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You have met enough people and read enough reviews that have convinced you to up your photography game by adding flash lighting to the mix.
Now what do I get?!?
This is a question that almost never gets simpler. When I first started getting into photography and slowly buying more pieces to the puzzle, it was easier. Easier in the sense there were fewer options to choose from. I was shooting Nikon, so I bought Nikon. I only had to choose from the three or so levels of power and features. Eleven years ago I bought my first speedlight, the SB800, and still use it today.
It would be assumed that if I were to purchase a new speedlight today, the choice should be easier. Easier because I know how my previous purchase worked, I now know more about how I use flash, and I have a feeling for what features I would like next.
Not so simple however…
The issue now is, we are bombarded with choice overload. It might be said that we are in a ‘Golden Age of Speedlight’, with new companies stepping in to challenge the pricing and features of the established giants.
But how do you separate the cheap knock-offs from the legit players?
Let me make one recommendation for you. Based purely off of my own experiences, other photographer suggestions, and backed by researching the reviews of large consumer websites.
Let’s address some questions you might have.
- Do you own this flash?
- What is so great about this flash?
- Why is it so expensive?
- Will it work with my camera?
- Who is it for?
- This sounds really salesy, why aren’t you recommending any others?
- Where can I get one?
Funny you should ask, I actually don’t own it. I own an older version, the Godox V850. It’s a much simpler flash, that only works with manual settings of power output and mode. The reason is at the time of purchase, the V860II didn’t exist, and my Nikon flashes were still working well. I bought a pair of V850’s as a backup. They are now my primary flashes for all setups that don’t require one on camera. This is because the older versions do not have TTL…which the recommendation does.
What’s great about this flash, is that it ticks all the boxes. Easy to use, full of features, and part of a system you can grow with. There are lots of options for you to build around a speedlight system, and buying this one still allows you to pivot in different directions while always being relevant. On camera, off camera, it will be fantastic. Also, my FAVORITE part. It has something that not even the drool-worthy Nikon speedlights have. Recheargeable Li-ion batteries. Unlike the AA powered flashes I have owned in the past, I can shoot any event, all day, and never run out of juice.
This is a matter of perspective. You can find cheap cheap speedlights and they may work for you. My guess is two outcomes could happen. One, you find that the light doesn’t work the way you wanted to and you give up on flash forever. Or the second, you can see the potential but realize what you purchased has limitations. So you end up purchasing another one, and now are stuck with something you don’t like. The Godox V860II, as of this writing, at $179 per unit. While this may seem like a lot, if I compared it to the top-of-the-line Nikon flash, well I could buy three of these plus tax for one of the Nikons. Plus, you’ll never have to buy AA batteries again. For flash anyways.
Most likely. For these models that can communicate with your camera for exposure settings, you do need to get the model that works with your brand of camera. MAKE SURE you are getting the right one, they have a version for all the major camera brands.
Everyone. I honestly believe this would make a great speedlight for a beginner. It has all the options as well as being able to essentially, ‘mount & play’. I just made that phrase up and I think I like it. Also, as you grow you can add it to your more finessed system. So pro’s will appreciate it as well. Anyone that photographs events, weddings, or portraits will benefit from it. I would venture to say it also has a place in high school sports but I have to buy a few more before I make that statement.
I’m only telling you what I’ve experienced first hand. I was shown these flashes at a conference in Las Vegas, demonstrated by a professional wedding photographer. Inspired, I went home and bought a pair for myself, albeit a less full-featured model. In three years I have had no issues and feel comfortable recommending them. I have had no other reason to try any other brands, though I have seen others using them.
You can get one Right Here.
As I mentioned before, make sure before you purchase that you are getting the correct model for your camera brand. The version I have linked here is the Nikon version. You can see it in the model name, Godox V860IIN, where the N stands for Nikon. There are C – Canon, S – Sony, Fujifilm, Pentax, and Olympus/Panasonic. The link will take you to an Amazon page.