Profoto B10 Versus Godox AD400Pro: The Best Strobes Compared

A few months ago, we released our first impressions of the new Profoto B10 portable flash unit, and many of our readers claimed that we didn't give it an honest review because it was wildly overpriced. Today, we are giving the critics what they asked for: we are going to compare it to the Godox AD400Pro.

Both of these flashes have more similarities than differences. They are both compact, battery-powered flashes that can also be plugged into AC power. The true differences are found in the details, and we have compiled the most detailed comparison in Fstoppers history. Let's get to it. 

Build Quality

There's no doubt that the Profoto B10 has superior build quality when compared to the AD400. The shell feels thicker, the buttons feel expensive, and the screen on the B10 is color. The AD400 feels more hollow, and the buttons feel more flimsy. This should come as no surprise.

Size and Weight 

This is another easy win for the Profoto B10. The AD400 is much larger, almost twice the size, in fact. The B10 weighs 3.3 lbs, while the AD400 is 4.63 lbs.

User Interface

Once again, the Profoto B10 is the clear winner. The B10 only has three buttons on it, and anyone could pick up the light and figure out how it works without reading a manual. The AD400 has many buttons and a much more complex menu system. If you buy the AD400, you'll probably want to read through the manual. 

AC and DC Compatible

Both flash batteries can be charged while they are being used. This is a huge upgrade from previous flashes that required the battery to be charged separately. 

Light Modifiers and Mounts

The Godox AD400 has a Bowens style mount built in, but Profoto, Broncolor, and Elinchrom accessories can be added to the front to work with any accessories you may already own. This is a massive value and makes the AD400 the most versatile light we have ever tested when it comes to accessories. 

Obviously, the B10 can only accept Profoto modifiers, which happen to be some of the most expensive in the industry. 

Battery Power

The Profoto B10 battery is significantly smaller, but it actually holds a larger capacity and is capable of producing 400 flashes at full power, while the AD400's battery can only fire 390. 

The Power Test

Perhaps the most important question that every photographer is going to ask is: "which flash is more powerful?" In order to accurately test this question, along with many of the other tests that follow below, we ordered a Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D light meter. We then set up a single light stand eight feet away from the meter and ran both the Godox AD400Pro (with Profoto mount) and the Profoto B10 flashes through their entire power range. On every test that follows, we recorded each flash pop three times for redundancy and averaged the recordings (in most cases, all three recorded values were exactly the same). For our own curiosity, we also tested a few other flashes including the Profoto D1 1,000Ws, the Profoto B1, the Godox AD200, and the Yongnuo 568 EX for Nikon. It should be noted, we ran all of these tests with the older Profoto B1 and not the newer Profoto B1X, which Profoto claims to be slightly more powerful.

Here is the data from all of the power settings on every flash we tested.

Flash Power Test between Profoto B10 and Godox AD400

As you can see from the raw numbers above, the Profoto B10 and the Godox AD400 registered exactly the same flash output at full power. As we stopped the flashes down, their output levels almost match perfectly especially when the Profoto was set to normal mode. Of course, the Profoto B10 also goes down one more stop than the Godox AD400, which can be nice when trying to balance flash with low-light, high-ISO environments. It's also interesting to note that both the B10 and the AD400 also appear to be the same power as the Profoto B1 (again, note that our units are the older B1 and might be less powerful than the newer B1X).

Flash Range

One big conclusion we noticed with this test was that the power levels between full stops of light were not as even as we would have liked. From the data above, we plotted every recorded value and found that very few of the flashes we tested showed a constant power change when we dialed the flashes up or down one stop on their LCD. The only flash that did have a perfect increase of one stop between settings was the Profoto D1, which you can see from the straight red line on the graph below.

Graph of all power levels between Profoto B10 and Godox AD400

We wish we would have found a straight line between each stop of light and each full stop setting on the flash. Instead, what we found was a lot of variance along our graph lines. What this means is that sometimes, when you power down a flash by one full stop, you might be removing more than a stop of light or you might actually remove less than a stop of light. If you look at the yellow Profoto B10 line and the green Godox AD400 line above, you can see that neither one of them is as perfectly straight at the red Profoto D1 line. So while it is nice that both the Profoto and Godox flashes let you adjust the power setting in 1/10th increments, from our tests, none of these power adjustments are all that accurate. The D1 was the only flash out of the entire group that showed accurate power levels.

There is a lot to take from this test, but our overall conclusion is that the Profoto B10 and the Godox AD400 produce the exact same exposure at full power, but the B10 does give you 1.36 stops more stops over the entire range of the strobe. Obviously, this is happening at the lowest power levels of the flash, but that could be useful depending on what type of flash photography you are doing. The other major conclusion it leaves us with is that unless the newer Profoto B1X is a stop more powerful than the older B1, there really isn't any reason to buy the older Profoto B1 over the new B10. 

The Flash Duration Test

Another test we wanted to run was a flash duration test. Flash duration is the length of time in which a flash can deliver all or most of its power load. This is important, because if a flash delivers its load too slowly, it starts to act like a constant light and loses its ability to freeze action. Flash durations are typically measured by two standards: t.5 and t.1 times. Many flash manufactures use the more forgiving t.5 time, because it produces faster flash duration values, but without getting into too many specifics, t.5 times aren't the best measurements, because a portion of the unrecorded flash load still might make an impression on your overall exposure.  You can see from the image below just how much flash still influences your photograph after the t.5 time has been measured.

Amount of flash exposure recorded at t.5 and t.1 times

To make things simple and more useful, we decided to measure each flash with the more stringent t.1 flash duration scale. Below, you can find the chart of all our recorded t.1 values for each of the flashes (these are reciprocal times, so larger numbers are faster):

t.1 Flash Duration Test between Godox AD400 and Profoto B10

As you can see from the test above, the Profoto B10 flash was about twice as fast as the Godox AD400 at full power. At 1/2 power and lower, the Godox AD400 was about the same if not faster than the Profoto B10. However, when the B10 was placed into Freeze mode, the Profoto came up as the clear winner throughout the entire flash range.

It's a well known fact that speedlights produce extremely fast flash durations, especially as you lower their power down. What's interesting is that at 1/128th power, both the Yongnuo flash and the D10 are about the same power (f/1.1 in our tests) yet the D10 has about a stop slower flash duration than the cheaper speedlight. The D10 can get as fast as 1/15,900 of a second, but the power has to be at its lowest 1/512th setting. If you compare the D10 to the Godox AD200 speedlight at 1/128th power, the AD200 actually has 1.4 stops more power with the same 1/15,900 flash duration. So, in some ways, if you need the fastest flash duration possible with the most power, a smaller speedlight actually outperforms the larger flashes. Keep in mind, these lightning-fast flash durations are only really necessary when shooting fast moving objects or freezing water splashes. Between the D10 and the AD400, we have to give the Profoto the win here, but depending on what you are shooting, this test may or may not be a major factor in deciding which flash is best for you.

The High Speed Sync Test

One test that we failed to add to our video was the high-speed sync test. High-speed sync, or HSS, is a mode that will allow you to shoot beyond your camera's maximum shutter sync curtain by rapid firing the flash to act as a constant light. Typically, on most cameras, this hard limit is around 1/200th of a second, and if you shoot past this shutter speed, you will start to notice the black shutter showing up in your photographs. Since both the Godox AD400 and the Profoto B10 allow you to shoot in HSS mode, we wanted to know if either of these flashes gave you more bang for your buck, so to speak.

Here are the results we found when shooting in HSS mode:

The Profoto B10 versus the Godox AD400 in High Speed Sync Mode

What we found from our tests is that the AD400 gave us about 1/3rd a stop more power than the B10 with a shutter of 1/4000. We also noticed that the older Profoto B1 actually gave a full stop more power than the B10 in HSS mode and about .6 stops more power than the AD400. Another strange result we experienced was that when we stopped the AD400 down a few stops in power, our light meter continued to give us lower and lower readings, while it was not able to give us any readings on the B10 below full power (hence the "under" value). If the Godox values are accurate, it also means that for every stop you lower the AD400 flash, you actually only lose 1/2 stop of light, which seems a bit strange.

I was also interested in seeing how much light was lost between shooting at full power on both flashes versus full power in HSS mode. Both flashes recorded values at around f/12 at full power at ISO 100 and 1/200 (normal sync), while they both recorded values at around f/1.6 at ISO 100 and 1/4,000 (HSS mode). If you do the math, this shows that you lose about a full 2 stops of flash power when shooting in HSS mode versus shooting at your camera's normal max sync speed. We will probably do another video on this topic, but this should prove that HSS mode does not help you "overpower the sun," but actually gives you a handicap when trying to overpower the sun. The real reason to use HSS mode is to keep your aperture wide open while shooting outdoors with flash. If you truly want to overpower the ambient light, your best bang for your buck is to set your camera at 1/200th of a second and stop your lens down to f/8 or more. This will always give you more power from your strobe at the expense of having a sharper background.

Overall, I'd say both flashes perform about the same in HSS mode, so I don't think there is a clear winner here.

The Modeling Light Test

One of the biggest advances found on the new Profoto B10 is it lets you color balance the LED modeling light. This is super useful if you shoot video and want to use constant light with all of the light modifiers you already own. It's also handy if you want to shoot natural light photos and add constant light to your scene. The Godox AD400 also has a powerful modeling lamp, but the color cannot be changed to balance between incandescent and daylight white balances. In this regard, the Profoto B10 is the better option for a useful modeling lamp.

We did test the overall brightness of each units model lamp, and this chart shows our findings:

Different power levels of constant lights

As you can see, we not only tested the B10 and AD400 in this test, but we also added our favorite hot light, the Feliix P360 light, as well as our favorite small LED panel and the tiny waterproof Litra mini LED light. We also tested the Apple iPhone's led light, but it was not bright enough to register a value at all. From the results, the AD400 light is 1.2 stops brighter than the B10 led light, but that is to be expected since the B10 light is bi-color, and that probably takes away a full stop of light from the array. Just comparing these two lights, I'd say the B10 is still the better option if having a usable bi-color LED is important to you, but for us, we will still use our Feliix P360 light in the studio when filming video.

Refresh Rates

Now that we have all the super technical tests behind us, we wanted to find out which flash had the faster recycle rates. This is important to any photographer who has had to shoot fast action back to back outside with full-power flash bursts. If a flash is too slow to recycle, you will get uneven exposures at best and a completely dark subject at the worst.

Even though Profoto claims to have a full recycle time of 2.2 seconds, we found it to be closer to 1.7 seconds between each full-power flash pop. For the Godox flash, we found the AD400 to recycle at roughly one second, even though they advertise 0.9 seconds. So, clearly the Godox is slightly faster, but we found both flashes to be extremely fast at less than two seconds each. If you are shooting catalog work, events, headshots, or standard portraits, the recycle rate of either of these flashes shouldn't give you any issues, but if you are shooting fast-moving sports where you need to blast through 3-5 frames per second, you are probably going to want to buy a much more powerful studio power pack to guarantee every photo is exposed evenly. In the end, we have to give Godox credit for having a faster recycle time than the Profoto B10.

White Balance

One of the biggest complaints I have heard about cheaper flashes is that they do not show color consistently between consecutive flash pops or among different power settings. For this test, we abandoned the Sekonic light meter (although yes, it can measure white balance) and instead just did a simple eyeball test by taking photographs. 

For the first test, we wanted to see if the color temperature between the Profoto B10 and the Godox AD400 changed as we blasted through 20 images back to back. We used the Fstoppers Flash Disc as a gray card reference. To our surprise, the color accuracy between every flash fire was identical on all power settings. That's pretty impressive for both units.

White balance from full power to lowest power

For the second test, we wanted to see if the color temperature changed as we went from full power to the lowest power. Once again, both units showed pretty constant white balance color, even though the exposure varied a bit between each setting (as mentioned above, one stop down doesn't always equal one full stop output). As you can see in the animation above, we did find a lot of color variation with the Profoto B10 when the unit was placed in Freeze mode. This mode allows those lightning-fast flash durations, but at the expense of accurate color. You can clearly see the flash gets bluer as you lower the power setting, but retains pretty accurate color balance from full power down to about 1/16th power. The Godox flash did not experience any major shift in color regardless of the color mode it was set to. The Profoto might be slightly more accurate in color mode, but you might actually prefer getting the more accurate color and shorter flash duration of the Godox in freeze mode. 

Technically Profoto may be slightly more accurate by an extremely small margin in color mode but you could also make the argument that the Godox is a more well-rounded flash because it has extremely accurate color while in freeze mode. We gave the technical win to Profoto the video but this is certainly up for debate. 

Remote Features

The remotes for both flashes are pretty similar aside from one major missing feature on Profoto's. The Godox XPro remote shows the output of the flash on the remote, while the Profoto doesn't. You can still control the power output up or down, but the remote itself doesn't display what the power output will be. 

The B10 does also have Bluetooth and can connect to a smartphone via an app that can control and show you the power output of the lights. This is a great feature, but we would rather have had this information show up on the remote.  

Remote Range

Surprisingly, both remotes have an incredible range that became unreliable at the exact same distance. From our tests, both units worked at an insane distance of about 500 feet. We could never get other radio triggers to fire reliably even half of this distance so this is a dream come true in wireless triggering. 

Warranty and Repairs

We have not personally looked into Godox repairs, but we have heard many people claim they are disposable in the sense that you won't be able to have them repaired in the US. Profoto does have a warranty and a local repair facility so it's nice to know you can always send your gear to them for repairs in the event something malfunctions or breaks.

Price

If the Profoto B10 cost a few hundred dollars more than the AD400, I think it could be easily justifiable, even to photography enthusiasts, but it doesn't. 

The B10 costs $1,600, while the AD400Pro is $650. The Profoto remote is $420 and the Godox remote is $70. The Profoto battery is $200 and the Godox's is $170

If you bought a flash, remote, and extra battery, the Profoto package would cost $2,200 while the Godox would cost $890. That's 40 percent of the cost. 

Conclusion

The Profoto B10 is a better flash by a small margin in the most important tests, but in some categories, the Godox was the clear winner. The fact that the AD400 can be outfitted to accept modifiers from four different brands makes it extremely versatile. Perhaps the most impressive feature was the Godox remote that had a similar range, more features, and was 20 percent of the cost of Profoto's remote. 

For the majority of people reading this, the Godox AD400 is the obvious choice. You're getting a Profoto B10 in a larger package for a fraction of the cost. If it breaks, you'll literally be able to buy another one, and you'll still be saving money. 

But, if you're a professional photographer, and you're willing to spend more than double the cost to have similar technology packed down into a significantly smaller, much higher quality package, you're still going to love the B10. You just have to realize that you are paying a premium for a luxury item that will probably have no effect on your actual photography... but, that goes for basically any piece of new gear.

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123 Comments

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Patrick Hall's picture

The trophy was for the Battery size and power, not the AC plug.

The trophy for the WB test was because we felt the Profoto WB was more accurate in the non freeze mode. I guess you could say Profoto lost in the Freeze mode but won in the color mode so maybe it should be a tie?

You know, I’ll definitely look sleeker and more professional with battery-powered b10s than I look with wired Elinchrom RX Ones. It may really earn me more money (or not :) ).

Patrick Hall's picture

Prob not but the sleeker ones may pack tighter in your backpack and roller ;)

Motti Bembaron's picture

Hardly justifying the huge price gap of course :-)..Sleek or not.

Isn't it misleading to test the flashes without modifiers? The Profoto has, essentially, a built in beauty dish, while the Godox is throwing considerable light out the sides. In fact, most of the light from the unmodified Godox is not even reaching your light meter. You actually identify this very phenomenon in the footnote of the AD200 for having a Fresnel head--it makes a very considerable difference! Why do you call out the Godox AD200 for this, and not the Profoto? The Godox comes with a beauty dish too, just because the Profoto dish can't be removed, shouldn't be an advantage. Does anyone use a light of that style without a modifier? Testing the Godox with it's included beauty dish would have been a much better, and more accurate, test of the useful power output.

Also, the rating system could be improved. It would be more accurate to count the tied points, not just the winners. If a two products were tied for 8 points, and one won by 2, the apparent score of 2-0 isn't accurate or representative while 10 to 8 is.

Motti Bembaron's picture

True. If I am not mistaken I get one stop more with the AD200 when using bare bulb and a reflector

Patrick Hall's picture

I already addressed this same complain above....we outfitted the Godox AD400 with the Profoto mounting adapter so no, the two units weren't unfairly tested. Both units had a recessed bulb firing directly foward. If anything, the Profoto might have had a disadvantage because it had a piece of glass in front of it which might have lowered the flash power (but probably not significantly).

Yes, the units were "unfairly tested".

You essentially tested the efficiency of the Profoto adapter in throwing all the AD400's output forward. You may have shown us that the Profoto adapter doesn't do a great job but you haven't shown us how the B10 compares to the AD400 when the latter is not hampered by an adapter.

You should have ran a test using a softbox and then measure the total light output as well as possible. The B10 would produce more of a hot spot in the centre of the front baffle, so measuring just a single point as you appear to be doing all the time wouldn't be helpful at all.

The AD400's bare bulb characteristic would also achieve a better fill of the light modifier and therefore a better quality of light.

Mike Leland's picture

Thanks for the review, Lee. Although I’m really not interested in more recessed tube strobes as most of my modifiers require an exposed tube. I do think these will be fantastic for many cases and I plan on picking up a few.

I wanted to mention that Profoto heads and monolights are compatible with far more than just Profoto modifiers.

All of the major manufacturers offer native Profoto versions or adapters (Broncolor, Elinchrom, Mola, PCB, Latolite, Westcott) even companies like Cheetahstand offer their modifiers in native Profoto versions or adapters.

Add in the fact that the Profoto standard head size is smaller in circumference than the Bowens mount and that Bowens/Profoto adapters are easily available, this means that any Bowens mount light modifier can be used on a Profoto head or monolight.

So the availability of light modifiers for Profoto is vastly larger than that of a Bowens mount strobe.

Patrick Hall's picture

I think what Lee meant to say was Profoto only works with Profoto speedrings and mounts where as the Godox can change to be any mount you want. So yes, other brand's accessories can fit on Profoto, but you can't easily adapt your existing modifiers to Profoto if they are for another mount altogether.

Mike Leland's picture

Hey Patrick! I blame my ADHD for me just now coming back to this tab and realizing that I never posted the below comment :)

As you explain it is how I understood what Lee was saying. And that is exactly what lead to my point about Profoto adapters. I've had in my studio for at least 15 years, several adapters that will adapt Elinchrom, Bowens or Bron to Profoto heads. These are all commercially available adapters and have been available for quite some time.

Yes, I mentioned companies offering Profoto mounts for their modifiers. But I think it's the adapters that you're missing.

To be more specific, let's say you invite me to your studio and I bring one of my lighting packages(Profoto) but no modifiers. You have a range of lighting modifiers from Elinchrom, Bowens (Or Godox/Cheetahstand/Glow/etc) but no Profoto modifiers. I can use any of those modifiers with my Profoto strobes because I carry adapters in my lighting packages.

Make sense? :)

PS. I know you use Profoto and I appreciate your honest feedback on their system!

Generous giving Godox three trophies for pricing. I feel pricing should have been worth 1 trophy.

The real point was to give them an equal amount of trophies because they are so similar with price is considered.

1st trophy for the light, 2nd for the remote, 3rd for accessories all being cheaper.
If I break just my dome and flashtube on my Acute 2, I can buy an entire AD600 Pro.
People talk about the durability and longevity of Profoto gear, but I can't even buy a flashtube for the Compact 600 when it eventually dies.

Lars Daniel Terkelsen's picture

I consider it to be a deal breaker, that the Profoto remote does not show the power of the flash. It is almost as silly as a camera that can not show you your f-stop, but you can only turn it up or down.
Anyway, I assume they are working on a new remote, that will reflect that we are soon in 2019. ;-)

Angelo Duarte's picture

Thanks for the review. Useful as always, I’ve been procrastinating on buying my first strobe for a while. I definitely fit into the Godox category but can completely see why a pro would shell out, that Profoto is one attractive bit of kit for a light.

Possibly very stupid question, wondering if I could kill two birds with one stone. Would the modelling light feature be useful for long exposure light painting? I had cars in mind initially (I currently use some cheap LED panels I was planning to upgrade). I know I’d have other options for lighting cars with the 400 but just wondering. Thanks.

Patrick Hall's picture

Yeah absolutely! You can light paint with almost any light in total darkness but both of these lights would make it easier to light paint with a larger softbox attached than other smaller light sources.

Angelo Duarte's picture

Perfect, thanks very much

Spy Black's picture

Very good article guys, well done.

One additional perspective to consider about cost is also that you can have an entirely redundant setup with the Godox system for the price the Profoto unit, with enough money left over to buy modifiers for both systems. In a professional shooting environment that should not be overlooked. Food for thought. :-)

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Nice review, Lee. I have no experience with either of these lights, but I'm a big fan of my Interfit S1’s! In fact, I need to order two more soon.

No more!!!! I can’t get excited for another review like this for a long time.

Konrad Sarnowski's picture

Great job! I'm using Godox/Quadralite for a couple of years and in general it all matches up. And as Francisco Hernandez mentioned, repairs are handled by distributors - it will be Quadralite in Europe ;)

Francisco Hernandez's picture

Thanks for adding that. I know there's so many distributors around the world it's hard to catch them all. When the AD600 first came out I caught about 8 different names for it by these companies who resold them.

james aitcheson's picture

I have to laugh, I think I spend more time reading the youtube comments then watching the video....lol Lee Morris and Patrick Hall it doesn't matter what you do or say there is just a whole trove of people who just think you guys make this shit up and or are paid to say anything that comes out of your mouth. doesn't matter what you said people saw all the trophies and assumed you were giving everything to the b10. It amazes me how people can watch the same video and come away with 1 million different messages.

Patrick Hall's picture

I bet if we were paid like so many people suggest, we problably wouldn’t get away with as much as we do say. Maybe it’s time to start invoicing

Mike Last's picture

Some amount of disclosure/bias at the beginning or end of these non-sponsored gear articles might be helpful. Lee glosses over it at the beginning of the video. Were the units provided by the manufacturer for review and sent back or purchased by FStoppers? Did Profoto give everyone free B10s for coming to Alaska? Are Godox or Profoto current or past sponsors of the site? Most of the points in this article are quantitative, but the info is still relevant to the readers.

We got both lights for free from both companies. We purchased a 3rd b10 on our own 2 days before filming this review.

Measurements may appear to be objective but it also matters how one measures.

Using a single metering result (probably obtained from the centre) for the output of a light source is entirely inadequate as it rewards light sources that concentrate the light in the centre. This can be seen in the AD200 result and wasn't accounted for by using a probably not so hot AD400 Profoto adapter.

Other measurements for recycling time, flash duration, etc. would have to be adjusted if it were found that the AD400 indeed generates more light and for many applications better light due to it's bare bulb characteristic.

Crippling the AD400 with an adapter and using inadequate measurement techniques will give you anything but quantitative results that support a fair comparison.

Another problem are interpretation of results. For instance, it really doesn't matter for non-scientific applications whether dialling down a light by a stop yields 1.0 or 0.96 stops less. It is far more important that one has small steps available that always achieve an effect in the expected direction.

Profoto owners are acting like we were too nice to Godox and Godox owners are acting like we changed the stats in Profoto's favor. The only thing that is debatable in my mind is the color test. Perhaps the winner should be Godox and not Profoto because Profoto's color is so bad in freeze mode, but in color mode, Profoto is slightly better.

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