Fstoppers Reviews the Godox Wistro AD200 Portable Flash

Fstoppers Reviews the Godox Wistro AD200 Portable Flash

A while back I reviewed the Godox AD600 which I thought was going to be the all-in-one solution I was after. Even after comparing it to the Profoto B1, I was more impressed with the AD600, especially at its price point. It had a few construction issues, but overall was a flash to compete with the big boys. As I said, I thought it was going to be the solution I was looking for. Then Godox dropped the bomb: the Wistro AD200. This little flash promised to be less than half the weight and powerful enough for most of the work its big brother was made for. So, is it all it's said to be and how does it stack up against other options?

Size and Weight

When I took the AD200 out of the box for the first time, I was surprised by two things: the size and the weight. It was an odd feeling, because although it was a little larger than I had expected, it was lighter than I had expected. At just 880 grams with the speedlight head attached and battery inserted, the AD200 is 33 percent the weight of the AD600. This is a huge difference in weight if you're looking for something to just toss in your bag for every day on location use. As you can see in the picture below, it's quite a bit larger than a speedlight, but significantly smaller than the AD600. I took the light out into the field with my intern Jonne and a good pal of mine, Marco, for a run around the block. We put it through its paces for a good two hours, and at the end of it, we had still barely noticed it was on the end of the lightstand.

Fujifilm X-T2, 56mm, f/2.2, ND16, Godox AD200 in Softlighter II @ 1/4 power

Build Quality

In this price range, we don't generally expect quality-built equipment, but Godox has been proving that assumption wrong time and time again. The AD200 is a standout, even among their well-built strobes. It is a solid package that feels like it can handle a few knocks while out in the field. They have upped the ante this time around with a beautiful new LCD panel for displaying the current status and a battery that fits flush to the body of the unit. All the dials and buttons are of a much higher standard than either the AD360 or AD600, giving the flash a polished, high-quality feel. The mounts on the sides of the flash are solid and don't give at all when the flash is mounted to a stand. Overall, this unit has the build quality we might expect from the bigger name brands in the industry.

Fujifilm X-T2, 16mm, f/16, Godox AD200 in Softlighter II @ 1/1 power

Battery Life

The 2,900 mAh (41.76 Wh) battery promises 500 full power pops, just like the larger battery of the AD600. Does it live up to that? So far, I haven't been able to drain it in a full day of shooting. It has been fantastic, and recycles the flash to full power in just 2.1 seconds. Once the unit gets down to quarter power, however, that recycle is quick enough that you can just keep shooting.

The major benefit for me with this battery over the AD600 is for when I travel. Airports double check my bag without fail when I travel with the AD600 and its near-the-limit sized battery, but with the AD200, they haven't batted an eyelid yet. This is excellent news for us travelers.

TTL and HSS

As with the AD600, the AD200 has both TTL and HSS support through the Godox trigger system. Both work flawlessly with my Nikon D750 and the Godox X-1 trigger. TTL is accurate, and the unit switches automatically to HSS when the shutter gets over 1/160 (a bit of a pain, as the D750 can sync up to 1/250 without HSS). Godox has also promised to begin supporting other systems soon, including Fuji X. This is great news for me, as a lot of my work is now done with the Fuji X system.

The Two Heads

The aspect of the AD200 that caused the most stir at its release was unarguably the interchangeable flash heads it comes with. The ability to switch between a speedlight-style Fresnel head and a "bare-bulb"-style head was an industry first and sparked a lot of discussion. So what is the real difference?

In my experience, the Fresnel head has been most useful. With that head on, I can tuck the flash into a pocket on my bag and not worry about breaking the bulb. This is great for fast-paced location work. It's also great as it provides compatibility with your existing speedlight modifiers like cut sheet gels, the MagMod system, and Rogue products. A couple of things I did notice with the bare-bulb head is that it provides a better spread inside an umbrella or softbox. This gives a more even light throughout large modifiers, and a touch more power, as we will see below.

Output

Now, the part you've all been waiting for. Just how much power does this little gem put out, and how does it stack up against other units? My main concern was how much more powerful it would be than a single speedlight. Second to that was how much power I would be losing by leaving the AD600 at home. Let's address those right away with some numbers from my flash meter. For this test, I decided to put the lights in my most commonly used modifier, the Photek Softlighter II. The flash meter was mounted on a tripod just one meter away from the front of the Softlighter and set to read ISO 100. Here are the numbers:

AD200 Bare-bulb: f/11

AD200 Speedlight: f/8 + 8/10

Nikon SB800: f/5.6 + 3/10

AD600: f/16 + 3/10

As you can see, the AD200 sits close to squarely in between the AD600 and a standard speedlight. Getting approximately 1 2/3 stops more light than an SB800 means that it is close to 3 speedlights in power. This is great news for anyone looking for just that extra pop of light on location. It doesn't quite have the versatility of a speedlight in terms of angling the head and zooming the light in and out, but it offers enough extra power to make it a great option for speedlight shooters. You'll also notice that it's only 1 1/3 stops less powerful than the much bigger and heavier AD600. By getting yourself two of these AD200 units, you would be only 1/3 stop short of an AD600 and have a much more portable bit.

What I Liked

  • Size
  • Powerful unit
  • TTL and HSS Support
  • Design
  • Long lasting battery
  • Full support of the Godox system
  • Fresnel head
  • Included carry case

What I Didn't Like

  • Lack of articulating head
  • Lack of zoom in Fresnel head
  • System still only supports the Nikon, Canon, and Sony TTL systems

In Conclusion

At approximately $300, this is such a fantastic option for location photographers. I cannot recommend this unit enough. It has flawlessly performed on every shoot I have taken it on for the past few weeks, and I'm already looking at getting another one. If you're on the fence about this flash, jump down and join me here in the light. They are available on Amazon, eBay, and rebranded through various online retailers.

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41 Comments

Sounds great, waiting for them to arrive in Norway.

The only thing you did not say anything about is how many flashes it gives before it overheat?
How many TTL will it give before it shuts down?

Some say previous models only did a handful before it overheat, I think some are taking about 50 TTL flashes?

I expect you can use them for normal flash modus and take pictures with out them shutting down?

Hi Bjarne,

I haven't had them overheat once yet. Perhaps in the heat of summer the issue might arise, but so far all has been good!

jorgen lindalen's picture

Hi Bjarne,

Ive been using them for over a month now, and have had no issues with overheating. I dont think the summer hear in Norway will be hot enough to give any problems :)

Still did you test ttl on full blast, how many flashes before overheat protection hits in - that is the issue?

Eric Burger's picture

Great review Dylan. I'm currently waiting for mine to arrive.

I was just wondering did you use the fresnel head or the bare bulb in the photos with the softlighter? And what size softlighter did you use?

Hi Eric,

The two samples above are with the Fresnel head. I'm working on a more detailed comparison of the two heads for my next run down. Keep an eye out.

Cheers!

Konrad Sarnowski's picture

The really cool thing about this barebulb is it's shape - I can't find anything nearer to a point light source than this - fantastic for creating hard shadows ;)

You should try it with a Plume, ltd Grid Spot Chimney if you want really hard edged shadow boundaries

Matt Sweadner's picture

Plume has interesting products. Good luck finding them online. I stopped after number 5 in their list of distributors.

Thank you for the review, Dylan. I'm encouraged. This morning, I slogged up and down stairs to a beach with a rather heavy C-stand and the 600. While I needed it to overpower the blazing sun on water (not a cloud in the sky and I was shooting toward the sun), I'll be excited to see what this puppy will do in later afternoon or on cloudy days in the same setting. Curious... did you by chance combine the 200 with the 600 yet in a portrait shoot?

I haven't use the pair on a portrait shoot yet. However the 200 made a great second light for accents in a recent hotel shoot.

Just used both together on a shoot yesterday. Loved pairing them. A private shot for two professionals so I'll try and share but need them to first see the images. (Processing now.) Anyway, very pleased! Thanks again for your post, Dylan.

Ryan Bartels's picture

Reading this on my phone and maybe I overlooked something. You say it doesn't work with the Fuji system as of yet, but the demo pics are with an X-T2. Does this mean it does work, but just without HSS or is there another way to trigger them from a Fuji? Again, sorry if I missed something in the text. I'm a Fuji shooter for travel and these would be much better for size and weight than the DigiBees I have now, just lose out on the LED modeling light that I also use for short video clips when needed. Thanks.

Hi Ryan,

as far as I know, you can switch the Godox Transmitter to single-pin mode, which should give you the ability to trigger the AD200 with a Fuji camera. But that would disable all the remote functions.

You can use the Godox single pin 'dummy' remotes. They will control the power of the light and fire it on command. However, TTL and HSS haven't been added for the Fuji system. Godox says May should be the time for that.

jorgen lindalen's picture

Hi Ryan

Im shooting with fuji, im using a godox ft-16s trigger and it works well, but no ttl or hss. Ive read that it should be possible to use a Cactus II in between the camera and a ttl trigger to get it working.

Ryan Bartels's picture

Thanks everyone! I assumed it was probably just simplified firing, but we know about assuming. I just didn't see a sync port anywhere on the unit. Since I'd primarily be wanting to use these for international travel and I'm not leaving for Africa until almost July, that May window for Fuji compatibility sounds great. I may be looking to pick one of these up to see how it handles in the interim. If I knew for certain I would not need the very capable LED on the DigiBee for short video use, this would be a no-brainer. Thanks again, cheers

Do you think the AD200 would work with the CactusV2 triggers in HSS?

Looks really cool, I want some! Just one minor note for those looking to search for these; throughout the article they are named "Wistro" whereas their actual name as seen on the units themselves and in the production material is "Witstro."

Michael Yearout's picture

Will they work with Yongnuo triggers?

Thanks for the excellent review. These units would serve well for quick set ups with umbrellas with the speed lite head, although the 35mm coverage able of the flash would be a limiting factor. Speed of set up and ability to use cc gels are a plus.

I wonder if anybody has experimented with a diffuser over the head to spread the light out more, similar to the one built in to most speedlites. It would be great if the AD200 was available with one head only in manual version, although that may come later. I would have no requirement for TTL.

Daniel Dubois's picture

Great review! I second everything you said. Terrific little light. I've used it on every shoot for a month now. And the fact that it integrates perfectly with my AD600, the R2 speedlight, and the Rapid600, makes it mind-blowingly good.

what do you think about two of these in one softbox vs one xplor 600?

In terms of power, the xplor would only be a 1/3 stop increase over two of these, so your main concerns would be portability and ease of setup.

The xplor will mount straight to a lightstand and can attach standard modifiers depending on its mount.

The AD200s would need you to have a double mount for your lightstand, and would need another way to attach modifiers. They would be smaller and lighter than the AD600, at the expense of setup time.

Either way, you'd have a powerful system.

I can see grouping up to 4 of the AD200s on a Lightware Direct Foursquare block and using that with either the company's 20", 40" and Firefly (Lantern) softboxes or an umbrella.

The bare tube looks very similar to the flashtube size used by the old Lumadyne, Norman 200 B / C and Quantum T5D flashes, which all shared the same mount.

Do you know if softbox adapters and reflectors that fit those will also fit the Wistro AD200 /Adorama Flashpoint EVOLV 200?

Can this be triggered as a slave flash?

How does it mount to a light stand?

Is there any way to connect this to a PocketWizard?

All I can see is a IR-triggered handheld, unmountable flash unit, but that can't be right?

I'd love to use this for architectural work, but the above omissions would seem to render it unusable. Please advise.

Thanks!

Sanjay Gohil's picture

Hi Sargent.

I've had a play with the AD200 and it's awesome! Infact my one should be here within the next few days.

I don't think there is a way of connecting it to a pocketwizard, having said that, the XT32 trigger is quite cheap at £35 / $45 and the trigger gives you full control of the flash without having to use pocketwizard or any other go between system.

There's also the Xt1 trigger that Godox offer but its SO fiddly and un-intuatuve, I'm glad my one was lost. With the Godox triggers, you can control the power of each light individually.

The trigger is a radio controlled and probably optical too, similar to the Canon 600 flashes and the range is very good.

I ordered my AD200 from a UK store called Lencarta and they supply a threaded light stand mount which screws onto the bottom of the unit. I'm not sure if comes as standard from godox.

Hope that helps

In answer to your questions:

1. Yes, it has slave mode.

2. It has a standard 1/8" screw mount.

3. It will work fine with PW. It has a sync port on the side.

Unlike what is mentioned above, I would say that the Godox triggers are great - even the early ones. Pick yourself up a generic one and you'll be happy. I have the XT16 for my Fujis. Best $13 I have ever spent.

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