Has Wescott Out-Godoxed Godox with the Westcott FJ400 Strobe?

The post Has Wescott Out-Godoxed Godox with the Westcott FJ400 Strobe? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

The FJ400 flash and trigger

Wait? How Much? Did Westcott just outdo Godox?

Westcott has just announced the FJ400 Strobe, which on first glance is not that exciting. Then you see the price, only $569! That is $80 cheaper than the ultra-popular Godox AD400. That’s before you get to the universal trigger system. Has Wescott done the impossible? Has Westcott out Godoxed Godox?

Specs

Let’s get this stuff out of the way. If you want the headline numbers, here they are:

FJ400 Strobe

  • 400 watt-second AC/DC strobe
  • 9 F-stop range in 0.1 and 1.0 increments
  • Mains power adapter included
  • 0.9 recycle time at full power
  • 480+ full-power flashes per strobe
  • 0.05 second recycle time at the lowest power setting
  • 20 watt LED modeling lamp (Daylight balanced)
  • High-Speed Sync up to 1/8000th second, TTL and rear curtain sync
  • Bowens Mount
  • Series of gels (full CTO, has CTO, window green and diffusion) included. These attach by magnets
  • Color Screen

X2-M trigger

  • Universal wireless radio trigger for FJ400 strobe
  • Compatible with many Canon, Nikon, Sony (with adapter), Fuji, Panasonic Lumix and Olympus cameras (more are being tested by Westcott)
  • Integrated long-lasting lithium-ion battery
  • Up to 200,000 flashes per charge cycle
  • Wireless communication range of up to 985 feet (300m)
  • Bluetooth compatible with free mobile app
  • USB Type-C to USB-A cord for quick charging and firmware updates
  • 6 groups and 16 wireless channels
  • Color LCD screen

This is a serious specification list that clearly shows that Westcott is after potential Godox users. 

The Flash

westcott-fj400-strobe-Wescott FJ400 flash with bag and filters

The headline specs on this are huge. Not only is the flash cheaper than the Godox AD400, but it has a larger battery allowing for more flashes (480 for the Westcott vs. 390 for the Godox). This is at the expense of size, with the Westcott being slightly larger than the Godox. I would personally happily trade the size (and accompanying weight) difference for the extra flashes. 

The other really impressive feature is that the Westcott includes a mains cable, allowing you to plug in the Westcott FJ400 Strobe and use it as a standard studio strobe. For the Godox this is an additional extra. 

Lastly, the mount is Bowens (as is Godox), which allows you to use several different modifiers at all different price points. It also has an adapter for the Rapid Box system, meaning you can easily use the excellent Westcott modifiers

The Trigger

westcott-fj400-strobe-Westcott X2-M Trigger

The universal trigger is something that is going to be incredibly useful to many people. I shoot both Canon and Fuji and currently have two triggers that I have to remember each time I shoot. The fact that this system has a universal system is really exciting for those of us who shoot different brands. 

I also like the movement in the trigger. The fact that I can flick it up when setting my lights, then flick it back down to keep a more compact footprint is exciting. The LCD screen size is nice and big meaning it will be easy to change settings. The included Li-Ion battery is good for 200,000 flashes. This is great, but I do like using AA batteries on my triggers. It’s the peace of mind that I can get batteries no matter where I am. 

For those of you who use Sony cameras, you will need to buy an adapter. However, this is only $20. 

Isn’t this just a rebadged Jinbei?

It certainly looks like these strobes are based on the Jinbei. It is not totally surprising that the FJ400 Strobe has been based around an existing system. The price point Westcott has brought this unit out at would be incredibly difficult if they had to create the whole system from scratch. 

I am not an expert on electronic engineering, so cannot comment on the exact differences, but I have a hunch that the Westcott FJ400 will be built to a slightly higher specification. How much, however, is to be determined. The filter system included with the Westcott is more practical than those I have seen included with the Jinbei system. 

Also, Westcott has excellent customer service. You get to talk to a real person on the phone and things are US-based.  For many photographers, and especially professionals, great customer service is worth its weight in gold.

When can I get it?

Westcott expects to be shipping the FJ400 Strobe for the end of October. 

If you want to get yourself more excited, you can check out the announcement video below.

So, are you excited by the FJ400? Is it enough to persuade you to look at the switch from Godox? As always, let me know in the comments! 

The post Has Wescott Out-Godoxed Godox with the Westcott FJ400 Strobe? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

GoDox Lighting Kit, Just the ticket! [Review]

I’ve got a little secret… I’m pretty rubbish at ‘off camera flash’ but you know the best thing, it’s easy to suck at something and not worry so much if you have the desire to learn how to get better.

Flash Lighting and Accessories by GoDox from Elemental

With digital photography, it’s pretty easy to try and try and try again, because there’s no developing time, there’s no film cost, there’s no fixer to spill! There’s simply no excuse for you to continue to suck at off camera flash… what? you can’t practice because a Canon Speedlite 580EX II is WAY TOOOOO EXPENSIVE? Fair call, they’re not cheap! They are really good, but you’re right, they’re not cheap… So, I have a very functional, robust alternative for you… It costs £80 (or £50 if you don’t ever want to plug in an external battery) per flash unit and you can also get a remote trigger for it for £50… So, essentially, for £130 you’re set up to use flash, off camera, remotely and ‘on the cheap’ Yeah!

The handy remote trigger is called a REEMIX RMII and, as well as being a 16 channel flash controller, can also control your camera* (remote shutter) and the receiver has a handy umbrella holder built in, so you can attach it to your flash unit, slot an umbrella in and go flashing wild.

You can take it a step further, with the GoDox thinkLite TT560PB you can add an external battery pack, the GoDox ProPac PB820. It plugs right into the flash unit and will have you flashing for a good while (250 to 320 full power flashes, 1 sec recharge time, 2 hr battery recharge time) and comes in photographer black or sexy lime green (I went green!)

Having picked up the three units, Here  is my experience with them.. The start of my journey to better flashing if you will!

I have a Canon 580EXII.. That’s a great unit! It’s powerful, it’s fully featured and it’s EXPENSIVE. To work on an article that allowed more people who are just starting out, to be involved in trying off camera lighting, I wanted to use readily available and more ‘cost sensitive’ kit… I have tried out the Elemental studio lights once before, So, back on the http://studio-flash.com website I went and I came across the GoDox gear and made my enquiries. Hello? Scotland Yard?

I know how well my Canon flash unit works, so I had a good bench mark… The Canon has the higher guide number (Higher guide number = more powerful flash) of 39 as opposed to the 38 rated ThinkLite.. Not much in it really.. Though, the Canon does have all the bells and whistles, as well as ETTL (basically means your camera tells the flash what to do if it’s all compatible) For this little test, I wanted to set everything to manual to help teach myself what all the buttons did! That, I believe, is what you should do, too!

So, the first little test (that mattered!)  that I used my ThinkLite for was a quick real estate shoot, I had a brightly lit outdoor shot of a house to take, I had a lovely blue sky that, if I exposed for, meant that the house was a bit dark.. I bumped the power on the little flash up to full, popped it on a Nasty Clamp and stuck that on the front fence facing the house… Taking a few photos, mostly inspired by a recent “One light real estate shoot” from Strobist, David Hobby, I tried to blend the flash in with the ambient light and get the photograph that I needed. The whole time using the REEMIX II to pop the flash and I also had the battery pack plugged in, giving me simply awesome recycle times (the time it takes for the little red light to come on and say “I’m ready to flash again!”)

Go Easy! It's my first shot it this type of thing ;-)

You can see the Nasty Clamp attached to the right hand end of the railing above and the shadow of the front porch light headed up and left. This is pretty much out of the camera with a little perspective correction (I couldn’t stand in front, there’s a tree!) So the sky is nice and blue and the front of the house is easy to see because of that light there. It could be a bit brighter and with a bit of an ISO bump, it would be. This was f/8.0, so I probably could have opened her up a little more, too, if I needed to. I got what I was after.

The flash unit is very simple. It has an off / on switch, an 8 level power output switch  (1/128, 1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1/1) and a couple of buttons to use the slave mode, slave mode doesn’t mean you can yell “Hey flash, get me a coffee” form the next room… It means that, in S1 mode, when you fire another flash, that the ThinkLite will also fire – this means that you can start getting all creative and have a pair of GoDox ThinkLite flash units and use one as your main light and one as your fill light or your hair light (fill, adds extra light where you need it – it fills and a Hair light is just that, adds a little light to the hair / side / back of the subject, gives your image some depth)

I had a whole three bedroom house to photograph for our real estate agent, the ThinkLite sitting on the end of the Nasty Clamp (Seriously, If you don’t have Nasty Clamps, get a pair! they’re such life savers!) with the remote trigger and external battery – I’d clip the unit on to the top of a door, angle it around until it was working how I wanted it to work and get my image. Mostly I’d fire the flash into a wall or ceiling to diffuse the small hard light that you typically get from a flash gun, the wall acting as a big reflector (Make sure your walls are white and not burnt orange… imagine light hitting a burnt orange wall and turning your photo into a big cup of Fanta!)

The kitchen shows the blend of flash and sun light..

This photo (above) is natural light through the roof / skylights, and the darker back of the house has the ThinkLite on the Nasty Clamp attached to the top of the shower screen door, low power firing out into the hall way. Whilst the balance of the color temp is way off (you see the bluer flash v the warmer sun) that’s very easy to fix with a gel for the flash or, if you’re a bit more lazy, in post!

the external battery hadn’t even dropped down a notch (it has 5 notches to show you when you need to recharge) I can see great use for an external batter as a wedding photographer or event photographer (I wish I had one of these when I was shooting events back in London!!!) You take the thing and clip it to your belt / put it in your camera bag and flash over and over…

This is all the gear I used on the day!

As I said at the start, I’m not a ‘Strobist‘ (not even in the same city, park or country!)  …though, now with my new found love for lighting and the ability to practice (on everything and everyone… yay for my two year old!) I’m getting better at it!

So, let’s look at the specs of the ThinkLite TT560

Guide Number 38
Flash Modes M, S1, S2
Tilt 0 – 90°
Swivel 0 – 270°
Power Source 4 * AA batteries
Recycle Time 0.5 – 5s
Output Full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128
Colour Temperature 5600K +/-200K
Flash Duration 1/800 ~ 1/2000s
Dimensions 190 * 75 * 55mm
Net Weight 286g

There’s nothing automatic about this unit, and that makes you learn!

And a pricing re-cap?

  • GoDox ThinkLite TT560PB £79.20
  • GoDox REEMIX II £47.99
  • GoDox ProPac £129.99

The kit has performed without fault since I picked it up a couple of months ago, it has really showed me that you don’t always need to get ‘amazing’ to teach yourself how to do something properly! Manual mode isn’t as scary as I thought, folks!

  • Out of ten, I give the thinkLite TT560PB an eleven (this was a nine, but earlier today my two year old pushed over a chair and knocked the flash unit and my reemix flying – baby proof.
  • The reemix is a straight eight out of ten, with a couple points taken off for the slightly fiddly channel switching, though for a remote to allow you to use 16 channels and to reverse control your camera, for under fifty quid is pretty darn good.
  • The ProPac, whilst being the most expensive item in this test, is something I never want to be without again. Get one.

I hope this has been helpful to some of you! I hope to come back at some point when I’m more practised in my flashing and give you an update on how the gear’s doing – I’m about to order a couple more of the TT560 units myself.

–Sime

 

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

GoDox Lighting Kit, Just the ticket! [Review]