After months of research and deliberation I finally took the plunge and purchased a new Godox AD360ii-C. According to the manufacturer, the speedlite is rated at 360ws and sports a guide number of 80m/262ft @ ISO 100 when measured using the standard reflector without the diffuser. As an aside, with the exception of Impact, I’ve yet to find a flash manufacturer that doesn’t seriously exaggerate their Guide Numbers (GN). It’s always best to measure them yourself.
Unlike speedlites that use replaceable AA batteries to power the flash, the AD360 uses a separate external lithium battery pack which makes it more like a Quantum Qflash X5dR than a run-of-the-mill speedlight.
Since I’m a Canon user, all comparisons are made against Canon equipment. This flash unit can also be purchased as a Nikon compatible version.
Canon 600EX-RT / Godox AD360ii-C (shown w/ reflector & diffuser)
As you can see the AD360 is quite a bit larger than the Canon 600EX-RT. In order to provide the extra power, the speedlite requires larger capacitors; with larger capacitors comes the need for a larger housing to contain them. I’m also quite sure there are some larger heatsinks as well.
Canon 600EX-RT / Godox AD360ii-C (shown bare bulb)
An advantage of the AD360 is it’s ability to shoot bare bulb; this is extremely useful when using the flash with soft-boxes. Also, unlike most studio strobes, the actual flash tube is housed within a glass housing which allows you to use your bare fingers to insert or remove the tube.
Full TTL capabilities (on camera or off)
Whether you buy the Canon (AD360ii-C) or Nikon (AD360ii-N) version, they both have full eTTL/iTTL capabilities. The receivers are built-in but you do have to but a relatively inexpensive transmitter, X1T-C for the Canon, X1T-N for the Nikon.
Being a Canon user I have both the Canon 600EX-RT flash units along with the associated Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter. I also have a few Youngnou 600EX-RT speedlites that work seamlessly with the Canon speedlites and transmitter. Needless to say that although the Godox and Canon transmitter use 2.4GHz as their transmission frequency, they are not interoperable.
A couple of weeks ago I tried out a colleague’s AD360ii-C and attached my Canon ST-E3-RT to the hot-shoe of the X1T-C. I was able to invoke a pre-flash so I incorrectly assumed I could mount both Godox and Canon triggers and control both flash systems. Now that I have my own unit, I was able to do more extensive testing and the units really don’t play well together, at least in TTL mode.
Godox X1T-C Transmitter
Unlike Canon’s ST-E3-RT transmitter which has all the controls of the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, the Godox X1T-C has limited controls
On the Side
- On/Off switch
- Focus Assist On/Off (nice touch, wish the Canon ST-E3 had one)
On the Top
- Test Button (on top of the unit) fires the flash or wakes up the receivers
- Status indicator (lets you know when the transmitter & receivers are talking)
On the back (along with the LCD display)
- CH/OK Button – Quick press and select the channel with the scroll dial.
- CH/OK Button – Enables Fn functions, selectable by scroll dial.
- Mode Button – Selects TTL, Manual, Multi-Flash and Grouping
- GR Button – Allows you to set power levels for each flash grouping via scroll dial.
The X1T-C has 32 frequency channels to pick from. Make sure you set the channel and receivers (flash units) to the same channel.
You also have the ability to assign additional flash units to one of 5 groupings (A-E). You can assign your Key Light to Group A, Fill Light to Group B, Background Light to Group C and Hair Light to Group D. However, unlike Canon’s ST-E3, you can independently set each grouping as TTL or manual. As an example, you can set the Key Light to TTL, Fill light to TTL -1EV, then set the Background and Hair lights to Manual and adjust their output intensity independently and not subject to TTL metering.
What you can’t do:
- Select High Speed Sync
- Select Curtain mode (front curtain/rear curtain)
- Select Flash Bracketing
- Select Manual Zoom (the SD360 has no zoom capability. Other Godox flash units that work with this transmitter do. )
If you need to change any of the above functions, you can set them from the flash itself or from the camera. Not sure about Nikon but any Canon manufactured from 2012 on, have this ability. While I’ve never used the camera menu controls to set flash functions, for the purpose of this write-up I tried it and it does work. In fact the camera automatically identified the attached X1T-C as a transmitter.
This is a large and hefty unit that ships with a default Hot-Shoe but also comes with an additional mounting plate that allows you to replace the hot-shoe with a standard 1/4-20 screw mount that will allow you to connect this unit to a light stand.
WARNING: There are written warnings against attaching this flash directly to the camera’s hot-shoe. It further identifies that because of the weight of the flash, the camera’s hot-shoe may not be able to support it without damage to the camera.
The weight differences:
- Godox AD360II-C (with Reflector & Diffuser) = 2lb 1.2oz (33.2oz) with reflector
- Godox AD360II-C (Bare Bulb) = 1lb 13.9oz (29.9ox) bare bulb
- Canon 600EX-RT = 1lb. 2.4oz (18.4oz) /w batteries
All WS (watt seconds) displayed are the advertised values from the manufacturer.
All measurements are taken at max power output. Final readings are the average result of of 5 consecutive readings taken 15 seconds apart. The Canon speedlite was tested with fresh alkaline batteries and external power provided by a fully charged Quantum Turbo SC batter pack.
The x3200 and x1600 units are White-Lighting studio flashes from Paul C. Buff. These units provide two separate ranges of light. Guide Numbers for each power level were measured and documented.
The AB800 unit is an Alien Bee also from Paul C. Buff
The EX100-A is my lowest power studio light from Impact
All GN values are not advertised but actual readings taken by my Sekonic. All GN values were measured at ISO 100 @ 10ft.
All measurements are taken with the standard reflector as provided by the manufacturer of the associated light.
Flash Unit W/S GN
x3200 1320 (full pwr) 320
x3200 330 (1/4 pwr) 160
x1600 660 (full pwr) 220
x1600 165 (1/4 pwr) 90
AB-800 320 160
EX-100A 100 80
Canon 600EX-RT 140
1AD360ii-c 360 190
2AD360ii-c 360 140
1 – AD360 with reflector, but NO diffuser
2 – AD360 with reflector and diffuser ON
As you can see by the above readings the Godox Wistro AD360II-C actually provides and extra 2/3 stop of light over the Alien Bees AB800 and 1/3 less stop than a White-Lightning x1600 at full power.
(More to come)