My new Godox AD360ii-C

Updated August 12, 2017

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 (AD360II-N) version.

This review includes the Godox AD360II-C, PB960 Battery Pack, X1T-C Transmitter and the X1R-C Receiver.

Godox AD360ii-C Overview (shown w/ reflector & diffuser next to Canon 600EX-RT)
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.  You’ll also note that the flash tube is quite a bit larger than Canon’s 600EX-RT.


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.

Godox AD360ii-C (Bare Bulb) and Canon 600EX-RT

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 Wistro AD360II-C Flash Unit                                               [menu]                           

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

Light Output:

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.


Godox X1T-C Transmitter                                                          [menu]

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 Right Side

  • On/Off switch
  • Focus Assist On/Off   (nice touch, wish the Canon ST-E3 had one)

On the Left Side

There’s a rubber (may be waterproof) cover that hides a

  • mini-USB connector for upgrading the firmware.
  • PC-Sync socket  for connecting the Trigger to the camera’s PC-Sync port. When used with Godox X1R-C receivers this allows you to trigger devices like studio strobes. The default is to allow you to use the camera’s PC-Sync socket to trigger the X1T-C; since I don’t plan on ever doing this, I changed it to trigger external flash units or other single contact devices such a remote triggers. (C.Fn-03 = ou)

On the Top

  • Canon compatible hot-shoe. The X1T-N is Nikon compatible. (see note)
  • 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). The status indicator is a bit of confusion. It lights red whenever the Test Button is pressed. It lights red when the receiver (AD360 flash) is off or when the receivers (AD360 flash) is on a different channel and is unresponsive. According to the manual, the Indicator Light on the Transmitter and Receiver will turn red when there’s a connection. We’ll see when I get actual receivers as opposed to just a compatible flash

On the back  (along with the LCD display)

  • CH/OK Button – Quick press and select the channel with the scroll dial.
  • CH/OK Button – Long Press – 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 or compatible Godox 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 (main) 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 or even turn off a group.  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 – it automatically sets HSS when you set the shutter speed over 1/250 sec.
  • Select Curtain mode  (front curtain/rear curtain) – Sets from the camera menu
  • Select Flash Bracketing  –  Sets from the camera menu
  • Select Manual Zoom (the SD360 has no zoom capability. Canon as well as other Godox flash units that work with this transmitter do and you can select Auto Zoom, No Zoom, or select a fixed zoom rate from the custom function menu.(c.Fn-02 = [AU] )

Setting of flash functions from a Canon menu will only work on cameras manufactured from 2012 on; not sure aboy Nikon.  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.

Note:  I set the X1T-C transmitter function to allow pass-through signals from the camera hot-shoe to the the X1T-C transmitter hot-shoe. (c.Fn-01 = — [off] )

I attached a Canon 600EX-RT to the hot-shoe of the Godox X1T-C. I set the Canon flash’s grouping to “B” and the X1T-C transmitter channel “B” to TTL.

  • The Canon flash went into High Speed Sync mode and could not be reset.
  • The Canon’s Modeling Light fuction arbitrarily turned on and off
  • Adjusting the flash output  +/- 3EV manually from the flash had absolutely NO result in flash out, it remained as +/- 0.0EV
  • Adjusting the output  +/- 3EV for grouping “B” from the X1T-C had absolutely NO result in flash out, it remained as +/- 0.0EV
  • Adjusting the flash compensation can only be done from the camera’s menu, assuming the camera was built after 2012. This for me is a deal breaker for using a flash on the transmitter’s hot-shoe since I routinely make this type of adjustment (think zone system).  Because of this revelation, I set c.Fn-01 = on. This turned off the pass-thru function and makes the hot-shoe behave as a single-contact unit. perfect for using it with my CyberSync studio triggers.
  • It didn’t matter if the flash was in ETTL or ETTL Master of ETTL Slave, all the results remained the same.

Observations:

When I first received the X1Tc transmitter it takes a bit to get used to it and quite frankly wierd stuff happens.  Theres an arrow that points to the middle reading and the dial scrolls the display up and down through the available groups. There are two options for group settings (c.Fn-06)  3 (Group A,B,C) and 5 (Groups A through E).

At one point I set the groupings to 3 and after a while the display locked to show the 3 groupings with the scroll dial having no function other than adjusting the power levels. Stepping through the groups was now done through the mode button. After a while I decided to go back to 5 groups (c.Fn-06-[5]). Unfortunately the display never changed and no matter what I did I couldn’t get back to 5 groups.  Final I searched online and found that I could reset the transmitter to factory defaults. That did the trick.

I decided to go back to 3 goups. I changed the custom function to 3 (c.Fn-06-[3]). The display now only shows 3 groups and you move between them via the scroll dial. No matter what I do I can’t get the groups to lock in place so that I can step through them with the mode button.

Regardless of the seemingly strange and inconsistant operation of the settings, the transmitter works great. I recently purchased a X1Rc receiver so I can use my canon flash units remotely with the X1Tc transmitter.  The operation of the transmitter/receiver combo is flawless.


Godox X1R-C Receiver                                                             [menu]

The receiver is a simple device with just two major settings,  Channel Selection and Group Selection.

  • Would be great if there was a way to lock in the channel selection since it’s quite easy to inadvertantly press the CH button and cause the channel to change. Then you have to go through all 32 channels to get back to where you were.

The On/Off switch is on the right side and behind the rubber cap on the left side, there’s a 2.5mm phono jack and a micro-USB port.

  • 2.5mm jack – used to remotely trigger a camera or a studio strobe
  • USB Port – used to upgrade the firmware.

The receiver has a hot-shoe on the top that supports any Canon specific flash (I’m sure the Nikon version has the same requirement).  I’ve tested the unit with both Canon 600EX-RT and Youngnuo YN600ET-RT flash units.

The bottom of the flash sports a metal cold-shoe with a standard 1/4-20 threaded hole for directly conneting to a standard lightstand.

Set the flash as if you were putting it on the camera, no need to set it as a Master or a Slave.  I tried starting it out in both eTTL and Manual and it automatically changed in accordance with the settings of the transmitter.

(More to come)