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System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!

  
 
zeitlos
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


System decision, help me! Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom...?

About 2-3 years ago I bought two Godox speedlights and two AD200 Pro. I‘ve also acquired two nice softboxes from Aputure. I also played around with this setup once or twice... What still bothers me about Godox is the interface of the devices. That's why I keep turning to Profoto. I was about to buy the Profoto A2. But what happens next? It's probably mobile and can be used mainly indoors, but as soon as you want more, you need more power. And that's where Profoto gets really expensive, as I understand it. Even 250 watts probably cost around 2000 euros or more. If you need two flashes, you're looking at 4,000 to 5,000 euros. Spare parts (batteries), softboxes, etc. from Profoto are simply unreasonable for a hobby photographer who is just starting out with flash photography. Kind of absurd: the ones that are most comfortable and easy to use are the expensive ones. One would (perhaps) expect that the really powerful ones for professionals require more attention in terms of operation . But it's probably exactly the other way around.

Of course, one could hope that Godox will adapt their interface... but that is speculative.

That's why, after watching a lot of videos/tutorials on flash photography, I'm thinking about starting again, just with a different system.

What do I want to do?

Travel photography, i.e. environmental portraits. It should be as light/mobile as possible.

Individual portraits (classic) at home in the apartment (not so much space) or in the garden/outside.

That means I would need a mobile (but probably unleashed) flash and maybe in addition 2-3 flashes that can also be used in sunlight (if necessary). How much power would you say is reasonably possible if you want to do full-body portraits, during the day and not just at night?

My options that I currently see:

1. Stick with Godox (even if the system doesn't motivate me to work with it...). Maybe an AD100Pro (with a click/magnet softbox) for quick use. + an AD600 or something for outside? I already have two AD200 Pro…


2. Profoto. But which flashes would be needed for the living room studio or for shoots outside and how expensive would it be?

3. New track: Elinchrom One to get started and then the Elinchrom Five?
And that's where my problems begin. The user interface with Elinchrom is probably similar to Profoto (except that the Elinchrom remote is a lot less attractive compared to the new one from Profoto).

However, I have some question marks about Elinchrom.
- Is this a system with a future? Their offering seems to me to be very limited. The German Elinchrom site isn't really convincing...
- Can I use my two Aputure softboxes with Bowens mount on an Elinchrom flash without any problems (so is there a good adapter?)?
- There is no speedlight, which means you would probably have to use another manufacturer anyway... does that make sense?
- Is the power of an Elinchrom Five sufficient for outdoor use or do you have to live with limitations?
- I generally really like the Elinchrom One. But it only has about 130 watts... (even if some reports say it actually has more?!?!?)... but at 1.5 kilos it is comparably heavy. The Godox AD100Pro weighs 500 grams. The AD200Pro weighs approx. 800 grams... And there‘s also the Profoto A2 (which is said to have less than 100 watts in real…)

Long story short, no point at all... So, can you recommend Elinchrom with a clear conscience or are they lagging behind the times, so you would rather recommend Godox or Profoto?

Did I miss something?

Thanks for every tip, no matter how small!



Oct 09, 2023 at 11:35 AM
jlafferty
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


What's got you hung up with the Godox interface? Which trigger do you have?

I find their LCD screens a bit lacking in aesthetics, but functionality has been awesome, especially for the XPro and XProII line of triggers. Profoto I find just too expensive, and their modern flat/recessed bulb a step backward in terms of output quality - crazy to say but Godox beats them if you care about light quality (and price, obviously).



Oct 09, 2023 at 12:41 PM
zeitlos
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


I like the cleanness of Profoto (and possibly Elinchrom as well?).

I have the Godox XPRO (I) remote. I wouldn‘t say that it‘s generally bad and even I was able to reach results… there are also people who tell me that you can work with Windows… I prefer Macs . Maybe that‘s not the best comparison?

No fractions. Representation of performance in numbers 10, 9.9, 9.8 etc.
Everything else I saw about Profoto's operation looked pretty good and intuitive. But there‘s the price and I don‘t know what I would need.

Therefore perhaps Elinchrom as a middle ground and a healthy compromise? But there are some questions...

Or invest properly (Profoto) and then have fun?



Oct 09, 2023 at 01:26 PM
jlafferty
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


Well, my advice, take it or leave it... is to save the exorbitant money Profoto costs, get a set of Godox lights and their mods, and have plenty of cash left over to plan and execute interesting photos, whether by hiring talent, or renting a space, or hiring a prop stylist/set designer, whatever. That's my definition of "have fun". You need two good lights (400-600ws), maybe one or two additional lights for the background (you've got them already), and the world's your oyster. The Xpro can be set up to move in 1/3rd stops or tenths, so if decimal changes are your desire, it's there. Though in all my years shooting, I've found tenths to be pretty useless, and only really 1/3rd stops to be the best compromise between adjustments which are both fast and evident.

As for "cleanness", that doesn't really matter to me above a certain threshold, and the Godox lights, especially their Pro line, are well above it. I don't really care how sleek a light or trigger looks so long as it works consistently.



Oct 09, 2023 at 04:15 PM
delsol9400
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


I feel like Profoto is a total waste of money, and I've been shooting with it for more than a decade. Too expensive, and you really don't get what you pay for in terms of both tech and support. Best setup IMO is The Fusion Raven transmitter with the PCB Celestial, and a Godox speedlight if you need it.


Oct 09, 2023 at 07:18 PM
jmmaher
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


If you just have a lot of money and want to spend it then buy the Profoto. They look nice, the displays are much better but in reality the functionality is the same as the Godox system.

Other than trying to overcome the sun an AD300 works great in daylight as well as evening or studio situations. The Ad100 with a quick use softbox is very convenient but is lacking in light output in some situations. If you need to overpower the sun an AD600 or 1200 would be of great help.

The Godox remotes work well - they are not the least bit beautiful but they are very functional.

I would not want to discourage you from buying the Profoto system as it looks more impressive and the displays are vey nice but in the end light is basically light and both systems work well.

I personally use Ad400's and one AD600 in the studio but tend to use the small lights outside for most situations. The smaller lights are just easier to carry.



Oct 09, 2023 at 08:41 PM
johnvanr
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


I used to have Profoto and switched to Godox/Flashpoint. Profoto was just too expensive. It made me nervous about using it. Sure, it’s better, but for an amateur who doesn’t need the tougher build, the color consistency and the rental access, it doesn’t matter.

I also think Profoto screwed up its latest heads, which no longer have the bare bulb. This changes the light going into soft boxes and make it less pleasant in my opinion.



Oct 09, 2023 at 11:55 PM
ronchau
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


The photographers I know that have Profoto, love the brand. There is pride in ownership of a "Professional" brand. They tend to own a speedlight and a monolight. If the shoot requires more lights, they rent because the cost to buy several lights has a long time return on investment

Photographers that own Godox, tend to think of them as tools. Not much pride in ownership, but the adequate performance and affordability leads to owning many Godox lights.

If renting is an option for you, go with Profoto since you already own 4 capable Godox lights and are not motivated to use them.

Or, start using what you have and you might find the joy of shooting photos with lighting you created more enjoyable/important than owning higher regarded brand lights.




Oct 10, 2023 at 01:40 AM
jlafferty
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


johnvanr wrote:
I used to have Profoto and switched to Godox/Flashpoint. Profoto was just too expensive. It made me nervous about using it. Sure, it’s better, but for an amateur who doesn’t need the tougher build, the color consistency and the rental access, it doesn’t matter.


The irony is: Godox has better color consistency :/



Oct 10, 2023 at 03:04 AM
johnvanr
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


jlafferty wrote:
The irony is: Godox has better color consistency :/


Who knew



Oct 10, 2023 at 03:12 AM
 


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zeitlos
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


Thank you so much for your comments so far. I‘ve read every single one and will comment back in detail soon.

Just one quick follow up… No one mentioned Elinchrom. I‘m not familiar with this brand but it seems as if it is negligible. Why is that? Because their system is not up to date? Their devices not reliable enough? No reasonable support? Etc.? Too exotic all in all?

As I see it there‘s the ONE and FIVE but Elinchrom seems to be more than an outsider…



Oct 10, 2023 at 05:06 AM
jlafferty
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


Elinchrom is overall good, if you’re simply asking about quality of light. But their quirks have made it so that they’re not broadly adopted or widely supported. Once you buy Elinchrom you’re locked into their modifier system - I’m not an expert in it, I’m sure they make great modifiers overall, but I’m not at all clear what their answer is to niche things like optical spots. And the things they’re good at - the Elinchrom line of octas are among, if not the best - aren’t so singular and essential that I need to get into their system. For example, while they perhaps make the best octa, a simple soft silver umbrella and sock, costing maybe ¼ an octa, gets you 90% the same quality of light. Easier to transport, cheaper, and you’re not obligated to stay within their system to use it. I don’t think their trigger or interface system is especially easy or efficient compared to other options - again, I’m sure it’s good, but not so wildly better that I need to jump into their system. I think the one thing they’ve got indisputably over most other systems would be their implementation of what they call Hi-Sync, and customizing that via trigger, but if your work doesn’t live or die by that one feature, it’s kind of a moot point.

Edited on Oct 10, 2023 at 01:10 PM · View previous versions



Oct 10, 2023 at 07:16 AM
story_teller
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


If you’re going to be traveling (more than locally) to photograph, look at the supportability of the system you choose. What happens when something breaks on the road? How can you get it repaired/replaced?

Required power in the sun depends on how and what you shoot. You can provide simple fill with a bare bulb speedlight or require 1200 Ws or more if you’re doing HSS. We were shooting motocross outside Santa Fe a few years ago and trying out some new Elinchrom 1200 pack systems. I set up a light trap across one of the jumps on the course. The ELB 1200 was barley enough. It just depends upon what you want to shoot in the sun.




Oct 10, 2023 at 08:54 AM
sungphoto
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


Good advice here. I'd say based on the use cases you're laying out, sticking with Godox would be fine. Profoto is nice, but the quality of light and usability is comparable between them at this point. They are both pretty reliable as workhorses, it's kind of more of a difference between using a Mac versus a PC. Yes the Profotos have nice squishy luxurious buttons and bright displays, but debatable whether that's worth 4-5x more.

I'd keep building your godox system out, adding AD200s or maybe a dual adapter, and when you start to feel like you're maxing out your strobes often think about stepping up to an ad600. For single person portraits indoors an AD200 is totally fine, and when you're traveling you realistically won't want to lug around 1-2 AD200s anyways. If you want more power the new mega pack and head systems might be available at your local rental house.

Profoto gripes for me are short trigger battery life (the Connect Pro doesn't work much better in this regard) and inconsistent integration of 2-way communication with the strobe, but I love how consistent they fire and the rental support worldwide. Godox I don't love that the batteries will brick on certain models like the AD200 and AD600 if you don't recharge them at regular intervals, and sometimes you'll need to switch the channel to avoid trigger interference, but I love that you can buy a powerful 3-4 light kit (3 AD200s for example) for the price of one profoto strobe (such as a B10 or A2).



Oct 10, 2023 at 02:05 PM
johnvanr
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


Elinchrom used to be a key player and they had some cool products, but I’m not sure they kept up with the times. Nowadays you mostly hear about Broncolor and Profoto on the upper end and Godox on the lower end. I don’t know what happened with the middle.


Oct 10, 2023 at 03:07 PM
ronchau
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


My pro photographer friends say technology and the internet has lowered the high bar and raised the low bar. Maybe applies to the gear, the photographer and the end results.


Oct 10, 2023 at 07:41 PM
delsol9400
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


I'd argue Profoto hasn't kept up. Their B10X plus takes 2.4 seconds to recycle. Their B1X is basically the B1 released in 2012 with a bigger battery. You can't plug it in, charge, and shoot at the same time. The flash duration times are not the best. They focus on selling over priced lower powered lights to newer photographers that think they need them, and convince the
"rock star" photographers to sell them to the newbies. Some say service and support is not what it once was. The PCB Celestial and FJ Wescott lights provide way more value per dollar. Today, the expensive price tag does not get you better quality, or better pictures. I'd much rather support an American company.

johnvanr wrote:
Elinchrom used to be a key player and they had some cool products, but I’m not sure they kept up with the times. Nowadays you mostly hear about Broncolor and Profoto on the upper end and Godox on the lower end. I don’t know what happened with the middle.





Oct 10, 2023 at 08:38 PM
RobArtLyn
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


zeitlos wrote:
No fractions. Representation of performance in numbers 10, 9.9, 9.8 etc.


At least the fractions a relevant. I have never understood the preference for a user interface based on the proposition that 9 is half of 10.



Oct 11, 2023 at 10:47 PM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


20 years ago I used all Profoto. Today, all Godox.


Oct 12, 2023 at 06:23 PM
story_teller
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · System decision: Profoto, Godox, Elinchrom…? Help!


RobArtLyn wrote:
At least the fractions a relevant. I have never understood the preference for a user interface based on the proposition that 9 is half of 10.


If you think in terms of “Stops” of light, it makes sense. We look at aperture, shutter speed and ISO in stops of light. Being able to adjust in 1/10th stop increments gives you finer control of light intensity. If I go from 9 to 7, I’ve decreased the light by 2-stops. If I go from 9 to 8.5, I’ve decreased the light by 1/2 stop. If you work with exposure equivalents a lot, stops of light make much more sense than absolute percentages. “Let’s see, if I drop the light power by 86%, what should I change my aperture or shutter speed to for a proper exposure?” “If I want to increase my shutter speed by 75%, what should I change my strobe power to?”



Oct 13, 2023 at 06:47 AM
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