The recent release of the Godox AD200 / eVOLV 200 has been a great development, and will hopefully spark some new ideas in the way lighting manufacturers approach the design of compact flash units.
Though the one thing that is currently still holding back most cordless strobes from taking over more from mains powered AC lights is still the lack of serious modelling lights.
And even a compact 200Ws strobe like the AD200 could be incredibly versatile if they also had a serious modelling light solution available.
So below I have put together concept suggestions for a cordless AD360 style flash, and also a modelling light enabled S-type bracket for the AD200.
I’m not suggesting Godox have plans to produce any of these, they are just concepts.
CORDELSS AD360 III CONCEPT
The all in one cordless AD360 would ideally provide the compact and light weight Godox accessory mount built-in (already used in the Godox version AD600).
Using that mount would allow space for a ring of LED modelling lights, ideally providing around 30 – 40 watts total (around 200 watt halogen)
And the flash body would stay within approximately 90mm diameter, so the whole unit can then slide into an S-type bracket, and right through the speedring collar. Providing something of a Profoto like depth adjustment into the Bowens mount modifiers.
With an adapter sleeve bringing the flash body up to 100mm diameter, Profoto modifiers could likely even be attached directly to the strobe then as well.
So this design allows for the all important unobstructed modelling lights, while still allowing standard reflector and light weight modifiers to be mounted directly to the strobe in its most compact form.
Though also providing a simple S-type mount, with full depth adjustment. Which as discussed bellow can be very valuable, particularly with compact strobes.
And even with the larger S-type bracket attached, the whole unit would still be considerably more manageable than the full size AD600B / XPLOR.
Regarding the depth adjustment into Bowens S-type modifiers. Original Bowens strobes traditionally have the flash tube and backing plate protruding well outside of the modifier mount.
And a common issue with many other brand lights is simply that their flash tube does not protrude far enough into the modifiers, due to the deep collar Bowens style speedrings often use.
For example, mounting an AD200 flash in an S-type bracket I found moving the flash forward actually provided 0.4 stops more light in a 38″ Glow ParaPop softbox. Which put the AD200 just one stop below the much larger AD600 in the same softbox.
So this ability to slide the flash right through the Bowens speedring collar provides something of a Profoto style depth adjustment. Which can effect the light output, and also allow adjustment for the spread of light when used in parabolic reflectors etc.
AD200 / eVOLV S-TYPE BRACKET WITH MODELLING LIGHT
Providing a serious modelling light for the current AD200 / eVOLV there are a few more issues to overcome.
The current bare bulb head has no room to fit any LED lights with the standard reflector etc mounted. And also the on-board battery alone is not going to last long with a decent 20 – 40 watt LED light.
Godox are interested in producing a dual mount for two AD200 though. So an S-type bracket with its own built in LED light and battery compartment could be a nice solution.
The bracket serves two purposes then, as it can be used to provide an LED modelling light even if using just a single AD200, or with dual AD200 mounted.
The dual bulb mount would reduce the bracket cost significantly by allowing you to use the original flash tubes which come with the strobes.
For the LED light the bracket would use its own AD200 battery. (Which also provides a spare battery for further flash use if needed).
And for people that do use dual mount a lot, and are prepared to pay the extra for a dedicated flash tube, Godox could possibly provide an optional dual filament flash tube as well.
Also a simple dual purpose handle could be made available, for easier tilting of the flash/modifier, as well as hand holding the set up.
Godox have confirmed they do want to produce some form of dual mount for the AD200, though they have not commented on the modelling light concept (at the time of writing this), which I personally think is the key factor.
Unfortunately this unit would not be depth adjustable for the flash tube into the modifier. Though the idea would be to at least set the flash tube mount and backing plate so they are already protruding out from the mount to some degree.
Ideally it would even be nice if the flash tube mount would slide in and out of the bracket, so that its still as compact as possible when packing etc. (Though that may be asking a bit much).
AD600B / XPLOR MODELLING LIGHT AND FLASH TUBE MOUNT
With the AD600B / XPLOR, we had been suggesting to Godox before the flash was released that spacing the flash tube out an inch, and using that mount area to add some serious LED modelling lights would be a great improvement to the output of both. (Obviously the never happened unfortunately).
Godox have confirmed they will at least look at improving the AD600 modelling lights when developing the next version of the strobe. Though no time or specifies have been mentioned.
So that’s just a few ideas. Though I hope Godox, and other manufacturers, do start really considering serious LED modelling lights (20W LED / 150W halogen absolute minimum). Especially when we are in the age of video now as well.
People do want to use these same cordless strobes outdoors and in the studio etc, and the lack of modelling lights is the last thing holding that back.
And also consider the depth adjustable S-type mounting concept.
Over the last few years many people have been feeling out what the most practical size strobe would be for them, and the 300 – 400Ws compact units like the AD360 have often been the most popular choice.
Now many people are just waiting on cordless versions to emerge, and very few manufactures have even entered this space just yet. If anything the SMDV BRiHT-360 are really the first to get started.
Though the BRiHT-360 only have limited space for 7W LED lights, and the flash body will not fit through a Bowens speedring insert.
SMDV are will no doubt come up with some good solutions, though hopefully manufacturers that haven’t started yet can consider these concepts from the beginning.
COMMON BATTERIES & CHARGERS ETC
Another thing we have been suggesting for almost a decade now is to look at how the cordless power tool industry has evolved.
Cordless power tools are serious business now, and have taken over from many AC powered tools you wouldn’t have though possible or practical just a short time ago.
What makes them practical for serious tradespeople to use though is things like common batteries, and multi dock chargers etc.
A cordless tool which is not part of a larger system, using a common battery system, simply won’t sell anymore.
The battery mount is the same for all tools, though batteries can then come in varying size and capacity.
Even the shape can be quite different, as long as they fit the common mount.
So this is something strobe lighting manufacturers could really be considering when first designing a cordless strobe, to fit in with a possible larger system in the future.
Continuous lights have developed common standards like the Sony NP-F and V-mounts, though so far for strobes its been a free for all, and that’s not the most practical situation.
Also another reason we have been suggesting for some time now to look at the power tool industry for inspiration, is actually the way they are built to take some abuse.
Obviously studio strobes can be quite delicate, where speedlites often stand up to a reasonable beating.
With strobes like the AD200 now starting to make the crossover between the two, they could be designed with rubber padding etc so that they can at least be easily stacked together (even just for transport), or placed on rough surfaces etc.
Again we had been suggesting dedicated off camera strobes similar to the AD200 concept almost a decade ago.
The key now though is practical modelling lights. with a corresponding modifier mount.
And the ability fit through a Bowens speedring for depth adjustment makes a lot of sense.
Godox may be just lucky their AD600 mount is the right size. Because the last thing needed is more different new mounts again.
Though a compact modifier mount which will accommodate the modelling lights is needed. Even if traditional horse shoe shape bulb with LED light in the center are used instead.
More serious LED lights need to start happening though if cordless strobes are going to really move forward.