Godox P2400 review – a 2400 Ws workhorse

Built like a tank and with more power than most photographers may ever need: how good is the Godox P2400 studio pack?

Today we are reviewing the Godox Powerpack P2400, a 2400 Ws strobe in a pack-and-head configuration. This new beast from Godox is specifically created for studio applications that require extreme consistency, power and accurateness. There is no battery, HSS or TTL support on this flash because in these scenarios it is not needed.

It is fair to say that this new product is created for a niche. Only a small group of photographers is able to justify that this is the right tool for their type of work. There is a big chance that even if you are reading this review that you will never buy a P2400. Currently the P2400 is priced at almost 5000 dollar and this does not include the heads that are required to use it.

However, even if you are not the type of photographer that would need such performance, it still is interesting to understand the impact that this product has for Godox. And with this I don’t mean the expansion to the line-up of flashes. Of course it is great that Godox also now offers a model with 2400 ws, but there is something much more important going on. Godox is targeting a new type of customer: professionals for which the ‘normal’ Godox quality might not be sufficient.

Specifications

In the past, high power studio packs were much more common, since most studio photographers used low-sensitivity slide film and medium format cameras, which had to be stopped down in order to get an acceptable depth-of-field. This meant that strobes had to be very powerful, at that time even 1200 Ws was even maybe the minimum that a photographer would consider.

So while these high power packs might not be new, the combination of modern technology and high power is. In the past all these packs had severe limitations. Ratio between ports was fixed, voltage controlled instead of IGBT, very limited power adjustment range (off, half power and full) and obviously no remote power adjustments.

That brings us to the Godox P2400. This is Godox’s modern version of the high power head and pack type of strobe. It packs almost all modern technologies that we have seen in the latest releases of Godox, with the exception of HSS and TTL. My assumption why Godox did not include these modes is because of the way they implemented the colour temperature control, but later on more about that.

In the introduction I already mentioned that this pack has 2400 Ws, as we can see in the specifications sheet as well (see image underneath). Some other things worth mentioning are the independent power output (asymmetric power control) for the two heads that can be connected simultaneously, the fast recycle speed and the short flash duration.

The H2400P heads that are used with the P2400 also have some interesting specs. For instance they have a 60 watt LED modeling light and they can be zoomed by moving the flash tube relative to Bowens mount.

First impressions

The first thing that surprised me, even before I had received the product, was the weight of the device. I remember that I checked the tracking number to check when it would arrive and discovered that the package that I was about to receive was weighing a whopping 22 kg! I was quite shocked by that, but it should not have surprised me since the P2400 generator itself weighs a little bit over 11 kg.

If weight would be any indication of build quality, this strobe must be built like a tank! On a slightly more serious note, my first impression of the pack is very good. It looks and feels the way how a high end strobe should look and feel.

After turning on the pack the first thing you will notice is the big colour display. Compared to some older flashes from Godox this is a significant step forwards and shows that this is a strobe where no compromise has been made.

Since this device is meant for the studio, Godox does not include any carrying or storage bag. Personally I don’t have my own studio, so every time I rented one I had to bring 22 kg of equipment in an improvised bag. I would have liked to see a carrying bag as an included accessory, but instead it is available for purchase. These are named the CB-25 and the CB-26.

I have never had a strobe with this power and 2400 Ws is a lot of power. You will notice the first time you fire the strobe at full power. It is really a lot of light and you can even feel the heat coming off it. As a joke someone suggested that during this review I should check if the P2400 can make popcorn. Funnily enough, I would not be surprised if you could with enough full power flashes.

Compatibility with other heads and inverters

Many of you have been asking if the head from the AD1200Pro and the ringflash head are compatible with the P2400. Yes they are, but they cannot be used simultaneously with a H2400P. If you connect a single H2400P and a H1200 then the H1200 will be disabled. Connecting two H1200 or a single one combined with a ringflash head works.

H2400P can be also plugged in the AD1200Pro. In this case the AD1200Pro detects the H2400P as a H1200, so I am not sure it works correctly since it is not correctly identified. It is possible that Godox releases an update for the AD1200Pro to make sure that it works as intended. For now I would be wary of using the H2400P on the AD1200Pro. For sure it is currently, nor it won’t be possible in the future to connect two AD1200Pro packs to a single H2400P.

The P2400 is intended for studio use since it has to be powered with mains power. You could avoid this limitation by using a power inverter but be aware that the P2400 does not work with most inverters. The power consumption of the P2400 is higher than what most inverters are able to deliver. I have tried with an older inverter and the P2400 quickly shows an error message.

Performance

When discussing the performance, the most important aspect is the power output. 2400 Ws is plenty of power, allowing you to either stop down significantly or use light modifiers that absorb a lot of light. For my type of work 2400 Ws is more than what I would need, so I am happy to be able to use the remaining power in the second head which is attached. From my perspective it is like having two separate strobes that I can control, with the only limitation that the combined output cannot exceed 2400 Ws.

For this level of professional strobes power is only one aspect to consider. Some people would argue the way how the power is delivered is even be more important, because it shows the quality of the strobe. We can measure the quality of power delivery by measuring the colour temperature, flash durations and consistency.

Colour temperature

First we will discuss colour temperature. Preferably I would have liked to use a Sekonic Spectromaster (e.g. the C800) to measure the temperature more accurately, but unfortunately I was unable to obtain one for this review. Instead I have used a grey card. Maybe at a later stage I will be able to obtain a C800 and can update this review with some more accurate numbers and in depth analysis.

The P2400 has three different modes that can be selected: ‘freeze’, ‘normal’ and ‘color’ mode. As you might guess these modes have an effect on the flash duration and colour consistency. The freeze mode shortens the flash duration at the expense of colour consistency and the color mode ensures colour consistency at the expense of a short flash duration. The normal mode gives a balance between both. There are some practical limitations of the normal and color mode, but in the next section I will come back to that.

From my measurements I can see that the color mode works extremely well. There is only a minimal shift (about +/- 25K measured, well within the +/- 75K spec) in colour temperature between the various power levels. If we switch from the colour stable mode to the freeze mode there is quite a significant shift in the colour temperature, as we would have expected. The lowest power (1/512) setting gives a flash that is 1200K cooler compared to the full power one. In normal mode I measure a drop of 450K between full power and the lowest power setting.

Flash duration

In order to measure the flash durations I have used a Sekonic L-858C to measure the t/0.1 duration. The results of these measurements are included underneath in the three tables. From the results we can see that the P2400 does indeed deliver on its promises of fast flash durations. In all three modes the measure value does not deviate significantly compared to the value that Godox specifies. From these results we can conclude that you can either have a very short flash duration in freeze mode, or extremely high colour consistency in color mode, but not both at the same time. The normal mode is compromise between both.

Power consistency and predictability

Another aspect that is important is the consistency of the power output. Two or more consecutive flashes that have the same power level setting should result in the same intensity measured at the flash tube. From my measurements I see that this is fortunately the case in all modes, with a maximum of 0.1 stop deviation between individual flashes, which can be even caused by external factors. However I do see the P2400 struggle at its lowest power output setting, 1/512 or 4.6 Ws. At this power there is more variation. The output is never lower than 4.6 but can be 0.4 stop too much compared to what it should be. Slightly increasing the power removes this problem, at 1/256 the power is again very consistent.

Besides the consistency of the output the predictability is also very good. A one stop increase or decrease in power on the control panel also results in a one stop reduction in power output. This means that the power output is a linear relation to the power setting. Again I see that at the lowest power output setting the P2400 struggles. The 1/512 power setting is 0.8 stop less bright than the 1/256 setting. Not a major problem but it does show that the P2400 struggles a bit to keep control over this lowest setting, the one where the flash duration is the shortest. Due to the short flash duration small delays in stopping the power output are quite significant. I typically see that behavior with other strobes as well, where the minimum power settings are the least consistent.

Recycle speed

There are two settings for the recycle speed which can be changed in the menu. In fast mode or max as it is indicated on the display the recycle speed is 0.7 seconds at full power. When set to normal the recycle speed is doubled approximately. At 400ws it can keep up with my Z7 at 5 fps easily in normal mode. This extremely short recycle speed is only possible when you are using a 230V outlet, a 110V will give you a slower speed since the flow of current reached its limit. At a 230V outlet the P2400 can draw up to 3.6 kW I have been told, but was unable to validate this myself.

While durability is not directly related to performance, I do think it is important to mention it here. Since this strobe has been designed to be a workhorse it is to be expected that the performance that we discussed in this section can be repeated over and over again. It is hard for me to test that within the timespan I have to write this review. While from first appearance the P2400 seems to be another step up compared to the usual quality from Godox, but only time will tell how well the P2400 holds up to the abuse professional photographers give.

In use

While performance obviously has a major part in the overall experience, it is also important to go a bit deeper in some other aspects. I notice that a lot of photographers tend to get hung up on the paper specification sheet instead of how it feels to use this strobe. We will discuss more about the usability in this section.

It has been now about a month that I have used the Godox P2400 and during that time I have used it quite intensively. What is funny is that I can actually see how often the P2400 was triggered since in the menu there is a flash counter option. I am not sure if this ‘mileage’ counter brings any useful information about the health of the flash, besides giving some insight when buying this strobe potentially second hand.

Adjustments in various modes

The first observation that I made was that power adjustments are not instant. We have seen this also in other models of Godox that feature a colour stable mode. When using the P2400 in both the color mode and the normal mode (so not the freeze mode) you’ll either need to wait a little bit (small adjustments are nearly instant) or do a test fire to dump the power. Unlike other models from Godox the P2400 can adjust slowly by burning charge from the capacitor, other models always require a test fire to dump.

This leads me to think of the following: In freeze mode the P2400 is always fully charged and uses IBGT technology to cut out the power to the flash tube. In the color mode Godox added some software that only partly charges the capacitor in order to get consistent colour temperature, also at lower power settings. How exactly they do that I am not sure, but Profoto is known to apply high frequency flash pulsating (PWM) in their colour stable modes. Godox could use something similar. It could also be some form of capacitor switching and voltage regulation, but I cannot know for sure.

The reason why you need to do this is quite simple. Similarly to an older style light bulb there is a relation to the power the bulb emits and the colour temperature. At peak brightness the flash tube emits cooler light and while the brightness reduces the temperature becomes warmer. The average colour temperature of the output is what we observe with the camera. IBGT technology cuts the power output once the desired setting is achieved. In the case of low powers this means that the output is stopped just at the coolest point, resulting in a very cool flash. You can see that this is also the case in the freeze mode.

H2400P Head

You will need a head to use the P2400, and preferably two. The head that was introduced with the release of the P2400 is the H2400P. This head is rated up to 2400 ws and has a 60 watt LED modeling light. It can also be focused by moving the flashtube assembly in and out the head. The length of the cable on the H2400P is 4 meter, which I would consider as sufficient for most applications. When you have two heads connected and want to do cross lighting it can be quite tight, but in this case you can also buy an extension cable (these are available in 5 and 10 meter). Be aware that adding additional cable length might result in some power losses.

Operation

The fact that Godox didn’t include HSS and TTL does not bother me at all. I can’t remember the last time I needed or used TTL or HSS in a studio environment. There is a technological limitation that TTL and HSS cannot be used in colour stable mode, but theoretically it should be possible in freeze mode. Godox must have had their reasons to not include HSS and TTL in freeze mode, but for me it is unclear since for instance the Profoto Pro-11 does feature TTL.

Since the P2400 has a power adjustment range of 10 stops it means that the minimum power is a mere 4.6 ws. This is comparable to the output of a speedlight at approximately 1/16, so that means that you can easily shoot at bigger apertures and still use this strobe.

Overheating

In both the P2400 and the H2400P there is a big fan that directly turns on once you power on the pack. The speed of the fan ramps up over time if you start using the strobe more intensively to prevent that the pack or the flash tube overheats. Godox claims that the P2400 is able to shoot 200 times in a row and this number might even be a bit conservative. I have spent a good couple of minutes creating a small ‘flash storm’ by continuously triggering the P2400 at full power and it kept on performing, without any sign of overheating. I could feel that the flash tube itself warmed up considerably, but the fan of the pack still continued to blow cool air.

Triggering

One last thing that is worth mentioning is that there are multiple triggering options. We can use an optical sensor, a wired connection (that supports pass through), 433 MHz (with the older FT-16) and 2.4 GHz (with the newer X1, X2 and Xpro triggers). I am not exactly sure why Godox added support for the older triggers, but it could be the case that some photographers favour the 433 MHz band since it can be more reliable.

Compared to the competition

While there might not be a lot of brands that offer strobes in this power range, there are still quite a few. In this section I will discuss the main competitors that the P2400 has.

When speaking of competitors the first brand that comes to mind is Profoto. The Pro-10 or newer Pro-11 has very or almost identical specifications as the Godox P2400, so the comparison is easily made. As expected the Profoto Pro-11 is significantly more expensive than the P2400. The only advantage that Profoto has over the P2400 is the built in TTL support and the 11 stop power adjustment range over the 10 stop from Godox. Be careful when comparing flash durations, since Profoto states their flash durations as t/0.5 and Godox does it in t/0.1. When you compare the t/0.1 durations against each other than you will see that the flash durations are nearly identical in Freeze mode (Godox has a slight edge) and in colour consistent mode Profoto has the edge again.

Besides Profoto there is also Broncolor that has some high power offerings in their Scoro line with good specifications. Within Europe there is also Hensel that offers packs in 2400 ws but they fall short on technical specifications when compared to the more innovative packs. In the USA you also find packs made by Norman or Speedotron. Personally I haven’t had any experience with these brands, but from what I can see is that these are a bit cheaper than others. I am not sure if these are IGBT packs and for sure they are less sophisticated, without any possibility to do remote power adjustments and only allow 5 or 6 stop power adjustment range.

Another product against which the Godox P2400 has to compete comes from the same manufacturer, the Godox AD1200Pro. Although it might seem odd to compare these two products against each other, it makes sense when you are considering the price. You can nearly buy 5 of these AD1200Pro units for the price of a P2400 with two heads. Obviously you will need to compromise on the extreme control and performance that the P2400 has to offer, but the performance of the AD1200Pro is pretty amazing as well. If you are not looking for battery powered strobes the Godox QT1200II could be an appealing option as well, this one does not feature a colour stable mode.

To conclude, yes the P2400 is certainly not unique. But solely based on the specifications I think there are only two real alternatives that pack a similar level of modern technology, which are Profoto and Broncolor.

Support and service

Photographers that are buying equipment at this price point are expecting more than good performance. Buying a P2400 is a significant investment and it is more than reasonable to expect that it will last years. Even if something would happen to it you want it to be repaired so can continue to get value out of your investment.

A mistake people make with getting Godox gear serviced is that they contact Godox Global, while you should contact your local distributor. My experience with getting service from my local distributor has been positive and from what I have heard there are quite some distributors with good repair service. So your experience may vary based on your geographical location.

Be wary of imported products, since getting warranty on those is much more difficult. Since the product is not from the local distributor they will not honor any warranty requests and paid repairs can be more difficult.

One of the brands that have a lot of loyal customers is Profoto, partly due to their good worldwide presence and repair service. I think the major difference between Godox and Profoto is that Profoto global has a much better customer service contact, but in the end they often also redirect you to your local distributor for repairs.

Some of you might say that Profoto equipment is more durable, but I have seen my fair share of failed Profoto equipment. If you look in Profoto user group on Social media you can regularly find some problems. It is interesting to read what was broken, why and how much they charged the customer to repair it. This last point can be be quite shocking, often I see that the cost for repair is almost the price of a comparable Godox strobe new. If you would do such a repair on a Godox strobe it would be economically unfeasible, hence the idea that Godox gear can be considered as disposable.

That said it is to be expected that the customer service of Profoto is better than from Godox. Profoto has built a brand that focuses on the user experience and service is a major part of that. They are doing this already for quite some years and became good at it. But never forget, you do pay for all this service. A Profoto product is typically three times as expensive as their Godox counterpart.

Conclusion

With the P2400 Godox has taken its first steps towards the professional market. It is exciting to see Godox further expanding their lineup in order to provide a solution for photographers that are looking for commercial grade performance. Simply said, this is a commercial grade strobe that is meant for high workload situations. It is able to match the requirements from the most demanding users. For instance when you shoot ecommerce kind of work it is critical that you have colour consistency between the first photo you shot and the last one. Also if you need to fill very big modifiers it is very useful to have so much power at your disposal. You could compare buying a P2400 to buying a medium format camera. For most people the standard cameras from Nikon and Canon will be sufficient, but for only a few these are simply not good enough. For this type of people there are medium format cameras (and P2400s).

Solely based on specifications there are only two competitors that can match the performance of the Godox P2400. These are Broncolor and Profoto, but expect to pay much more for these packs. I feel that the P2400 is also a statement to other brands such as Profoto and Broncolor. Godox demonstrates that they can do anything competitors can do, but cheaper. Besides more expensive alternative, there are some strobes at the same price point of Godox with similar power output, but they do not offer the same modern technology in it. You will need to compromise on other aspects. So from this point of view the Godox P2400 offers great value for money, but 6500 dollars is still a lot of money. I think the price of these 2400 ws strobe does not directly reflect the costs to manufacture it, but more the costs to develop it. There is just not a big enough market for it to bring the price below a certain level and still be commercially viable.

The P2400 is not perfect. And while I do not have major remarks, I think for this price we are allowed to nitpick. I find it stupid that I cannot connect a 1200 ws head on the second port (for instance the ringflash head) and use this together with a H2400P. Also I think that the colour temperature drop in freeze mode is quite severe, but competitors with freeze modes suffer the same kind of problems. While I personally do not miss HSS and TTL, I do think that some photographers would like to have seen these modes included on the pack. For these remarks I am not sure if these are hard limitations or if Godox spend some more time on development they could fixed these.

Although it might sound weird, this new strobe from Godox has been the least exciting one that I have tested until so far. During a review I try to find the limits of the equipment that I’m testing, but with the P2400 was unable to do so with my standard workflow. I had to think of special scenarios that would really challenge the capabilities of the flash, and even then the Godox P2400 was able to deal with anything that I would throw at it. It just works as intended, again and again.