In 2016 I made a video comparing the Profoto B1 and Godox AD600. Since then both models have had an updated release and Broncolor has also released the Siros 800 and 400. I decided to put all three models head to head to help people decide which is the best option. I compare these 3 models because they are very high powered lights that feature an attached battery, remote power control, and all of the features that photographers look for in a strobe designed for location-based work.
I metered all 3 lights in the same indirect softbox (A Cheetah RB-90 with Chopstick mount accessory). This ensured no hotspots influenced the results and that the lights all had an identical spread of light leaving the softbox and hitting the light meter. The Broncolor Siros 800L is the champ when it comes to maximum light output. This isn’t a big surprise considering it’s 800w/s compared to the Godox’s 600w/s and B1X 500w/s. What is surprising is that it metered a full stop higher than the AD600, and 1.6 stops over the Profoto B1X. This goes to show watts aren’t a reliable figure of light output.
All 3 lights were very close to their listed “9 stop power range”. The AD600 Pro came in just below at 8.8, and the other two were slightly above 9 stops. They also all showed extremely stable outputs. The Broncolor Siros was the most stable but altogether the most the lights shifted the same power level was +-.1 stop. For the AD600 Pro and Profoto B1X these are big improvements, especially at their lower outputs. Also, it’s worth noting here that the Siros and B1X offer 1/10 stop control whereas the AD600 Pro only offers 1/3 stop increments.
One of the most popular uses of these portable monolights is High Speed Sync, or the ability to use flash beyond a camera’s max sync speed. The Broncolor uses HS, the B1X and 600 Pro use HSS. Technically, you can use HS with another trigger on the latter two, but I’m only addressing the native offerings. If you want to learn more about HSS vs. HS, here’s the best article explaining the difference. In short, HSS has visual consistency but decreased power, and HS lacks consistency but maintains peak power. Technically, you can use HS with another trigger on the latter two, but I’m only addressing the native controllers. Using the new Sekonic L-858D-U light meter which is capable of measuring HSS, I found the Profoto to be awful in HSS. At peak power the AD600 Pro only loses .9 stops in HSS, but the Profoto loses 3.2 stops! Considering the B1X is already the lowest light output of the three, this means it is quite ineffective for exceeding the sync speed in bright conditions.
Another added capability of the Sekonic L-858D-U is that it can measure flash durations at any rate. I’ve always hated when companies market their products using t.5 flash durations, as they aren’t really a useful figure for freezing motion. T.5 represents the time that passes from a strobe’s peak output to 50% of it’s peak output, or one stop. T.1 represents the time between peak output and 10%, which is over 3 stops in light difference. The T.1 flash duration is a much better figure for determining whether or not the flash will freeze action.
I’ve also questioned if Godox’s listed t.1 flash durations on the body of the AD600 Pro are even accurate. I ran all 3 lights through their entire range with t.1 figures and this is what I found.
Godox rounds up a fair bit. They market a shortest duration of 1/10,100 but in non-color mode (where the fastest speeds are attained) I could never get it to break 9000. The B1X performed really well, but the Broncolor crushed them both. I want to note here, when metering I found the figure would move as much as 1/200th of a second in either direction at the lower powers. I suggest you refer to these numbers as a ballpark figure. As I did with the last comparison, I plotted the flash durations against the power outputs so we could determine which light would have the shortest duration for a given output of light, rather than a power setting.
While the Profoto and Godox are pretty much neck and neck, the Broncolor Siros shines brighter using the cut-off technology in it’s speed mode. Again, with the L-858D-U being the first meter to measure this figure, I can’t attest to the exact accuracy, although it seems pretty consistent with the manufacturer data.
At full power these all recycle quite fast
- Siros 800L – 2.7s
- Profoto B1X – 1.9s
- AD600 Pro – .9s
The AD600 Pro is the clear winner here. Even when I dropped the Siros down a full stop to match max output on the AD600 Pro, the Pro was still faster at recycling. The Godox also manages to recycle twice as fast while delivering more light than the Profoto. I tested all 3 beyond 50 pops and none showed signs of slowing down. The AD600 Pro has a limit of 100 full power flashes in quick succession before the thermal protection kicks in, or 50 full power flashes in HSS. The Profoto and Broncolor function as though the only limitation is their battery.
Never in my life have I considered shooting a strobe at 10 fps. But hell, you might. Since I just recently bought a Sony A7R III I switched to my Hi+ mode to enable 10 fps. I then pushed each light to see what full-stop power level I could sustain a long (15+ images) burst at.
- Profoto B1X: 6.0 (1/16) light output F5.6 .1
- Godox AD600 Pro: 1/16 or light output 5.6 .8
- Broncolor Siros 800L: 5.0 Setting (1/32) or light output 5.6 .8
All of these could sustain a few images at a stop higher but would quickly fall behind. It’s ridiculous that all these lights managed to put out the this much power at such a fast rate.
- B1X – 325 Full-power flashes, 1.5 Hour Recharge time (with 4.8A Charger)
- AD600 Pro – 360 Full-power flashes, 2 hour recharge time
- Siros 800 L – 220 Full-power flashes, 1.25 Hour recharge time
At first glance the Siros looks to be the worst performer, but it’s actually the best when scaled for output. If you brought it down to Godox output levels you would get well over 400 flashes. I can confirm the batteries recharge extremely fast.
I don’t have a color meter, so my test consisted of a white wall (Pure White, by BEHR) and correcting to neutral in Lightroom. I did keep all lights in their most stable color mode. That being said, all 3 lights had a 150K degree shift. I’m sure there would be more wiggle if there was an exact measurement because the color picker is limited to 50 degree intervals. Regardless, all 3 are extremely stable. If you want more scientific info on this, there is a Chinese video that meters all 3 and showed the Profoto B1X was the least stable for color, but the contest was very close.
When flipping to HSS, color is still just as important. Strobes typically experience more wild color swings in this mode. The AD600 Pro had a 450K shift and required a tint correction of -9, so it’s a little magenta. The B1X has only a 300K shift, but needed tint corrections from -30 to -50. Personally, I would rather have the increased white balance drift over the magenta cast because balancing that tint in daylight would result in backgrounds with a green color cast. The Broncolor will carry better color over to the HS system because it’s not altering the pulse of the flash.
Of the 3, the Broncolor Siros is the only one that doesn’t offer TTL. Both the Profoto B1X and AD600 Pro also have a feature that converts a TTL setting to manual for continued shooting without a preflash.
The prices perfectly fit the build here. The Siros is an absolute tank, weighing in at 9.5 lbs. The only part that isn’t completely solid is the fan vents which are still heavily reinforced. The only odd thing is that the control knob on the back display protrudes beyond the edge. So if it landed back first there’s a chance that control knob would take some impact. The Profoto on the other hand recessed both ends of the light. While it’s great for the back, I criticize the choice for the front bulb because it not omnidirectional. This means it’s less able to fill a softbox and create maximum directions of light from a softbox. I find this to be the biggest oversight of the B1 series, but it does offer substantial protection. While Godox did their best to copy the style of the Broncolor Siros 800, they missed the mark with the location of their display. Now that I’ve smashed a few AD200’s, I realize what a liability it is to have the display and controls without a protective bumper. Even minor falls can kill your display and make it complete guesswork to sync a trigger to the light. Despite the Profoto B1X having a superior build quality, it’s still fairly light at 6.25 lbs, compared to the 7.5 lb AD600 Pro.
The Siros and B1X both have tungsten-colored LED lamps for a traditional modeling lamp experience. The AD600 Pro has the brightest LED and it’s daylight balanced. You can however focus the Profoto LED into a pretty tight beam using the stock reflector and get close to the brightness of the AD600 Pro. I also found the pattern of the Profoto’s lamp to be the most even of the 3.
I feel the LED’s on all 3 toe the line of being potentially useful in close proximity indoors, and completely useless in daylight.
The X-Pro from Godox has a large display and plenty of functionality, but is tough to see in daylight. It is limited to 5 groups, and is capable of triggering a massive list of lighting products. One advantage it has over the other two is that you always see the power settings of your lights, so you know exactly where you are in the range. The other two just let you adjust a group rather than see the current power setting. Currently the XPro is available for Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Fuji, although the previous X1 is also available for Olympus/Panasonic as well.
The Profoto Air Remote display is the best for reading outdoors. It will trigger any light in the “air” series. It is limited to three groups and only available for Nikon, Canon, and Sony. I felt like it was the most responsive and simple trigger of the 3.
The Broncolor RFS 2.2 is the same exact body as the previous X1 trigger from Godox. Broncolor worked directly with Godox to adapt this trigger to their Siros lights, and to optimize the HS capabilities. While you can control up to 40 different lights with it, it was the slowest to control. There is the BronControl app that offers full control of their lighting as well that makes for a great alternative in a fixed environment.
Broncolor and Profoto offer pack and head systems that are simply a higher class of lighting than offered by Godox. Godox offers a robust lineup of smaller lighting tools, from speedlights and hybrid strobes like the popular AD200 that all work seamlessly alongside the AD600 Pro. I think the system offerings from Godox are much better suited to event and session based photography, such as weddings and portraiture. The system offerings from Broncolor like the Scoros are some of the best options for high end product and commercial photography.
Profoto does offer the A1 and B2 which could work great for events and run-and-gun photography, as well as high end pack systems for commercial work. All 3 have impressive ecosystems that work together and are worth exploring before commiting to a specific brand.
Gels and Modifiers
For the most part, the discussion about modifiers is pointless. Broncolor offers incredible paras, but they are also easy to switch to Bowens mount and use with the AD600 Pro. Alternatively you could mount a Siros onto a cheap eBay softbox. All 3 have popular mounts that modifier companies offer. Profoto has the most elegant gel and grid solution, since they attach directly to the head and do not require a reflector.
I also see an advantage with the design of the B1X considering you can zoom any of their softboxes or reflectors to control the spread of light. However, I find it silly that the head is not omnidirectional.
Service / Global Us
Godox is only in its third year of being heavily adopted by photographers. One of the biggest perks of choosing Profoto or Broncolor is their global availability from rental companies. So if you regularly travel for work and rent gear you’re better offer becoming familiar with those two brands of lighting.
Price and Value
- AD600 Pro / XPro remote – $899 / $69
- Profoto B1X / Air remote – $2095 / $419
- Broncolor Siros / RFS 2.2 – $2237 / $112
When including the very high priced remote, the B1X is the most expensive of the 3. The AD600 is unsurprisingly the cheapest of the lights. Godox has risen in popularity strictly because of the performance offered at their low pricing. I think it also has the best value because it competes so well across all categories and features.
In conclusion, I can’t peg any light as the best since they all win different categories that photographers will place emphasis on depending on their needs. If you value output the most the Siros is the best option. The controller experience or modifier control may have you choose the Profoto B1X. If you are trying to get very capable lighting without spending a ton, the Godox AD600 Pro fits the bill.
One thing is abundantly clear to me. No longer can we blindly consider a brand to be the best choice simply because it was the best before.
About the Author
Robert Hall is a wedding and commercial photographer based in Southeast Michigan. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and YouTube, and connect with him on his Facebook page.
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