Sony GM lenses, Godox & Profoto lighting updates, etc.

Following my recent post, I feel I should  write a bit of an update :). I have a lot planned, and as I’ve expressed before, I’d like to work in Canada. The easiest way to do that is to run a business for a few years.

I’ve been asking myself a bunch of questions, and comparing gear. At the moment, here’s some of my thoughts?

  • What types of photography do I want to do?
    • I’m better at things not involving people quite so much and my brain is more technically minded. I believe I can get quite good at interior photography and perhaps product photography if I put the effort in. I’d also like to be able to do pet photography which falls into the category of portraits. Weddings are attractive due to income but it is not something I’d want to start with. I’d also like to do some macro, which product photography can fall into. This would help increase the quality of my website, exponentially (for example, if I were to write a review of the Garmin Fenix 5X watch, it’d make sense to have a decent photograph of it).
  • What lighting will I need for the photography I want to do?
    • I’ve looked at interior photographs I like, for real estate, and they all use numerous flashes. I believe I will need about five speedlights for this. For pet photography, about two higher powered strobes, probably no more than 250 watts. For product and macro, even more than that. I believe a bunch of speedlights and one high quality strobe is enough to start with.
    • In an ideal world, I’d probably have a Broncolor Siros 400, Profoto B10 and a bunch of Godox speedlights. Unfortunately, none of that is going to communicate with each other.
  • What lighting modifiers will I need for the photography I want to do?
    • Some CTO gels
    • A 75mm octabox with grid. Preferably the Elinchrom 75mm deep octabox, but… It doesn’t let you put on grids.
  • What lenses or rather what focal lengths and apertures will I need for the photography I want to do?
    • 12-24mm zoom or 12mm and 15mm primes (I already have other wide angle focal lengths covered), 100mm macro, perhaps a wide aperture portrait (85mm f/1.4) and a 70-200mm later on (this is not a priority, unless I don’t bother with a dedicate portrait lens and I just get a 12-24mm zoom and a 70-200mm zoom).
  • How does Godox compare to Profoto and does Godox offer a flash as small and colour accurate as the Profoto B10?
    • In my opinion, the Godox AD600 Pro is superior to anything Profoto offers in its class but unfortunately, the Godox AD200 is not likely to be as good as the Profoto B10, due to colour accuracy and ease of use with modifiers, and light stands. If Godox were to release a Godox AD20o Pro or a Godox AD300 Pro, I think I’d be all in. Their speedlights are incredible for the money. I want something like the Godox AD200 with more colour accuracy, and the Godox AD400 Pro is simply a bit too big for some stuff I want to do. Profoto is potentially on to a winner with the Profoto B10, but they don’t have any speedlights that’re worth considering. Therefore, Godox potentially has a better ecosystem for what I want to do, but perhaps I should mix and match somehow.
  • Does Godox offer a flash comparable with the Profoto B1X?
    • The Godox AD400 Pro is comparable; it is cheaper and has a higher quality light output, etc.
  • Does Broncolor offer flashes comparable to Profoto, Godox or Profoto?
    • Their Siros lights are comparable but heavy on a light stand, and they don’t really do a Profoto B10 or Godox AD200 equivalent. The Broncolor Move is superior to anything Profoto offers and their Siros lights are superior in terms of colour quality.
  • Can the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens do macro with a Harumi filter?
    • I believe the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens can do macro with a filter but I’m not sure how good it is. If it’s really good, then this lens with a Sony 12-24mm FE lens might be all I need to start with.
  • Will the Voigtlander 110mm FE be suitable for portraiture?
    • I think this will be too slow to focus with, for certain types of pet photography, and its aperture might not be ideal for the more artistic shots. However, I can see it’d be really, really good for some portraiture. Therefore, I’m a bit on the fence and I’d quite like to own both, haha. I’m not sure which I’d buy first…
  • Will a Wacom Cintiq be necessary and what are its downfalls?
    • I think the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium will be enough, however, when I live in Canada, a tablet with a screen is more useful because I can plug it into a lightweight computer and not need to buy a secondary monitor. It’s also nice to edit what’s on a screen. Unfortunately, when you press the pen onto the screen, it’s like putting your finger on a typical LCD. The smaller models aren’t as good in terms of colour accuracy either.
  • What will I do if something fails?
    • If I buy Godox, I can afford to buy secondary equipment. If I buy Profoto, it’s pushing it.
  • What are my plans for my website?
    • I’d like to pay an artist to make a bunch of icons, so I have about six icons mobile users tap. I’ll make everything minimalist. I’m not sure if this means I will develop a whole new theme for this site or make a secondary site and polish this one.
  • What’s currently wrong with it?
    • The reviews are poorly written, I’ve rushed them and I haven’t put enough effort into the photographs I took of the equipment (it’s a bore setting up equipment to take review photographs, but I will get around to that one day).
  • Why are my photographs bad?
    • My composition could be better but I think primarily they lack decent lighting, editing, and the idea behind them could be a lot better.
  • What photographs are better and why?
    • While in Canada, I took plenty of snapshots of where I went to document my trip in a way–they weren’t very good. When I sat around for a while and took more effort into my shots, it definitely showed. So I think a lot of it comes down to effort and being deliberate. Either I want to travel somewhere for fun and rush to take a pic, or I want to go somewhere with their sole purpose of taking a photograph.
  • What am I likely to buy?
    • Godox AD400 Pro, a bunch of Godox speedlights an an AD200. The Profoto B10 is far more tempting than their other lights, so I don’t know. For lenses, the Sony 12-24mm f/4 FE lens and probably the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens. I’m really tempted by the macro too. Lastly, a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium. I can’t justify buying everything at once, nor can I afford to do so. With that in mind, I’m a bit confused. This isn’t all down to cost, either. Regardless of cost, some of the Godox equipment is genuinely better than Profoto but also, I suspect the Profoto B10 is superior to some of the Godox stuff. It’s really hard to decide.

The list is pretty endless, and that’s why it’s taking me a long, long time to buy equipment and whatnot.

If these were lenses, you’d see people dissembling them (like lensrental) and doing all kinds of objective testing. With lights, we’re told by some guy to believe it’s a better light, with better build quality and no real evidence to back it up.



Profoto B10 and Godox AD400 Pro potential review

Profoto have just announced a new product, the Profoto B10. I have been reading through various comments about Profoto and it’s interesting. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again so I don’t get a “you’re a crappy photographer and don’t know what you’re talking about!” email of abuse. I’m not a good photographer, but I know a bit about making things and I’m fairly good at critical thinking.

The Profoto B10 build quality

Build quality is an interesting concept and it’s often brought up into a discussion when Profoto is mentioned. What do you think of when we say “build quality”? I often find poorly machined products made of metal are are touted as having good “build quality” simply because they feel tough/cold in the hands.

The profoto is plastic/polycarbonate. I bought a Profoto B1 and the Profoto Sony transmitter; I wouldn’t say either are built like a tank.

Here’s some things I noticed… The early version of the B1 was a wash with flash tube problems, many people had received a B1 with a flash tube that had fallen out. The B1 I received didn’t exactly impress me from a build quality perspective.

The transmitter, even less so. Take a look at the top photograph, you can see how the plastic shell doesn’t even cover the terminals properly so if water got into the battery door, it goes straight into all of the circuity. In fact, anything could go down there. It’s just lousy. The battery compartment door was also, incredibly lousy. The door itself is incredibly thin plastic and it just screams cheap crap to me. I know why it’s this way, because it’s far easier to make and assemble.

It’s just a battery compartment door, and you might think why should I be worked up over this? Well, it’s quite simple really. This is a very, very high priced item and it should be made better. For the same price, you can get a far more complicated and rugged transmitter. It uses similar technology too. Obviously you’re not going to control your camera with that, but it gives you a rough idea as to how much you’re being ripped off if you buy this thing.

Let’s take a look at their other products:

  • Profoto Easy Stand — An easy to machine stand, made with cheap materials having a price tag of £2,835
  • Profoto ProDaylight 800 Extension Cable 5m – A £10 cable being sold for £395
  • Profoto WideZoom Reflector — £30 of materials being sold for £385
  • Profoto Off Camera Flash Grid Kit — £4 worth of materials, you can have it for £72

Still not convinced?

  • Profoto OCF Barndoor — This is very, very simple to machine. It’s just a bit of sheet metal for the most part. Its weight is advertised as “300 grams”, so you know there’s not much substance to it. £72

The marvellous Profoto B10

If the marvellous Profoto B10 works better than everything else, and it does the job you intended, who cares if the manufacturers kept costs down, right? Well, here’s the problem with that too.

The Profoto B2 doesn’t colour match with the Profoto B1X. Yeah it’s similar, but it’s not the “I paid loads of money for my colour critical work!!” I imagined it to be.

In the end, I’m left thinking… Hmm. Serious photographers should probably buy Broncolor as they’re more colour accurate and freeze water better. The average photographer is probably best with Godox.

Profoto B1 and Profoto B10 vs Godox AD400 Pro

One interesting comment I read a lot is that people should buy Profoto because they offer better light than the competition. I guess if you pay £9,000+ for a complete system of lights, you’ll want to believe that, right?

From what I’ve observed, the Godox AD400 Pro is actually more colour accurate than the Profoto B1 and it’s certainly more colour accurate than the B2. It’s also advertised as less powerful than the Profoto B1 but I’ve been told it is more powerful.

If there was a Godox AD200 Pro, I would be seriously interested in that. The Godox AD400 Pro is considerably larger and heavier than the Profoto B10. I feel the Godox AD200 is probably not as good as the Profoto B10 but I think the Godox AD400 Pro is a better flash than the Profoto B1.

My conclusion with the Profoto B10

Ignoring the fact that the A1 is a complete rip off, the B1x probably isn’t any better than the Godox AD400 Pro, and the Pro-10 is a rip off also, I think the Profoto B10 is a good looking piece of kit. On paper, the Profoto B10 specs are impressive and if it can be more colour accurate than a Godox AD200, I think it wins this round potentially. It’s a good size, shape and you can get third party modifiers.

When I think of building a complete system, I have to consider the other lights though and the Profoto A1’s are ridiculous to say the least. I’d be happy owning one B1X but at the price point, it’s a hard pill to swallow. After the guarantee period is up, the repairs are so expensive you’re cheaper to buy another Godox light anyway than to get the profoto repaired.

I really like the form factor of the Profoto B10 and I’m severely put off by chinese customer service, so in that way it tempts me. If it colour matches with the B1X, then I’d simply skip buying a Profoto B2.

I think I will end up buying a Godox AD200, Godox AD400 Pro and a Godox round head. I will then review these after I’ve bought them.

Flash misfires

The Godox has a different setting for close proximity. If you’ve had troubles even when you’ve used this setting, please let me know in the comments below 🙂

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 USB speeds and magnetic case

I don’t own the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but from what I’ve heard of people so far, it exhibits the same type of problem the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has with USB speeds and SMB speeds as well.

I’ve written a few posts about that in the past. If my theory is correct, try getting an Anker USB hub with the Google USB adaptor cable :).

I’m not sure if the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has the same trouble with the S-Pen as well. If it’s behaving weirdly, and you have a case with a magnetic clasp, take the phone out of the case and see if the issue persists. This tip helped a lot of people with earlier versions of the phone :).

Canon full frame mirrorless EOS R shutter mechanism

I’ve been reading photography forums too much the last few days, trying to decide what lenses/lighting to buy. They are a wash with information/discussions about the Nikon Z 7 and the Canon EOS R, full frame mirrorless cameras.

A few features have been discussed, like the larger mount of the Nikon Z 7. Unfortunately with the internet, if enough people say something is true, then for some reason everyone thinks it’s true. Very early on, people argued the Sony e-mount was too small. To this day, I haven’t seen evidence this is true.

The Canon EOS R shutter mechanism

Another argument that caught my attention was about cleaning sensors and how the Canon EOS R will close its shutter when you change lens. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this. I think it’s a step in the right direction, but if dust hits the shutter and it gets jammed in the mechanism, that’s going to be expensive to replace.

Touch wood, I haven’t needed to clean the sensor (actually, you’re cleaning toughened Schott glass cemented to the sensor). Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the wind is coming from, so I lick my finger and hold it up (this is a trick I learned when flying radio controlled planes/helicopters). Yeah it looks weird for a second, but that’s the direction the dust/rain is going to come from. I then turn my back to said direction, and switch the lens. To switch the lens, I unscrew the cap on the top of the lens I’ll be using but I leave the cap on it. Then when I dismount the lens on the camera, I can quickly switch caps and lenses, without having to be unscrewing things. It might seem like a minute point but it has worked for me, so far.

I don’t care much for the “Nikon is better than Sony!” or “Sony’s an electronics company, not a camera company!” arguments. These companies get our money, we shouldn’t have to support them with verbal loyalty. They should be the ones trying to be loyal to us :). That said, I don’t whole-heartedly support Canon’s choice yet. It might work, it might be more prone to failure. What I’d prefer to see is perhaps a second shutter-like mechanism cover the sensor.

Sony 12-24 FE Ultrawide Zoom lens

As per my last post, I’ve been researching equipment to buy. I think I’ve decided on getting Godox flashes as I’ve been satisfied with them before and they’re cheap. If Broncolor made a Profoto B2 equivalent, I’d be interested; however, the Profoto B2 is overpriced for something that doesn’t colour match with their own B1 flash.

On the lens front, the Voigtlander 12mm and the Voigtlander 15mm combined are a similar price to the Sony 12-24 FE Ultrawide Zoom lens. I already own a 24-70 GM and a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8, so ideally I’d get primes. But… But. The Voigtlander lenses aren’t as sharp as the zoom. The colours and flaring are probably better, but sharpness and versatility will be quite important for interior photography. The weight, for landscape photography, is also really important.

At 565g, it’s very lightweight compared to the competition. I think comparisons are a bit silly because a 50mm f/2.0 lens might be completely different to another 50mm f/2.0 lens for example, so just because they’re a similar/the same focal length, we shouldn’t always compare them. We should perhaps compare what we’d realistically buy if we were invested in another system. With that said, if I was with Canon, I’d be looking at the 11-24mm and that’s a 1180g lens. Combine that with the weight savings from the Sony camera, and that’s a major difference.

Theoretically it seems possible there could be a Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G master lens at a similar weight to the Canon. It’s a real let down the 12-24 doesn’t accept filters, so if such a lens were to be announced at Photokina 2018, I’d be interested in that too. In an ideal world, Zeiss would make something like a Zeiss Loxia 12mm f/5.6 or a Zeiss Loxia 15mm f/4. I haven’t heard any rumours about such lenses being made.