There’s been no official announcement yet and they don’t seem don’t appear to be listed on the Godox website (at least not publicly), it looks like Godox definitely plans to release the V850III and V860III speedlights this year. We’ve been sent a couple of screenshots, purportedly from the Godox 2021 catalogue, showing the new Godox V860III and V850III speedlights.
The source that sent us the screenshots say that they’ve been added to the 2021 catalogue and they both include some nice changes from their V850II and V860II predecessors. The V860III sees the same locking foot lever as found on the V1 and it gets a modelling light. Both models see UI changes and a switch to a new battery – the same one as the Godox V1.
According to the screenshots, the V860III sees the addition of that coveted locking foot as found on the Godox V1, which will be a very welcome update. Strangely (and sadly), it looks like the V850III will not receive the new locking foot, preferring to stick with the standard dial. This is a little disappointing, given the price difference between the two lights. Most people who don’t need TTL won’t pay the inevitable cost difference between the two just to get the quick-release lever.
The battery also claims “higher capacity” and, while technically true, 2,600mAh is larger than the 2,000mAh of the V860II battery, it’s also lower voltage. 7.2v @ 2,600mAh is 18.72Wh. 11.1v @ 2,000mAh is 22.2Wh. So, it’s really lower in overall wattage capacity – which would explain why you only get 450 full-power flashes rather than the claimed 650 full-power flashes of the V860II.
A lower voltage also potentially means pulling more current to get the same total energy to recycle the flash quickly, potentially meaning that it could overheat more quickly. But this is all just theory, we’ll have to see how it handles in the real world once it’s released. And, at least in the case of the V850III, it doesn’t recycle the flash quite as quickly, standing at 1.7 seconds vs the V850II’s 1.5 seconds at full power. The V860III still claims 1.5 seconds.
All that being said, being able to use the same battery as the V1 will make life much simpler. You only need to deal with one type of battery for all your speedlights if you mix and match V1, V850 and V860 series flashes and the real-world performance difference probably won’t be all that noticeable.
One big change with the V860III is that it also gets a modelling light. What some of us thought might be a simple clear prototype cover over the AF assist light (because that’s what it was with the Godox V1 preproduction models) is actually an LED modelling light. It offers 10 different power levels, although I expect that like the V1, it’d have to be pretty dark in order for you really be able to make good use of it.
Another addition to the V860III is a button on the side allowing you to quickly switch between TTL and manual modes. I can see this being quite useful in fast-paced wedding and event environments, assuming it locks your manual exposure at whatever the previous TTL exposure was calculated to be.
The V860III specs screenshot also boasts UI improvements, although the V850III appears to have the same UI as its predecessor. With the V850III not having the locking foot and doesn’t get the modelling light upgrade the V860III sees, I’m not entirely sure what the benefit is of the V850III over the V850II – other than having one less battery type to worry about.
I am quite disappointed that the V850III doesn’t have the quick release lock on the foot. That suggests that if Godox is also planning to replace the TT600, that also won’t have it, either (although a hypothetical TT685 replacement might), and I was hoping to replace all my TT600 speedlights with a new version whenever that was released purely for the foot.
There’s no word yet on exactly when these will actually be announced publicly by Godox – and things like this often tend to just quietly go live rather than make a big deal of a new release – but we’ll let you know as soon as we see something official.