The Perfect Entry to Off-Camera Flash? The Godox AD100Pro Reviewed

The Perfect Entry to Off-Camera Flash? The Godox AD100Pro Reviewed

Godox’s line of flashes, including the incredibly popular AD200 and V1, have become a mainstay of the on and off-camera lighting market. They’ve become so popular, in part, thanks to the surprising value and feature set offered at each price point. As a result, the AD100Pro, a new addition to the line, has quite the legacy to live up to. Has it earned a place in photographer’s bags?

The Light

Godox’s AD series, perhaps most notable for that aforementioned AD200, spans quite a range. The AD200, at 200Ws, features a much sleeker form-factor than the larger monolight style lights, like the AD300 or AD600, capable of 300 and 600Ws respectively. As you might guess from the name, the AD100Pro fits in below the AD200 in output, with an output of about 100Ws (more on why that isn’t the whole story in a minute). 

What the name doesn’t capture, however, is how much more compact the light is. Essentially the size and shape of a soda can, it is more portable than even a large speedlight, in my opinion. It easily fits in the lens slot of any camera bag, and you could stack 4 of them in the space occupied by 2 AD200s. In case you don’t know, the AD100, like others in the family, features a lithium-ion battery, making it an entirely self-contained setup for up to 360 1/1 power flashes.

Another great feature of the AD family of products is the compatibility with Godox’s 2.4G wireless system. These X-family triggers are another great value, particularly when compared to other company’s wireless triggers. They have versions compatible with every major camera manufacturer, letting them offer TTL flash, high-speed sync, and full wireless control.

In Use

One of my favorite things about Godox’s lights is how easy they are to get started with. When using a compatible trigger, you have full TTL and reliable triggering, resulting in a better experience than Nikon’s first-party CLS solution. CLS relied on infrared, making it perform poorly outside of direct, near range line of sight. Meanwhile, Godox’s built-in X trigger system is 2.4Ghz wireless, and is effective at a range of 100m.

Besides being easy to set up and work with, the AD100Pro comes in a full-featured kit. In the box is a very nice quality zippered case, with room for the flash and all the included accessories. These accessories include a USB C charger and cable for the included battery (which is also compatible with the V1), as well as a nice bracket. The bracket mounts via thumbscrew to the threaded hole on the underside of the flash, can be tilted, and includes a hole for an umbrella or similar modifier to mount.

The flash turns on with a single click and scroll on the wheel to unlock, and pairs automatically with a trigger (I prefer the X Pro trigger’s massive display and dial interface, but you can also use their other triggers or even the v1 flash as a master). From here, you can use TTL or manual power modes, or switch to something more niche, like the included stroboscopic mode. If you prefer to set your flash directly, the interface is very simple. The flash features hardware buttons for all the major functions, like zoom, mode, modeling light power, and test triggering.

Built in zoom capability gives some control over light quality, even without a modifier attached.

The LCD is very easy to read and should be easy to read under any lighting conditions where you’d expect to use the flash - the white on black text may be slightly less legible under very bright sunlight. To go along with the display, there’s a scroll and click dial, which makes navigating the deeper menu easy, although a few of these functions will need to be changed frequently.

The flash output can be set anywhere from 1/1 to 1/256. At full power, recycle time is quite quick, at 1.2 seconds. Thanks to the typically-off fan, the flash is silent in normal operation, but can still do many full power pops before appreciably slowing down.

The head also features a modeling light, but it is very weak. With even basic modifiers on, it’s virtually invisible.

The modeling light is nice quality, but not particularly bright, especially when used with a highly diffused modifier.

Thanks to the design of the round head, the AD100 is compatible with the AK-R1 set of accessories. These magnetic-mounting modifiers include a barn door, snoot, grid, gels, and soft dome head.

Why the AD100Pro?

I think the AD100 fills a very specific niche in the Godox lineup. Thanks to the size and ease of use, as well as the flexibility of the round fresnel head, this light is a perfect location light. Shooting one or two people? It’s easy to manage and quick to set up, and won’t be particularly limited by the lower output compared to the larger lights in the lineup. Furthermore, it’s a great option if you’re already integrated into the Godox ecosystem, and need a 3rd light for something like a hair light.

If you’re not already in the flash system, it can be a very cost-effective entry point to working with off-camera flash. 1 or 2 AD100s, a trigger like the X1 or X Pro, and some light stands and umbrellas are all you’d need to get started. The size and lighting philosophy isn’t much different to speedlights, but can offer enough additional power to really fill a softbox, or shoot more quickly without bumping into recycling times.

I’m personally excited to add this to my wedding kit. Small and sleek, this light is easy to add to a bag, and easy to deploy, without being so intrusive to disrupt the event itself. At only 500 grams, it’s easy to toss a few in my bag and not worry about carrying them around, while still having more power than a similar set of speedlights.

One of the most immediate comparisons that come to mind is with the flash’s bigger brother. The AD200 and AD200Pro are well established and well regarded, offering twice the rated output of the AD100Pro. This doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The AD200 features a different head design than the AD100. The 100’s round, zoomable, fresnel head lets you concentrate light, or generate a softer spill without a modifier, compared to the default options for the 200. The 200 does have a round head similar to the AD100’s available, but it’s a separate purchase. In the end, it’s more powerful than the AD200 with a round head, and only about a stop and a half less powerful than the AD200 with a fresnel head.

Overall, I really enjoyed working with the AD100Pro. Like every Godox product I’ve used, it’s been thoughtfully engineered and offers performance well above the price point. I think the AD100Pro’s biggest issue is the strength of the other products in the lineup. The AD200 and 200Pro offer some more power for a similar price point, while still being close enough in form factor to be comparable. The V1, which takes the same batteries and accessories, as well as the option to be used on-camera or as a master, is another great product. 

Compared to Godox’s other lights, the AD100 seems to be built with a very specific purpose in mind: get enough power into as small of a light as possible. While the other products, notably the AD200, seem to be a bit more generalized (see the variety of head options available), the AD100 has specialized into being the best, most portable location lighting option around.

In the end, I think the AD100 is really optimized for photographers looking for the most portable kit possible - weddings, headshot photographers, and those who are already significantly invested in Godox gear can all find great uses for this light. It’d also make a fantastic accent light, hair light, or tertiary light for something like a pair of AD200s. It’s truly impressive to hold the light in your hand when you realize the output and functionality that’s crammed into it. The AD100 is available from B&H.

What I Liked

  • Form factor

  • Ease of use and interface

  • Godox’s X wireless system

  • Head design and quality of light

What Can Be Improved

  • Modeling light is weak

  • Price to power ratio is less favorable compared to the AD200

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Alex Coleman's picture

Alex Coleman is a travel and landscape photographer. He teaches workshops in the American Southwest, with an emphasis on blending the artistic and technical sides of photography.

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I have just started seriously practicing flash photography using my cat as a subject. Thank you this. I may have to look into getting one.

You might want to edit the comments about the batteries being interchangeable with the V1. While they're the same specs and very similar, a post from this site testing it says that they don't interchange as well as you would think.

They are interchangeable on mine - I’ll double check and update accordingly. Thanks!

How does the power output compare to a Godox/Flashpoint Speedlite?

Depends on the model you’re comparing it to and how you have it modified/zoomed. It’s more powerful, but not massively so, depending on the light compared to - like the V1.

About 1/3rd of a stop more power I believe. that will vary depending on the speedlite compared to.

I'm not sure what this statement is supposed to mean "it’s more powerful than the AD200 with a round head, and only about a stop and a half less powerful than the AD200 with a fresnel head"? It's a 100w/s flash, and you can probably focus it to be brighter in the center but it doesn't change its power. If you fill a softbox - it will be likely twice darker compared to the AD200. The unmodified AD100 is a small harsh light source, and the pattern it spreads has nothing to do with it. You will need a bracket (like the AD-S2) to make it work with a softbox, but then suddenly it's not a small flash anymore...

Also, "only" about a stop and a half in the photography world is usually translated as "3 times less" power ;)

I don't think a full softbox or parabolic is really the intended use case for this light - something like an umbrella would be fine, or unmodified for use as a hairlight.

As for the output, a stop and a half is more doable these days with f/2 zooms and perfectly serviceable ISO3200. More power would always be nice, but any step up is going to come with a significant size/weight penalty.

An f/2 zoom (I'm guessing you meant the RF28-70/2) weights ~3 times more than the AD100 :)

I have mixed feelings about this flash frankly. You've mentioned the "unmodified hair light" - a V1 would be a more versatile and less expensive choice for that probably. Or, for $30 more you can buy a flash twice as powerful, with two heads (the AD200 Pro). The AD100 could be a decent flash if the price was right (~$200).

"I think the AD100Pro’s biggest issue is the strength of the other products in the lineup. The AD200 and 200Pro offer some more power for a similar price point, while still being close enough in form factor to be comparable. The V1, which takes the same batteries and accessories, as well as the option to be used on-camera or as a master, is another great product. "

can i used this as continuous light in my video?

While this has a modeling light, it's definitely not meant for video use. You'll want to look for a dedicated continuous light.

Oh! I thought i can use this.

can i also use this in mobile photography?

I have had ongoing issues with Godox. To get tech help, Not possible. So I sell all my Godox "stuff" , They were like new....Top bid was $200. Sold them. I had 2 V!'s and the wireless trigger. So my budget is soft, so I bought the new Wescott F80 Flash the wireless flash. I had tech issues with firmware update with Wescott. I am snake bit. I have a fuji XT4. I got on the phone, talk to a tech guy at Wescott. Well , the modeling light is a like a flood light, BAM. So simple to use. Killer strobe. But most of all was the care Wescott gave me, to get me up and running. Wescott is more money than Godox, but worth every dollar over the Godox. I will never got back to Godox. Its not that Godox is a fine company, they are. But if you are a tech dummy like me, Godox offer no verbal help. To load Godox's firmware is a mess. Why will I stay with Wescott? Simplicity, support, and quality. The Wescott strobes are made in China, according the label on the strobe. But Wescott has a winner here. I am a semi retired (not from Photography) . I do most of my photography as a hobbyist. I really appreciate Fstoppers commitment to a wide array of products. If you are considering a new strobe, for a few bucks more, I suggest Wescott. The company is in Ohio. My next purchase will be the FJ 200 from wescott $399.90. Best of all wescott has a universal trigger, So I don't have to buy camera specific strobes. One strobe for all cameras. So the resale should be more robust due to they variety of photographers and their hear. Well done Wescott.

If you bought your Godox stuff (rebranded as Flashpoint) from Adorama - you could have the same great “local” support. It’s the same idea as with Jinbei + Westcott: an imported semi-no-name product with a local name and support. The FJ400 is a rebranded Jinbei HD400. BTW Adorama also carries the same strobe under their brand called Orlit RoveLight RT 400 which is $170 cheaper than the FJ400 ;) I’m not sure if Westcott “name” worth $170 more compared to Adorama’s.

I understand your views. The spec in question are different to a small degree. The support idea is good, I bought from B & H, who are the same quality company as Adorama. The rebranding as you state I do not think is accurate. But not to quibble, My support experience with Wescott was top notch, plus speaking to the tech guy who writes software for Wescott. I thank you for your perspective, but Wescott is a better way for me to go. So, no more Godox.

I use a full gamut of Godox strobes and speedlights. The AD200 really is a game changer given the portability and power. The AD100 seems to be priced too high. You can get the same power and quality of light from the round head V1 for less money plus have the hot shoe mounting option. Or get 200% the power with the AD200 for 15% more money.

It is nice that the AD100 uses a round head. I suppose if you figure in the cost of adding a round head to the AD200 the price of the AD100 becomes more appealing. I still don't see value in it though. If the AD100 included a modifier kit and retailed at $199 it would be awesome.

The fact that Godox is making these things in silly colors makes me wonder who exactly the target demographic is.