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 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?