Godox, a lighting manufacturer based in Shenzhen, and one of China’s largest, has brought out a new series of wirelessly-controllable speedlights. The Witstro AD180 and AD360 are hotshoe flashguns with “bare-tube” heads, external power packs and a range of dedicated lighting accessories.
The Witstro sits somewhere between a consumer flashgun and a professional studio flash in terms of size, power and versatility. Unlike your Nikon, Canon or Yongnuo speedlight, it does not just run on AA batteries and instead makes use of an expandable Propac battery pack. The promised advantage is more power, faster recycle times and longer endurance without overheating — great for news and events photographers and the paparazzi.
At the same time, instead of a sealed zoom head, the Witstro has a bare flash tube that spreads the light in all directions, negating the need for a Sto-fen diffuser and allowing you to add accessories such as reflectors, snoots, beauty dishes and softboxes to suit the task at hand. This customisability makes the device similar to a mains-powered studio head, but since it is smaller and lighter you can take it with you. Such versatility may be appealling to commercial and portrait photographers shooting on location.
To be launched alongside the AD180 and AD360 are the following accessories:
AD-S3 beauty dish and AD-S4 honeycomb grid
AD-S5 double-fold umbrella
AD-S6 umbrella holder and reflector
AD-S7 folding softbox, fabric grid and AD-S8 beauty dish-style deflector
AD-S9 conical snoot and cylindrical snoot with grids
AD-S10 standard reflector with AD-S11/S12 grid and colour gels
AD-S13 handheld boom arm (for “voice-activated light stands”, i.e. photo assistants)
There will be five different ways to synchronise the Witstro with your camera.
Hotshoe mount, either on the hotshoe or via third-party wireless trigger
Prontor-Compur (PC) sync socket
3.5mm sync socket
Optical slave cell
Godox FT-16 wireless control system
The latter consists of a hotshoe-mounted 433MHz flash trigger and a USB dongle that slots into the side of the flash unit. A single transmitter can trigger multiple off-camera Witstro flashes in conjunction with other compatible Godox lights, such as their QT, Gemini GT and QS series of studio lamps. In addition, the transmitter’s control interface allows the photographer to adjust the power setting of each flashgun remotely from the camera position. You can also activate a red LED lamp either on-camera or wirelessly to help your DSLR autofocus in low light conditions.
In the past, a popular bare-tube style flashgun was the Sunpak 120J. Since its being discontinued and a lack of alternative options, used 120Js have been highly sought-after among off-camera flash enthusiasts. The Quantum Qflash series has a similar format, but packs in very advanced TTL and radio capabilities and a corresponding premium that puts them out of a comfortable price range for some photographers and hobbyists. A survey of Lighting Rumours readers showed 98% in favour of “a new inexpensive bare tube hotshoe flash on the market” in some form, with the votes divided as follows.
Would you like to see a new inexpensive bare tube hotshoe flash on the market?
Yes, the Sunpak Auto 120J should be re-released or cloned. (53%, 64 Votes)
Yes, I'd like to see an entirely new model developed. (45%, 55 Votes)
No. (2%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 121
Recently we have seen Chinese and Hong Kong manufacturers trying to cater to this market with such offerings as the Falcon Eyes Strobe Gun SG-100 and Jinbei MF-100, however these have been criticised for their relatively low power output and a lack of worthwhile accessories. Could the Godox Witstro fill the void?
60 (standard reflector)
Full to 1/128 with 1/3-stop increments
Godox Propac PB960 or PB820
0.05–2.6 seconds (with PB960)
Full power flashes
900 (with PB960)
Pricing and availability outside China has not yet been announced. We know from our sources that the Witstro and its accessories will be available in some form in the United States fairly soon, but we have not been told the exact retail price or release date. UK distribution is unknown. For more information, visit the manufacturer’s web site at www.godox.com or read our hands-on preview.