Photography News Issue 47

Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

45

First tests

GodoxWitstroAD-200 £335

ChinesebrandGodoxhasareallyeye- catching range of lighting products and the Witstro series will appeal to the location photographer. The AD- 360II looks likeanoversizedhot-shoe speedlight while the AD-600 is a monobloc head, both highly featured and powered by rechargeable battery. Now there is the AD-200, another battery-powered unit with a long list of features including interchangeable flashheads and the optionof TTLand high-speed sync with the optional X1 radio trigger. It is portable too, although it is worth clarifying that while the manufacturer says it is pocketable this is only true if you’re wearing an overcoat, a photo jacket or very, very baggy trousers. To be fair, theAD-200with a head fitted is not much bigger than the biggest speedlight so if you needed to (and had the budget) you could travel very conveniently with a two- or three-head AD-200 lighting system complete with modifiers, batteries and trigger. Price Kit £334.80, spare battery £64.80, Godox I-TTL X1 trigger £54 (Canon, Nikon, Sony) What’s in the box 1x flash body, 2x flash heads – bare bulb and speedlight, 1x charger, 1x battery, 1x stand adapter, 1x bag Power output 200Ws Power output range 8EV in 0.3EV steps (1/1-1/128) Guide number 52 (ISO 100/m) full power with flash head, 60 with bare bulb Number of flashes 500 full power bursts (claimed) Groups/channels Five groups/32 channels Flash duration 1/220sec to 1/13,000sec (Fresnel head), 1/220sec to 1/11,300sec (bare bulb) Trigger modes 2.4Ghz wireless (100m range), optical S1/S2, 3.5mm sync socket Modelling lamp Yes, LED with Fresnel head Modes Wireless slave (with Canon, Nikon and Sony with compatible optional X1 trigger) giving TTL, manual, multi-flash, rear curtain. Strobe flash up to 90 times, 99Hz Recycling 0.01-2.1secs High speed sync Up to 1/8000sec with compatible trigger Colour temperature 5600K +/-200K Power supply Lithium 14.4v/2900mAh Dimensions (wxhxd) 168x75x50mm (no flash head) Weight 560g body (no flash or battery) Contact godox.co.uk Specs

TheAD-200isadecentlypowerful unit with an output of 200Ws and the fully charged Li-ion battery gives a claimed 500 full power bursts. In the box comes the solidly made flash body and the option of two heads, a bare bulb and a Fresnel, speedlight-style non-zoom head. Swapping flash head is simple with a smooth action and the head clicks home firmly. One thing that would have helped is an indicator on the head to show which direction the head slides on/off. Head choice depends on what lighting effect you want. The bare bulbheadgives all round light output so ideal for an evenly spread output with a softbox, while the Fresnel non- zoomhead gives amore concentrated light so would probably suit grids, snoots and so on. The Fresnel head’s coverage at 2mwas roughly 35mm in full-frame terms. Four buttons and a dial with a set button at its centre together with a large LCD readout panel let you set the unit up and customise it too. The on/off switch is a slider on the unit’s side. The four buttons anddial let you set group, mode, output and custom functions; with theX1 trigger you can set power output remotely. Six custom functions are available. Pressing and holding the red button down for a couple of seconds makes these available and here you can turn the beep off and set optical triggering among other things. In the basic kit you also get a tilting bracket that screws into the AD-200’s base and then the unit can

be attached to any lighting stand. I tested the AD-200 with both of its head options with readings taken two metres from the flash head using a Gossen flashmeter set to ISO 100. ThespecsquoteahigherGNforthe bare bulb compared with the Fresnel head but here I found the latter was more powerful by about 0.6EV. At manual full power, with the basic reflector the bare bulb gave f/16.6 while the more focused Fresnel head recorded f/22.3. For comparison’s sake, a Nikon SB-900 speedlight at full power gave a reading of f/11.7 and the big brother of the AD-200, the AD-600 produced f/32. As power was wound down in full EV steps – 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 all to the minimum 1/128th output – readings dropped about 1EV give or take 0.1EV so output control proved commendably accurate. I put the AD-200 through awhite- balance test using a colour test chart. Afteracustomwhite-balance reading was taken, this showed good colour

temperature consistency throughout the output range. There was a very minor shift towards coolness from full power down to minimum output at 1/128th. Recycling is claimed to be 2secs at full power and I found the unit easily met this and I timed it at around 1.8secs. This recycling time remained constant as the battery ran down. I used the AD-200with the Godox X1 Nikon transmitter so had the option of TTL or manual operation and such niceties as remote wireless power control with a working range of up to 100m. With this trigger high speed sync flash up to 1/8000sec shutter speed is an option too. At that shutter speed, with the Fresnel head at 2m and ISO 100, I found an aperture setting f/4 gave a workable exposure; at 1/4000sec f/5.6 worked fine and at 1/2000sec I got f/8. This is a very useful output given the flexibility of upping ISO without any serious sacrifice of image quality. WC

I really enjoyed using the Witstro AD200. It’s not that much bigger than a speedlight of similar output yet has a powerful on-board li-ion battery with tremendous stamina and there is the swappable head option for even greater lighting and creative versatility. Assuming the budget (and the need), a two unit set-up will cost you £670 and then you’d need to add stands, modifiers and trigger so you’re not going to get much change from £900. That is obviously a lot of money but if you have the need, it’s potentially money well spent on a very portable lighting outfit. Pros Versatile, plenty of power, compact, TTL and high speed sync options (with X1 trigger), fast recycling, consistent white-balance performance Cons No zoom in the Fresnel head. on/off switch could be better There was a very minor shift towards coolness from full power down to minimum output at 1/128th Verdict

Full 1/1

1/32

1/128

TEST SHOTS The Godox Witstro AD-200 delivers a decent white-balance performance as power output is adjusted with just a marginal shift towards coolness at the lowest power settings. The shots of a Datacolor test chart here were done with customWB and processed with default settings in Lightroom.

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