Written by: Sean Hall
The image seen below was taken just before sunset in Ocean City, MD. Shannon (IG: @shannonrxg) came up from Baltimore for some shots on the beach. The light was already great in that this image was taken at that time of day when the sun is low in the sky. We're standing in the shade of a tall hotel, so I used the Yongnuo 685 (http://amzn.to/2xWRQhH) modified with an Impact folding beauty dish (http://amzn.to/2AhapPl) to help brighten the situation.
The Yongnuo 685 is my second flash which I purchased after first buying a Nikon SB-700 and two Yongnuo 622N transceivers. I so much enjoyed the ability that Yongnuo gave me, to shoot off camera flash (OCF) with their 622 remote system, that when considering a 2nd flash it was a no-brainer. I spent about about half the price of the Nikon flash and have the in-built ability to fire this additional flash which leaves me with less batteries to worry about and a quicker setup time.
So, about over a month prior to writing this article I'm eagerly awaiting more news from Yongnuo because they were on quite a tear. There were several different small flashes that were released and even a few wide aperture lenses. With it being over 3 years since a studio strobe was released from this company it seemed reasonable to think that one was in the making, but news of a new strobe has yet to come out of Yongnuo. This lack of news is odd and that's why I ask, Yongnuo, where did you go? I'm a little disappointed that Yongnuo hasn't given photographers the option of a battery powered studio strobe much like the Godox AD600.
Speaking of Godox, BHPhoto now sells under the name of that brand and no longer continues to feel the the need to solely sell this company's products branded with other names like Flashpoint or Xplor. And today the AD600 seems to be the preferred portable workhorse strobe of many photographers on YouTube.
This is so because the AD600 is a great product at a reasonable price. Other strobes of its kind with it's ability command a much higher price tag. And Godox continued to show us that they had more products up their sleeve. Even though they already possessed many speedlights for a consumer to choose from they added the AD200 giving photographers a bit more power with the speedlight form factor portability. And now they offer the AD-B2 which pulls together two AD200s to create a single 400Ws light. The innovation did not stop there. In a seeming attempt to pull in many bloggers that may have gone untouched by their product offerings they went and released a flash that works with a mobile phone through Bluetooth connectivity prompting some to ask, why can't all of our speedlights operate on Bluetooth? And, given how busy Godox has been lately I wouldn't be surprised if they supplied us with an answer to that question too.
Showing that they aren't just dumping products into the marketplace with little thought, hoping to increase sales through a mere quantity of options, Godox has thoughtfully tied all of the aforementioned released hardware together with compatibility to the Godox X-1 remote system. They have effectively built the widest ranging most complete photography lighting system available today.
Without wanting to throw any shade on what Godox has done, there is one company that I wish had done the same, Yongnuo!
If Instagram is a good indicator, I think this lack of activity from Yongnuo has greatly affected the mind-share that it has in the market. A #godox search turned up just under 40k images to flip through while there were less than 10k images for #yongnuo.
I'm still rooting for Yongnuo. I think they've given us some great products that I've enjoyed using. I'm not against their latest pursuit to offer more affordable lenses, but I'd be more open to that move if I felt that they completed their offering of lighting options. With that being the case, if I were looking to buy a complete lighting kit today I would go with the following:
- Godox AD600 - http://amzn.to/2zhwijk
- Godox AD200 X 2 - http://amzn.to/2xWNlUf
- Godox AD-B2 - http://amzn.to/2h92nDn
- Godox X Pro-N TTL Wireless Flash Trigger - http://amzn.to/2Ah6e67
And, if a photographer new to speedlights wanted to know what they should purchase I would suggest the following: