Or something to that effect.
When I thought about what I needed and examined the current landscape, the choices eventually came down to either Profoto or Godox—which is surprising, given where we were not so long ago. Now, I like Profoto. I like the company and the people who work there and their energy and vision. Stockholm’s a cool city. I’ve also written in the past about my uneasiness when it comes to manufacturers playing fast and loose with copyright infringement and treading a damn fine line. But there’s still an economic reality to contend with. At the end of the day my bottom line matters, and this leads to two crucial questions: can the products do the job well? How much do they cost?
I spent months looking at specs and reviews, comparing offerings from both companies but also their ecosystems: triggers, light shaping tools, replacement parts etc. And after much hand-wringing I finally chose to go with Godox. It came down to price vs performance of the strobes themselves obviously, but if I’m being totally honest, accessories played a huge part as well. Here's the thing: I don’t want to sound cheap, but a Profoto trigger costs $599 CAD. The equivalent trigger from Godox (and I underline equivalent) is $87 CAD. We’re talking about radio triggers in 2019 here, not some secret ultra-advanced technology from the future. So as far as I’m concerned $599 is bonkers cocoa puffs crazy town. I could accept the insane price differential for an insanely better product...but the Profoto is a plastic remote that does the exact same job as its plastic Godox counterpart. It doesn’t do it better or more elegantly. In fact I’d even argue it’s not as versatile, and at this point it lags (gasp) behind Godox in terms of UX (I think the UI zoom function on the XPRO-F is brilliant). In an even more surprising twist, in terms of build quality I’d again give the edge to Godox: the Profoto trigger connection is so tight I’m always scared I’ll either damage the hot shoe on the camera or break off the connector itself—which would of course set me back another $599, or worse. It uses AAA batteries that drain quite a bit faster than the XPRO’s AA and frankly, its buttons and controls feel noticeably flimsier as well.
I will unequivocally accept a premium for the design and development of unique, superior products—this however, is totally unjustified IMHO. Completely and utterly. And unfortunately I’m forced to admit that it’s such a huge, gratuitous disparity, that it simply turns me off everything else, despite my affection for the company.
That said, I was also swayed by the fact that I already owned and appreciated the AD600BM strobe—the manual, Bowens mount version of the Godox AD600—as well as the minuscule TT350-F. It’s the duo I used to shoot the images for this Capture One 12 article for example and it works very well. So it became a logical starting point. But I also wanted a setup that would allow me to go full TTL if needed, which is new territory for me: I‘ve always been Mr. Manual, but TTL has grown on me—and the credit for this goes to using the Profoto A1 (a bit of irony there). Manual control will always remain the most accurate way of lighting a scene but the shooting flexibility of TTL is something I now often use and appreciate. Long story short, here are the new additions to the kit:
AD400 Pro. This is the smaller and lighter 400W version of the AD600 Pro.
H200R. A round flash head attachment for the AD200—more on this in a sec.
A few Bowens-based modifiers—octabox, grid etc.
I added two XPRO-F triggers (because why not) to supplement the older, functional but much less intuitive X1T-F I already owned. This means I can now have three cameras on set ready to shoot.