This photographer thinks Godox isn’t a brand for professional photographers

Aug 31, 2021

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

This photographer thinks Godox isn’t a brand for professional photographers

Aug 31, 2021

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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All the photographic groups and forums have been vaguely on fire in the last 24 hours due to an inflammatory video posted on YouTube by a pro photographer giving his opinion about Godox (and other similar level) lights.

As you can imagine, opinion was quickly divided with the Godox supporters getting their knickers in a twist and those that can afford the more expensive brands feeling delightfully smug. I watched the full 23 minutes and 57-second video so you don’t have to. You’re welcome!

I have to say that Chicago based photographer John Gress played this all rather well if he was indeed looking to stir up a bit of a hornet’s nest in the photo communities and get people talking. His original video was titled “Why Godox isn’t professional” and caused a bit of a stir. Later we at DIYPhotography noted that he had changed the title to a slightly more benign “Why Godox is DISPOSABLE”. Hmmmm, a bit of a different angle there John. In the comments, he goes on to explain that he is merely trying to guide newer photographers into buying quality products and steer them away from wasting their money.

At the beginning of the video, John explains that (in his opinion) there are 3 tiers of lighting brands. The first is “garbage” and should be avoided at all costs. This includes brands such as Neewer (incidentally Neewer rebrand other makes including Godox) and he goes on to say that they are very cheaply made, a waste of money and inconsistent.

The 2nd tier is what he describes as “disposable” eg. White Lightning, Alien Bees and Godox brands. They are still affordable, the quality is a little better BUT when they break they are not worth repairing and are therefore DISPOSABLE. He talks about usage restrictions, recycle times and how they have warnings on overheating and overfiring.

The 3rd tier is of course the expensive luxury lighting brands that we would all love to own but most of us just don’t have the need or spare cash to be dropping several thousand on a flash. Now he does have a good point that these lights generally do have a cooling system so that recycle times and overheating are pretty much never an issue, so for major studios and busy commercial photographers, they are the one to get. He also states that they should last much longer, having previously enjoyed owning some Elinchrom lights for 20 odd years. 

Then follows about 4 minutes where he attempts to explain flash sync speeds and high-speed sync. I can’t really comment on this section as I may have drifted off for a moment due to John’s dulcet tones.

In the final part of the video, he talks about light modifiers and the types and brands that he uses and recommends. Nothing new here folks. He suggests a 39-inch octabox for the key light (Elinchrom or Photek soft lighter II) and a 1×3 softbox as a hair light/edge light/kicker for separation. Again he talks about build quality vs price and value for money.

Now I do understand where he’s coming from to a degree. You do tend to get what you pay for with many products. However, I believe that he is misunderstanding many photographer’s needs in today’s world, particularly those at the beginning of their careers. When I bought my car I tested quite a few different brands. The Audi was lovely, the Volkswagon was pretty great, but did we buy those? Nope, because guess what? They were outside of our budget and didn’t fit our needs. So we went with a Seat, had money left over and no monthly payments. Interestingly, like cars sharing the same parts and manufacturers lighting companies do too. Godox made Bowens light heads for years before they closed down and actually make components for Broncolor products.

When you are working in the creative industries, the single most important thing you can do (in my opinion) is to live within your means and not overspend running up debt. This goes for work equipment too. If you’re a massive fashion photographer always shooting in a studio with several assistants then go ahead, knock yourself out and buy Profotos. But if you’re like me, often working solo on location outdoors using just one or two lights then it makes absolutely no sense.

I love using my AD200’s, they are so small and versatile, easy to slip into a bag or travel with, require no battery pack and I don’t need a sherpa to carry all my gear for me. I rarely ever use them on full power, as I usually prefer to combine flash with ambient or available lighting. For me and the level of career I’m at they function great.

I wish I could say the same of my Photek Softlighter though. Years ago I was very excited to get hold of one before they were easily available in Europe, and I think I used it about twice before it blew over on an outdoor shoot and got bent. I now use it as my bent trash outdoor umbrella. Totally my fault, I should have been using more sandbags and/or assistants but I didn’t. So now I’m sorry John, I do buy cheap umbrella modifiers.

John does have a point when he talks about colour temperature and how that can vary greatly with the cheaper modifiers. But this can also vary with the more expensive ones as well. My solution then is to always buy 2 at the same time of the same brand, that way they are probably coming from the same batch and will be closely matched. And while we’re talking about colour temperature, the Godox lights actually come in ahead for consistency than most other leading brands. 

The Elinchrom D-Lite RX One Flash Head. $229 at the time of writing. That’s even cheaper than the Godox AD200!

John Gress does seem to like Elinchrom. Is he endorsed by them? I would like to leave you all with a  professional photographer who until fairly recently used Godox. If it’s good enough for Joel Grimes, then it’s good enough for me!

Oh and by the way John, if you’re reading this, I really did dig your home office, it looks lovely.

Are you a professional who uses Godox? Why or why not?

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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18 responses to “This photographer thinks Godox isn’t a brand for professional photographers”

  1. andrei ioan Avatar
    andrei ioan

    never heard of the guy or his channel but judging by the summary of the video presented here, the whole point of the title was to cause controversy and debate, even get featured on websites like this one..kind of like another photographer i no longer follow, who has all his videos named like “make money now with this” and the content is a vlog with maybe 2 minutes related to the title…

  2. Joost Avatar

    Welcome Alex! Great article

  3. John Koster Avatar
    John Koster

    I should refund all the money I’ve made in the past 3-4 years with my godox lighting kit I’ve used almost daily. Is there color inconsistency? Can be, but nothing that can’t be fixed as easily in post as any other wb issue if you shoot raw. I’ve taken my AD200s and AD400s all over the world, and they have performed not flawlessly, but pretty damned impressively. For the price, I can run through a couple of those a year and not look back. This is all just silliness.

    1. Cecil Thornhill Avatar
      Cecil Thornhill

      Amen! – As for color consistency, having used many of the brands the guy talks up, I can tell you they are not all that consistent in many cases. It very much depends on the unit under discussion and the way they are used. There ARE situations where color consistency is very critical, but most of the time “close” is just fine as the light was mixed (in the field esp.) anyway. Also, if you actually use some care, Godox can give (like most other moonlights) pretty consistent results. What you can’t do with most those style units is just play with the power levels if you can’t tolerate color shifts. But again, there are not really a lot of options even in pack and head systems that actually will let you do that – the electronic have to be designed to allow it. I think Buff has a few units that allow that sort of power management, but what it really takes is pretty fancy circuit design, and most units in most brands don’t have that feature.

      1. John Koster Avatar
        John Koster

        Agreed. Forthe work I do, 100% perfect W/B is not as critical as it is in product photography or fashion. Still even the best studio lighting gear has incrementally small color shifts that need correction.

  4. MKinMKE Avatar

    Profoto user here… Quite satisfied with their line of products.
    B1 + B1X
    A1 + A1X
    Light modifiers

    Never looked at Godox… Guys, is it worth looking at it?

  5. Justin Case Avatar
    Justin Case

    I don’t get it. I’m sure you get what you pay for, but he’s advocating for high-end lighting gear without asking what it’s for. That’s like advocating for Hasselblads without asking what you want to photograph.

  6. Huge Dom Avatar
    Huge Dom

    There are different brands, models with associated price point for a reason, not all of our needs are the same.

  7. Cecil Thornhill Avatar
    Cecil Thornhill

    I get his idea to categorize mostly on build quality (is it worth repairing), but that really misses the point. I say this as someone who has owned and paid to repair studio lights over the years, as well as an owner of “disposable” brands. First of all, there are now VERY few “pro” level light manufacturers left, and much of what even they sell is pretty hard to get fixed. Even the so called “pro” brands have huge variations in light color for most of the units sold (I’m looking at you Profoto ;-) ). For the cost difference you can often buy 2 or 3 Godox units that actually are pretty consistent depending on use and models selected. In my experience the cost of repairs for the “pro” brand is more than just getting a new unit from Godox. People may hate on me for saying this but if you actually want consistent color you also really need to just go to a pack and head unit, and only a couple of those to really get consistency. If I could still get Dynalite gear new (and supported) I would, if I want consistent light in a useful package for mobile work. The other silly thing about this video is that much of the time the most “pro” light of all is a speed light – if you want to measure pro by what professionals use much of the time. Pro gear is gear is what you use when you are getting paid…it has other qualities but what makes it “pro” is that is effectively supports your paid photography work. Godox may not suit the use case of the guy who made the video, but that does not say a lot about how well it works for others.

  8. Edvisions Avatar

    lol all i did was go look at his work to save myself from watching this. the guys work can be easily achieved with godox products. he didnt have to go trying to talk bad on a brand like that. smh

  9. Don Risi Avatar
    Don Risi

    It’s opinion, all opinion, and nothing but opinion. Anyone who can’t take another photographer’s needs, budget, experience level, and a dozen other variables into consideration before berating the gear they use isn’t worth listening to.

  10. Joseph Andre Mauri Avatar
    Joseph Andre Mauri

    I listen to this guys video and get a good laugh.
    So if durability is what your looking for, I still own in working condition some Photogenic and Norman strobes, wich by the way were used by some of the best of the best photographers in the US. that I purchased in 1973.
    Everybody knows that used top name brand strobe systems sell for a fraction of their new price because one, they get outdated and two they are ridiculously expensive to repair, and in some cases the parts are no longer available, for example BALCAR, a French strobe system much more sophisticated than Broncolor canot be repaired any longer.
    I own a brand new Hensel monolight that quit working and the diagnostics charge was more than a ( like new) used one selling on ebay.
    I think your comments are based on limited knowledge and lack of experience.

  11. udi tirosh Avatar
    udi tirosh

    Looks like we share our experience about the Softlighter (I used the Softlighter II back in the days), the “sock got yellow quite fast and while it gave wonderful wrapping, it did not feel that “quality” crafted.

  12. Wade Avatar

    It’s an antiquated way of thinking as far as lighting is concerned. The ‘get what you pay for’ attitude definitely does apply to many things, but not strobes. I’ve worked with Godox lights the past 6 years as a full time commercial photographer and they are high quality, consistent, feature-rich and have never needed repair. These replaced Elinchrom BXRi lights that cost twice as much as the Godox equivalents, and they were lower build quality, much less versatile and overall felt like relics from the film age. I also work 6 weeks a year in an eComm studio that uses exclusively Broncolor lighting – a cool $350k investment – and they still have their own issues and the lights regularly go in for expensive repairs. They’re amazing to use, built like tanks, and do everything you could ever possibly want, but honestly – the godox lights do 95% of it and for so little money in comparison it’s a joke. Profoto and Broncolor do FEEL premium but the extra cost is absolutely exorbitant and I firmly believe that they are milking the brand name similar to the way designer fashion brands do.

  13. macondomiami Avatar

    After so many years working on location and studios of every size, with every brand of strobes and worse yet, with assistants of any type, I can clearly say that what this dude is saying is that he and many others like him, including troves of assistants, are SUPER CARELESS in the way the manipulate equipment, and for that reason, inexpensive – and obviously delicate- tools like the Godox fall beyond their capabilities to handle, and those equipments fail over and over and over in their hands.

    This will NOT happen if you are careful. Simple!!

    This has nothing to do with the gear. Godox flashes bring out a very clean and refined lighting. If you are not experienced in flash photography, don’t ask what do I mean, you just have not tested enough flashes to understand. On top, you can insure controlled color temperature of every pop with the Godox Pro versions. Simple!

    I thought at some point of getting rid of all my Profoto and Elincrhom flashes but then I changed my mind, only for the fact that I may need more power when I am in the studio ( depending on my subject matter (while on locations I prefer the lightness and versatility of the Godox. Carrying my Profoto B1’s with all 5 spare batteries to a distant location is cumbersome. I rather Take my Godox!

    So guys, if your budget is tight, don’t listen to this dude. Be careful with your equipments though! This will insure longevity and quality to your “cheap” brands.

  14. Tracy Martin Avatar
    Tracy Martin

    Thanks Alex for a great response to John’s video, and for getting all the way through it. I have been using Godox 600s, 300s and 200s for years now and absolutely love them. Even if I could afford to get profotos I would stick with Godox/Flashpoint and invest that money in some more nice modifiers since the quality of the light comes from them.

  15. J C Medeiros Avatar
    J C Medeiros

    Typical elitist garbage. I recall being at a group shoot with a pro using some Profoto B10’s as a fireball shot out of the case. He explained how this had happen to him before and what the repair had cost him – about what I paid for a pair of AD600’s by the way which still are working.

  16. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar

    And this is related to DIY photography because … ?