The Reason Why I Choose Profoto Over Godox

The Reason Why I Choose Profoto Over Godox

I once started with the top of the line Canon flash with a remote controller. Even though those flashes very good, they can have too little light output for off camera flash. That is why I started looking for a portable studio flash system and I ended up with the expensive Profoto system.

I use flash for my wedding photography, cooperate portrait sessions, and an occasional on site model shoot. Especially for weddings I need a hot shoe flash gun with TTL possibilities, because I have to be flexible and I don’t have time to adjust flash output manually. For all other use of flash I can work manually and off camera. For this I owned a couple of Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flashguns, together with the Canon ST-E3-RT remote trigger. This works perfectly but often I ran into the limited flash output of these flash guns, especially when I used a softbox or an umbrella. That is why I decided to buy a more powerful flash.

Strobist photo session in a magical place. The Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT inside the softbox was almost too weak for this setting. It worked, but I would have liked a more powerful light.

Strobist photo session in a magical place. The Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT inside the softbox was almost too weak for this setting. It worked, but I would have liked a more powerful light.

The Profoto B2 250 AirTTL Flash

The demands were simple. It had to be powerful, battery powered and easy to take with me. It also had to be robust, because I would take that flash everywhere. Flash modifiers needed to be small for transport, yet simple and quickly to set up. Then I was asked for a review of the Profoto B2 airTTL flash, with its Off Camera Flash (OCF) modifiers. Although the price was almost scary, I discovered this system to be extremely easy to use, with a very intuitive control, and a very robust build.

For the album art of the band Palais Ideal I used a Profoto B2 flash. It worked perfectly and I had no problems with a limited amount of light.

For the album art of the band Palais Ideal I used a Profoto B2 flash. It worked perfectly and I had no problems with a limited amount of light.

But I thought the flash output to be too low, so I decided to buy the more powerful B1 AirTTL and I loved it. There was only one downside to it. I still needed to use the Speedlite 600EX-RT flashguns for my flexible TTL shoot, and I used the Profoto for the stationary group portraits. So I had two separate systems that could not communicate with each other, although I could activate the Profoto by the light sensor and slave function.

The ridiculous expensive Profoto A1 flashgun. But it works seamingly with the other Profoto flashes. I no longer had to use two separate flash systems. I can even use the A1 as a trigger, if necessary.

The ridiculous expensive Profoto A1 flashgun. But it works seamingly with the other Profoto flashes. I no longer had to use two separate flash systems. I can even use the A1 as a trigger, if necessary.

Then Profoto introduced the A1 flashgun, with build in remote trigger and the possibility to work seamlessly with the other Profoto flashes. Now I used only one system, one remote trigger, and I never had to think of a workaround like slave flash triggering or other DIY solutions. It did not matter if I used it during a wedding, for cooperate shots, or a model shoot on location. It worked everywhere without problems and with amazing flexibility. Sure, it was very expensive, but it was worth it.

Working on location with the Profoto system turned out to be so much easier than a speedlite. In some situations it is possible to overpower the sunlight, something I could not do effectively with a speedlite.

Working on location with the Profoto system turned out to be so much easier than a speedlite. In some situations it is possible to overpower the sunlight, something I could not do effectively with a speedlite.

But Profoto is not the only flash system available. There are others, and I think Godox is one of the best affordable systems available. Their systems are flexible, and everything the Profoto (or other expensive brand for that matter) can do, the Godox can. And in a much, much lower price range. That is why I often wondered if I had made a good choice. Many would say, and perhaps you too, that I am a fool to spend that amount of money on a flash system. Then I got a chance to review the Godox Witstro AD600B TTL flash and all my questions would be answered.

When I got my hands on the Godox Wittstro AD600 flash I was wondering if this is a better choice. It is much, much cheaper.

When I got my hands on the Godox Wittstro AD600 flash I was wondering if this is a better choice. It is much, much cheaper.

The Godox Witstro AD600B TTL Flash

Perhaps the Witstro AB600 flash can be best compared to the B1 flash of Profoto. On paper it has a little bit more power (600Ws vs 500Ws) and it too uses a battery to power the flash. That battery is perhaps larger than the battery of the Profoto, but it delivers more flashes on one charge. The Godox is bulkier and the flash bulb protrudes. It may be easy to exchange, but it is more vulnerable. I found the menu of the Godox to be quite difficult and I often needed the manual to search for a setting or to find the explanation of an abbreviation. It has a lot of buttons and it took a lot of time to setup the flash exactly how I wanted. With the Profoto this was very straight forward and easy and I cannot remember to have ever needed the manual.

I am used to the simple Profoto menu system that does not need a manual to understand. For Godox the manual is necessary. And the amount of buttons is overwhelming. Besides the basic use, changing options and functionality is quite a challenge on location

I am used to the simple Profoto menu system that does not need a manual to understand. For Godox the manual is necessary. And the amount of buttons is overwhelming. Besides the basic use, changing options and functionality is quite a challenge on location.

When I placed the Godox next to the A1 the difference in build quality was striking. The materials used for the Godox were cheap and the quality of the buttons isn’t that good. I also disliked the way the foot of the flash was designed. When I used the Godox during a wedding on location, I did not have the same confidence as with the robust A1 flash.

Using the Godox on location, as a fill in light during a wedding. It worked perfectly and the battery power was amazing.

Using the Godox on location, as a fill in light during a wedding. It worked perfectly and the battery power was amazing.

But it worked of course. And the light produced by the Godox had a good quality, as to be expected. The Godox took more time to setup, but when it was ready, it worked without hesitation, firing flash, after flash, after flash, almost indefinitely. With 500 full power flashes it outrun the capacity of the Profoto. And the best part, Godox could be connected to the power supply and still shoot while recharging.

The battery of the Godox is large, but it holds a lot of power. To be able to plug in the power cord and continu to use the flash is the beauty of it. It is something I am missing with the Profoto B1 flash.

The battery of the Godox is large, but it holds a lot of power. To be able to plug in the power cord and continu to use the flash is the beauty of it. It is something I am missing with the Profoto B1 flash.

The TTL System

The TTL system of both systems work perfect, but if the distance of the subject and flash does not change, why would you rely on a TTL system? There is no need for it. But for the Profoto the TTL system can be very handy, even in a studio like environment. When triggered with TTL it will remember the TTL flash output setting when you switch the flash from TTL to manual. In that way you can use the light measuring system of the camera as a flash light meter. This way you can set the flash output with just one test shot, and correct it if necessary. The Godox does not remember its TTL output when you switch to manual flash, so you have to measure it yourself, or perform a lot of test shots.

I always like to shoot on TTL at first, and switch to manual flash. The Profoto will hold the TTL flash power, and I can finetune the setting after I switch to manual. With Godox I cannot use TTL for a testshot because the setting is not remembered. I hav

I always like to shoot on TTL at first, and switch to manual flash. The Profoto will hold the TTL flash power, and I can finetune the setting after I switch to manual. With Godox I cannot use TTL for a testshot because the setting is not remembered. I have to find out myself what power I need.

Remote Triggers

Whatever flash you buy, you need to trigger the flash remotely. Every flash manufacturer has its own radio trigger that not only fires the flash when the shutter is pressed, but it also can transfer information to the flash, and receive information in return. It makes TTL systems possible and although it is perhaps never needed for these kind of flash units, it can be handy at times.

The build quality of triggers is something that is not getting the attention it needs. There is one trigger I have used that had a professional feel to it, and that is the Canon ST-E3-RT. The triggers of Profoto and Godox both feel cheap. Especially the Godox is not really user friendly and although the Profoto is easier to use, with a large clear screen, I find it far from perfect.

I don't like the remote of Godox. It is a horrible unit and making adjustments is terrible.

I don't like the remote of Godox. It is a horrible unit and making adjustments is terrible.

The Profoto TTL remote is also terrible. It works better than the Godox, but the quality is horrible. And on top of that, it costs a fortune, especially compared to the Godox trigger.

The Profoto TTL remote is also terrible. It works better than the Godox, but the quality is horrible. And on top of that, it costs a fortune, especially compared to the Godox trigger.

Making a Choice

To be honest, I already decided to buy Profoto before I tried Godox. I was blown away by the simplicity of the system. It just worked, without problem or without difficult settings. On top of that it just is quality build. Making a choice is very personal, since every photographer has his or her own demands. The Profoto isn’t perfect, but I found the downsides of the system acceptable. It had more benefits.

When I received the Godox and used it, I found out it addresses some things the Profoto lacks. Nevertheless using the Godox brought only annoyances when setting up the flash. I must admit, perhaps it was because I was used to the interface of Profoto, but I didn’t enjoy using it. In the end Godox delivered the light that was needed, from that point of view there is nothing wrong with it. But using the Godox made me convince I had made the right choice.

The Godox AD600 next to the Profoto A1. Two comparible flashes that work perfectly. The Godox is relatively cheap, the Profoto is very expensive. Both have their strengths and their weaknesses.

The Godox AD600 next to the Profoto A1. Two comparible flashes that work perfectly. The Godox is relatively cheap, the Profoto is very expensive. Both have their strengths and their weaknesses.

What I Like About the Godox Witstro AD600B TTL Over the Profoto B1 AirTTL

  • Flash bulb easy to replace
  • Battery can be recharged when connected to the flash and the flash can still be used
  • Capacity of the battery that allow 500 full power flashes
  • Battery capacity can be read from the unit without disconnecting it.
  • Flash duration time is mentioned at t0.1 instead of t0.5
  • Flash power up to 600Ws
  • Good price
Using the Godox in a home made studio, shooting the dog. It works perfectly and the light is... well, good.

Using the Godox in a home made studio, shooting the dog. It works perfectly and the light is... well, good.

What I Like About the Profoto B1 Air TTL Over the Godox Witstro AD600B TTL

  • Built like a tank and sleek design
  • Flash bulb is inside and protected against collisions
  • Very easy to operate
  • Visibility of the power settings are very clear and easy to change
  • Flash intensity can be set in 0.1 stop
  • Very fast recycle time, also with full power flashes
  • Flash intensity setting in TTL is visible on the unit and that setting is kept when switching to manual flash
  • Brightness model light can be set manually or proportionally
  • Off Camera Flash modifiers are user friendly and easy to transport
  • Flash comes with a nice case, or backpack when buying two units
I prepared a setup for a few company shots. The Off Camera Flash system of Profoto is perfect for this situation and the setup of the flashes is very easy. Changing settings is very easy, without loosing contact with your subject.

I prepared a setup for a few company shots. The Off Camera Flash system of Profoto is perfect for this situation and the setup of the flashes is very easy. Changing settings is very easy, without loosing contact with your subject.

What I Don’t Like About the Godox Witstro AD600B TTL

  • Large unit, bulky
  • Build quality is disappointing
  • Handle on the foot is very large and has a bad design
  • Too many buttons and operating the menu and settings are too complex
  • Flash intensity is mentioned in full power fractions (1/2 – 1/4 - 1/8 until 1/256)
  • Dialing 1/3 stops can be confusing since the way its displayed depends if it is turned down, or turned up
  • Lowest flash intensity (1/256) cannot be set from the remote
  • The flash is without any carry case or bag for transport.
One of the major faults of the Godox is the handle. I rarely witnessed such bad design. Godox should fire the one that was responsible for this.

One of the major faults of the Godox is the handle. I rarely witnessed such bad design. Godox should fire the one that was responsible for this.

What I Don’t Like About the Profoto B1 AirTTL

  • Capacity of the battery is not that high
  • Battery can only be charged when its disconnected
  • No possibility to use the flash with power cord
  • Capacity of the battery can only be checked if it is disconnected
  • Very expensive

Epilogue

When Profoto introduced the B10 flashgun I did not think it would be interesting to me. I already had two wonderful flash units. After I read about the B10 I found out it was the answer to all the things I missed about the Profoto B1 en B2. It was small, yet powerful (enough). It had a battery that lasted much longer, and the ease of use was even better. And I could charge the unit while I was using it. The design was perfect, compact and well though through, and finally I exchanged my flash units for a set of Profoto B10. I haven’t regretted it at all.

WIth the amazing B10 Profoto addressed all shortcomings of the B1 and B2. It is small, powerfull and very versatile. Although the power is (just) over one stop less than the Godox AD600, it beats it on every level. Except - again - the prize.

WIth the amazing B10 Profoto addressed all shortcomings of the B1 and B2. It is small, powerfull and very versatile. Although the power is (just) over one stop less than the Godox AD600, it beats it on every level. Except - again - the prize.

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104 Comments

michaeljin's picture

🤦‍♂️

Tim Gallo's picture

precisely.

lol, 90 percent (ok 80-ish) of content on fstopers makes you do that. so many face palms, that you start reading it through the palm on your face ;). still coming back for good 10-20 percent left.

Tim Wilson's picture

I was on location in Paso Robles CA for a rather significant architectural shoot when my Profoto B1 fell over while atop a C-stand that was almost fully extended in height, hitting the floor of a tasting room when it fell. Aside from a broken glass dome the unit was undamaged and works flawlessly to this day. I will never complain about the price of Profoto products nor will I ever shoot with anything else.

It's perfectly understandable to compare units like these in controlled situations but one really needs to consider that it's the unpredictable moments that will ultimately have the greater impact on a shooting experience, and it's for these reasons that you really do get what you pay for IMHO.

Eric Salas's picture

My Godox AD600 has taken a spill as well. Zero damage and still works like a champ.

With that being said, I have no idea why your fall justifies the price... just being honest.

michaeljin's picture

If you're judging your lights based on which can be dropped from higher up, then you're doing something wrong.

Invest in some sandbags... 🙄

Jeff McCollough's picture

Yes and no. One of the best speedlights I have ever used (YN600EXRT) was so tough it fell a ton of times during the years I had it and it kept going and going and going. Not that I am justifying being clumsy but if my gear can stand up to a tumble in case an accident happens it gets an extra star in my review.

I have done terrible things to my three YN flashes.... one of them is held together with tape and rubber bands. They kill it every time. Six years on and just amazing. Total cost for the three six years ago was lower than €100. I don't think it is much higher now.

Kawika Lopez's picture

For me, ease of use is a top priority, and I make a lot of compromises elsewhere if it allows me to actually get the shot. In this case, it seems like cost is the compromise, which in the long run, is weighted pretty low on my priority list.

Money can’t buy talent or skill, but if you can’t execute, it doesn’t really matter.

Eric Salas's picture

NOT TODAY SATAN!

Can’t rob me of my hard earned money for comparable performance.

I think you have some typos where you said A1 instead of B1.

I appreciate the thoughtfulness and effort put out by the author to share his experiences with the two flash systems, but given this article was published more than a year after the AD600 Pro and the Pro Trigger, it seems like there should at least be a footnote of some kind to alert the reader that the currently available, next generation Godox light addresses a lot of the author's criticisms.

"the godox will not remember settings". Uh what? I have the flashpoint xplor 600 pro, which is basically a godox 600 ttl, Aland I can press the TCM button after shooting in TTL to transfer the settings to manual and then back. You need the new R2 triggers, but it works just fine. Also I just had one of my lights with a 32" octabox attached, fell from around 7feet battery first. Zero damage to the light, minor scuffing to the battery. This is the third time it's fallen and still works great. Godox/flashpoint works great and is more consistent than profoto.

Jeff McCollough's picture

How do you do that? I can't get that to work.

Profoto - Apple of the studio lights world.

Nando Harmsen's picture

I wonder how many anti-profoto people use Apple and justify the price ;)

Wayne Denny's picture

Just as an FYI, the Pro trigger ($70) for the Flashpoint/Godox brand is well worth the upgrade from the basic X1 that comes with the flash. They're both perfectly reliable, but the Pro trigger has a much larger screen and makes changes and tweaks much easier than the X1. Definitely a worthwhile investment, especially considering the price compared to the Profoto version.

Will Gavillan's picture

you're comparing an old model of the godox, but it sounds like you've justified your choice to yourself, which is all that matters. and i'm sick of all this talk of menus. if you know what you're doing, you shouldn't need to go into menus after initial setup, everything should be done from trigger. same thing with sony cameras, just set your customizations and you shouldn't have to go into menus for much of anything.

Jeff McCollough's picture

But he's right. Godox gear has a steeper learning curve. I just switched to Godox and it is the first time I have have felt the need to read the manual on lighting gear....and no I'm not that stupid.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I agree that the menu can be somewhat complex on the Godox especially their speedlights. However, if you are using it regularly it will become easier. I think that is one area where Godox can improve.

Saying that, it just cannot justify the 300% price difference.

Tell that to the customer you just failed . . .

Don't bother, they are no longer your customer.

Godox/Flashpoint, etc have their place, but they are not reliable in an intense shooting environment.

I shoot Profoto, recently acquired a few ad200s (to be used on rare occasions). They overheat and shut down because they are poorly designed, but not in the way you are reading this. They pack a lot of wallop . . . into a very, very small space, well designed circuitry, but . . . there is virtually NO thought to keeping them cool under intense usage. So, they shut down, so what? Let it rest a few minutes and start up again? Yes, but that overlooks something far more important. The entire unit is stressed when used intensely. Stressed, then stressed, then stressed. Guess what? It will fail, not temporarily, but permanently. Good design? No.

A toy, and a poorly made one at that.

Motti Bembaron's picture

What understanding the menu has to do with explaining my client? Not sure what you meant by that.

The menu is somewhat complex on their speedlight but the AD200 has an easy menu.

I have 2 AD200's and I use them on a regular basis. They do well in intense shooting (for me anyway) but they have their limit, they are small. Like you said they have their place. If you shoot fashion sessions and click 1000 an hour then they are not for that purpose of course. The 600 PRO would be what you need.

I use the AD200 for family portrait, children photography, school photography and product photography and they are excellent!

The Godox V860II perform much better than the Nikon SB-910 in both recycle time and battery life. They do heat up but so dos the SB-910 (not to mention the SB-900).

Godox flashes have over heating protection that hits in specially if you shoot in HSS mode. If also you use TTL and fire rapidly it shuld slow down after a certain number of flashes. It's in there manual. If Profoto is made in such way it will not overheat whatever Fstoppers have lost out on the main reason it could have try value to use Profoto. According to Fstoppers this is a no issue with overheating on Godox so I don't know what you did. I did 1000 shots on my AD200 of some dansers, no problem. But not on full power and a sec between each exposure minimum.

Add... sent my profoto a1 for a repair last friday ( in another city ) had back repaired yesterday

But, what price was the repair? Was it more than the price of a new Godox unit?

..ops was for recognized as a factory problem so was for free... but maybe you prefer to wait 3 months as your magic godox did to me 2 years ago...

Motti Bembaron's picture

If you buy Flashpoint brand you get local repair and warranty.

depending where you live... mine from Italy has been sent somewherelse in europe !!!

Motti Bembaron's picture

I live in Canada and we do not have a retailer brand like in the US. If there is an issue it will be hard to repair. We do have very few local repair shops but they are not always ready to fix certain things.

The thing is, I have had two V860's and one V850 since late 2014 and never had an issue (original batteries also). I also have two AD200's and another manual Godox flash since 2016 and no problems. I must say they work very well.

I hope Godox expands its service offerings to more countries but that depends on local retailers in countries to take it on.

I understand what you are saying but believe me with hopes you can't work, if I spend money for a tool i can't wait 3 months for a repair spending other money to rent other tools, but is not only about repairing i also had problems with the reliability of Godox, i have less than a minute with subjects to shot as more as i can, if a flash doesn't fire is not a little problem. as always what you pay is what you get...

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