The YN200 Versus the AD200: Yongnuo's Rival to Godox’s Best Selling Strobe

The YN200 Versus the AD200: Yongnuo's Rival to Godox’s Best Selling Strobe

The portable strobe wars are not over yet. Yongnuo is going after its own China based competition with its new pocket strobe, the YN200.

Yongnuo was the original disruptor in the flash industry a few short years ago bringing familiar flashes with proprietary transmitters to market that worked nearly as well as the first party flashes that inspired them. Though Canon and Nikon went after the company with side-by-side teardown of the flash units and compared them, many photographers saw little difference in the quality of the lighting or the output of the light itself. With versions of the flashes being purchased for an incredible savings of 1/4 to 1/6 of the price of first party units, it was no wonder they were selling so well. After the introduction of Godox into the market, Yongnuo seemed to bow out with the new competition in its space.

Godox took a different avenue with its flashes eventually creating a relationship with resellers in the USA including Adorama, one of the largest camera sellers in the country. Included in this new network were much smaller resellers and camera stores that took over for the maintenance and repair of the Godox flash and strobe units; a need that was missing in the Yongnuo system. With the advantages of a newly formed network that responded with robust dedication to the brand while expanding its lighting offerings, Godox made inroads that only premium flash companies had previously done while keeping their pricing at a fraction of the first party offerings and other premium brands.

Though Yongnuo has lacked any true innovation, the company is not out of the race yet. A recent post on Flash Havoc has created a stir that could be an injection of adrenaline for the flash brand. Yongnuo looks to be going back to it’s roots but this time its creating a similar to strobe to the AD200 to elevate itself back into contention. The YN200 looks to be a near carte-blanche copy of one of the arguably best selling strobes ever made, the Godox AD200.

Yongnuo YN200 detachable battery compartment

Yongnuo YN200 detachable battery compartment.

Yongnuo looks to have copied the form factor and essence of the Godox strobe with an external bulb design that looks to nearly match the current best seller. With Yongnuo’s penchant to take premium flashes and remove any gluttony from that iteration of the lighting so the similar flash is as “bare-bones” as possible. So, how much will the Yongnuo shave from the Godox light?

If you’ve been on any lighting forum in the past 18 months, when the talk of Godox comes up, there is incessant chatter of how cheap the light is made. Having worked with the AD200, and personally owning five of the units, I think they are as well made as my Canon Speedlite 600EX-RTs, which I own four of, and find the Yongnuo 600EX-RTs, which I own four of as well, fairly robust overall. When it comes right down to it, all three options have reasons to be in my bag and all just work without nearly any issues. So the question is how different can the Yongnuo YN200 really be from the Godox AD200? How much cheaper can a light in that size and form factor be made?

Godox’s philosophy has been to create an ecosystem that supports its flashes and strobes at one of the lowest price points of any manufacturer today while still being a robust lighting option. Overall it looks like they’ve achieved that the past two years and have created a near cult following of artificial lighting supporters. For Yongnuo, it may be a last ditch effort to try to gain some momentum on the coat tails of the AD200's popularity and generate some needed interest and sales while not truly realizing where the real value of the lighting line lies that Godox has created. 

Are you excited for the Yongnuo YN200? Are you sticking with your flash brand of choice?

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20 Comments

Albert Harris's picture

I'm going to be sticking with Godox because I'm already invested in their ecosystem of flashes. Changing systems again is just unnecessary when Godox works just fine.

JT Blenker's picture

Going into a system is why I’ve stayed with Canon and have yet to truly deviate. Same with Godox as I originally went with 2 AD200s to work with and see if they could deal with a photog who isn’t “nice” to his gear. They’ve lasted and why I went and picked up 3 more.

They also make studiostobes with led pilot light, some 200 USD each. Godox don't, what they offer is old tech.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Godox has like $150 studio strobes.

Yes but they use bulbs not led light for modeling, and only have a few fstop down.

Google "AD200 banding". There are functionality problems with the AD200 flashes that, if Yongnuo can solve them, will give them not just a price advantage but a technical edge as well. I was burned by the AD200 banding issue before I understood how to avoid it. But avoiding it limits my choices for settings in a way that restricts my creativity (a little). The combination of eliminating the banding issue and a very low price would tempt me back to Yongnuo after using Godox/Flashpoint for the past year and a half. And even if I don't switch, the competition might pull the AD200's price lower, which is good for consumers. Maybe Godox will even be motivated to fix the banding issue. That would be awesome.

JT Blenker's picture

I’ve heard of the banding with HSS but it has seemed to be with the fresnel head. Using soft boxes when needing HSS has yet to show the banding to me but I normally use an ND filter rather than HSS.

Adam Palmer's picture

I have about 9 different godox flashes. Never noticed any banding but I tend to avoid HSS in order to get the best efficiency.

Banding with Hyper-sync is one of the weaknesses of Hyper-sync that gets scant discussion. HSS less so but the efficiency loss is large.

Akpe ododoru's picture

Been shooting with Godox for more than a year now and haven't experienced banding or any issue at all, so no need for me to go google anything.
Beside i heard that the banding thing mainly happens with sony mirrorless cameras

Eric Crudup's picture

The AD200 is already cheap as hell. I'm not buying another Yongnuo flash, the build quality is terrible. Don't need to save some extra bucks on an already dirt cheap flash.

JT Blenker's picture

If you're already invested, the Godox system has a LOT of positives.

Jeff McCollough's picture

The Yongnuo 600EXRT is actually a fantastic flash.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I never used Yongnuo but my colleague told me that the 600 EX-RT II is a very good flash

Eric Crudup's picture

I own it. The build is not nearly as good as my canon speedlite. My Godox stuff seems more solid and professional although I've never dropped or damaged a flash so the Yongnuo is still working perfectly but I don't trust it as much as Canon or Godox. The buttons and dials feel cheap, and the swivel mechanism is abysmal and feels like it could break at any time. The side buttons for engaging the tilt are sooooooo bad.

That said, it's also worth the price and I'd still recommend it for someone on an extreme budget. That recommendation might change if/when I buy any Godox speedlites, but I've only used their strobes so don't have an opinion on Godox speedlites. Maybe the lower end Godox stuff has build issues too?

I started with Godox the moment they offered a Li-ion powered speedlight. They had great triggers for them and just kept building on their success.
The latest AD 600/400 Pro series are every bit as good as Profoto; their fans/apologists notwithstanding.
I use a whole range of their lights every day and the only failure I have had is dropping two 850s. However I have had an AD 600 fall 15 feet while on a light stand and it just bent the reflector.

Alvin Telan's picture

yong-NO.

marc gabor's picture

I just assumed they were all coming out of the same factory and with different branding and distribution. These look like they're exactly the same hardware. FWIW I have a Godox AD600 and AD200 and they're perfect for shooting on location. They make a great pair and having an assistant follow you around with an AD200 plus umbrella is a really easy way to get some fill when you're shooting outside.

Logan Cressler's picture

Just because things look similar doesn't mean they are the same on the inside. Yes frequently a factory will be contracted by multiple different companies to make a similar product because they already know how to make it and are set up to do so, they will be cheaper than the competition. But it is not like they just take some Godox off the line and put different stickers on it. The OEM makes it to, however, the client likes, and the outside usually looks the same, but the inside may have completely different chipsets, boards, build quality, etc in an effort to be cheaper.

I.E. you can get a Chinese diesel heater that looks just like a Webasto, for around $200, or you can get a webasto for $1200.

Looks the same on the outside, different animal inside when it comes to parts quality. Up to the consumer to decide which is better for their needs.

Competition is never a bad thing. I have a couple of AD600M and will probably supplement with a couple of AD200. I do wish Godox would provide a choice of heads though as I can't see ever using the speed light head. One price for the strobe with the heads priced separately would be ideal. A fully manual version would be welcome too, as I never use TTL and the controls are always a bit simpler on manual strobes. No use paying for features you will never use, maybe the new Yongnuo will inspire Godox to revamp the way they package the AD200.