Today, Westcott announced their new FJ400 battery-powered strobe. I've had an early review unit for a few days now, and Westcott seems to have done the impossible: they've overtaken the Godox AD400 Pro in its segment.
Godox has taken over the strobe market in the last few years by creating a range of feature-rich, battery-powered flashes that are incredibly cheap. Their most popular monolight, the AD400 Pro, costs just $649, and it has many of the same features as Profoto's $1,700 B10.
Today, Westcott announced the FJ400, which is obviously a direct competitor to the Godox AD400 Pro. It's not significantly better than the AD400 Pro, but it is cheaper, and that might be enough to sway the market.
Size and Weight
The Westcott FJ400 is slightly larger than the Godox AD400 Pro. Westcott claims that they wanted a higher-capacity battery, so they made the housing a little taller and the battery much bigger. The FJ400 can fire off around 490 full-power flashes, while the Godox can fire 390.
Some photographers will see the extra battery power as a plus, while others will see the extra size and weight as a negative.
Both the Westcott and Godox strobes come standard with a Bowens mount, but Godox sells additional mounts separately for Broncolor, Profoto, and Elinchrom. For most, this may not be a big deal, but being that we own Profoto gear already, this is a huge win for the Godox.
This is something that I failed to mention in my video review, but it worth noting. Neither of these lights can compete in build quality with more expensive lights like Profoto's B10, but when you compare the Westcott and Godox, the Godox does feel like it has slightly better build quality. The FJ400 feels a bit more hollow, the plastic feels thinner, and the seams don't line up quite as evenly as they do on the AD400. The buttons on both the Godox light and remote click with a more confident feeling. The FJ400 certainly has the better screen, but the buttons feel a bit more flimsy. I noticed that if I spun the rotator knob on the FJ400 too quickly, it would register the opposite input, and I would have to slow down.
The AD400 Pro has a 30-watt LED light that is crippled by a loud fan. It's great as a modeling light, but too loud for video. The FJ400 has a 20-watt LED light that is slightly less bright but still has an audible fan. Even though it's not as loud, the modeling light still isn't very usable for video.
Both the FJ400 and AD400 Pro have more similarities than differences. They both produce the same amount of light at full power, they both have nine stops of range, and they both have similar refresh rates, flash durations, and color consistency. Of course, both lights also have the ability to work on battery or AC power, and they have TTL and HSS settings.
Westcott has changed the game completely with their FJ-X2m remote. Now, instead of having to buy a different remote to work with each camera brand, Westcott's remote will work with every brand. Simply tell the remote which camera you're using, and you're good to go. If you use Sony, you can easily add a $19 adapter for their proprietary hotshoe. Westcott's remote has almost identical features to the Godox, and the range of the Westcott, Godox, and Profoto remotes were almost identical in our tests.
Godox has been able to keep their prices so low by not having an office in the United States. This makes repairs and warranty claims very difficult. Westcott is giving a one-year warranty on the FJ400, plus they have fantastic customer service. If you call them during business hours, a human will immediately pick up.
The Godox AD400 Pro was by far the best value in strobe lighting at just $649. Surprisingly, Westcott is selling the FJ400 for just $569, making it an even better value.
The Westcott FJ400 is not significantly better than the Godox AD400 Pro. The Godox is a little smaller, it has more mounting options, and it has slightly better build quality, but the FJ400 has better battery life, a more advanced remote, and better service and support. Both lights are pretty evenly matched. But when you consider the $80 savings, I feel like the Westcott FJ400 has taken the lead as the best value in strobe lighting. And if you buy a package deal, you can save even more money.