The Godox AD1200 Pro is soon to be released. When we review the general flash market, I feel the Godox AD1200 Pro isn’t quite what people are asking for but I’m highly curious about it nonetheless.
The Godox AD1200 Pro looks to be a pack and single head system. Expect amazing colour consistency without the speed of the Broncolor Move 1200L. Also expect HSS or HS (one is a repeated flash, the other is one long flash. They both try to achieve the same effect) and TTL. Its durability to the elements is questionable as the plug is mounted on the top and not the side. Unfortunately, I see no support for two heads either. The Godox AD1200 Pro has enough power to split in half and still have two powerful heads (600w/600w).
To say this competes with the Broncolor Move 1200L seems a bit unfair but at the same time, I cannot help but draw comparisons. A new Broncolor Move 1200L is insultingly expensive, but if you buy secondhand and repair the battery yourself with 18650 batteries when it inevitably fails, it starts to look somewhat compelling. I think the Godox AD1200 Pro should be priced extremely competitively but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more than what people are expecting.
I’ve seen various reports regarding issues with the Profoto B1’s (flash tube issues), B2’s (colour issues), and the A1’s (battery & zoom issues). At this point, I’m not convinced Profoto is as reliable as originally claimed by the internet, nor do I think they’re as colour stable as Godox Pro models. A recessed flash tube doesn’t fill a parabolic reflector as well as a barebulb either. That said, Profoto polishes their product line very well, the materials are quite a rugged plastic, the flashes try to be colour matched, the modifiers fit on easily and quickly, the modelling lights are better, they’re natively round head, etc. There’s no denying they do a lot right. With that in mind, I’m not a hardcore Godox fanboy who hates the big three but I think it’s a complete myth you pay extra to get more reliability and I wouldn’t be looking at investing in Profoto purely for the reliability.
The cost of Profoto’s modifiers is a complete insult but as is Broncolors. And if they’re charging £3 million for £5 in materials for barn doors, how do I know they’re not also overcharging for the flashes? There’s been a couple of times I got close to buying a Broncolor flash and it was mostly the cost of things like grids that put me off. For a lot of people, they know you’re a part of their system and so they can basically rob you blind.
I think the Broncolor Move 1200L and their Broncolor Scoro packs are unique, several years on, but the transmitters for both companies don’t compare to the latest Godox transmitters. I’m not saying they’re good products but priced poorly, I’m saying they’re bad products regardless of price. The “Godox is good if you’re on a budget” argument makes people believe Godox are not quite as good, but some of their latest products actually outperform a lot of the more expensive competition. For example, the latest Godox transmitters outperform Profoto, regardless of price. The same can be said for the Godox V1 vs the Profoto A1x for example. Out of the box, the Profoto B10 is better than the Godox AD200 Pro, in my opinion, with the exception of the lack of a barebulb head.
Flash market review
Broncolor aim to please the studio photographer more than any other brand, in my opinion, but their ecosystem could do with some speedlights as well. I know a lot of studio photographers might laugh at the idea, but adding colour consistent speed lights to a scene is a cheap and often effective way to illuminate an area. Speedlights are a staple piece of gear in a wedding photographers kit, and being able to supplement that with a Broncolor Move 1200 L makes a lot of sense. Interior photographers who want to add small lights here and there can’t really do that with Broncolor at the moment either. They can add a fake sun with the Broncolor Move 1200L, and flash compositing indoors is possible in certain areas but that unit is quite heavy to move around. In some areas you don’t want wires either, and the Broncolor Siros 400L is quite a big and heavy beast. If you can afford one expensive flash, then being able to complete the system with speedlights tempts you more. Otherwise you’re faced with the scenario that you can only have one flash with that system. If the Profoto A1x’s were priced the same as the Godox V1s (why should they be more? they’re not as good), I’d be more tempted into buying a Profoto B10.
Godox’s flash ecosystem simply seems more reasonable when you review the rest of the market. In this regard, Profoto is very sleek and perhaps has the most comprehensive system (if you ignore price). They have small LEDs you can place anywhere (Profoto C1 Plus), reasonable speedlights (Profoto A1x) but not quite as good as Godox’s cheaper model (Godox V1) and pack and head systems (although these aren’t quite as good as the Broncolor Move 1200L). Their transmitter is terrible, despite being even more expensive than Godox, and their price to performance ratio is also terrible in general.
The Godox AD400 Pro has the flash stability of a Broncolor Siros 400, it’s smaller, lighter and in my opinion better in many regards and in situations where it’s too big and heavy, but you need more power than a speedlight, the Godox AD200 Pro is very good (Broncolor lacks a competing product whereas Profoto has the Profoto B10 which is better in many regards but not as good in others). The Godox V1 also outperforms any flash on the market right now.
If you’ve got the budget for one big flash and you want to supplement with a bunch of smaller lights, and pay a lot less for modifiers, Godox clearly has an advantage. However, if you just want one powerful pack and head flash, I’d argue the Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL might be seriously worth considering.
If you’re a studio only photographer with an unlimited budget, I think Broncolor is the best. I still think they should pad out their system with a better transmitter, colour stable speed lights and a pack and head system half the power of the Broncolor Move 1200 L. Some Godox AD200 Pro / Profoto B10 equivalents would be nice too.
The ideal flash
When I review what’s on the market, I’m not convinced the Godox AD1200 Pro is the ideal flash for people in general or myself right now, but it’s a massive step in the right direction. The Broncolor Move 1200L has been on the market for a long time now, so I wouldn’t recommend buying it in fear a week later there’d be a new model and it would be reduced in price, that said it seems better as the ports are on the side, and it supports two heads. Plus the heads are half the weight…
What I’d actually like to see is something more in line with the Elinchrom 500 TTL (I don’t recommend this because of their general ecosystem and the previous model had cable issues. I don’t know if this one does). If Broncolor, Profoto or Godox could make a 500 watt pack and head flash, it would have me thinking. Ideal specs:
- Flаѕh Роwеr: 500 watts
- Роwеr Dіѕtrіbutіоn: Full аѕуmmеtrу
- Роwеr Rаngе: 10 F-ѕtорѕ
- Rесусlіng Тіmе: 2 ѕесоndѕ full power
- Dіmеnѕіоnѕ (LхWхН): 17 х 9.0 х 20 cm
- Wеіght (including bаttеrу): No heavier than 2.5kg
- Wеіght оf Ваttеrу: No heavier than 1 kg
- Ваttеrу Rеmоvаblе: – Lі-Іоn 14,4 V – 98 W/h (to keep within flight restrictions)
- Ваttеrу Сарасіtу: 500 full power flashes
- Pack and head system
- Head no heavier than 1kg
- Radio controlled
- Two ports
- Barebulb tube to fill a para properly, with an optional recessed and frosted glass reflector
- Bluetooth support
- Moisture resistant
- Ports on the side or on the top with rubber seals
- OLED display
- Fits in with a flash ecosystem that has round headed speedlights, like the Godox V1 or Profoto A1x
- Flash transmitter that lets you use TTL, switch to manual and see what the current power setting is
- Change the group of each head and select the power of each group with one button like you can with the Godox Xpro transmitter
- HSS & HS
- Automatic flash dumping
- Eco mode (slower recycle but more flashes)
- As colour stable as the Broncolor Move
- Temperature adjust, like with the Broncolor Scoro
- A high CRI, daylight balanced or temperature adjustable, dimmable LED that can be used as a video light
- Screen on the unit and the transmitter itself should be on the top, not the front, so that if the camera or flash pack is against a wall, you can see the screen easily
All of the above is a big ask, but products made by Elinchrom, Profoto, and Broncolor have big prices. All of these features currently exist but they’re just spread across several products. I’d like all of these latest features to be put into one compelling lightweight lithium powered pack and head product. The Godox AD1200 Pro is a step in the right direction because it brings Broncolor Move 1200L like performance (at least in single head mode) at a more affordable price. I also think that if Broncolor and Profoto want to take pride in being the most premium brands on the market, their products have to offer something we cannot get at a lower price.
You might see things like HSS, TTL and bluetooth as gimmicky but a certain amount of people do care about features invented after 1921 and I see no reason not to include them.
What is your dream flash kit? For my Photography, my dream kit would consist of a flash like my ideal specs listed above, two Godox V1 speedlight equivalents and four Profoto C1 Plus equivalents, plus a rubbed, slim, intelligently designed transmitter – all made by Broncolor. If I’m being greedy, an updated Broncolor Move 1200L and a Profoto B10 equivalent would be nice too.
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