GODOX – Witstro AD180 / AD360 Bare Bulb Flash – Review

The Godox Witstro AD180 is the first serious manual bare bulb hotshoe flash alternative to emerge, with 150WS, Remote Manual Power Control, and even remote FP HSS, filling the void left when flashes like the popular Sunpak 120J where discontinued a number of years ago.

Update – Godox also now have the larger AD360, 307WS version of the Witsro available as well. This is aproximately one stop more powerful than the AD180, and aproximately 830grams vs 600grams for the flash body. And the AD360 comes with a flat base option, otherwise it is similar to the AD180 in most respects.

NOTE – Radio Trigger options compatible with the Witstro HSS mode can be seen in the post HERE.

 

The Short Version

 

For around the price of a full size Canon or Nikon Speedlite, the AD180 puts out around a stop more light, with the broader, and in modifiers, generally softer bare bulb light quality. And that’s light you can really use at full power, unlike speedlights which often need to be run at 1/2 power or less to save from overheating. The AD180 is manual power only, though it has Remote Manual Power Setting, and FP HSS (High Speed Sync) off camera via reliable radio triggers (which is quite a unique feature in a flash unit like this). From my testing you would need at least 2 to 4 regular HSS enabled speedlights to match the one AD180’s light output in HSS.

The AD180 is powered by a Lithium battery pack which always has bucket loads of battery power to spare (up to 900 full power pops with the AD180, and 1800 full pops with a regular speedlite!). Even if you’re not interested in the flash, this little battery pack alone is brilliant. With the AD180 there are no AA batteries to mess around with at all, just the one simple pack that always has power to spare. And it fully charges again in a couple of hours when needed anyway, with one simple plug to the charger, and you can have a few charging at once. You can forget the crazy AA battery management routine altogether with this flash! Its really hard to convey in words just how much that simplifies things, and the time and preparation effort it saves.

Then you have a clear bright LCD screen which is always lit, and a super simple user interface that really puts most speedlites to shame. As well as clear and simple Remote Manual Power Control with positive feedback using good clear sound beeps, and all via reliable radio transmission with around 100m range. Recycle is 2.6 seconds at full power, or a healthy 1.2 seconds with an optional splitter cord, and you can keep that up shot after shot.

This is one well designed and well built, solid little flash unit, that’s very hard not to like. If there are any shortfalls its probably in the trigger system, which is already very functional, but still in the process of further refinement regarding HSS functionality etc. The remote and trigger system are plug in and easily replaceable later (and relatively inexpensive), so that is not a big issue anyway. The flash itself is a solid and well considered design, I would imagine is going to be around for some years to come. As mentioned the simple functionality of the AD180 for off camera use already really puts many speedlites to shame, and the flash unit itself is not that much heavier than a speedlight loaded with AA batteries inside. If you need more power for tackling the sun a 300WS version will also be available mid June.

Note – Remote FP HSS is currently only supported with Canon cameras, and using an optional Godox Cells II radio trigger unit to enable that. But we have found this can actually be used with Nikon cameras now by using some other fairly common radio triggers like the Pixel Kings. More on that bellow under High Speed Sync. I found Light output in HSS mode is up to 2 stops more than a Canon speedlight, so that’s a decent advantage. Likely even more advantage compared to Nikon speedlights which are even lower output in HSS than Canon.

My perspective – I think speedlites are fantasitc for what they are, but for a long time now I’ve been trying to convince manufacturers there could be better small flash units, more purpose built for off camera flash use. Its not necessarily all about bare bulb, though that is certainly one of the options that should be available. Zack Arias even ran a campaign a number of years ago trying to bring back the original 120J, and Edward did mention a few of years ago now that he was going to try and produce a 120j alternative. But that’s all I have heard about it until now.

Last year a number or bare bulb style units started to emerge, but most where pretty average in design, and lucky to even match the light output of a regular speedlite (as that’s not as easy as it seems to acheive). The Godox is the first serious, well designed and well built option to arrive, and it was pretty obvious from the first images appearing that someone behind this flash had a good idea of what they were doing.

Having said all that, this is not quite the format I would have had in mind myself, I still feel a combined (clip on) Lithium battery for example would be ideal in a unit this size, and extremely convenient (there are advantages to this external pack though too). But my point is that some people may just see this flash as a more affordable version of the existing Q-flash, where as I’m coming from a slightly different perspective, I see this as the first serious option in what will be the evolution of more purpose built off camera compact flash units.

I should point out though, although this unit bears a passing resemblance to the Q-flash, it was actually completely designed from scratch, 14 months of development work. There is also a 360 model (307Ws) now avialable which does have a slightly more unique look to it again.

 

Size and Build

 

Ok the first thing you notice about this flash when you first get to feel it in your hands, is that its a very solid dense little unit. Probably heavier than expected compared to speedlites, which feel quite hollow in comparison. But once you load a speedlight up with batteries there’s not actually that much difference in the weight of the flash unit itself. Adding a radio trigger with AA batteries and you’re almost equal in weight and size.

The next thing that stands straight out, is how smooth the motion of the tilt swivel head is and how it locks into place very solid. The one simple button gives you smooth free tilt and swivel, and locks firmly on release. That combined with the solid weight and feel of the unit makes it pretty obvious this is in a different class to your average speedlite.

The weight of the AD180 flash unit itself is not all that much more than a regular speedlight with AA batteries inside, 496g vs 633g.

With a radio trigger like the YN-622C shown bellow (which provides remote power control and HSS, like the AD180 has), and weight and size is almost the same.

Another profile view shown here.

Complete combined with battery pack there’s still not a big weight difference, and that’s considering the flash has twice the power, and the battery pack contains double the pops (up to 900) even with the larger flash unit, compared to around 450 – 500 for the speedlite and 8 AA pack.

The Lithium Battery pack alone is about 30% extra weight, but once again capacity with an equivalent flash is over 3 times as much. Up to 1800 full power pops with a regular speedlight, compared to around 450 – 500 for the 8 AA pack.

 

Interface

 

The AD180 interface is extremely simple and user friendly. I put everything to the idiot test now and see how far I can get operating the interface without looking at the instruction manual first. And the AD180 passed with flying colors, which means it’s easily intuitive enough that you could pass it straight to a friend or colleague and have them using it just fine without any great instructions at all.

One thing that doesn’t come across in the images is that the LCD is very crisp and bright, easy to view, and constantly lit (unlike many speedlites where you have to battle with crazy custom functions just to keep it on for 60 seconds or so) –

 

Power levels range from full power down to 1/128, in 1/3rd stops. Swiveling the dial changes the power level instantly, and it stops at top and bottom power level (which I much prefer to scrolling in an endless loop).

Admittedly the dial is not the biggest or greatest, and it can stick sometimes if you try to rotate quickly in both directions pushing on the one edge. The trick I found for easy use, is to simply push it from opposite edges to rotate in opposite directions. Chances are though you are going to adjust the power from the remote control unit most of the time anyway. The other buttons are very firm, and easy to use and access.

 

Navigating the interface is really very simple. Pressing the MODE button scrolls through the 4 modes available –

RPT or Repeat / Stroboscopic mode is the only place you need to make a few adjustments and press the SET button to move to then next setting. Note – power level must be set fairly low first if you want to increase the number of times the flash will strobe.

 

The fifth mode is “H – Mode” or FP HSS (High Speed Sync). To enter HSS you need to press the MODE and SET button at the same time. This can easily be done with one thumb though, by pressing the MODE button down, and then rolling across to press the SET button then as well.

To cancel HSS simply press the MODE button again and your back to Manual mode again.

That’s literally all there is to the control panel, the other buttons are just MF – for the AF assist light, and BUZZ – for turning the sound beep on and off.

No crazy custom functions to dig through at all, or annoying sleep time modes, or any of those things that have become common place with many over complicated speedlites now. Just a super simple user friendly interface real photographers will appreciate.

Another handy thing I should note is that the flash turns on and off automatically as you switch the battery pack on and off. That’s often very handy as the battery pack is often mounted lower or more accessible than the flash itself. (You can also have the battery pack switched on, and switch the flash off via its own on/off button, so the battery pack and another flash connected to it can still be running).

 

Remote Manual Power Control

 

Hallelujah ! Finally a speedlite(ish) flash with simple Remote Manual Power Control !

And this is the best kind too. Although the transmitter unit combines a flash trigger (to fire the flash as well if desired), the remote power setting is still separate from the flash fire signal. So there are no pre-flashes and delay like you get with many TTL systems (even in manual). And the transmitter can then also be used hand held, simply as a remote power control unit (so you can still use your existing radio triggers separately to fire the flash).

Again this system is so simple and user friendly it really puts many of the current speedlight and TTL radio triggers (often used just to achieve the same result) to shame. You have instant access to the + and – power adjustments, and a nice clear sound beep lets you know very clearly that the adjustment is being made on the flash. That’s so much more simple and user friendly than many TTL triggers, which take longer to make an adjustment, and then you have no feedback that the change has actually gone to the flash. I never have to check the AD180’s LCD as I know its already updated to the changes I have set. That’s really helpful when the flash is buried inside an Apollo softbox for example. 

The  Godox FT-16 transmitter and FTR-16 receiver are an optional radio based remote control and trigger system, with range around 100 metres. This is not quite a radio receiver built into the flash, but then next best thing, and possibly better in some ways as it can be easily updated down the track.

The receiver attaches to the side of the flash via USB port, instead of the flash foot, which takes the physical stress off that connection. And like a built in receiver it has no extra batteries to mess with as its powered by the flash unit itself. So its also very lightweight and compact.

TheFT-16 are 433MHz, which is not generally what people want to hear these days (as 2.4GHz triggers have generally proven much better range and reliability, and are free to use worldwide), but I have tested these easily to 100 metres, which is clearly a lot more than the 20 – 30 meters maximum you would expect from many of the poor quality ebay triggers, which the 433MHz band is often associated with. So the FT-16 are still fairly decent triggers with good range, and they have never even hinted towards any random or misfires.

NOTE – Godox have confirmed the current 433MHz triggers are both FCC and CE approved, and there are no restrictions using them worldwide.

I’ll go into the radio trigger side of things in more detail further down though, for now this is looking at the remote power control.

 

Ok, for off camera use, the radio based remote control unit is likely to be the main control used. The FT-16 transmitter unit is again very simple and user friendly, probably a lot more simple than it looks.

You have 16 channels, and 16 groups. Channels are the small dip switches, which are only changed really if someone else is close by with the same system, or possibly if you experience some interference on a certain channel.

The Groups are controlled vial the large dials, allowing you to control up to 16 different sets of lights individually (and very quickly). The group dial looks a little confusing with both letter and number markings around the edge, but they are all just the same type of groups. Simply set the receiver to a certain group (letter or number), and when the transmitter dial is set to the corresponding group, you can then adjust that flash unit remotely.

Settings or power levels change instantly on the flash as you adjust them on the remote, and if you have the sound indicator (beep) turned on you have a clear indication that the flash power is changing even when you can’t see the flash. This is extremely handy when the flash is mounted inside an Apollo stlye softbox for example, or anywhere you can’t see the LCD screen. You have that simple solid positive confirmation the flash power has changed to match what you see on the transmitter screen.

The + and – buttons are quite small (as is the LCD screen), given the chance I would super-size them, but for now its all completely usable without any complaints there. Remote power setting is a breeze otherwise compared to many current systems.

Each group can be set to a different power level, or to OFF, as shown below. And those settings are all saved in the transmitter unit, even when it has been switched off, or the batteries have been removed (2 standard AA batteries).

On the transmitter unit above you can also remotely turn on the sound beep “BUZZ” or the manual AF assist light “LAMP”. And they can be set separately for each group. Left bellow shows the BUZZ symbol displayed under the power level, and centre is the LAMP.

 

 

NOTE – Just to be clear, if the FT-16 transmitter is being used to fire the flashes (not just hand held as a remote power control) all groups will always fire regardless of where you have the group dial positioned, unless you set a groups power level to zero, which reads OFF (shown above right).

 

The flashes display updates instantly to correspond with what you see on the transmitter units LCD .

As mentioned the remote / transmitter unit can be used hand held off camera, completely separate to the trigger system.

The one thing that is unfortunately missing from the FT-16 remote unit above, is a button to turn the HSS function on and off remotely. As I’ll discuss further down, the HSS function has clearly evolved after the trigger system, so a few things are slightly out of place there. And you also require another Cells II transmitter unit to use FP HSS for now. But lack of remote control for switching the HSS on and off is likely the most unfortunate omission for now (if you use HSS). That’s’ still not any major issue though, I’m just glad they have included the HSS function now, as people can be making good use of it.

Another omission is a simple lanyard loop (considering you would be more likely to hand hold this unit at some stage), and a sync port. But as I will go into more in HSS and triggering, there is bound to be an updated transmitter down the track anyway. This one does the job quite well for now.

One other small thing to note – if you are using multiple cameras (at a wedding or similar) and firing the same set of lights with both cameras, it may be better to use just the one FT-16 hand held, or mounted on one camera. Otherwise you need to remember to update the power settings on both FT-16, or the lights will keep changing power unexpectedly as you swap cameras.

 

Receiver mounting

 

The FTR-16 receive unit is surprisingly small and lightweight, I was really surprised at just how small it is. But the clever fold-away flash drive style USB connection underneath has the receiver mounted fairly precariously out the side of the flash. I can’t help but think a much more flush mounting receiver would be possible with a fixed USB connection.

This same receiver will also work with many of Godox’s upcoming studio lights (they already have a new Einstein like alternative which is getting a lot of attention), so the receiver is a universal design for now. I just think this flash, being much more of a portable design you will handle a lot more, warrants a dedicated flush mounting receiver design.

Don’t get me wrong though, this is still a much better solution than shoe mounted receivers or extra cords etc. This is most of the advantages of a built in receiver, with the added ability to update the trigger system completely down the track.

The receiver attaches to the side of the flash via the USB port socket –

 

The folding USB connector underneath the receiver allows it to pivot away from the flash or rest up against it.

The fold away USB connector is great for transport, and I’m generally obsessed with how compact things will fold away, but in this case (and as nice as this one is) I think a flush fitting receiver would be a preferable option.

Light Output and Quality

 

The short answer is the AD180 generally puts out around a stop more light than a full sized speedlight. Also covering a broader area, and producing a softer light in most modifiers. Keep in mind though, as soon as you start trying to diffuse a speedlite to recreate results more like the bare bulb, power quickly decreases further. So the AD180 really is a good step ahead on equal terms.

The light output of the bare bulb is very different to a speedlite fresnel though, and sometimes it is difficult to even compare them directly. You really need to compare them in the context of the light pattern and qualities as well. The reflector used with the bare bulb is also quite critical to the light output.

The results below are all AD180 left and YN-568EX right (unless stated otherwise). Note the YN-568EX has a cooler colour temperature than Canon and Nikon speedlites, so the difference is exaggerated here. Though the AD180 is still a little warmer than the Canon Speedlite.

 

AD180 with standard bare 28 degree reflector, vs YN-568EX set to 28mm zoom.

It may not be easy to see in the image here, but the AD180 is a stop brighter over most of the area, with the broader more even light pattern as seen.

AD180 with standard 28 degree reflector and one frosted diffuser disk, vs YN-568EX with 14mm flip down wide angle diffuser –

AD180 with bare bulb (no reflector), vs YN-568EX with (DIY) Stofen style diffuser cap –

 

AD180 with standard bare 28 degree reflector, vs YN-568EX set to 28mm zoom, facing the wall.

Note – the speedlite is pretty much at its limits in the frame, where as the AD180 lights a larger area not seen.

The same as above but on an angle to the wall –

 

Probably most telling though is the comparison in a larger modifier like an umbrella.

This is only a regular size 43″ shoot through umbrella, and already the speedlite (shown bottom) at its widest zoom (24mm) is at its limits and not even covering the full extend of the diffuser. The AD180 (shown top below) covers the complete diffuser, and much more evenly. But it will also cover much larger diffusers and parabolic umbrellas as well.

 

You can achieve a reasonable result with a couple of speedlites using the flip down wide angle diffusers, but then that’s still a stop of light behind, even with the 2 speedlites.

AD180 left, and 2 YN-568EX mounted on centre with flip out wide angle diffusers right –

 

I’ve also shot a series of all the zoom length on the YN-568EX speedlite from wide angle diffuser to 105mm, if that may be of interest to help see how the Fresnel and zooming lense effects the light pattern and throw –

 

Apollo style Umbrella Softboxes

Apollo style umbrella softboxes are really ideal with the AD180. The softboxes are light and fast to pop open, and the remote power control of the AD180 is ideal with the flash hidden inside the softbox. The umbrella softboxes already have fantastic soft light with speedlites, but the bare bulb is more even and softer again.

In the umbrella style softbox the AD180 is straight out a stop ahead of the speedlite.

AD180 no reflector left, vs YN-568EX 24mm zoom right –

Shadows are also much softer with the AD180 no reflector left, vs YN-568EX 24mm zoom right –

 

Dual Speedlite Comparison – Apollo style Softbox

The question many people have asked, how do dual speedlites compare then in the Apollo style softboxes?

Light output is now similar as you would expect, though with more of a hot spot and the light falling off faster.

AD180 no reflector left, dual YN-568EX 24mm zoom right –

And shadows are harder with the speedlites (right)-

 

Regular Softboxes

This is where light output can get a little tricky when compared with speedlites. As speedlites can be very efficient as far as light output goes when used in a regular softbox, and facing directly at the front diffuser panel. That’s why I have been designing speedlight to softbox brackets in that configuration for quite a few years. The Apollos produce softer light with speedlites, but sometimes the option of more light is the priority.

In a direct comparison, using a white lined softbox with no speedring insert (which is likely the worst case scenario for the bare bulb in terms of light output), the AD180 (left below) actually put out less light than the YN-568EX speedlight with 24mm zoom (right below) –

 

This is because the bare bulb is very different to a speedlite with Fresnel lense, and even different to some monolights, because (as you can see in some examples below) the reflector around the bulb is critical to how much light is actually pushed forward. And the AD180 has no reflector built in at all, compared with many lower power studio lights where you will notice the tube is mounted inside a reasonably deep built in reflector already. That reflector narrows the beam, while increasing the light output.

This is the flash with and without reflector, you can see the reflector pushes a lot more light forward to start with (Note – I don’t have the wide angle/umbrella reflector yet so I made a rough DIY version here with cardboard and foil tape) –

 

This is the comparison in a medium 32″ Photoflex softbox –

– YN-568EX 24mm zoom
– AD180 with no speedring insert
– AD180 with a flat metal insert
– AD180 with my DIY wide angle reflector –

 

So the flat disk insert at least brought the light output up to the speedlight (though still with more even light spread and softer shadows).

The DIY wide angle reflector gave that extra stop of light again, at the cost of some sligtly harder shadows.

So if you were using a Lastolite style Ezybox in the field for example the, a way to boost the light output without too much loss of quality would likely be to place the wide angle / umbrella reflector on the AD180 once its mounted inside the softbox. When you need softer light again simply remove the reflector.

For regular softbox speedrings, the Chimera speedring insert shown here for example, has a slight concave reflector shape, which would likely cater for fairly large softboxes while still pushing a reasonable amount of light forward.

 

High Speed Sync – FP HSS

 

The AD180 allows FP HSS off camera, this is just like the FP HSS Canon or Nikon Speedlites provide. Though the AD180 does have a very unique way of enabling that HSS off camera. And also provides more usable light output, up 2 stops more than a Canon Speedlight (and likely more with Nikon). That’s 2 to 4 Canon speedlights in FP HSS to match this one AD180 unit.

The image bellow is a direct comparison with the AD180 and YN-568EX at full power in FP HSS. There is no ambient light in the images so its only the flash lighting them. And the frame was quite evenly lit as you can see from the first example at 1/125. So the gradient in the other images is what you would get in all images at those settings, though its generally not that noticeable in real images of people etc. Shooting an evenly lit white wall just allows you to see exactly how much light from the flash you will really get in the image, and how even it is across the frame.

HSS Comparison

So above X-sync (1/500th onwards) the AD180 is up to 2 stops brighter than the YN-568EX.

We can see below X-sync (so not in HSS mode) the AD180 is already about 1 stop ahead of the YN-568EX (as we have seen in most of the comparison images above). So there is up to an extra stop of advantage again over the Canon or YongNuo flash after they both move into HSS.

That’s still not huge amounts of power but, but is certainly a decent advantage over a speedlight in HSS, where you often need at least 2 speedlites ganged together to be of much practical use to start with. This is at least closer to 4 speedlites in HSS.

 

 

To engage the FP HSS you need a separate transmitter unit, which is currently the Godox Cells II.

The Cells II are currently only available for Canon cameras, and earlier Cells II may not be compatible with the 5D III and later cameras.

NOTE – most Canon DSLR models should now be compatible with the Cells II, though I have had one report of both the 1Ds, and 1D MKIII not firing the flash at all with the Cells II.

A Nikon version Cells II should be available from Godox eventually. Though other radio triggers like the inexpensive YongNuo YN-622N will also work. I have outlined those options in more detail in another post here.

The Cells II must to be mounted directly on the camera hotshoe to enable the FP HSS –

The Cells II has the full TTL contacts on the foot which enable the FP HSS signal from the camera. So its easy to remember this has to be mounted directly on the cameras hotshoe with the full TTL contacts –

So the Cells II Transmitter (Tx) then communicates with the regular receiver attached to the side of the flash via the USB port, firing the flash in sync and in FP HSS mode.

And at the same time power levels are then controlled remotely from the FT-16 held in hand. That also communicates with the same USB mounted receiver mounted on the side of the flash –

 

So that is all there is too it. Even though you do now have two transmitter units, its still very simple to use.

Its only when you start to look at combining with other existing radio triggers and flash on camera etc, there becomes quite a number of combinations of gear, so I will go into that in another post.

Note – FP HSS does limit the number of consecutive flashes which will activate the flashes overheat protection. At full power that is reduced from 75 shots in a row down to just 10. At half power from 100 down to 15, and 1/4 power from 200 down to 20. If you’re not shooting right as the flash recycles I’m sure that could stretch out a lot more though.

 

More on combining radio triggers and HSS with the Witstro here.

 

Flash Duration

 

I don’t have the equipment needed to measure flash durations, but its fairly clear from what we can see the AD180 is similar to most speedlites which have quite fast flash durations. Like speedlites the AD180 is an IGBT flash, which means at any power level below 1/1, the power to the flash tube is cut off very quickly producing very fast flash durations. So its only the full power duration that may be of concern. Most speedlites are generally around 1/250th to 1/300th of a second at full power, so the AD180 is quite similar. At lower power levels the duration becomes very fast which is ideal for freezing motion as speedlites will do.

At full power from around 1/160th camera shutter speed you do loose about 1/3rd of a stop of light moving to 1/250th. This is quite normal and similar to most speedlites, simply because the flash needs more time to get all of its light out than the time the shutter is open at that speed. The frames bellow are flash only in the image, so the shutter speed should not effect the exposure otherwise.

Flash Duration

I noticed though using the Cells II transmitter, that provides 1/3 of a stop more light in the frame than the FT-16 transmitter (again with the AD180 at full power and 1/250th (X-sync)). So that is worth keeping in mind when trying to underexpose ambient light.

 

Colour Consistency

 

Again like speedlites I have not noticed any issue with colour change at different power levels. The specs state only 200 degrees variation across the power range, which is hardly noticeable. And this is consistent with other user reports as well. Again that is likely due to the AD180 being an IGBT flash, like speedlites.

 

Triggering

 

Radio Triggers

I’ll go into more detailed combinations like combining your existing radio triggers in another post. Triggering the AD180 otherwise is simply via the FT-16 or Cells II on the camera hotshoe, and FTR-16 receiver connected to the side of the flash via the USB port. Or using your own choice of radio triggers.

The FT-16 (left below) for regular flash triggering, and remote power level control. The FT-16 can also be used hand held as a remote power control only, and combined with the Cells II, or most other radio triggers, to actually fire the flash.

The Cells II allowing FP HSS off camera, currently with Canon cameras (other triggers can be used with Nikon as discussed under the HSS topic above).

 

The FT-16 and Cells II are both 433MHz triggers with range around 100m. They have been completely reliable without a hint of misfire or random fires. I tested the range with the test rig you can see here, where I had 4 different receivers all connected to the flash. All 4 receivers reached 100 metres line of sight without any problems. Probably a better indication though was placing the transmitter directly behind my back, where the FT-16, Cells II, and Phottix Strato II, all still made around 50 metres without misfires, while the YN-622C only reached 15 to 20 metres at best. So both the FT-16 and Cells II have very decent range and reliability. Full points for nice large easy to access locking rings too.

Sync speed – The FT-16 is fairly slow, as soon as I pushed past 1/250th (X-sync) there was a lot of black band (or shutter) showing in the image. This shows the FT-16 is only just reaching the 1/250th sync speed. I don’t think this is a big issue though as you would likely be using the Cells II (which are faster), or possibly other radio triggers to actually fire the flash if you were chasing higher sync speeds, or HSS anyway.

At some stage these 2 transmitter units are very likely to be combined into one unit anyway, so I don’t think its much point looking into them in great detail, beyond the fact that they are quite functional as they are now. My suggestion for a new model would hopefully be for Godox to switch completely to a 2.4GHz system. And then have a pass through hotshoe for TTL flash on camera use as well.

NOTE – Godox have confirmed the current 433MHz triggers are both FCC and CE approved, and there are no restrictions using them worldwide.

 

For TTL flash on camera (with manual AD180’s off camera), as many wedding an even photographers will want to do, there is unfortunately no sync port on the FT-16  (another oversight Godox are aware of). So you have to attach the FT-16 to the cameras PC sync port by adding a hotshoe and sync cord to the FT-16 foot. Here I used a straight bracket under the camera, allowing the FT-16 to mount down to the side and (and near the cameras sync port), while still allowing easy access to the power controls when needed. You could simply strap the FT-16 to the side of your on-camera speedlight though as well.

Sync Ports

The AD180 has two sync ports, as well as the USB socket which is also used as a sync port. Combined with the flash foot, and built in optic slave trigger, that’s 5 ways to sync with the AD180 !

The AD180 has a standard 3.5mm mini-phone sync jack, which is much more reliable than the traditional PC sync port (also provided). Together with the Phottix Mitros and the Lumopro LP-160 flash, this is only the third small flash to adopt this 3.5mm port, and shows once again Godox were really on the ball when designing this flash.

Note – strangely the PC sync port is not a screw type fitting. It has a rather nice taper into the socket, but not a screw thread. In any case the best option is to avoid it all together and just use the 3.5mm mini-phone port above whenever possible.

The flash foot is simple single firing pin only. So FP HSS for example can only be done off camera (where the Cells II transmitter is then connecting to the full TTL contact pins in the camera hotshoe). Note – there is no locking pin on the foot. Not an issue if you use clamping coldshoes anyway, but something to be aware of.

Optic Slave

The AD180 has a built in optic slave, commonly described as “dumb” optic slave, which simply fires the flash in sync when it sees the light from another flash unit.

There is an S1 and S2 Mode. The S2 being a TTL pre-flash ignore, which fires on the second flash pulse, ignoring the first TTL pre-flashes. This allows another flash set to TTL to be used as the triggering flash unit.

The sensor is shown on the right side behind the red lens (AF assist lights are behind the left lens) –

 

AF Assist Light

 

The AD180 has a manually activated AF assist light. Which means you have to switch it on and off via the MF button on the flash, or remotely via the LAMP button on the FT-16 remote transmitter.

This is because the flash only has a single firing pin foot, and therefore cannot communicate information like this directly with the camera.

The lamps are just 2 regular LED’s as seen behind the red lens in the image above (left lens). There is no contrast projected, so basically just a regular light with a red tint, and not really all that bright. On camera this is probably better than nothing, but not an ideal AF assist light. Though off camera it can be handy to line up the flash if using a snoot or similar. And turning it on from the camera could be handy to help achieve a focus in very low light. What it does make me think more than anything though, is a brighter LED light used as a modelling light (and taping into this remote control function) could be really useful.

 

Bare Bulb

 

The AD180 bulb is rated to 200Watts and UV coated. Unfortunately I don’t think its quite compatible with similar bulbs used for Quantum etc, but don’t quote me on that yet. Godox have spare bulbs available though.

I was a little tentative with handling the bulb at first, but soon realised the outer glass is fairly solid, and the delicate flash tube is safely inside that where you can’t touch it. The end of the outer glass case is open to allow the air to flow through and likely help any heat dissipate.

You simply line up the red dot on the bulb with the dot inside the AD180 flash head and push the bulb into place. Its mounted firmly, but easy to remove as well.

A protecting cover for the bulb is now available as an option as well. That will make it far more convenient to transport and store the flash with the bulb in place, or possibly removing the bulb and storing it inside the cap.

 

Reflector Mount & Accessories

 

The reflector mount is compatible with most Quantum, Norman and Lumedyne reflectors, and those used with the Sunpak 120j.

The mount uses a simple rubber pad which presses against the reflector mounting tube, for a simple friction hold on the reflector. You tighten the thumbscrew on the side of the flash head to push the the rubber pad against the reflector. Not having a Q-flash or similar I can’t compare this myself, though others have said it is more secure than the Q-flash mount, which does appear to get a few complaints. I certainly couldn’t pull the reflector out once the clamp was tightened.

 

Looking at the standard reflector mounting tube it has a slight taper, which would certainly help to stop it from coming out, though it does allow the reflector too tilt down a little in the mount. I don’t know if this could be any issue with the larger modifiers, but I haven’t heard any comments or complaints at this stage.

The standard 5″ (28 degree) reflector comes with a ring that holds one or two frosted diffuser disks, which help to diffuse or spread the light. You could easily sandwich regular coloured gel film between the disks for easy mounting, though coloured disks are available as well. Grids are also available, and the reflector is designed with a stepped collar to stop any direct light escaping around the edges of the grid. Again you can expect a nicer even light pattern from those compared to speedlite grids.

One big advantage of the CL-180 is the ability to mount lightweight modifiers directly to the flash head, with the built in small and lightweight Lumedyne style mount. Cheetah have most of these modifiers available, and they are relatively inexpensive compared to those from Quantum etc. I don’t have these yet but I’m looking forward to trying some, as well as experimenting with making some of my own. There is even a Lumedyne adapter available for custom and experimental modifiers, as the bare bulb is ideal for experimenting with shaping the light.

The 19″ collapsible beauty dish softbox allows a fairly decent size softbox which can easily be hand held with the AD180, and both fold up to a very lightweight and compact kit.

Sports or Telephoto Reflector

A telephoto reflector is one thing Godox do not have available as yet, though Quantum or Norman have versions available. So far we know at least the Quantum will work with the AD180. Both of the reflectors will fit the AD180, but they require a bulb mounting extension which brings the bulb out further in the reflector. At this point we have one report saying the current Quantum extender fits (some earlier versions may not).

The 8″ telephoto reflector provides 2 stops more light (in a narrower beam) than the standard reflector. The AD180 will be ideal for many sports shooters needing a lightweight kit, like bmx, skateboarding and mountain biking etc, and the telephoto reflector could be a real advantage there sometimes.

 

Umbrella Mount

 

The AD180 has a clever optional umbrella mount. This was designed as a detachable mount so that the flash head would still be small enough to fit through openings like the common Bowen’s speedring insert/mount. The wide angle umbrella reflector has a corresponding hole allowing the flash bulb to be very close to the umbrella shaft, and centred in the umbrella.

Godox AD180

The umbrella mount comes with the wide angle reflector, and that reflector is one accessory you really need if you intend to use any umbrellas etc.

There is also a 43″ double fold shoot through umbrella available, made specifically to fit the umbrella mount securely. It doesn’t show in the image but it has a nice fairly flat front surface. At 16″ folded, again this provides a super compact lightweight kit which could also be hand held. And a nice big really soft light. That’s some nice light for a kit you can put in your camera bag.

I think that is the most I would use the built in umbrella mount for though personally. Unless the mount is designed to break off before anything else on the flash is damaged, I would personally avoid putting to much load on it. Just in case there is an accident or gust of wind etc, and the flash has to wear all the stress.

For mounting in larger softboxes and modifiers the AD180 will fit most regular speedlite brackets.

Godox now also have the S-Type Bracket for Bowen’s and Elinchrom mounts.

 

Godox S-type Speedlite Bracket

 

The AD180 is ideal to use inside umbrella softboxes, and just in time is one of my own bracket designs, now available from Phottix. The Multi Boom 16″ mounts the flash head in the centre of the softbox, as well as allowing 2 or more flashes to be mounted (or a place to mount the battery pack). And also provides fast, easy, and full tilt motion of the softbox, which is normally very limited otherwise.

The AD180 comes with a small base stand, and like the flash unit its built extra solid. With the brass 1/4 20″ threaded mounted hole it should be fine to use as a cold shoe for mounting to umbrella swivels etc as well. Though note the stand has a locking pin hole, but the flash does not have the safety locking pin, so take care that the flash is really locked down securely!

Modelling Light

 

The Witstro was originally intended to have LED modelling lights. I think that was likely left off due to time and costs. Norman have reflectors with built in modelling lamp though –

With LED lights constantly improving at the moment, it may be better that it wasn’t built in. I think a small clip on LED light unit could be used in a number of reflectors, or even bare, when the flash head is point the opposite direction for example. What would be nice though is to tap into the remote control currently used for the  AD180 AF assist light, so you could turn a larger modelling light on and off as needed from the camera. I didn’t think much previously of the idea of modelling lights on a battery powered flash, but with LED’s getting better, if the AD180 did have a decent one available, larger monolights would probably hardly get used at all for many people.

 

Flash on Camera

 

I’m personally more interested in the AD180 for off camera use, though its completely capable and practical as a fully manual flash on camera if you’re happy with that. People have commented Godox should have at least added a simple Auto exposure mode (like the original flashes before TTL), which certainly would have made the AD180 considerably more on-camera friendly. But I think its fairly obvious Godox have bigger plans for this flash down the track, and full TTL version is likely to come at some stage anyway. That is just my own speculation, but the signs are there. For now its quite usable as a manual flash on-camera, you have to carry the battery pack on your belt or shoulder, but then the flash itself is not that much heavier than a regular speedlight on the camera, and with twice the output.

 

PERMALINK

PB960 Lithium Battery Pack

 

The Godox PB 960 battery pack is brilliant. Even if you may not be interested in the flash, this battery pack is something to look out for. It will do up to 900 full power pops with the AD180, and up to 1800 full pops with a regular speedlite. And its designed to run 2 separate flashes without reducing recycle time. Which is around one second with speedlites, and 2.6 with the AD180 at full power. Godox have just released a 2 into 1 splitter cord (as seen further down below) which connects one flash to both battery ports, roughly halving the recycle times again. Godox even have 1 into 2 splitter cords available, so that you can run up to 4 flashes off this one small pack! (and recycle times are still quite fast).

The pack has an ON / OFF button which turns the AD180 flash on and off as well (very handy when you can’t reach the flash easily), and bright LED battery level indicator. Which is very handy, as this little pack holds so much charge you would never know when it actually needed a recharge otherwise. Recharging only takes a few hours, and there are separate clip on batteries available so you could have more charged up if ever needed.

The pack is smaller than I expected, and comes with a belt clip which you could very practically use for flash on camera (or hand holding an off camera flash).

The actual Lithium battery pack quickly clips on and off, so you can have spares charged and ready to swap.

The cords are 5 pin DIN plugs, which are compatible with the Quantum packs, and becoming quite standard with most battery packs which use plug in cords. The Godox have a locking collar though (which some packs don’t have) and that really helps to make sure the plugs don’t pull out. Using a stiff coiled cord like this its easy to pull the cords out quite often accidentally otherwise.

On the flash end of the power cord, its also held in quite tightly with a spring clip.

The one thing that is a little annoying about the socket though is that it is a proprietary design. Its fairly close to the Canon plug / socket but not quite the same. This could possibly be to stop you plugging in a Canon style CP-E4 battery pack, because unfortunately we have tried an off brand version of those (by modifying the plug to fit) and they still won’t work in the AD180 flash. That appears to be because those style of speedlite packs require a signal from the flash to turn the power on, where as the PB960 has power live at the end of the plug as soon as you turn it on. Other Quantum packs do work with the AD180. Another option is also the Godox PB820 which is 8 AA NiMH cells inside like a CP-E4 etc anyway.

This is the Godox plug left, and Canon Plug right. The pins are in the same position, but you have to shave some off the outer edges of the Canon plug to fit it into the AD180. Fitting the Godox plug into the Canon flash would be harder, taking some more work to cut that indent on the side.

Why do we care about this?, well in general the Godox cords are well made and well priced, so there’s no need to avoid them. Its only when you may be after a cord they don’t have, you can’t buy an alternative cord to fit the AD180 end from anyone else. So modifying a Canon version cord may be an alternative if needed. Maybe Godox could possibly offer a Godox to Canon adapter later (as Phottix have just done with their Mitros flash).

The standard coiled cord that comes with the flash is ideal for hand holding the flash, or flash on camera with the pack on your belt.

But when you mount the battery on a light stand you tend to want to mount it to the lowest riser so that you can move the stand up and down as needed without the pack being in the way. In this case the coiled cord is often too short, and you put a lot off tension on it if you stretch it too much. The current alternative is a 5 meter straight cord. That would help, but 2.5 metres would be more than enough length.

Another option (with or without a longer cord) is a good easy to use clamp for the stand. This may sound trivial, but a good simple clamp would make all the difference in the convenience of using this flash. You really want to be able to clip the battery pack on and off easily with one hand (as you likely have the flash in the other). Otherwise you have to keep pulling the cord out of the flash or pack, which requires both hands, and doesn’t do them a lot of good if you’re doing that too often. There are a few clamps available from Quantum and Photogenic etc already.

 

Splitter cords – There is a new 2 into 1 splitter cord which connects one flash to both batter ports, roughly halving the recycle times of the flash again (should be available late May).

There are also a similar, but opposite, 1 into 2 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 reduction in recycle time (though still quite fast).

Godox DB-02

 

David Freedman posted his average test times with the 2 into 1 cord here shown above –

 

Finally, the PB960 Battery pack 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 straps on the battery pack.

(PB 960 Lithium Battery Pack

 

  • 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

 

Specs AD180

 

Model Godox AD180
Flash energy 153WS
Flash Index 60m (ISO 100, using a standard reflector)
-top use, the standard reflector flash covers the range of about 28mm
Up and down the angle of rotation -15 ° -90 °
Left and right rotation angle 0-270 °
Power supply Godox PB960, PB820
Number of flashes 900 times (full power Godox PB960)
Recycle time Approximately 0.05-2.6s (PB960)
Color Temperature 5600 ± 200k
Flash duration 1/300s-1/10000s
Volume 205 * 90 * 70 mm (excluding lamps and reflectors)
Net weight 610g

 

AD360

 

There is now an AD360 version which is 307WS .

Weight is approximately 600 grams (21 ounces) vs 830 grams (29-1/4 ounces ).

You can see a comparison of the size in the images bellow. The 360 also has a flat base now without the hotshoe foot (the hotshoe base is still available though) so it will actually sit lower than the 180.

If you’re intending to tackle bright ambient light often, the 360 model may be the way to go. At 830 grams is still be quite easy to hand hold, and with another stop of light even HSS is very usable.

 

Godox AD180 AD360

 

Summary

 

If you already know this is the type of light your after, you’re not going to be disappointed with the AD180. From all indications Godox have built this very well. Only time will tell how well it does stand up over time, but the performance so far inspires a lot of confidence.

If you’re looking at speedlites mainly for off camera use, and you know you’re likely to be using a battery pack anyway, the AD180 is definitely worth considering as well. For around the price of the high end speedlites, you get more light, nicer light, no overheating, lots more battery power, and more user friendly interface and remote control. The AD180 can save a lot of time and hassles compared to other speedlite, battery, and trigger systems, having lots more pieces of gear and AA batteries to manage. The remote system could use some updates, but they are aware of that, and its still very good as it is. If anything remote control to switch HSS on and off would be the first on my wish list. I’m looking forward to experimenting with making modifiers etc, so there will likely be more to come on this flash.

 

Price and Availability

 

The AD180 and AD360 kits are available from around $300 and $400 respectively –

Amazon –  AD180, AD360PB960  UK –  AD180, AD360, PB960

Ebay – AD180, AD360PB960, $25 trigger set.

Adorama – FlashPoint Streaklight

B&H Photo – Bolt VBInterfit Strobies Pro-Flash

 

Also See the follow up post -Radio Triggers and HSS.

 

262 Comments
  1. plevyadophy 4 years ago

    Wow!!

    I have only skimmed the review as I don’t have time to fully study it right now, but it seems to me to be the most thorough review I have ever seen of a flash unit.

    It really is awesome, and I would say that it’s the gold standard for how others should review flash units.

    Seriously, you really ought to be given some kind of an award for this review.

    Excellent.

  2. plevyadophy 4 years ago

    Elinchrom Quadra Ranger
    ———————————-

    I think one thing that would be real cool is if you could do a comparison in terms of light quality, power output, flash duration, sync speed etc with this kit and that of the Elinchrom Quadra Ranger portable flash kit.

    Frequency
    ————-

    I think it’s VERY sad that they have chosen to use the 433mhz radio frequency for this flash kit as it rules me out immediately, and rules out thousands of others too.The universal 2.4Ghz frequency would have been better.

    Groups
    ——–

    An option to fire Groups individually and to also to fire them all simultaneously would have been extremely useful too. Or does it have that feature but I just missed it in the review?

    Regards,
    plevyadophy

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi there,

      Thanks for that, regarding the frequency, I agree that 2.4GHz is preferable, and hopefully they will switch over at some stage, But you can use your own choice of trigger to fire the flash as well. UPDATE- Godox have confirmed the current triggers are FCC and CE approved, and there is no restriction using them worldwide.

      There is no option to fire all groups without turning them on and off individually. That would require a separate on-off switch for every group. There’s no doubt they could go a lot further with functions on the remote, its still very simple and much more user friendly than many of the options out there.

      I think the 360 version would be more of a match for the Quadra, you could get 2 of those for the price of a single head Quadra kit. Even with the second head you’re limited to the 400WS power split, and running cords to the one pack. You can hand hold one of these like a speedlite with the battery on your belt and shoot with the other hand, that would be quite cumbersome in comparison with the Quadra. Thanks.

  3. plevyadophy 4 years ago

    Hi Flash Havoc,

    I think using my own choice of trigger defeats one of the purposes of buying this kit because doing so would mean that I lose out on the ability to remotely control the flash units.

    Group firing. I don’t think it needs to be as complicated as you suggest to enable an “All Groups” firing feature. On the Elinchrom wireless triggers there is just a single switch that fires “ALL”

    I don’t quite understand your last paragraph.What were you trying to say? I got the part about the cost, but didn’t understand the rest.

    Thanks

    Regards
    plevyadophy

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      I agree you want to be able to use the remote, though I don’t know if there is any restriction on using them. I will have to check that with Godox. UPDATE – Godox have confirmed the current triggers are FCC and CE approved, and there is no restriction using them worldwide.
      .
      .

      Groups – Ok first to be clear – All groups always fire, unless you specifically turn them off individually. To turn a group off you have to bump the power level down to zero on the remote, and it will then show OFF for that group. As seen here on the right –

      http://flashhavoc.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/IMG_8568_2_a1000.jpg

      So if you’re talking about turning lights on and off quickly to take meter readings, its generally going to be quicker to go to the lights and turn them off.

      OR – you use another set of radio triggers (PocketWizard Plus III, Phottix Strato II etc) that have a grouping feature, to actually fire that flashes. Those group features are really just remote on off buttons, and ideal for meter reading lights individually. Then the CL-TX is just like a hand held TV remote to turn the volume up and down.
      .

      So the switch to turn each group on and off is currently part of the the power level adjustment. They would need a separate switch for each group to turn them on and off individually. EDIT – A “Current” or “All Groups” switch could work to just fire the group the dial is currently set too for metering.

      I don’t disagree though, if I was designing a new transmitter I would have just 5 groups, and have fast settings for each. But the current system is still much better than adjusting triggers like the YN-622C for example.

      .
      .

      Quadra – Well that’s just a slightly different system physically. Its a pack and head system (capacitors in the pack not the head), where the CL is more like a small monolight. The Quadra is 400WS. You can use that with one head at 400WS or split the pack between 2 heads at a 2:1 ratio. That set ratio is probably the biggest limitation. Otherwise you have two separate packs, which gets costly.

      The Cheetah CL-360 is 300WS for one unit and has its own small battery for each. So 2 of those would be easy to use separately (no cords running across to the one pack), and you are not limited to a ratio, you can use any power level on each light. And combined you would have 600WS. So that would be more practical for me (and cheaper), but others may prefer just one head at 400WS for example. I’d be very happy to own a Quadra as well.

      The Quadra pack is at least 2 kg for the lighter Lithium version. The Cheetah pack you can clip on your belt. One CL-360 and battery Vs one Quadra and pack (roughly 1.5kg vs 2.5kg for the lighter Lithium Quadra). I’m sure a lot of people will be weighing up a couple of of CL-360 Vs the Quadra though. Thanks.

      • plevyadophy 4 years ago

        Hi Flash Havoc

        Thanks for that detailed explanation.

        So the Quadra has a 2:1 ratio split (by the way, is that 400W:200W, 200W:100W or 300W:100W?) but I also spotted that this Cheetah had a kind of splitter cable whereby two battery pack outlets are fed into one flash head. What’s that for?

        Is it to speed up recycling? And if so, does that not reduce the wattage? Or is it to increase power/wattage??

        Thanks .

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 years ago

          Ok, Godox have confirmed the current triggers are FCC and CE approved, and there is no restriction using them worldwide.
          .
          .
          I would assume the Quadra is 266WS : 133WS, (400WS in a 2:1 ratio)
          .
          .
          The Cheetah 2 into 1 cable is used to speed up recycle time, it should roughly halve the recycle times.

          The 2 into 1 cable, or any battery pack, have no effect on the light output or WS of the Cheetah flash. That is because they have the capacitors in the flash body itself. So the CL-180 has 153WS of capacitors in the flash. That always stays the same. Bigger or small battery packs will only change the recycle time and number of pops.

          The Quadra is a pack and head system, which means the capacitors are in the pack. Most studio packs don’t have a battery in them, its just the capacitors in that box you plug all the heads into (via long cables), and the pack is plugged into the mains power. But the Quadra being a portable system also has a battery added to the base of the pack. Thanks.

          • plevyadophy 4 years ago

            Hi FashHavoc,

            You’re a real star!! Thanks for being patient with my, what must seem like, dimwit questions.

            FCC and CE
            ==========

            Thanks for the clarification. I just checked, and it seems I got my wires crossed as I was thinking that 433Mhz was the North American approved frequency and Europe used some other frequency when in fact European Pocket Wizards operate at 433Mhz and they have chosen to set their North American devices at a slightly lower frequency for reasons of reliability (not it appears, because FCC regs say they must). Right, now I have got that.

            And it appears, correct me if I am wrong, that the major benefit of 2.4Ghz is that it’s a pretty universal frequency (but prone to interference from other devices) and secondly it’s a faster frequency (does that have an impact on possible flash sync speed?)

            So all in all,it seems I may well be in the market for a set of these lights instead of the Elinchrom Quadra Rangers even though there are some features of the Elinchrom that I like a lot (e.g. possibility to use a smartphone to control the lights, the learning slave cell that can be programmed to sync with your on camera TTL flash, and the light shapers and other accessories available like the ring light). It’s gonna be a tough call to choose between the two systems.

            2 in 1 cable
            ==========

            Now, from your explanation, what I am thinking is that it’s analogous to putting just 4 AA batteries in your speedlite and getting say a 4 secs recycling time, and then attaching one of those 8 AA battery pack holders and then finding your recycle times are reduced to around 2.5 secs, right?

            So do I take it then, that the 2 in 1 cable effectively increases slightly the voltage output of the battery pack? And perhaps whilst using the 2 in 1 cable you would get fewer pops per charge?

            Thanks.

          • Author
            Flash Havoc 3 years ago

            No worries, I don’t really know if or how frequency effects sync speed (or latency). But there are both fast and slow triggers available in both bands so fast speeds can be done with either. You may well be right that on is more favourable but I’ve haven’t heard much about that.

            ———————-

            2 into 1 cable – You’re close, voltage doesn’t change, its the amperage that effects recycle time. The Cheetah pack is 4500mAh. Using the 2 into one cable would direct the full 4500mAh into the one flash. AA NiMH batteries are around 2700mAh at most in comparison.

            The speedlite and battery pack analogy is good.

            If you want to get technical though, speedlites have a High Voltage Port for the battery pack. That feeds aprox 330 volts straight into the capacitor, bypassing the flash controls etc (which are still powered by the AA batteries inside the flash). So a large part of the reason they recycle so much faster with an external pack is because of this direct path into the capacitors. That’s why if you connect a large battery through the AA battery compartment of the flash it doesn’t improve recycle time, only gives more pops.

            So voltage doesn’t change with the external packs, but they need to be around 330 Volts to match the capacitors. The AA batteries are only 4.8 or 9.6 volts. A transformer in the high voltage battery pack boosts that up to 300 + volts. That transformer is what is in the top part of the battery pack.

            So The difference between the speed of the high voltage packs then is again mAh. 4500mAh for the Cheetah vs around 2700mAh at best for the NiMH AA packs. Thanks.

  4. Byron 4 years ago

    Fantastic review, Elv!! (I’m only halfway through..)
    It answers A LOT (if not, close to ALL) of the questions I have and I learned a lot more on even just lighting in general.

    Thank you so much for what you do, you do a lot of us in the lighting community a huge favor.
    I know I’m definitely getting the 360 when it comes out. I hope the 2-to-1 cable will be out by then, too. And perhaps hopefully a longer battery to flash cable included in the kit.

    Again, such a great great review. Thank you!!

    Byron

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Thanks Byron, [EDIT] – The 2 to 1 cable and the CL-360 are currently due around the end of May 28th of July. Thanks

      • Byron 4 years ago

        Hello Elv,

        Any update on this cable and the CL-360?
        Thank you.

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 years ago

          Hi Byron,

          It looks like that have been set back a little.

          EDIT – the CL-360 flash, and the new 2 into 1 cables are now due by the 28th of July. Thanks.

          • Byron 4 years ago

            Thank you for the update, sir.
            So more than likely July.
            Do you know how early Cheetah will start accepting pre-orders for the CL-360?

            Flash Havoc say:

            Hi Byron, I’ve sent you an email. Thanks

  5. David 4 years ago

    I think there is some confusion about firing Groups and Channels.
    There can be any number of lights in a Group 1 – F which is Hex numbering up to 16. All those Groups can be switched to the same Channel. The trigger is set to the selected Channel and it fires all the lights on that Channel, regardless of the group to which they are assigned.

    The Cells-II trigger that is used to enable firing in H mode only has the channel switches. It knows nothing of groups. The remote power controller can be set to both Groups and Channels. The Channels setting is only useful when it is being used as a trigger. When being used as a remote power control its the Groups setting that’s significant. The Channel setting does not come into play.

  6. ZZPhoto 4 years ago

    These lights are great but to me as a Nikon shooter lack of HSS with Nikon severely reduces their usability.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi ZZPHoto,

      You can use HSS now with Nikon using the Pixel Kings as the radio trigger. Its very likely the very soon to come (and inexpensive) YN-622N for Nikon will work as well. Phottix Odin will be even better with new firmware next week. I’m writing another post about these at the moment. Thanks.

  7. christopher 4 years ago

    when is the 360 avaibale?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Christopher,

      EDIT – The CL-360 is now due by the 28th of July. Thanks.

  8. adrian 4 years ago

    Own One: Yep
    Happy: Yep
    Easy to use: Yep
    Good build quality: Yep
    Reliable: Yep
    Powerful: Yep [although now I know the CL-360 is just around the corner that will be on my list
    A NO BRAINER: MOST DEFINITELY

  9. Erik Schimmel 4 years ago

    I’d be willing to do a comparison of the CL-360 with the Quadra. If Flash Havoc or Godox can supply a 360 unit, I’d be happy to do an extensive test & review.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Erik,

      Thanks for that, I will pass this on to Cheetah and Godox. Thanks.

  10. Tom 4 years ago

    Unreal review, the best I have ever seen. Great job.

  11. Tal_uno 4 years ago

    do some of you know if I can mount cheetah CL180’s accessories on my T5DR Q Flash ?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Tal,

      Yes they should be cross compatible. You may want to double check with Cheetah before ordering though, as they would be more up to date if anything has changed, or if they have discovered any issues at all. Thanks.

      • Tal_uno 4 years ago

        Thank you FH really !!!!
        I wrote Cheetah about it but still not received answer and i’ve found an offer on ebay about softbox and other accessories so i think i’ll buy it
        thanks again

  12. Carsten 4 years ago

    Does anyone have any information on compatibility of replacement flashtubes? Looks as if the Norman 400B tube might fit the AD 360.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Carsten,

      Sorry I’m not sure about that, you would need to check with Cheetah. People have had varying degrees of success with fitting the bulb extension for the high output reflector, so it appears the pins are not quite the same size or location. They appear to line up but some won’t push all the way in as far as others. Short answer I guess is the Cheetah replacements tubes are likely the safe and easy way. Thanks.

      • Carsten 4 years ago

        I have received an answer from Godox – manufacturer of the CL-180 and CL-360.
        They say the Quantum QF30 should be fine. There maybe also other third party flashtubes working, but they have not checked.

  13. MIke 3 years ago

    Sorry, I’m just a little confused. Does the CL-180/360 have its own battery and the external battery pack is an extra (but good idea) or is the external battery pack required? If you have to use the external pack then the price is not as comparable to the other brands because you have to add in the cost of the $200 battery pack to the flash.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Mike,

      No the CL-180 or 360 don’t have their own internal battery, so they do require an external pack.

      The Godox PB820 2000mAh single flash battery pack will also work, and those are around $100, so a little cheaper. But the PB960 Lithium pack has much greater capacity.

      But yes these flashes are priced a bit higher than even the top end TTL flashes, but once you get to hold one of these in your hands you will likely see why. And the CL-360 has the power of 4 speedlights (and more in HSS).

      I think it would be great to have an option of the full Lithium pack actually attached to the CL-180 flash unit in particular. But I’m really glad they have no AA batteries inside to power the flash interface etc like most speedlights require even with external packs in use. This just simplifies battery management dramatically. There is hardy any battery management at all, even with a number of these. Thanks.

      • MIke 3 years ago

        OK, that’s cool. The 360 is for sure going on the wish list but will have to wait a while. Thanks for the info

  14. John 3 years ago

    I was able to get the AD180 to sync at 1/4000th with the Nikon D600 using the Phottix Odin. However you have to set the sync speed to 1/200 (auto fp) in the camera. If you set it to 1/250 (auto fp) you will notice visible banding in the picture. It also appears that it’s a bit temperamental probably due to ODS still being in beta?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Thanks John,

      Did you try adjusting the ODS timing at all? Thanks.

      • John 3 years ago

        I did play with the timing but found it worked best at the default settings. The temperamental part was at 1/8th power every now and then there would be a bright strip along the bottom of the frame. Increasing power to 1/1 seemed to get rid of it.

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 3 years ago

          Thanks John,

          I have seen that bright band in some other peoples results, I’m not sure what is happening there but it may be the flash having an issue (at low power as you mention).

          The ODS is not really in beta in the sense that its not stable, its just a simple timing adjustment. There’s not really much else they can do to improve results if the timing delay doesn’t help.

          The timing does change with shutter speed though, so if you’re getting clipping at 1/8000th, you would set the camera to that shutter speed and try and adjust the best results there. That could be a different setting to what gives best results at 1/1000th etc. Thanks.

  15. Jesse 3 years ago

    I can confirm that the CL-360 will work flawlessly to at least 1/4000 shutter speed with Pocket Wizard TT5s and Nikon D800 and D4. PW has to be on camera hot shoe and the other one has to be connected with a sync cable to the headphone jack on the light. Also, the Hight Speed Sync mode has to be enabled on the light every time you turn it on after being off.

    The PWs are in their default firmware settings.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Fantastic, thanks Jesse!

  16. Tony Hart 3 years ago

    You really do deserve to be commended for the extreme quality of your reviews. Thank you.

    Here in the UK Calumet have seemingly released rebadged versions of these under their Genesis brand. However they’re billing them as 200 and 400w/s lights. Can you confirm, are these the same power as the Cheetah/Godrox versions or uprated:

    http://www.calumetphoto.co.uk/product/calumet-genesis-gf400-portable-flash-system/CF0182/

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for that, yes the Calumet versions are the same power. Even Godox are overstating the actual figures at 180Ws & 360Ws, as they are really 153Ws & 307Ws. Thanks.

  17. Jacques 3 years ago

    I don’t understand why this was designed with a speedlight form factor. Is anybody going to use an all-manual flash on-camera? Certainly not me. Seems to me this would be better designed as a tiny monolight in a simpler, sturdier case with a stand mount, no tilt & swivel head and no need for a complicated Speed Pro bracket. I do like the external batt pack, though, since it minimizes suspended weight at the end of a boom arm.

  18. Jacques 3 years ago

    After further consideration, I think the configuration I’d most like to see is not as a speedlight or monolight, but as a pack & head, a la Lumedyne, with a battery fitting directly on the pack.

  19. Author
    Flash Havoc 3 years ago

    Hi Jacques,

    There’s lots of those available. Have a look at the new Lithium version of the Godox XEnergizer. ES600P – http://www.godox.com/CN/Products_Portabe_Flash_XEnergizer_Series.html

    • Jacques 3 years ago

      Good call. I wound up there on my own before I saw your recommendation. At $370 on eBay, I’m tempted to replace my aging Lumedynes for the lower minimum power, cheaper, lighter and higher capacity batteries, and remote power adjustment. I’d occasionally miss the Lumies’ ability to run two heads from one pack, though.

  20. David C 3 years ago

    Do you know if anyone has tried hss with the cheetah lights using the yn-622N yet? I saw the canon versions worked, but haven’t seen anything on the Nikon versions yet…..

    Thanks!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi David C,

      Sorry no, I haven’t heard much on this. Results are likely going to vary with camera models as well.

      But the coming YN-622N-TX is meant to have a pre-sync timing adjustment. In which case you pretty much have to be able to dial in the best results possible. So that should work very well.

      You do need an extra YN-622 receiver on every flash though, where as the Cells II will use the existing FT-16 receiver on the side of the flash. Thanks.

  21. Ivo 3 years ago

    First of all, great site. Lots of info.

    I bought the Godox set with Godox FT-16, but it works a bit problematic.
    The receiver is a bit loose in the USB port as mentioned in the review.
    At home all works fine, but funny enough when I’m on a job it doesn’t always function.
    15 out of the 100 times it doesn’t flash or the remote adjustments don’t work, sometimes it even gives multiple flashes without me triggering or moving it.
    I’m wondering if anyone recognizes these problems. I handheld the flash so range can’t be the problem, I think. For now I’m blaming the usb-receiver connection. Or can it be interference from an other 433mhz device? Suggestions are more then welcome. Thanks!!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Ivo,

      Thanks for that. It does sound like you have a connection issue, if not the transmitter, receiver, or even the flash are faulty. Because they never miss a beat otherwise. Could it be that you’re touching the receiver while hand holding the flash body? I bought a small alloy handle off Ebay so I don’t have to touch the flash body because of this.

      I have seen other people also use an elastic band around the flash body and receiver to make sure its held in the USB port. With the V850 speedlites I gaffa tape the receivers in place because they are small enough to not have to remove. They made the connection on those a lot more robust as well.

      Its hard to work out if you have a faulty component though if you don’t have any alternatives to try. It may actually be a faulty transmitter or receiver etc. Thanks.

      • Paul 3 years ago

        I had exactly the issues and it ended up being the power cord between the battery and the flash unit. Godox have modified the plug at the flash end. The plug is deeper so pushes further into the flash. I had one of the first batches of Lencarta Atoms to arrive in the uk. If you wiggle the plug (flash end) and get misfires or loss of power to the flash you almost certainly require the modified lead. The new lead is now rock soldid and I’ve had absolutely no issues since Garry at Lencarta kindly sent me the lead.

  22. Petros 3 years ago

    Hello there! i want to know if Godox Witstro AD 180 or 360 is capable for using it ON camera like nikon sb900.. I mean it s very important if it works in TTL mode.
    The technology of this speedlight flash is perfect and this is only (i think) for the boom wich is naked like studio units!
    thanx
    s

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Petros,

      Sorry no the current AD180 and AD360 are manual only on the camera hotshoe. And there is no HSS available when used on the camera hotshoe either.

      Godox will have a TTL version coming eventually though. There is no estimated time frame for that though. The absolute earliest would have to be second quarter of the year, but I would think more likely in the second half of 2014 sometime. Thanks.

  23. Mike 3 years ago

    Great review!

    I’d love to have these squeezed into a body the size of a Jinbei Discovery head. Add a solid S-mount, which directly attaches to the stand and bears all the weight. Then squeeze in a Lithium ion battery. Half the capacity of the battery pack should suffice.

  24. Bob B. 3 years ago

    Whoa!!!! what a review! Great photos of the gear as well….GREAT JOB!!!!
    OK…I am old school…Studio, view cameras, lots of Speedotron packs, lights etc..Product illustration….got out when Digital came…glad I did….waited 10 years (till 5D Mark II appeared) got back in (with no lights!) just for ME!
    I am really having fun shooting putting images in museums and galleries..loving it… and I kept telling a buddy of mine “…no…no..no lights..I have HDR…..NO!!”….
    Now I have to come across the Chetahs….DAMN…with the ISO quality on the cameras now (I have a 5DIII)..these are unbelievable portable lights that are so close to having an AMAZING, small, portable studio I think I may just have to go over the lighting cliff. ARRRGGGHHHH! LOL! My buddy has a Canon multi-light set-up…but I just found it lacking for all the usual reasons: recycle times, power, head (no bare tube), and expensive for Canons proprietary, less-than investment. Was thinking about it …but it just didn’t wow me…and it just is so “not pro”. I do not need TTL as I do all set-up shots…I need power, quality of light, durability, fast recycle, and today I apparently can have that with no cords! I am not saying that you can’t get good results from the Canon gear…but just too many sniglets, especially with my background and the type of images that I create.
    The Cheetah set-up is impressive… The recycle times with the 2-into-1 adapters are IMPRESSIVE for a kit of this type…Truly allows some flow in your shooting!!!! I know there are some trade-off to WAY more expensive studio-type portable equip…but the cost of these for what you get…WOW!I And the portability, too!!!!!…..I called Edward and he helped my get up to speed with the HSS set-up, etc…but I have one quick question to you….I know how to set up for Canon HSS (thanks Edward!)…but is there a way to do that with an Olympus MFT System Camera as well…I have two complete systems and I know I can shoot all day long with the Olympus no HSS….but was wondering if I can have my cake and eat it too.
    …and thanks AGAIN for creating this page…Quite wonderful!!!!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for that, hope you enjoy them!

      Regarding HSS with Olympus, there is no simple solution unfortunately. Because there are no TTL/HSS enabled radio triggers available for Olympus at this stage.

      I think the only possible option would be to rig up a bit of a DIY set up using a HSS enabled flash on the camera hotshoe. As that flash fires it provided the early fire signal. You can tap into that then by placing an optic slave in front of the flash. Then you would attach that optic slave to another radio transmitter. If that transmitter was the CL-TX (or FT-16) then you would need to attach it to the optic slave via the foot as it doesn’t have a PC sync port.

      So its going to be a fairly cumbersome set up on the camera, but it could possibly be done if you really needed to. Thanks.

  25. Eric 3 years ago

    The flash tubes looks similar to Lumedyne tubes. Can you use Lumedyne tubes in this flash? I still have an older Lumedyne setup and I’m thinking that this will fit the bill. This seems like a very functional setup and if I can use my old Lumedyne accessories with this flash, I’ll probably be investing. I really do hope they can incorporate a better transmitter system as well so you don’t have to use the Cells II transmitter. And a pass through shoe for on camera TTL control would really be the ticket. thanks for such a detailed review!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for that. I’m really not sure about the Lumedyne tubes. There have been various reports of some alternate tubes working and others not, but I’m no familiar enough with them to comment really.

      If you search around you can pick up the Godox tubes pretty inexpensively though anyway. Unless you’re referring to remote extension cords or adapters for the tubes etc.

      As discussed in the recent Godox V860 flash comments, there will very likely be a new radio system eventually, though it may not be for a while yet. Godox are taking the time to plan it out carefully this time. Thanks.

  26. Alberto 3 years ago

    Hey FH,

    Does Godox ever answer thier emails. I have been trying to contact them but it seems they do not have a US distributor…well an official one.

    Do you know of anyone in Godox I can contact?

    Thanks,

    -alberto

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Alberto,

      I’ve sent you an email. Godox are extremely busy at the moment, you may be better of speaking to a local dealer at the moment if possible. Thanks.

  27. Taro 3 years ago

    How much power can I expect to get out of CL-360 in short duration, like 1/2000 sec or 1/4000 sec?

    I’m looking for a portable, high output setup for use outdoors with a leaf-shuttered camera that can sync as fast as 1/4000 sec. At the camera’s wide apertures (F2 to F8), the limit is 1/3200 sec. So I’m looking for a flash setup that can crank out most output in 1/3200 sec.

    I currently own a tri-flash bracket to mount 3 x SB-700. In my subjective test, I can use most (close to .T5?) of SB-700’s 1/4 output in about 1/2500 sec.. With three SB-700’s mounted on a bracket, I get about 3/4 of SB-700’s full output in 1/2500 sec..

    Can I expect to get more from CL-360 in the same duration? If so, how many stops or GN of difference can I expect?

    Another way to phrase my question is, what is the .T5 duration of CL-360 at different output levels? Does anyone have a rough idea?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Taro,

      The flash durations for both the CL 180 and CL 360 are state as –

      1/1 – 1/300
      1/2 – 1/800
      1/4 – 1/1500
      1/8 – 1/2000
      1/16 – 1/3000
      1/32 – 1/5000
      1/64 – 1/7000
      1/128 – 1/10,000

      Godox have said they are T.1 times, though I think that may be a little optimistic.

      Until I can get a Nikon D70 or D40 or similar and test these I’m not really sure exactly how they will compare to multiple speedlights etc.

      • Taro 3 years ago

        Thanks, Flash Havoc. I’m more interested in realistic T.5 times, because my objective is not stopping milk crowns or bullets, but to balance ambient/flash under daylight with small equipment.

        If anyone here has a CL-360 and a camera that can sync under 1/4000 sec. (like Canon G series, Fuji X10, X20, Panasonic LX5, LX7, Sony RX1, and Nikon P7700, P7800), can you do some subjective testing?

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 3 years ago

          Thanks Taro,

          They should be pretty safe for T.5 times then.

          Thanks for the list of cameras there, that’s helpful.

          Although I know the Canon G series don’t always allow as high shutter speeds as the Nikon D40 / D70 for example. So there could be some variation between the cameras listed as well.

          • Taro 3 years ago

            I’ve used Canon G12 with a Nikon SB-80dx. If you a Canon flash, the camera gets smart and refuses to sync at some speeds.

            What I care about is not the safe duration to capture all of the flash output. I want to know the ‘meatiest’ part of the flash duration, such that I can maximize the ratio of flash output over time. I don’t mind if my shutter closed during the tail of the output curve. If optimizing for this ratio requires a low output level, I can raise ISO to adjust.

            My subjective test shows I get the best ratio somewhere between 1/2 at 1/1000 sec and 1/4 at 1/2000 sec with SB-80dx. I want to know where the same ‘meatiest’ duration is with CL-360.

  28. Eric 3 years ago

    Does anyone know if the PB820 will power the ad180 & 360? I know this battery pack only has one port and a lower power rating, but the cord connections should be the same right?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Eric, Yes the PB820 can also be used with the AD180 and AD360.

  29. Bob B. 3 years ago

    Hi…
    Quick question that I think I already know the answer to.
    Are these strobes with either of their radio triggers incrementally controllable by say a Sekonic L-478DR LiteMaster Pro ? (i.e. Can the flash meter control power and fire the stones wirelessly?) .
    I am guessing the answer is no because the CL-TX transmitters and receivers are based on 433MHz frequency not 2.6MHz like pocket Wizards are….so the Sekonic would not be able to control the output power and fire them correct??? I am new to the wireless firing so I am unsure about this.
    Thanks.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Bob B.

      Actually they both happen to use 433MHz, though that still doesn’t have much to do with them being compatible. There are no other brands compatible with PocketWizard, and they took legal action against Phottix who where the only company to have tried to make a PW compatible trigger.

      So no they are not directly compatible unfortunately, and the 478DR can not control the power levels of the Cheetah lights.

      You can at least use the test fire button fairly easily on the CL-TX to take readings, as in there’s no pre-flash etc issues like some TTL triggers have. Thanks.

  30. Bob B. 3 years ago

    OK…thanks for the confirmation.! This is an “outlier” strobe…so I was betting this would be the case, that the Sekonic is not compatible…although I thought that the PocketWizards were 433MHz in Europe only. This stuff gets complicated! LOL!

  31. PETER 3 years ago

    Hi Guys,

    second try.

    So I measured the fdurations myself.

    Here are the results.
    1/156 1
    1/303
    1/465
    1/606 1/2
    1/787
    1/1000
    1/1250 1/4
    1/1493
    1/1786
    1/2041 1/8
    1/2326
    1/2703
    1/3125 1/16

    These are the first 16 power levels in 0.3 stop levels.

    hope this will help all of you.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Thanks Peter,

      How did you measure these? (I assume the are T.1 times).

      The full power result at least seems very much like what I would have expected though, just by watching how much light is lost increasing the shutter speed up x-sync. Thanks.

  32. PETER 3 years ago

    Hey Mr. Flash Havoc,

    I did measure like

    http://www.gock.net/2012/01/flash-durations-small-strobes/

    Used another phototransitor though.

    And you are right the durations are t01’s.

    • PETER 3 years ago

      Ah and I used the AD360
      cheers

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 3 years ago

        Ok great, thanks Peter.

  33. Dejan Foto 3 years ago

    hello,I want to buy CL-360, and it is very important HSS,
    Is it possible to run flash across my Yongnuo YN622 triggers + Canon 5dmk2, and whether to support the HSS …
    thanks in advance

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Dejan Foto,

      Yes you can use HSS with the CL-360 and the YN-622C and 5D II. You can see the set up options here. Thanks.

  34. Foto 3 years ago

    this is interesting question… me too want to know is it possible triggering flash with yongnuo YN622 and 5dmk2 canon, on High Speed Sync (1/8000) ???

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Foto,

      Yes you should be able to go close to 1/8000th using the 5D II and YN-622C. You can see the set up options here. Thanks.

  35. Mikhail 3 years ago

    This is just a spectacular review!!! Thank you for your efforts!

    I was wondering if there have been any reports of being able to get HSS to work with Pixel King Pro for Canon or is the HSS only possible with the Cell II triggers?

    Thanks so much again for you hard and extensive leg work in finding out all this info!!!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Mikhail,

      Thanks for that. The Pixel King Pro for Canon should work, though for some reason mine have stopped providing the early pre-sync signal needed for HSS. When they did work they provided quite similar result to the YN-622C.

      I’ve tried everything I can re-installing the firmware etc, but I can’t get the pre-sync signal back. I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing the same issue, but for now they are not working for me. They had this issue intermittently a couple of times previously as well.

      But no its not only the Cells II that will work, You can use a number of TTL triggers like the YN-622, Phottix Odin, and PocketWizard TT1. You can see some more details on the set ups here. Thanks.

  36. Nadine 3 years ago

    what about the MFT technology?

    Does this do TTL on the GH3? Panasonic/Olympus or Fuji?
    and if modeling was LED …could possibly use it so some video…?

    Gen 2…

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Nadine,

      I’m not sure if you have posted this question in the right place? As the Godox AD180 / AD360 do not currently do TTL at all (with any camera model). They are manual flashes at this time only. TTL versions may be coming around the end of the year (2014). Unfortunately they will be Canon and Nikon TTL only, not M4/3 at this stage.

      You can use the remote manual FT-16 transmitter with any camera that has a standard hotshoe though.

      They do not have a modelling light at this point either. The larger new Xenergizer lights have an LED modelling light, though they only stay on for 2 minutes at a time so that they won’t overheat. So those are not of much use for video use unfortunately. Thanks.

  37. Hi from Germany,
    what a great review!!!
    I`m using my Godox byed as calumet branded version for the complete last wedding season and love it.
    Know I selled my other manual hot shoe strobes and moeved to the VING’s to have a system which is controlable with one remote.

    Here is my question:
    Where do you buyed the nice looking blue Photoflex Speedring?
    Looks lighter than my versions.

    Best regards
    Tobias

  38. … and please Godox if you read this: Make an high quality 2.5Meter long cable with Y-splitting ends.
    I almost ever use the splitter cable for faster recycle time with the 5m cable which i have to replace two times because of cable break.
    And the splitter cable makes the whole setup bulky.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Hochzeitsfotograf Velbert,

      That is a very smart idea. I couldn’t agree more, the splitter cable makes the system much more bulky than it needs to be.

      I’m going to pull the splitter apart and see how it is wired together. If there is no circuitry etc in there then I think I will solder my own 2.5m splitter cable together.

      You should still even be able to just connect one port if / when needed. I will pass this on to Godox. Thanks.

      • My Idea was to build a DIY cable (maybe with XLR-Jacks for thicker connection points) but there is a little electric board in the splitter cable with two black chips in it.
        So I stopped this project because I´m not game enough to connect the two outputs directly together and burn down my living house ;-)

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 3 years ago

          Ok thanks for that. I thought there may be some circuitry in there with such a large junction box housing used. So I don’t think we can expect any more compact option from Godox then.

          I’d still like to have a go at joining the cord without the Godox splitter housing. If I use enough heat shrink the cicuit boards may be ok inside that.

          It would really be ideal if Godox could make the pack with a switch to divert all the power to one port. The Splitter cord is much better than no option, but it really almost doubles the size of the pack to store/transport etc.

          • “…It would really be ideal if Godox could make the pack with a switch to divert all the power to one port. …”
            Oh yes Godox!!!!
            Please upgrade the powerblock with an “A+B” switch!!!
            I bet this will fit the needs of 99% of the users.
            Hope they read your blog which by the way is really great man!

  39. Mikhail 3 years ago

    Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I finally got my 360 version of this flash in the mail. So far, I LOVE it! It is every bit as simple as your review describes! I want to share my experience with HSS in case it can help anyone else…

    I also ordered the FT-16 trigger with my flash and it is amazing to use, I love the simplicity of it! I also already had the Pixel King Pro triggers and the original Pixel King (non pro) triggers. I immediately tested it out to see if they would provide me with HSS. To my surprise when I connected the Pixel King Pro to the flash it DID NOT provide me with HSS. I connected it to the hotshot of the flash as well as to the 3.5mm jack on the side with the same results. It DID NOT work! However, I then tried the original Pixel King remotes and I’m happy to say that they DO work quite flawlessly so far! I tried the King Pro transmitter with the King (original) receiver and it still wouldn’t work. The only way I was able to get the flash to work in HSS was to use the original Pixel King transmitter and receiver with the flash.

    I hope that information helps someone out! And just to clarify, my Pixel triggers and receiver are all updated to the latest firmware versions. I have a scheduled shoot for later on and I’ll be sure to put this thing through its paces and try every possible scenario I can think out. If anyone has any questions or suggestions be sure to let me know and I’ll do what I can to help out! :-)

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Mikhail,

      Thanks for the feedback, and great to hear you like the flash.

      I can not get the Pixel King Pro to work with the H-mode HSS anymore either. I definitely did have it working at times as I was testing if for quite a long time. A few times when I would try it again it would not work, and now I have not been able to get it to work again at all. And I have a couple of transmitter units with the same result.

      So its a mystery to me. But as you say, the original King works ok. Thanks again.

  40. Mikhail 3 years ago

    Who knows? Maybe it’s due to a rivalry between Pixel and Godox and Pixel has plans to put out their own ttl version of this flash that only the King Pros can control… Now wouldn’t THAT be marvelous?! :-D

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Actually Pixel have a long history of having the pre-sync signal work in one model and not the next. Going back to the early Knight triggers, we went through tons of samples of those, and every second update the pre-sync would be messed up again.

      So it doesn’t really surprise me with the King Pro. What I don’t understand is why it worked for a while and then changed. Going back to old firmware etc does not help.

      Yes I’m sure Pixel will get to the bare bulb flash eventually as well. They only just have their first speedlight coming out now though, so they are a couple of years behind. Give it 18 months or so and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bare bulb TTL radio flash.

  41. Did anyone figured out a way to gel the strobe?
    I`m thinking about taking a 40mm Plexiglas tube with cap and wrap a Lee foil on the inner side, but maybe the heat of the flash bulb could be a problem.
    Something like this:
    http://www.ebay.de/itm/251223045140?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Yes I think 40MM would be much too close to the bulb. You would likely melt the gel and the plexiglass. If you could use one of the large tubes attached to one of the reflector or snoot mounts etc, that should work pretty well.

      It is a bit of a challenge though making a tube out of gel alone. A bare bulb, or 180 degree gel holder is another of the things really needed.

      • 40mm is the exact size of the adapter ring.
        Lee gels are used for 6k hot lights and I think this wouldn`t be a problem.
        But you`re right, Plexiglas could be a problem and also overheating of the bulb.
        Otherwise there are small metall snoots available who covers nearly the whole bulb so overheating may not be the biggest problem.

  42. Mikhail 3 years ago

    I would also like to point out that I was able to get my camera to sync at 1/4000 of a sec WITHOUT the flash being set to HSS mode! While using my Pixel King trigger and the AD360 set to 1/1 power on manual my camera was able to sync at it’s highest shutter speed (Canon 6D). However, it ONLY works at 1/1 power.

  43. Buzzy 3 years ago

    I just got AD360 from eachShot.com last week. They’ve delivered quite fast via DHL to Germany (within 10 days). However the customer service is very awful. Mostly they didn’t react to any inquiry. Hopefully I have never to get touch with them again :-(

    • Why don`t you bought the flash from Calumet who have a nearly perfect customer support here in germany?
      https://www.calumetphoto.de/product/genesis-speedlight-gf400-kit-mit-speedlight-powerport-duo-1000/CALCF0182KIT

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Buzzy,

      Sorry to hear that. They are likely flat out at the moment though just getting the orders out. You must have purchased from the first offer.

      If there is something you need to know still though, just let me know and I’ll try and see they do get in contact with you. Thanks.

      • Buzzy 3 years ago

        Hi flash,

        yesterday I had a shooting with a nice model and as I switched on the power on my AD360, it went off again immediately. Note that before shooting I’ve fully charged the battery (at least the charger has shown a green light) … so it was really not a pleasure experience …
        Back at home I plug the battery pack to the charger again and in several seconds status LED on charger went green :-(, but the battery again went off, if I switched it on.
        Would you mind to contact Eachshot and tell them about my issue here ?

        Thanks & regards,

        Buz

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 3 years ago

          Hi Buzzy,

          Its more than likely a faulty battery. I’ve sent you an email to get your detail, and I’ll get EachShot to contact you. Thanks.

    • Ed Cody 3 years ago

      I also received an AD360 from EachShot.com and my experience has be terrible. I paid for express shipping with DHL, intending to use the light on a project. The kit arrived on Monday and it was dead on arrival. I tried to charge the battery but the best I can get is three lights in the pack and the pack goes dead after only a dozen flashes. I don’t know if the problem is with the pack, the battery or the charger.

      I’ve send emails to EachShot several times and all I’ve gotten from them is automated response emails stating they have received my emails. It’s now Friday and nothing. I’m left with a totally useless flash. I’ve gone from disappointed, to frustrated to angry.

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 3 years ago

        Hi Ed,

        Sorry to hear that. Its more than likely the battery. I’ve sent EachShot an email to see if I can find out what’s happening.

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 3 years ago

        Hi Ed,

        Did EachShot contact you yet? thanks.

        • Ed Cody 3 years ago

          No. Not as of 12 PM EDT.

          • Author
            Flash Havoc 3 years ago

            Ok thanks, another (rather more persuasive) email sent.

            • Ed Cody 3 years ago

              I did hear from EachShot. They told me to send back the battery and they well replace it.
              Thanks for your help.

              • Author
                Flash Havoc 3 years ago

                Thanks Ed, I hope they can sort that out quickly.

                If anyone else is having issues with no response, please let me know and I can have them email you instead. Thanks.

  44. Joe 3 years ago

    Does it function without the external battery pack? (in other words, is there an internal battery pack — or do you basically need both speedlight-sized units [the battery pack and the light] connected by a wire in order to make it work)

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Joe,

      No there is no internal battery pack, and you need the external pack.

      I have suggested to Godox a number of times that a battery pack that clips to the front of the flash providing a completely wireless unit would be very desirable. I think they will provide a light like this at some stage. Thanks.

  45. Andrea 3 years ago

    I’ve got a question. i’m using HSS most of the time within 1/2 to 1/1 power. i’m getting overheating slowdown after 15 shots or less. And then i’ve to wait 10 min. I’ve discovered that turning off the flash reset the overheating alert. It’s safe do that? In non-HSS mode i can fire 70 pops before overheating.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Andrea,

      No its not really safe to do that. At the least you will likely blow the flash tube unfortunately.

      If you need to shoot more, your best bet would be to use the flash at full power and leave H-mode off. That way your just using the long flash duration at full power to achieve higher sync speeds. Results will vary with the camera and triggers used though so you’d be best to do some test shots to see what shutters speeds you can achieve a reasonably clean frame. Thanks.

      • Andrea 3 years ago

        I’ve tried and it works also with 1/8000. But i can use it only at full power. Any way to use it with 1/2 of power?

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 3 years ago

          Ok thanks, that’s a pretty good start then.

          Going to half power on the flash also pretty much halves the flash duration. So you will only get a strip about half the size of the frame exposed by the flash. And it will likely take a transmitter unit with a timing adjustment to nudge that strip into the frame at all.

          If you’re just after less light, then an ND filter over the flash tube would be the only way to get the light output down.

          They are the only options really, because being as IGBT flash the flash duration become very short at anything lower than full power.

          The coming LED Light Cube is quite interesting because the flash duration of those is completely adjustable. It remains to be seen how much light they actually produce in comparison though.

    • pwp 2 years ago

      Getting just 10-12 full power HSS shots in before overheating made the 360 commercially useless to me, having bought it specifically for the HSS function. But I just updated the firmware on my Phottix Odin triggers and now I get perfectly clean, perfect HSS on REGULAR 360 full power. This works with the Odin set to non-HSS setting on the 5D3 and set to HSS for the 1D4. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement. This seems to completely solve the deal-breaking 10-12 shot limit.

      Presumably it’s safe to keep pumping the 360 on non-HSS full power while achieving genuine HSS performance right up to 1/8000/sec with the Odin on a 5D3.

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 2 years ago

        Hi pwp,

        Thanks for the feedback.

        Yes its safe to use the long duration sync just like normal flash at full power, as nothing is changing on the flash (like when using H-mode).

        I’m not sure if you are referring to the ODS (Over Drive Sync) setting there when you say one camera is set to HSS on the Odin and the other is not.

        If not there is an ODS timing adjustment available to help try and tune the best result.

        But yes this is the solution I often mention to people having issues with the 10 shot limit in H-mode at full power. The results are not quite as even light across the frame, though 70 shots can make all the difference when needed. Thanks.

  46. Lou Recine 2 years ago

    Hi Quick question,
    BTW Fantastic review , Im thinking of getting a couple of these but I just have a question.
    This maybe a silly question but what is the difference between buying the Godox Wistro or the Cheetah light version of the 360

    Lou Recine .

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 years ago

      Hi Lou,

      They are a re-brand of the Godox units. Thanks.

  47. Karl Wendlinger 2 years ago

    Hi,

    congrats to your great site and thanx for your fantastic work! I have a question regarding the HSS feature of the 360 in combination with a EOS 1 Dx. I am about to purchase 3 x 360s but sometimes i need HSS. Up to now i have read about the HSS compatibility with 1Dmk4 and 5Dmk3.

    Does it also work with the 1Dx? And if yes, which trigger should i use with a 1 Dx? Is the Photix Odin the best for this job or the Cells II?

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    Another question is the rebranding. Numerous brands sell the godox hardware. Mostly with the same specs. In germany now we have CALUMET who sell the same units, but promote that the 360 (looks like a godox witstro 360 to me) provides a power of 400 Ws. They sell the two devices as GENESIS GF200 and GF400.

    IS this possible, that there are stronger versions or is this just exagreated marketing?

    360: https://www.calumetphoto.de/product/genesis-speedlight-gf400/CALCF0182/?tracking=|searchterm:genesis

    180: https://www.calumetphoto.de/product/genesis-speedlight-gf200/CALCF0180/?tracking=|searchterm:genesis

    • pwp 2 years ago

      Hi Karl,

      I’d be astonished if the 360 didn’t work perfectly with the 1DX. I got seamless immediate results HSS with 5D3 and 1D4. If you can afford the Phottix Odins, they are in another class to the CellsII triggers. Using the Odins ODS adjustment function, you can tune the trigger and flash for maximum compatibility. In this case it means being able to achieve HSS with the 360 on regular non-HSS setting (full power) meaning you’ll get 70 HSS pops before the heat-protection function kicks in vs 10-12 shots using the 360’s HSS mode. Black magic if you ask me…

      Also, using the Odins and tuning the ODS, I’ve been able to get viable HSS with my Einsteins provided you use full power (longest flash duration). Not perfect with the 5D3, but fine all the way to 1/8000 sec on the 1D4.

      • Karl Wendlinger 2 years ago

        Thanx pwp!

  48. Mikhail 2 years ago

    I was just playing around tonight and I thought I’d mention to you what I found, Flash Havoc. I remember you saying that you were using the Pixel King Pro and that you were able to get the HSS to work but then it all of a sudden stopped. Well, for me I was never able to get the Pros to work but had no problems at all with the original Kings. Tonight I noticed that my Pro trigger was on and the groups were set to Manual. I was not able to get HSS to work using my 360. However, when I changed the groups to TTL it worked, and it worked flawlessly!!! So, not sure if that is what you may have changed on yours too to cause it to no longer work but I just wanted to let you know of my findings, hope it helps!

    This is really exciting for me because I still have a couple of Canon flashes that I want to hold onto for backups. This will allow me to seamlessly integrate them into my Godox setup as well now!!! All with HSS!!!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 years ago

      Hi Mikhail,

      You’re a legend !!

      I tested this again with the King Pro and its working great, flash mounted on the receiver hotshoe or attached via PC sync cord.

      I almost distinctly remember trying TTL before though with no change, so I’m still a bit stumped as to what was going on.

      I packed up all the gear after testing again, and then though there has got to be more to it. Maybe setting any group to manual would cause an issue. But I tested it all again, and that has no effect.

      So its simply the group the receivers are on for SuperSync etc use, needs to be set to TTL. Set that group to manual and the pre-sync signal is gone.

      Other TTL flashes can still be controlled with remote power setting using the other 2 groups.

      Thanks again. Now I just have to find all the places I’ve mentioned this and update them.

      • Mikhail 2 years ago

        Glad I could be of some assistance!!! I only remember reading it in 2 or 3 other places where you mentioned it… If I notice them again and you haven’t updated it I’ll be sure to let you know about it!

  49. ronron 2 years ago

    Hi there

    I just got myself two Walimex Light Shooters 360 plus Delta Transmitter for Canon, this is the same as the Witstros AD360 + Cells II. I have the Canon 5Dmk3.

    When using the “Cells II”, the camera indicates that HSS in enabled. When taking a picture with a shutter speed faster than 1/200th (x-sync), say 1/1000th, the camera still takes the photo at 1/200th. On the LED it says 1/1000th, then while the photo is being taken, it switches to 1/200th very quickly, then switches back to 1/1000th. I tested in manual, A and T, same problem in all modes. Tried with the FTR-16 and Cells II as receiver (hotshoe mounted).

    Strangely this doesn’t happen when in live view – the photo will be at 1/1000th, but the sync seems to be totally off, not any hint of a flash light in the photos.

    Does anybody know what the problem might be?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Mikhail 2 years ago

      ronron,

      I personally don’t have the Cell II triggers but I do remember reading that for the Canon 5D III and Canon 6D it needed the newer version (Cells II c) to work properly in high sync mode. Not sure if maybe you don’t have that version and that’s the problem though.

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 2 years ago

        An old Cells II could be the issue, though this is the second report of the same issue this week. So maybe there may possibly be some faulty Cells IIc going around now as well.

        • ronron 2 years ago

          thanks four your answers.

          I understand there are different versions of the Cells II. I can see that on Amazon and the like (Cells II and Cells II-C).
          However I don’t see any different versions for my Walimex branded Delta Transceivers (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Walimex-Pro-Transceiver-Camera-433MHz/dp/B00APF1EOG).
          Does anyone know if there are different versions of the Walimex Deltas, too? To me, it doesn’t seem so.

          A solution would be to buy the Cells II-C on Amazon or ebay. Do you know if a) they are compatible with the Walimex branded AD360 + FTR-16 and b) if there are any limitations regarding FCC and CE (the Walimex Deltas are sold in Europe / Germany, Cells II-C from Amazon would probably ship from the US or China)?

          • Author
            Flash Havoc 2 years ago

            All the later Cells II should be the same now, they don’t have to be named the Cells II c.

            I really don’t know about the Walimex branded units though. If they are not that popular it may be possible they are pretty old stock.

            Yes the Godox brand Cells II from the US or China will work with your Walimex branded FTR-16 and AD360.

            There are also some rumours the Cells II are being discontinued. I haven’t been able to confirm that with Godox yet though.

            If that is the case though, and Godox do not have their new triggers ready yet, then other TTL triggers like the YN-622 will need to be used for HSS instead.

            • ronron 2 years ago

              Hi Falsh Havoc

              Just wanted to give a quick update to my situation, maybe it’s helpful for others.

              Walimex, who sell the same flashes and triggers as Godox, told my local reseller, that they don’t have older or newer versions of therir Delta Transmitters (same as Cells II), just one version (which did not work in HSS mode with my Canon 5DmkIII). So I tried to get my hands on a Godox Cells II-C as you and Mikhail suggested.

              It seemed that ebay was the only chance to do so. All offers were from China, so communication was a little difficult. I just wanted to make sure that I get the Cells II-C version. It turned out that most offers pictured that version, but in the description they said “Cells II”. In answers to my questions they either couldn’t tell what version they really sell or they said they only have the Cells II. Two sellers even told me that no version will work in HSS with my camera.

              Luckily one guy (sjjobs) was contacting Godox directly and could confirm that he’s selling the Cells II-C and that it would work with my camera, so I ordered one (on September 12). Today it arrived (in Switzerland) and … IT WORKS!

              Thanks for your help and best regards
              ronron

  50. Paul 2 years ago

    Hi,

    I own two AD360’s.
    What is the possibillity for me to use HSS with my Sony A99 or A77m2?
    Can I use the Phottix Odin or pixelking as transmitter and the receiver connected with a sync cable to the sync port of he AD360?

    Glad to hear some solution(s) . . .
    Kind regards, Paul

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 years ago

      Hi Paul,

      Yes that should work, provided HSS normally works ok with those Sony cameras and the Odins or Kings.

      The Odin have an advantage in the ODS timing adjustment can help improve the results. Thanks.

      • Paul 2 years ago

        So if the manual flash like the AD360 has the option to set the flash in HSS, you probably do not have to use the ODS timing adjustment . . . ?

      • Paul 2 years ago

        Reaction from Phottix:

        The Odin will trigger trigger most of the flashes via the 3.5mm sync cable, however without TTL functions. HSS is a TTL function hence it will not be supported for this connection.

        I tried the Pixel King and the AD360 works well in HSS mode with shutterspeed more than 1/200 . . .
        Is there a possibility to trie the setting I mentioned?

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