Are Godox Lights for Professionals?

Are Godox Lights for Professionals?

There are two types of opinionated photographers: those who love Godox lights and those who feel Godox lights are not for professional use. Here are some considerations for whether the Godox system is for you.

Just as we use our professional judgment in choosing the right lenses and other gear for the job, we must also use our judgment in choosing which lighting system is best for our own workflow, regardless of which system is the top of the line. For example, a 4-wheel drive vehicle will take groceries home from the grocery store just as easily as a 2-wheel drive car can, so if you are never driving in the mud or in the mountains, it doesn’t matter which vehicle you use. The same is true of lighting. If you can do your job to 100% capacity with one set of lights, that’s all you need to look at.

Here are a couple of popular YouTube channels from outstanding educators who discuss why you should use brands other than Godox.

John Gress: Elinchrom

In a recent video, John Gress, who admits that he has never owned or used a Godox light, explains why he doesn’t believe Godox lights are for professionals. The name of this video has changed from calling Godox lights "disposable" to "not professional." He states that Godox lights are disposable because, if they ever break, you just throw them away and buy a new one instead of repairing it. The same can be said about anything though, from a Ferrari to a speedlight. If the cost of repairing it exceeds the cost of buying a new one, you just buy a new one. If not, you repair it.

To support his opinions, Gress focuses primarily on the cooling system by referencing certain pages in the manuals. With Godox lights, the manuals reference the number of times you can fire the flash at full power in rapid succession to activate the heat protection settings and before you experience a delay in recycle time. With the Godox AD200, it is 40 flashes at full power in rapid succession.

He states in his video: “I’m almost certain that anyone using these Godox lights is probably damaging them as they are using them.” And referencing the Godox AD200, he said, “So let’s say that after the period of use, maybe 3- 5 years, that Godox light is probably going to be not functioning because you, like a normal photographer, were shooting more than 40 pictures at full power in that time frame before it overheated, and damaged the light.”

I’m not sure exactly which type of photography would ever require you to shoot 40 full-power shots on a 200-watt light in rapid succession, let alone on such a regular basis that you are continuously putting stress on your bulbs and destroying them. If you were ever going to shoot dancers, or action sports, or anything where you need to use flash in rapid succession, you would use a more powerful light at a lower power so that you could get the faster recycle time. A Profoto B1X (500 watt light) has a recycle time of 1.9 seconds at full power, and .1 seconds at its lowest power. So, if you need fast recycle time for shooting in rapid succession, regardless of light manufacturer, you wouldn’t ever use a flash at its full power. You’d use a flash twice as powerful or four times as powerful as what you need, and then shoot it at a lower power to be able to take advantage of having a flash recycle time that matches your camera’s ability to take rapid shots.

So, the assumption that “normal photographers” do this on such a regular basis, and that if they used Godox, the lights would probably not work in three to five years, is probably a huge stretch. But it’s easy enough to prove. The AD200 been out since 2017, so you can do a quick Google search to determine if one of the most popular off-camera flash systems on the market has seen a surge in bulb deterioration to the point that they stop functioning entirely after three years.

Gress further speculates that because the $40 replaceable bulb on the AD200 will deteriorate to the point that it stops functioning, the entire body of the AD200 must also completely deteriorate, rendering it worthless and requiring replacement of the entire unit every three years. He explains that Elinchrom lights would typically lose about $300 of their $900 value in three years, so it’s an equivalent financial investment to buy Elinchrom. The Elinchrom One, for example, is $900, and it is the closest equivalent to the Godox AD200, only it is only about 60% as powerful, being a 131-watt light vs the 200-watt AD200.

YouTuber Wes Perry found that it took about 5 minutes of continuous firing on the AD200 when firing the AD200 at 50% power to begin to see a lag in recycle time. Another option for the same price as an Elinchrom One, would be to buy a 600-watt Godox AD600 Pro, and fire it at ¼ power to match the output of the Elinchrom One and get a recycle time of about 6 flashes a second at that lower power.

Shot outdoors in burst mode to capture the waves crashing with an AD600pro at 1/4 power.

So, what does this all mean? The entire argument about inadequate cooling is only relevant if you are a photographer who regularly shoots 40 frames in rapid succession on full power on a regular basis. If that describes your workflow, then this is an important consideration. If you have $900 to spend, you can choose to either get the 131-watt Elinchrom One or a 600-watt AD600 Pro from Godox. With the Godox light, you’d have a much more powerful light with a larger battery that would give you more options for shooting, and still allow you to continue to take pictures continuously every second for a long time.

If you absolutely cannot use a 600-watt light because it is too big and you carry your gear in a fanny pack or just in your hands, and you regularly shoot over 40 frames in rapid succession on full power, then this is solid advice and you should consider whether the Elinchrom lights are better suited for you.

Miguel Quiles: Westcott

Miguel Quiles does a thorough review of the Westcott 400-watt FJ400 light and calls it the best light if you are just getting started. The Westcott 400 watt light is very close in specs to the Godox AD400 Pro. If you buy a light and a trigger, the Westcott light comes out a little cheaper than the Godox light, but one Westcott trigger will work on all major camera brands (you need a $20 adapter for a Sony because of their strange hot shoes). So if you ever switch camera brands, you might have to replace all your lenses, but at least you won’t have to buy a new $60 trigger.

The other advantage of the FJ400 is that you can use it while charging the battery. The AD400 has an AC adapter, but that costs extra.

My biggest concern about the Westcott system is that they have such a limited lineup of flashes. Currently, they have an 80-watt speedlight, a 200-watt strobe, and the 400-watt strobe. Godox, on the other hand, has several speedlights, a 100-watt strobe, 200-watt, 300-watt, 360-watt, 400-watt, 600-watt, 1200-watt, and a 2400-watt strobe. The 200-watt strobe also has available an adapter so that you can combine two 200-watt strobes to make it into a single 400-watt light.

The Importance of a Wide Selection

I began in lighting with a single speed light. When I learned how to bounce light and modify light, and then wanted to learn two and three-light setups, I bought two AD200s and the adapter, which allowed me to take pictures outside more comfortably. Later, I needed stronger lights to expand my skillset and the types of photographs I could offer clients, so I bought two AD600s. Mostly, I shoot indoors, but because I live in a city known for its perfect weather and beautiful beaches, I occasionally get asked to shoot outside.

Shot outside in the afternoon with the Godox AD600pro

When I shoot outside, I would primarily use my AD600s because I either need as much power as I can to balance with the ambient light, or I need to be able to take more shots and I want to be able to shoot at a lower power and have a longer battery life and faster recycle time. I chose to get the AD300 for that because it is the size of an 85mm f/1.4 lens, and it has much smaller batteries than the AD600. Because of its size, I wouldn’t have to worry as much about having it tip over and be top-heavy when shooting outdoors. I could bring the light and several batteries in a bag smaller than the size of an AD600 with one battery. It was portable and powerful enough for virtually every outdoor shoot. The AD200 was not powerful enough for all my applications. The AD400 was a little too big for me. I had several choices and got a light that worked perfectly for me. As I added new pieces to my collection, they all worked with the same trigger and I was able to expand without having to abandon the pieces I already had.

If you grow and want to be able to expand your lighting, it helps to be in a system where you have multiple choices. Right now, the strongest studio light that Westcott makes is the FJ400. It came out two years ago. The FJ200 and the FJ80 came out about a year ago. It’s a tiny selection that is not really growing at a serious pace for a company looking to compete. I would be worried about buying from a line of lights with so few options. It just kind of looks like Westcott wants to keep their toe in the water of strobes and see where it goes, like what Microsoft did with the Zune.

Fstopppers: Profoto

Almost three years ago, Lee Morris compared the Godox AD400 pro to the Profoto B10. He found that there were some categories where the B10 won and somewhere the AD400 won and concluded that the AD400 is the obvious choice for the majority of people. For example, the B10 had better flash durations in freeze mode, but lost color accuracy compared to the AD400 shot in regular mode.

One of the common critiques I hear a lot when comparing the Profoto and Godox lights is that the Profoto is built like a tank with a much higher build quality. If you are in a situation where you need to have a light that is built like a tank, then that should be an important consideration for you. I am primarily a studio shooter and my strobes are not usually subject to hazardous conditions, so having lights built like a sturdy jeep as opposed to a tank is adequate for my needs.

Another common issue that I hear is that Godox lights are made in China, so it’s impossible to get any customer service. Godox lights are rebranded in the United States as Flashpoint and sold exclusively through Adorama, where you can get your customer support through Adorama. They have a phone number and an email for customer support specifically for Flashpoint systems.

Profoto users also talk about how they have to use Profoto because that logo impresses people and lets them know you are serious. They say that if you go to a commercial shoot with anything other than Profoto lights, the creative director or art buyer will laugh at you and wonder if you are a real photographer. Again, if you are in the small subset of photographers that works with people who would laugh at you if you had anything less than Profoto, then you should definitely only get Profoto. But if you are shooting weddings, high school seniors, food, products, cars, test shoots for modeling agencies, events, or any other line of photography where the client doesn’t see or care what kind of light company you are using, then it really doesn’t matter.

Should Professionals Use Godox Lights?

As I stated in the beginning, professionals who are charging money for their work should use their best judgment in which lights they should use. If you must use a small battery-powered light only, and you need to use it at full power over 40 times in rapid succession on a regular basis then you should definitely look at the Elinchrom lights.

If you need lights that are built like a tank and impress people, then you should really look at Profoto. If you need lights that were thoroughly tested with various light meters and color accuracy tests and found to be almost identical to Profoto lights but at a fraction of the cost, then look at Godox.

I have never seen a picture that was only made possible because it was shot using a certain lighting company’s lights. I have never seen a photo that was better because one light brand was used over another. I have never seen a picture and immediately been able to tell that there was a Godox light used or a Profoto light used. I challenge anyone to show me a picture and show me that it was only possible or that it was even made better because it was shot with a certain lighting company’s lights. No one can do it.

You might travel a lot and therefore you need one company’s sturdiness. Or you do something where you need another company’s ability to shoot full power on burst with a low-power strobe. Or you might not care about the scalability of your system. There are lots of considerations you need to take into account when choosing a lighting system that is going to help you make money. Godox lights are most certainly lights that can be used by professionals in many genres.

If you're passionate about taking your photography to the next level but aren't sure where to dive in, check out the Well-Rounded Photographer tutorial where you can learn eight different genres of photography in one place. If you purchase it now, or any of our other tutorials, you can save a 15% by using "ARTICLE" at checkout. 

Jeff Bennion's picture

Jeff Bennion is a San Diego-based portrait photographer specializing in boudoir and fashion photography. He owns Ignite Studio, the prettiest studio in the world. He is also an attorney licensed in California.

Log in or register to post comments

I am reminded of a line from a TV show: if people are taking shots at you, you must be doing something right. From the amount of grief Godox gets, I would say they are doing something right.

I am a professional photographer who used to use Elinchrom, but is gradually switching to Godox. If for no other reason then that Godox is bringing out new products at ten times the speed of Elinchrom.

I have a friend that loves brand names. He was going to drop 400 dollars for a Sony bounce flash. He rented one and told me how "amazing" it was. I let him use my godox flash which was pretty much identical but for a 170 dollars and he was amazed at how identical the performance was. Needless to say he bought the godox. It's amazing how godox gets laughed at by "pros"

My main issue with John's video was it was all hypothetical. He never used Godox and has no experience with them. I've tested many light brands out there (Canon, Yongnuo, Paul C Buff, Aputure, Elinchrom, Geekoto, Profoto, & Neewer soon) and would only talk about performance if I used the lights myself.

He also was very adamant that just because Godox says in the manual that overheating the light will damage the light that if this isn't stated then it simply won't damage the light. Any light out there can be overworked and overheat.

Some in recent comments of the video have stated that Elinchrom actually does state in the manual to their D-Lite RX 4/4 that "multiflashing in long sequences can cause overheating of the electrodes leading to premature aging".

And Profoto states this in their D2 manual:
"The protective system will automatically protect the D2 unit from damage if it is exposed to abnormal external influence. The protective system will slow down the recharging intervals and eventually the recharging will stop completely."

It'd have been different if we saw extensive tests of the lights in his video, but we didn't. We saw someone broadly label a brand unprofessional from reading a manual.

Well, the thing about hypotheticals is that, if you are arguing that a thing that has been out for 4 years dies after 3 years based on your theory, it's not so much a hypothetical as it is an unproven hypothesis.

True! This was a great point in your article:

"The AD200 been out since 2017, so you can do a quick Google search to determine if one of the most popular off-camera flash systems on the market has seen a surge in bulb deterioration to the point that they stop functioning entirely after three years."

I follow a lot of people and engage with many photographers who use Godox. I can count on one hand the times where I've seen people have a bulb break from use. It's actually zero now that I think about it.

So this guy is nitpicking on something that MIGHT theoretically get damaged and costs a whopping $29 to replace? I'll take my chances with Godox. I've bought a spare bulb when I purchased my AD200 Pro and never had to use it even with what those units are subjected to day in and day out.

That's one way to look at it. If I ever made $1 each time people criticize higher end brands entirely and exclusively based on cost, I would be very rich! Field tested? never, studied, never... never, never and never too expansive and that's the review. Here comes John who has never touched one and the show starts... No John is not allowed, one way game. lol

Well, you don't need to buy something to test it's cost right? You don't pay $2,300 for something and say, "Well, that sure was $2,300. The price tag was right." So criticizing the cost of something is different than commenting on the functionality of something. I really hope that makes sense.

That's the opposite, you evaluate the tool, see if it fits your need or upcoming plan and then look at your budget otherwise you already have made a decision not planned it. People spend plenty more on cameras and lenses and then get the next one two year later when lighting is often more important than a new camera.

OK, so your point is that a lot of people who have never owned a Profoto say that they don't need Profoto becasue it's too expensive, and you think that is the same thing as saying that you are not going to buy a cheap light because it's probably garbage. My point it is not the same thing and you don't need to buy something to see if it is too expensive. I don't need to road test a $300,000 ferrari to know that it is too expensive. I don't need to know how it handles on the road. i don't need to know how fast it accelerates. I don't need to know the stereo system. In order to support the comment that something is too expensive, you just have to know that it is too expensive. And that would be different from a ferrari owner saying he's not going to drive a Honda becasue it's probably going to just break down on the way home. One of those is pure speculation. Now, is a ferrari worth it? Are profotos worth it? That's a different question. Quality things are expensive. If you need the features of something that is more expensive, you should get it. But saying "I'm not goign to buy that because it costs too much and I do just fine with my Godox lights" is totally different from saying "I would never buy a Godox light because they are probably going to just break in 3 years."

No I say that there is a big crowd out there that have no clue what Profoto even is or how they can benefit from it yet judge it to be too expensive right away.
Do you even know how reliable a Ferrari is? Not much at all, so while I know it's just an analogy, you really picked the wrong product to compare. Had you done your research...

No, it's too expensive.


I have several B1x and every time I have to use it after using Godox AD200 I remember the "benefit" of being able to see my EXACT power levels on my $69 XT-2 controller. A "benefit" my "expensive" $449 Profoto Air remote fails to do. Also I get 5 channels on the XT-2.

The brand I use has a FREE app for that where you can also set delays and other functions including grouping the lights in different sets.

Yeah that's dumb. Please
Don't excuse Your brands lack of a practical essential function. I don't have time to adjust a phone during a shoot when I can do adjustments on the fly on hotshoe mounted remote.

My guess is that it's dumb but you've never tried it. There seem to be some automatic blockage consistency with Godox users.

I have used a phone app to change values on my lights. You put your camera down, take your phone out, connect to the lights, make the changes, put the phone away, pick your camera back up. It's not very convenient. You don't have to have tried it to know that pushing buttons on a trigger on your camera is easier.

No you connect once and you go with your day. Beside I shoot mostly tethered with the same app open on my laptop.

That is neat then. On mine, you have to put your camera down and pull your phone out and make changes and then put your phone away and pick your camera back up every time you want to make a change. That's great that you can just connect to your phone and that's it.

Yeah I don't know if Yin Ze's remote can control the lights from the camera while framing. If not, I don't see it being too much faster of a process than grabbing a phone, but I'll search a Godox video that would show the actual process now.

Controlling your lights from a remote on your hot shoe will always be faster than using an app on your phone.

It seem that way for small changes but I am not sure by how much, but sure if you pack your phone each time that would slow you down. I'm watching a guy right now setting a V1 to an Xpro and he scrolling a lot on both for his initial start.

Yeah, Profoto will soon just get rid of the camera and controller and have you using you using your phone: "Being able to use your smartphone with nearly the same capabilities as a DSLR is
game changing for any creator. I love how straight forward the Profoto Camera is
and that it allows you to have so much freedom and creativity available from inside your pocket."
Kyle Jeffers

I've read the manual and the functionality as is stupid as their C1 Plus. If I want to fiddle with my phone I'll do that when a client is paying. Godox has 5 channels buttons and a remote that actually shows power settings and mode for each channel. No pulling out phone, waiting for face id/or entering passcode, finding the app, connecting to the app, waiting for the connection, navigating to the levels page adjusting the level then putting the phone back and.... repeating the next time you need to change a light. If you have time to play with your phone please do but don't call that efficient because it's C1 Plus cool.... I've used a lot of these apps including with aputure. Good idea but knobs and switches on a device that react quickly are way more efficient than another object you have to access.

Since I don't use Profoto and never have, I can't help there. My issues with Profoto are the recessed tube and the head connections they have changed over the years.
Regarding the app I have, the settings stay in the device, not in the app, so if I use my lights the next day to finish a job, I am good to go or I can quickly change the settings if it's a new shoot. No tiny wheel to scroll or tiny button to press. But if you use TTL, I don't see the point of fidgeting with the radio all day. An app won't take that much longer to adjust to ruin someone's day and in studio, tethered, you review your new capture, click the app make your change and shoot again. Now if you don't use ttl, I get it, but according to some here, you absolutely grossly over spend buying the ttl.

"Too expensive" means that my business cash flow can't handle it.

It's absolutely irrelevant if it's going to work better or last longer if it's not going to increase my cash flow enough to manage the expense.

Let me repeat that: If it's not going to increase my cash flow compared to a less expensive brand, then it's too expensive.

That's why I don't drive a Mercedes. It's probably a much better vehicle than what I do drive, but it won't increase my cash flow. I would be spending on the Mercedes what I could have been stashing into my 401K.

If you can't build cash flow, no need to go into business, especially in photography. Buy used, make your starting money and get the new stuff that's going to last you 10-15years or more. Now you have back up, a clientele that trust you and calls you regularly and you make money without spending much for awhile because you've learned that being super reliable will pay off and bring bigger jobs through those connections. Your work and planning is the cash flow. If you want a specific equipment that you know will help you, $5-10k over 15 years won't be much but it might help you get more calls faster.

I think you are selectively understanding what people are saying to you. It's not about being too poor to afford something. It's about return on investment. If you can make money off it, buy it. If you don't need it, don't invest in the upgrades. For example, Godox has a light with TTL and it's more expensive than the version without TTL. I'll buy the one without TTL because I don't need it and I'll save the money becasue I will never use TTL. It doesn't mean I'm broke or can't afford TTL. I understand that you like to shoot a variety of things and you choose to buy things that let you market yourself so you can shoot cats and cars and couches and other things. Other people choose to specialize and in their niche, they don't need the upgrades that other lights offer, but they still make money.

I don't know what to tell you, that's the way I started. Bought used quality equipment and worked my way up buying more so called "over priced" equipment, some new, some used. I had most of what I needed to take many types of jobs and build trust with clients. Then I specialized as bigger jobs were offered to me. Didn't buy any lights for ten years pretty much. Am I replying to people who want to take zero risk in life? It starts to really feel that way. No, buying too much did not affect anything, it made me feel safe and I never let down a client, especially if they had a lot of money invested in a shoot with models and all. I mean you want that phone to ring or texts or emails again and again. You guys are talking about cutting corner to save money for poor cash flow issues not looking at 15 years down the road. My view of course.

It's not cutting corners if I don't need it though. I don't have snow chains for my car. I don't need them. I'm not cutting corners or cheap, I just don't need them and can live my life to 100% without them.

Like I said, I bought used because that brand has a great reputation. So I hope you guys can get off my with me acting and talking like a millionaire.

You keep addressing issues that no one is bringing up. No one is saying that you are too elitist. You are saying that people who don't buy the same gear as youre cutting corners, they shouldn't be in business if they can't make money off the gear you have, I am cheap because I don't have the gear you use, and that Godox users don't try new things. And then evry response you make is like you are answering a thread in other comment section and you are lost. I said that some people don't buy those lights because they don't need them. You respond to that comment that people need to get off your back about talking to you like you are a millionaire because you bought them used. It has the logical flow of a haiku.

My first reply was just about how ironic I find that people who criticize photo equipment for it’s price but have never touched it can right away go after John for his opinion on equipment he has never touched or used. That was it.
After that, someone turned my comment into some weird accusation pricing/purchasing scenario. Not my work, go find the owner.

I started out with Profoto and ended up with Godox. While one-light philosophy is good that was all I could afford for a while. Adding more lights was helpful but at some point you have to cut your losses by investing in Profoto thanks to Godox. I started with their Acute series and do not like the recessed heads especially with larger modifiers or magnum. Portraits and lighting for different events are part of my job and it is nice to know that I can have a couple of small ad200 in a space without spending $8k. I really like ad200 with profoto adapter as it allows me to use my existing modifiers: i can use my original magnum with ad200 bulb head, and ocf magnum with round head.

I've seen plenty of Godox posts regarding overheating warnings and slowing down. I've never seen one regarding a D2, (B1 or B2). To bad your quote didn't define the "abnormal conditions",

"This automatic protection will only interfere under extreme conditions, such as high ambient temperatures or if the air vents are blocked."

I've used all my Profoto's on location in high heat (97*) without issue on many occasions. Since I've cycled many flashes at full power in the heat I'm guessing their abnormal conditions are hotter than that....

Godox isn't calling it "abnormal conditions" for it to go into thermal protection. It is going into thermal protection because it can't handle the light cycles at full power.... big difference!

Update: Looking at my D2 manual is states operating at temps 122* being with reduced performance....

Why have you started using Profoto lights in your video? Is this a new thing? Every photographer starts their journey in flash photography with one type of system, ie Godox/Flashpoint, in order to reach the next level to have access to high end clients you need to have a system that the manufacturer stands behind. Customer service is key. Godox doesn't have it.

He was shooting with his friend and using his friend's equipment. No conspiracy theory here or changing of position or opinion here. Just a guy using someone else's equipment in one video.

Also, the first nerd to get on here and say something about watt-seconds and joules or something, I will send you 8 virtual nerd dollars. DM me to redeem. I should have said watt-seconds instead of watts. I hope we can move past it.

Excellent article. Thanks, Jeff.

Thank you sir

Modeling light and bulb (well, 'flash tube') are not the same thing.

Really appreciate you commenting with your experience. I have nothing against Profoto lights at all even though some people think I would never use them. I use whatever works best *for me*, but understand other lights work best for others.

I love Profoto and Godox. Just wish Godox would step up their dial game. The dials/knobs on the Profoto are so good. With Godox they kinda catch at times when you rotate them. Not a huge deal but similar to the nice sound luxury cars make when you close the door.

I see all these people comment things like, "Yo, I'm a pro and when I shoot big time shoots, I use no less than 12,000 watts of light, sometimes 30,000 watts. You amateurs can keep your Godox lights. But I'm a pro." If you need something more powerful for your specific type of shoot, then you should get that for sure, but that doesn't reflect in anyway on Godox lights. They are what they are. They are great tools with limitations. It's like saying, "Oh you drive a Honda to work? I helicopter, bro. I'm too important for traffic. Can't afford to sit at stop lights. You ground transporters are just a bunch of amateurs. Helicopter, bro. It's the only way to go."

How long is the list of those 30000watt/s photographers? Any names or pointers, I want to check all that stuff.

When I worked at PIX Rentals in LA "Annie" would rent about 30 Profoto packs for magazine shoots. I don;t know how many of those were spares and how many big sets she had going at once but that was a lot of watt seconds.
iI think the most I have ever used was 10 Norman 2000ws packs, It made quite a fwappp sound when they were triggered :)

More comments