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The Profoto B1 vs. Godox AD600 for Flash Photography

The Profoto B1 vs. Godox AD600 for Flash Photography

I promised a while back that I would do a comparison between the Profoto B1 and the Godox AD600 head to head. I have finally had the chance to rent and spend some time with the Profoto B1 again, and I am ready to give my thoughts on the two as they pertain to the way I shoot and the situations I spend my time in. 

There have been a few comparisons out there, but nothing that really pitted the two against each other in the field, which is where they're meant to be. As an exclusively on-location shooter, I decided to throw the two in a bag and head out in the middle of the day for a personal shoot with a local model. What follows are my thoughts on that day. 

The Setting

My test shoot was from 2:00-5:30 PM on a below freezing day in Seoul. For that, I need to thank both the model, Christine, and my assistant for the day, Anuj Madan, for their dedication to my madness. The wind whips its way between buildings in Seoul, so "below freezing" was simply the weather report's version of the temperature we faced. I wanted to create as much drama as I could using the two flashes in both shade and bright sunlight to stress-test them both. We wound our way through an abandoned area of Seoul, switching between the two lights as we went. The modifier for the day was a Photek Softlighter II, my weapon of choice. Because I shoot Fujifilm cameras, there was no sense in comparing the TTL functions of the lights as there are no triggers available for the X System yet. What you see below was shot all manual using a Fujifilm X-T2 and Flashwave III (Impact PowerSync16) triggers. Let's get into my findings.

Build Quality

The first time I used the Profoto B1, I wasn't convinced. However, getting it in my hands again, it's mostly more solid and rugged than the AD600. The knobs, dials, buttons, connections, everything just feels a lot better built. Everything, that is, except for the outer shell. I'd say these two strobes are equivalent there. Both feel like they could take a knock or two.
The screen on the Profoto, although sexy, doesn't give you all the information that the Godox does. I love being able to know my flash duration at a glance so I can decide what sort of movement will be frozen. That may not bother you, but for me, it's handy at times. 
In terms of the flash bulb, the Profoto gets top marks. Being hidden behind a screen and recessed into the body of the strobe, you feel a lot more comfortable tossing it into a bag. That being said, the Godox bulbs are user replaceable and significantly cheaper. If something happens in the field, you can have a second bulb in within seconds. The Profoto needs to be shipped back to the hospital.
The one connection that perhaps feels more solid on the Godox is the battery to the body. It snaps on with a more solid thud than the Profoto and doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. With metal contacts securing it to the body, it feels a lot more robust than its more expensive counterpart.
The Godox also has a nice wing nut for holding umbrella shafts in place, whereas the Profoto replies on a pressure based system that simply doesn't seem to offer any benefit aside from being different. I understand that most buyers of Profoto strobes probably have the cash to splash on those pricey Profoto modifiers, but that's no reason to challenge the status quo. There are plenty of great modifiers out there with umbrella shafts, and there's a standard for mounting them.
Overall, I'd call this a tie. This is quite surprising when you consider the price difference.

Battery Life

I'm really sorry, Profoto, but what were you thinking? 220 advertised full-power pops for a portable strobe in that price range. Ouch. I was warned by the rental house that their batteries were getting old, and I shouldn't even expect close to that, especially in cold weather. I told them I was planning to review it, and they gave me a battery that was a little under a month old to test it with. Let's just say I was disappointed: just under 200 pops, most of which were at less than half power. 
So, let's move over to the AD600. Its advertised rating is over 500 full-power pops. After 200 shots between 1/4 and full power, the battery hadn't even lost a single bar. My battery is nearly four months old now and has been used most days since I bought it. Don't forget here that batteries are also just over half the price for the AD600. The Godox also has an AC adaptor available, which makes it convenient for prolonged studio use as well.
Let's call this one in favor of the AD600. The B1 just doesn't stand a chance here. 

Size and Weight

The Profoto weighs in at 3 kg, and as you can see from the picture below, is significantly larger than the AD600. The AD600 comes in at 2.66 kg, which makes it slightly easier to carry for the day of shooting. It can also be split into a pack and head style configuration, making it easier on an assistant if you have the light on a monopod.
I use F-Stop Gear bags, and the AD600 fits snugly in my large ICU, whereas the Profoto just bulks it up and makes everything else difficult to accommodate. So for me, this was quite annoying as well.
Again, this one goes to the AD600. 


Profoto have a great collection of strobes and a great system of service in place, depending on where in the world you are. From chatting to a few people in Seoul who use their equipment exclusively, Profoto's warranty and service centers are certainly on par with the price they charge. All of their flashes work together very well, and correlating flash powers are displayed excellently. No doubt, if you live in a region that Profoto supports and have the money to buy into their system, they are a fantastic option. 
On the other hand, Godox have also built an excellent flash ecosystem, including everything from speedlights to studio strobes. Most of their units are cross-compatible with their triggers, and parts are readily available on eBay and the like. For those of you who like the peace of mind of knowing that someone else will fix your gear, Godox may not be the right choice. But, you could end up with a full suite of flashes for less than the price of one Profoto unit and even have spare parts at home to boot.
This one I would say comes down to personal preference.

Power and Color

The Profoto unit offers slightly faster recycle times at high powers at between 0.1 and 1.9 seconds, versus the Godox with 0.01 to 2.5 seconds. Both offer good color consistency over the full power range with the Profoto swinging only 150 K in color mode and the Godox swinging only 200 K. While shooting the two, I did feel that the Profoto gave off a slightly cooler light, which could have to do with it's internal reflector and glass cover.
In terms of power output, the B1 is rated at 500 W/s and the Godox at 600 W/s. In my testing, the Godox put out just under one stop more power when inside my Softlighter II. This is really useful in daylight. However, when the B1 was fired bare and the Godox with its standard reflector, the Godox gave 2.5 stops more light than the Profoto.


In the field, I found both easy to work with and reliable. The Godox provided me with more peace of mind, knowing that I would get through the whole shoot on one battery. Both of these are excellent strobes in my opinion, and the choice should be a personal one. If you're invested in Profoto modifiers and their existing system, the B1 is a no-brainer. If you're starting out or on a budget, the Godox is an excellent choice. You won't be disappointed with either of these in the end.
Now, for the real test. Can you actually tell which frames above were shot with the Godox and which with the B1?
Dylan Goldby's picture

Dylan Goldby is an Aussie photographer living and working in South Korea. He shoots a mix of families, especially the adoptive community, and pre-weddings. His passions include travel, good food and drink, and time away from all things electronic.

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"Can you actually tell which frames above were shot with the Godox and which with the B1?"

Nope, because light is light! The flash itself doesn't change the "quality" of it, only the quantity.

Correct... And i think that was kinda Dylan's point. Buying a fancy Profoto flash ain't gonna make your pictures better...

Well, yes and no. A quality strobe (typ. Profoto or Broncolor) provide better consistency in output and color. Which is important to many professionals. It's a pain to "batch-edit" shots when the flash is not consistent. Then you'll have to micro-adjust in post.

Fair point!

can you plz show some examples when godox made different colors from shot to shot?

1. I don't have the raw files to do a fair judgement, and it is usually most noticeable in an environment where you control all the lights, e.g. studio.
2. I did not say that the Godox suffered from inconsistency, but that cheaper strobes often suffer from it.

I think the bare bulb in the Godox vs built in reflector with diffusion that Profoto uses would probably affect the quality of light a bit. The whole spread of light will be different.

I want it!

Loved the article, but kind of felt youre being too modest at the end. Based on what I read, the godox is the clear choice and far better value. If you're already invested in profoto the answer should be, sell your overpriced stuff and buy yourself 2 godoxs

The B1 bulb is user replaceable.

So is the Godox. It's a three-prong connector that pops in and out, even though it's very snug. No screws, no hassle.

I'm aware.... in the article he says the Profoto isn't user replaceable.

it is, if you're an engineer.

My B1 recently exploded (literally). Apparently that's how the flash tube dies. While trying to replace it for 20 minutes without success, I ended up breaking the flash tube - that's how tricky that center pin is. Now I'm hoping the good folks at Profoto USA can repair the unit and get it back in time for next week's sessions.

Not impressed by the fact that replacing the flash tube is such a surgical procedure. And I'm quite handy.

"It can also be split into a pack and head style configuration"
You should mention that you lose 2/3 of a stop when doing this.

"Being hidden behind a screen and recessed into the body of the strobe, you feel a lot more comfortable tossing it into a bag."
I find the built-in reflector can't fill a 7' softbox or beauty dish very well compared to the bare bulb design of my Compact or Acute 2 head.

"The Profoto needs to be shipped back to the hospital."
This makes it sound like you have to ship it to Profoto and is not user replaceable, you should clarify.

I am invested in Profoto modifiers, but all my softboxes and Mola can use a Bowens speedring to mount to the Godox. The only issue is the 7' umbrella. I'm sure I could McGyver something, but I prefer to use a 2400 pack anyway, 600 isn't enough most of the time.

Just wondering, what do you usually shoot?

For work, products. For myself, lots.

"Now, for the real test. Can you actually tell which frames above were shot with the Godox and which with the B1?" - I can even tell you brand of SD cards, that was used durning session :P

i have used both systems but it has been awhile since I used the B1. I have shot with Profoto Pro and acute gear since the late '80s. I just began using Godox gear this summer, specially the Adorama XPLOR 600 TTL HSS which is the USA version of the AD600.

I agree with most of Goldby's conclusion but this stuck out as being unfair to Profoto:

"However, when the B1 was fired bare and the Godox with its standard reflector, the Godox gave 2.5 stops more light than the Profoto"

the built in eflector for the B1 (also the D1 and D2) is a wide angle reflector meant to fit an umbrella or softbox. a fairer comparison of output would be to use a similar wide angle reflector on the AD600.

One other point, this one in the Godox's favor: The Bowens-S bayonet mount is used by a lot of flash manufacturer's these days. Bowens themselves makes a few modifiers that no one else makes. if all you are doing is using a softbox or umbrella and 7" diameter grids that won't make a difference but to some of us it does.

Profoto also makes some unique light shaping tools but those, like Profoto's unique ability to adjust the beam pattern and fall off with their more standard reflectors, is designed around their Po and acute head design.

As a side note I really wish Paul C. Buff, Inc. would start selling a version of the Einstein E640 with a Bowens-S mount option. Yes I know there are Bowens to Balcar adapters and in fact own a couple,, but that is one more piece of gear to schlep around and keep track of.

Hell, I'd settle for a firmware update or even a mail in hardware upgrade to make it capable of HSS. PCB has seriously dropped the ball on this. When I first got into off camera lighting, almost everyone I knew used PCB whether it was Alien Bee, White Lightning, or even Zeus.
Nowadays, all you hear about is the AD600.

That's viral marketing for you

I walk around NYC with B1s and D1s in my pelican roller cases. The flash tubes have become loose from all the bumps, and the units wouldn't fire every time. Profoto USA advised me to check them every one and then. Been using both models for years. And they could be more robust for their top tier price.

Years ago Profoto saw their monolights - including the D1 as their entry level gear. I have no idea if that is still the case, but Iam sure they would be very happy if more people were moving from the B1, B2, D1, and now the F2 up to Pro-8 packs and head systems. The D4 seems to be abit of an orphan product now and it has been at least 14 years since they introduced the Acute 2.

Check out Robert's video with measurements with regards to power output and consistency. Profoto users may want to not watch that bit though.....


The tilt head isn't weak. It's the opposite. It's too difficult to finely adjust the angle. Sagging will not be an issue.

The author touched on it a little bit in his review, but everyone else is missing the big advantage to the Godox. It is a complete system, and as good as the Profoto is, it is not a complete system. Godox has shoe mount flashes (AA's or lithium-ion), bare bulb flashes, and the 600 w/s monolight. They all work on the same radio system, perfectly. If I want a kicker light, I do not want to either pay for, or haul around a $2,000+ monolight to use as a kicker. If I am working alone, I can take the AD360 bare bulb unit, with the Godox to Bowens mount adapter, and have a nice lightweight strobe, with some power. If I need more power, I can use the 600 w/s monolight. If I need a bit of fill light, because a wedding dress is going black in the shadows, I can use an on-camera Godox Ving 860ii to give me a bit of fill in the shadows. Trust me, a kicker/fill light that almost fits in your pocket is going to be used much more than a 2nd Profoto.

And the remote head adapter is wonderful. I would note that the AD180/360 models are really 21st century updates to what the Quantum flashes should have been.
I suspect that the remote head idea came from Quantum as they offer that for their flashes.

Makes me think that I could McGyver that to my AD360s.

Absolutely Mark, not only are the flashes better than the Quantums, but the battery is so far superior to any Quantum battery, it is unreal. I used to have to nurse (2) Quantum batteries during a wedding day, shoot with one, while charging the other. I could shoot 3 weddings or more without charging the AD360 battery.

Several years ago (before any Li-Ion batteries in the photo flash world)I spoke to Quantum on several occasions asking them to implement a Li-Ion battery into their packs. I also noted that they could make it a quick release battery like a Makita drill uses so the individual batteries would be cheaper and could be rapidly changed.

They told me that Li_ion would not work as it was unable to deliver the current fast enough to make flash application practical. I told them that a 1/2" drill boring through masonry was drawing a ton of current and the drill manufacturers didn't seem to have a problem.
I told them then that the Chinese would come up with something that would make them regret their decision but they would have none of it.

So, here we are.

Buy the AD600BM (Bowens Mount) and get a Meike Bowens -> Elinchrom

For some price is less important then reliability, you need to trust your gear. Then Swedish made Profoto is a safe bet. You are not wanting a high profile shoot to be messed up with cheep gear. Color temperature and output should be nailed pretty good to:)

To me Gidox seems like a clever brand and I think most people could come a long way with there bare bulb flash system. For a small investment you have ability to make great on location pictures. I have expectations about this brand.

I use Elinchrom and quality of there stuff is really bad. Cheep sluggish stuff made in India with no pride:) so this up and coming Chinese brand looks promising.

If Godaox could up the build quality so it can withstand professional use, get the recycle time in par with the B1and then have a worldwide network of authorised repair and hire companies, Profoto just might have a problem. For the amateur and semi-pro market Godox may be onto a winner though.

Professional photographers are using the Godox system every day Mark. And the reason why they are using it is not just the price. I can afford to buy a couple of B1's, but I do not want to shlep around a B1 to use as a kicker or fill light. With Godox, I have 50/360/600 watt second units that work together and batteries that absolutely rock. Buying an extra battery for the Godox Ving 860ii, AD360, or 600 is an absolute waste of money. I carry one battery for each, and it lasts all day long or more. How about 3 weeks of 2 sessions a day (large family groups/sub-groups) on the beach in full sun, on one charge of an AD360? I am not here to suggest that Profoto are not superb units, I am here to state that the Godox/Flashpoint SYSTEM is far superior for most location shooters.

Can anyone tell me if the ad600 has a delay mode for second curtain sync?

Yes it does.

My Elinchrom Quadra just broke down the other day.. I like that you can buy a AC adapter so you can also use them without battery! I'm sold, buying this week!

I purchased two B1's a few months ago and I'm more than happy with the lights. The HSS is a great feature too...

I ordered one of these over Black Friday to give it a try, opened it up and played with it today and immediately went online and bought three more. The Godox/Flashpoint wireless system just plain works. Love how it automatically jumps to HSS when my camera goes above the standard shutterspeed limit. Mixing in speedlites is dirt simple, the option of the extension heads and AC adapter back are no brainers. Can't wait to get out and shoot a full setup.

EDIT: I think the only irritation is the ratchet setup of the mount. Seems extremely secure, but kind of a pain in the ass.

I'm very curious how Profoto and other strobes compare with a standard reflector or bare flash tube. I use Einsteins because of my budget, the lower power options, and the smaller, lighter size compared to larger, heavier Profoto monolights. The recessed flash tube is not a great design in my opinion. An exposed tube fills beauty dishes and octoboxes better. The Profotos are popular for good reason but I remain curious how they compare with Einsteins in terms of color and light character when used without a modifier, or with a basic reflector. Does the higher cost translate to better portraits ?
I'm happy to use an external battery to keep the size and weight of the strobe boomed overhead smaller and lighter.

Love my godox!!! :)

I sold my alienbee setup and bought 2 godox ad600 and i haven't looked back. I wish I could go profoto but im not that busy to justify such a purchase. awesome article.

I am probably wrong, but to me it looks like the first and third shot are from the Profoto and the second and fourth are possibly from the Godox. I'd love to know if this is right. I noticed a certain warmth and tone to the B1's when I tested them out and it's the same tone I'm seeing in shots one and three.

Hi Tracy,

Second and fourth are the Profoto. :)

My point here was that once you bring the files in and add your sauce, it really makes no difference. Light is light if you use it right, and the Godox does a great job.


Pic 2 shot by profoto

Compare to the Godox AD600 Pro now!