Can you think of the ideal camera flash which can fit in your pocket, has almost 3-times output or regular speedlights, and also features a modeling light? The Godox AD200 is one such pocket flash (not if you are wearing skinny fit jeans) which meets all three of those expectations. That is why this flash has been my personal favorite outdoor fashion shoot light source.
To give you a quick overview of some of the features of the Godox AD200 flash, it features TTL, HSS (high-speed sync) up to 1/8000th of a second, 60 guide number, multi-stroboscopic flash feature and second-curtain sync.
If these specifications make you interested in this Godox flash, let me share my personal views and experiences after using it for more than six months now.
Built Quality and Physical Overview
When you hold the Godox AD200 flash in your hand your first reaction might be that it is too heavy, as it weighs about 1 kg (2 lbs). Although it is heavier than any flagship flash than you might have used to date, at the end of this review you may realize that it is still worth carrying along to a shoot.
The built quality seems and feels durable and strong, almost a par with Canon and Nikon speedlights.
Talking about the physical overview, the front side of Godox AD200 has an interchangeable flash head mount. This allows you to mount the standard Fresnel flash head or the bare bulb flash head.
The only difference between this flash as compared to a speedlight is that the head of the AD200 cannot be rotated. And, the AD200 cannot be mounted on a camera, it can only be used as an off-camera flash. This could be a concern for some, but actually, this flash is not built to be used on-camera anyway.
The standard Fresnel head
The Fresnel flash head is ideal for situations when you are shooting without a light modifier and want to use it as any other speedlight. But an additional feature that the AD200 has is two LED strips on this head, which can use used as a modeling or continuous light. The continuous light could help the camera to focus in low-light conditions, instantly.
The bare bulb flash head is ideal when while using this Godox flash with a light modifier, as the bulb is omnidirectional. I would choose to avoid using this head otherwise, as it is fragile and could easily be damaged shooting without a light modifier.
On the back side of the flash rests an AV display panel which is big enough for you to clearly see the various icons being displayed. There are five buttons dedicated to respective functions, a dial to adjust the flash exposure and the infrared sensor panel. The placement of the buttons, dial, and the screen is exactly what you as a photographer would desire in a flash.
On one side of this pocket flash, you will spot the Lithium battery slot, an unlock switch to change the flash head and a rubber cover which covers the 3.5mm sync cord jack and wireless control port. On the other side sits the ON/OFF switch, mini USB port, and a 1/4″ tripod/stand mounting hole.
Highlighted Features and Performance
This pocket flash by Godox features TTL metering, a technology which allows the flash to sync with the camera and automatically set the flash exposure based on the camera exposure. Using a flash in TTL mode is exactly the same as using the camera in automatic mode. The camera exposure helps the flash to set its own output value accordingly to correctly expose the frame or the subject.
The TTL mode performance on the Godox AD200 is precise in a majority of situations and it works perfectly in sync with the camera exposure to properly expose the subject. I rarely came across any instances where I got an underexposed or overexposed photo when shooting in TTL mode. Even if I did encounter exposure issues, I used the FEC (flash exposure compensation) feature to overcome it.
HSS (High-Speed Sync)
The Godox AD200 can sync up to 1/8000th while using its HSS functionality. This is ideal for situations where you want to freeze a fast-moving subject or shoot at an outdoor location where you need to control the light.
Using the rear-curtain (or second-curtain) sync feature of the Godox AD200, you can shoot some really creative and cool photos with long exposures.
Ideally, when you shoot using a flash, the light gets fired from the flash the moment the shutter opens. So if you are shooting a long exposure photo of two seconds, the flash will fire the moment you press the shutter release button and whatever happens after that does not get exposed properly.
But by using the second-curtain sync feature, you can instead make the flash fire right before the shutter closes. Considering the above example, the flash will now fire just before the 2-second exposure is completed and the shutter closes.
Using this feature might sound confusing, but trust me, once you practice you may fall in love with it.
Flash Exposure Compensation
Assume flash exposure compensation to be exactly like the exposure compensation feature of your DSLR camera. If you feel that you are not getting the desired exposure in your photo while using the flash in TTL, or if you plan to try something different, you can adjust the flash exposure compensation.
This amazing feature lets you reduce or increase the flash output as per your desire, all you have to do is adjust the exposure value to your requirements. This is basically like shooting in aperture priority or shutter priority mode, without getting into manual mode.
The AD200 has a guide number of 60 and the flash output that you get is almost three times of what any flagship speedlight can provide. I was able to expose my subject correctly while shooting outdoors in bright daylight conditions, and believe me when I say that the flash is powerful enough to overpower the background light.
Imagine using three speedlights at a time and on the other hand using just one Godox AD200 flash. The light output shall be almost same. For me, it has performed amazingly well even in low light conditions as I used the built-in LED light to ensure that the focus and flash exposure were correct.
Godox AD200 Flash Recycle Time
The recycle time also plays an important role while deciding on the perfect flash, so here are some tests that I conducted to figure out the recycle time of this flash at various powers.
The recycle time on this flash at full power is quite impressive:
- While using the flash at 1/1 (full) power, the recycle time that I got was just less than 2 seconds.
- While using the flash at 1/2 power, the recycle time that I get was almost half a second.
I mostly use a flash when I’m shooting fashion and portraits, and with this swift recycle time I hardly miss any shots. Even if you plan to buy this flash for wedding, action, or event photography, I am sure you will thank me later.
Would I recommend this?
At $299, this pocket flash by Godox looks like an ideal choice for a fashion, wedding, event, or even sports photographer. This flash has almost all the features that you, as a hobbyist or as a professional photographer, would require to get the desired results, with almost three times the power of a regular speedlight.
I have been using this portable flash for almost 6 months now, and I do not have any major complaint about this beauty, except for the display panel which could be better for outdoor visibility.
The best part about the Godox AD200 is that there is a universal model of this pocket flash. This means that you can pair this flash with the compatible trigger (Canon, Nikon or Sony) and use it as an off-camera light source. So if you own multiple brand cameras, this is another reason you should consider investing your $299 in this Godox flash.