The Godox PB960 Power pack has been discussed already in the Godox Witstro review, though I haven’t really reviewed the pack itself when used with speedlites.
I have some more Lithium packs now to review, though testing those has just reaffirmed how good the Godox PB-960 are.
The reason for the dramatic difference compared to AA packs, is that the 8 cell AA packs require 12 AA batteries per flash (4 in the flash, 8 in the pack), so that’s 24 AA batteries just for one dual flash set up.
And although the AA packs generally have plenty of capacity for most use, they don’t have that much extra that you’re not often going to be recharging all the batteries after each use, to be safe for the next shoot.
Many people run 2 of these dual set ups, so that’s 48 AA cells! But even just 24 cells is LOT of battery charging and management all the time.
Using the PB960 in comparison is a whole world of difference, as they save a huge amount of time and hassle charging and managing lots of separate battery cells. The pack has around 1800 full power pop capacity, which is close to 4 times that of an AA pack.
And that extra capacity makes a big difference, because it means you don’t have to be constantly recharging them all the time. But when you do need to, it literally takes 5 seconds to plug the one simple pack into the wall charger. If you have a couple of packs you can easily charge them both at the same time, and 3 hours later you’re good to go again.
Compare that to cycling 24 or 48 AA cells through (even a couple of 8 cell chargers) all the time, and you will never want to go back.
If you’re just shooting for fun, I dare say this makes as much difference if not more. Because not having to deal with battery management all the time just makes using the lighting that much more enjoyable. So although the $14o + price of the Godox pack is considerably more than some of the very inexpensive AA packs now available, I think they are still really worth considering.
PRICE / VALUE
From around $140 the PB960 are not cheap. But looking at the comparison, the better quality Pixel AA Packs are around $70, plus $20 for 8 Eneloops. Which is around $90 per pack, or $180 for 2 flashes. Which is not that far off the PB960 price anyway. Add a decent AA charger and you’re about equal.
Two Nikon AA packs in comparison are well over double the price of the PB960, and that’s for half the capacity, and less speed. So you can see the Godox pack is not only much more powerful and convenient than the Canon/Nikon packs, but if you start considering dual flash use much better value as well.
If you haven’t tried dual flash with a battery pack by the way, its absolutely chalk and cheese compared to a single flash at the same light output. With two flashes at half power the recycle time is instant, but you can also fire a lot more shots consecutively without overheating the flash. Compared to a singe flash having to work much harder at full power and there is just no comparison.
The set up pictured at the top by the way is just 2 inexpensive $70 YN-560 III remote manual flashes. And they work great with the PB960 pack. $280 for the set is less than the price of many speedlites alone, and as described above they will blow away any single speedlight in comparison.
The PB960 is 11.1 volt, 4500mAh, which provides around 1800 full power pops with a single speedlight! Or around 900 pops each for 2 speedlights.
In comparison an 8 AA pack filled with 2000mAh Eneloops would be lucky to get 450 full power pops. So the PB960 is easily around 3 to 4 times the capacity.
The PB960 will recycle one or 2 speedlights in 0.7 to 0.8 seconds at full power. That is when also using the flashes internal batteries to help recharge the flash capacitor as well.
Some flashes give you the option to use the external pack only to recharge the flash capacitor. In that case the recycle time is around 1.2 seconds.
In comparison the Canon/Nikon AA packs recycle around 1.2 seconds with the flashes internal batteries helping (compared to 0.7-0.8 for the PB960).
One thing to note here is that the PB960 are designed to power 2 flashes without reducing recycle time when a second flash is plugged in. As mentioned further below, there is now a 2 into 1 cord available that joins the 2 ports into 1, halving the recycle time again when using just one flash unit.
SIZE & WEIGHT
At around 670 grams the PB960 battery packs are about 30% more weight than an AA pack, and probably about the same in extra volume. But that is a relatively small increase considering capacity is 3 to 4 times as much.
The extra size and weight would be something to consider if the pack was mainly for on camera flash use. Though there is no issue hanging the PB960 off your belt either.
The pack has a simple press button ON / OFF button switch. If using the Witstro that switch turns the flash on and off as well (very handy when you can’t reach the flash easily),
A very bright LED battery level indicator goes from 1 to 4 lights at full capacity.
A red LED on each side indicates when a cord is properly plugged in to the corresponding port.
PLUGS / LOCKS
The cords are 5 pin DIN plugs and sockets, which are compatible with the Quantum packs, and becoming quite standard with most battery packs which use plug in cords. (The exception there are the Jinbei packs, which use their own plugs, being one of their disadvantages).
The Godox have a locking collar which really helps to make sure the plugs don’t pull out of the sockets. Testing other packs without the locks has really shown how important they are. Particularly if using a flash on camera with the pack mounted on your belt. Using a stiff coiled cord like this, its easy to pull the cords out quite often accidentally otherwise.
Probably one of the most important features of the PB960 is the removable battery.
The actual Lithium battery pack quickly clips on and off the base of the pack. So you can have spare batteries charged and ready to swap over if needed. The charger port is in the battery itself, so you can have one battery charging while another is being used with the pack.
Another reason this is important is that Lithium batteries generally have a limited life (of around few years). Many of the alternative power packs have the batteries sealed inside, or even if they are accessible its still not clear if there will be readily available replacements (now, or in a few years time when you will likely need them). So although the PB960 is not the cheapest option, at least you know its not destined for the bin when the battery wears out.
Extra or replacement batteries are from around $55.
The base has nice rubber pads –
Godox have quite a number of cords available now including extension and splitter cords.
DB-02 – The new DB-02, Two into One splitter cord was designed for the Witstro, and connects one flash to both battery ports. Roughly halving flash recycle times again.
I’m not sure if anyone can really say if this cord can be used safely with speedlights, but I have used it with the inexpensive YN-560 speedlights and I really don’t think it has any issues. I wouldn’t risk it with more expensive speedlights though unless someone can confirm they have been doing that for quite a while without causing any problems.
With the YN-560 full power recycle is around 0.3 seconds, which is virtually instant. I don’t need that much speed, but I can see this could be useful for people wanting to shoot bursts of a number of frames a second at lower power levels. As long as the flash has time to rest between bursts I don’t think that would hurt. Overheat protection on the flash will ensure it won’t get too hot anyway. Again I personally only risk this with inexpensive flashes, so if one does die its not a big loss anyway.
DB-01 – The opposite are DB-01 one into two splitter cords, which allow 2 flashes to be connected to each battery port. So up to 4 flashes connected to each battery pack.
Obviously that will have some effect on recycle time, but the PB960 could easily handle 4 speedlights. It would really be quite similar in capacity and speed to using four separate 8 AA cell packs.
DB-USB – There is now even a USB power port connection available for powering mobile phones and other electronic gear.
I often use the Multi Boom (seen in the first image at the top of the page with dual flashes mounted), so the battery pack hangs off that creating a nice counterbalance at the same time.
But if you’re mounting the pack directly to the lightstand, a good clamp will make a world of difference to how convenient the battery pack is to use. Ideally the pack needs to be able to clip on and off easily with one hand.
The alloy clamps like the one shown below are the way to go. I tried the cheap steel ones found on Ebay, and although they do work ok, you get what you pay for there. The nice alloy ones are a lot better.
The PB960 also comes with a really nice padded shoulder strap. The pack is fairly light, but the strap really is a nice and comfortable inclusion if you are carrying the battery over the shoulder. And it clips off just leaving the short strap ends on the battery pack.
The straps on some of the alternative packs in comparison are hardly worth including. This just shows Godox’s attention to detail with the PB960, finishing everything off properly to really be used.
The included charger is also fairly compact and lightweight, so you could easily carry a few to charge to charge a few packs at the same time if needed –
GODOX WITSTRO AD180
And you can also run a couple of Witstro AD180 lights off the one PB960 pack as well, without any reduction in recycle time (around 2.6 seconds at full power). That is provided you don’t get used to the 1.3 second recycle the 2 into 1 splitter cord mentioned above allows. You can even run two AD360 off the one pack if you wanted to.
- Battery pack – Lithium battery (11.1V/4500mAH)
- Battery charging time – Approx. 3 hours
- Flash charging time – Approx. 2.6 second (full power AD180), 1 second (full power speedlite)
- Flash time – Approx. 900 times (full power AD180), 1800 times (full power speedlite)
- Overall dimension – 159 x 133.5 x 49.2mm
- Weight – 560g
I don’t think I need to say the Godox PB960 comes highly recommended. Its one of my favorite pieces of gear for a long time, and really makes a huge difference compared to using AA packs and batteries.
Using the Godox Witstro lights I hardly have to touch an AA battery or charger. If the speedlights have a custom function available, just set that to external battery only, and use Eneloop batteries in the flash, and you hardly have to touch AA batteries there either.
There are cheaper alternatives, but the Godox pack is very well refined, and removable battery means it will be still going for years to come. So its likley better value in the long run anyway, and more enjoyable to use now.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
The PB960 Lithium battery pack is available from around $135.
Godox – Website
Godox – Witstro Review