatting about both lights and their testing recently in a head-to-head comparison. A few caveats, both photographers routinely use Godox lighting in their work and as such tend to promote the brand through their YouTube channels. Both Hall and Hernandez do let the testing speak for itself with their work and comparison videos with real world scenarios and measured results so you can make an informed decision if you were to purchase any of the lighting. 

Both Hall and Hernandez give their personal thoughts about each light and what their benefits are over the course of the YouTube streamed video. The biggest takeaway for someone looking at either of the lighting options is their power outputs as the lights are giving very similar light patterns. Hall below gives us a breakdown of each of the lights output throughout the power range and correlates that with a well known third light, the Godox V860II, to compare. As you can see both lights offer equal power outputs at f/22 in testing when at the same distance of 36 inches from the light to the Sekonic meter used by Hall. 

Values for power outputs are f-stops with tenth increments when given. Color values are in kelvin. HSS values are in f-stops with tenth increments. Duration is in fractions of a second. Table provided by Rob Hall.

Some notable differences shown in the testing is the better flash duration and more consistent Kelvin temperature between images with the Godox V1 bettering the the much higher priced Profoto flash. The Profoto A1 does have a single point higher CRI and both are relatively equal in outputs throughout the flash range down to 1/256th power. It must be acknowledged that the Godox V1 that is being used in this testing is a pre-production model and these results will need to be confirmed with the public release of the light.

Update:

Rob Hall has just released a much shorter breakdown video comparison on his channel: Profoto A1 vs Godox V1 ( Zoom Li-on X ) : Round Head Flash Speedlight Comparison

Were you surprised by the testing results of the Profoto A1 versus the Godox V1 or were you expecting the flashes to be nearly equal in their testing?

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24 Comments

Black Rock's picture

Thanks, this confirms my experience with Godox flash.

Yet some people still complain about Godox "copying" Profoto. I found the performance & reliability is getting better with each generation of new Godox flash models.

JetCity Ninja's picture

i was expecting near equal performance. the difference i'm expecting will be in service/support, durability and long-term reliability, although from my wallet's perspective, i'm unsure if any of that can overcome the ~$700 price difference or the fact that Godox will release a version that's native to my chosen camera brand, something Profoto has already publicly stated they won't be doing for the A1.

in my mind, the only disqualifications against the Godox would be if it breaks within a year or two (poor durability), has a habit of spontaneously combusting (poor quality control) or fires less than 99.5% of the time (poor reliability). any of these and i'd find the Profoto worth the mildly disturbing gulf in cost.

that said, i find the Profoto's UI to be, hands down, the most innovative control and display system in use of any strobe or other photographic lighting product currently being sold today. the UI may be simple but that simplicity doesnt limit capability. like any great product, the interface distills something that's traditionally confusing to being obvious to anyone, from expert level to day one beginners. the hallmark of good design is to function in a way that's self-explanatory and obvious to both new and experienced users alike, or so says Dieter Rams.

as much as i love the Profoto A1 for what it does and how it does it, the Godox V1 is far more realistic for me.

Wayne Denny's picture

Obviously this is anecdotal, but I've owned a Flashpoint Xplor (Godox AD600) for over two years at this point, and I shoot outdoors with it quite a bit. It's fallen over on the stand several times, mostly grass/sand but twice directly onto concrete. The unit itself is scuffed up, and one time the bulb itself fell into salt water. But it was only $100 to replace the bulb, and the unit is still working everyday. Tough to beat that, especially when it only cost me around $550. I think the Profoto equivalent is around 2k. Definitely hard to justify that extra cost.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

For you, it's hard to justify for someone else it might be an easy choice.

After testing the AD600E I was simply baffled how poor it handled and performed. The stand mount rivals the Eifel tower, a bulb that instead of spreading light 180 degrees creates a hotspot and has pattern more like a speedlight compared to a traditional omega-shaped flash tube. More importantly, after measuring the color with a C700, it deviated more than 900k from minimum to maximum power.
Add to that a small lcd, that is pretty much useless outdoors and a UI that leaves a lot to be desired.

That kind of performance and handling is not worth 550 to me, your mileage and many others obviously vary.

Again the notion that everything but the price is equal is false.

Your review of the AD600e has little, if anything to do with the V1. Are you shilling for Profoto?

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Shank Brisket You might want to read the post to which I replied to.. as for shilling for Profoto.. yeah that would be me genius...

Unlike you, I have an actual web presence, my full name, website, social media and email all easily accessible. So what kind of gear I use should be fairly easy to spot if you're really bothered..

I did read you shill post. Perhaps you actually still think your ad hominen is remotely germane to the V1?

BTW, never heard of you. Perhaps you think you're more relevant than you are.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Then you're beyond help since your argumentive skill is equal to that of a boiled egg... my post was in response to a poster who aforementioned the AD600.

I don't think I'm relevant, I'm just not an anonymous keyboard warrior like your self. The hint is to look for Profoto in my profile... I'm sure you get it this year or the next... :-)

Why would I bother looking at your profile? Does anyone bother to examine every turnip that just rolled off the truck?

I wouldn't be surprised if Profoto will eventually be squeezed out by Godox or even bought out by them. Hassy is now a Chinese brand, as example.

Yeah but the Profoto looks better ;)

I got my first Profoto unit back in 2012 and have been tempted to try Godox for a while. However, the amazing support Profoto has provided over the years has been amazing. I have had two issues in the last seven years. One with a battery that could not hold charge and another with a charger that suddenly died. Profoto support was incredible!

Akpe ododoru's picture

How much did it cost you to have them replaced?

Quality should begin with performance and reliability and not service and support.

Felix Wu's picture

I didn't watch the entire video because it's way too draggy and long, but when I skimmed it to the topic about HSS cannot overpower the sun I immediately lost interest. I am sorry guys any strobe can overpower the sun. It's a matter of relative distances so if you position the light close enough it will blind you.

JT Blenker's picture

These lights metered at f/5.6 to f/8 zoomed in at 3 feet with HSS. Once you modify the light and need to light up someone for more than just a tight head shot, it’s pretty impossible for any normal sized person from 5-6 feet. That working distance and height immediately relegates you to open shade at a bare minimum with a speed light.

Felix Wu's picture

I did not say anything about lighting a full sized person using HSS. I was pointing out the poor explanation about HSS (head lamp??) and the narrow understanding about overpowering the sun in the video.

Laughing Cow's picture

1 hour and 50 minutes of video??

JT Blenker's picture

At the bottom of the article is an update. Link has a more concise video.

Laughing Cow's picture

Great!
Thank you!

Eric Salas's picture

I’ve never had a problem with any of my 7 Godox flashes/strobes and couldn’t even imagine buying a Profoto ‘anything’ unless they come back to earth on pricing. They won’t drop prices and it doesn’t bother me a bit.

I’m proud to say I shoot exclusively with Godox. I bought a new car with the money I saved.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

This discussion always comes back to the same things, price and the assumptions everything but the price is equal. And while it maybe is close in this case. It's laughable how these arguments have been used since godox popped up on the market.

From a business perspective initial investment price sure plays a role, but so does service support and ecosystem. Godox which is a manufacturer without a brand identity, meaning their service and support heavily relies on who has slapped their stickers on their product lacks any consistency in this department.

Now some find Godox build, UI, service, and ecosystem appealing. I don't, and I'm fortunate enough to not have to buy gear solely based on the investment price. But I can work with gear and brands I trust and have long term relations with.

William Howell's picture

All you alls, don’t know nothing about quality at a fantastic price and service strobe lights!!!
Ain’t not nobody beats Paul C. Buff, I know, cause that’s what I use! All you Profoto and Godox acolytes are gonna be wishing and crying you went with the industry standard!
But, I’m not one to say “toldya” so, no I’m not gonna be the one that does that.

Jacob Jexmark's picture

Industry standard? Can't think of a more non-relevant flash brand than Paul C Buff.