The Many Faces of the Godox AD200 (AKA Flashpoint eVOLV 200)
The Godox AD200 has become quite popular since it’s 2017 release. It is much brighter than a speedlight, but not much bigger. There’s many ways for your Godox AD200 to shine: It’s fresnel, bare bulb, and round heads each have accessories available for shaping light in different ways. Since purchasing a couple of AD200’s in 2017 I’ve used all three heads (you typically have to buy the round head separately) and somehow managed to accumulate copious AD200 accessories. I can’t help it… they just keep making more!
I previously wrote a post about the different lights that I use, and that article touched on the AD200 options briefly… but I wanted to look more specifically at some of the available AD200 accessories and how they affect the spread of light from the AD200 with it’s three different heads. Documenting these tests with images will help me know which heads and modifiers are best in various situations, and hopefully it will help others as well. Maybe you won’t have to buy as many accessories as I did! There are amazon links to the products discussed on this page if you want more info, and if you use the links to make a purchase I’ll get a small commission.
For each of these images, I used the same setup & settings: ISO 100, f/8, 1/200 shutter speed. The AD200 stays in the same spot, as does the camera. The AD200 is sitting on a Benro MACH3 Series 4 Carbon Fiber Monopod with a Benro 3-Leg Locking Base (see my note on that near the bottom) with an extension head. One thing I’ll say about this setup is if you put your AD200 on a monopod, make sure the base is tight and don’t knock it over. =)
This first gallery shows the various heads and the differing light spreads they produce, all at 1/8th power:
The second gallery shows how bright the various heads are when bouncing off a white surface from a distance of 20 inches at 1/2 power…in this case, the blinds:
Thoughts & Observations
The fresnel head light spread is rather narrow, uneven, and has undesirable light leaks coming out at extreme side angles. If you use it in an umbrella, the narrow beam at close distance isn’t going fill it evenly, and you might have light rays spraying out sideways. The only positives of the fresnel head (in my opinion) is that it is slightly brighter when bouncing off walls and/or ceilings, and it is the most compact head when packing gear into small cases. You can resolve the sideways light-leak issues if you put a speed strap around the fresnel head as if you’re going to velcro some gel to it, and then slide it up a bit so the edges of the speed strap come out past the end of the AD200.
- Is the brightest head for the AD200
- Is the most compact head for the AD200
- Is included with the AD200 basic package
- Will work with standard speedlight modifiers
- Has the worst light spread of the available heads for direct flash
- Light escapes out the sides at extreme angles
H200R Round Head
The H200R Round Head has a very wide and even light spread, but is not quite as bright as the Fresnel or Bulb heads. Much of the appeal of the Round Head is that there is a nice magnetic accessory kit available (which I don’t have yet, since it is an additional cost), and it will work very nicely for direct flash. But you have to keep in mind that once you start adding the magnetic modifiers the light will be diminished even more. The magnetic modifier set doesn’t have a ton of different gel colors, but you could cut some generic gel sheets into circles and attach your custom gels to the round head using one of the included magnetic rings (I haven’t tried this yet). Godox does have plans to release a round head speedlight that will also work with the round head accessory kit. The H200R head also can be used as a flashlight with its modeling light feature. There wouldn’t be an advantage compared to the other heads when using the round head to bounce light off walls or umbrellas, since it is not as bright as the fresnel or the bare bulb heads, and bouncing light negates the importance of the super even light spread. I likely will use this head for outdoor twilight or night photography because of its light spread quality and flashlight capabilities.
- Has the most even light spread of available heads
- Can be used as a flashlight with the modeling light feature
- Is easier to pack than the bulb head
- Has a nice set of magnetic modifiers available
- Not as bright as the bulb or fresnel heads
- Not included with the basic AD200 package
- Magnetic modifier set also has to be purchased separately
The Bulb Head is what I normally use because it has a nice variety of reflectors and accessories, has a fairly even light spread if I end up using direct flash, and is brighter than the round head. It also works great with umbrellas using the AD-S6 Umbrella Reflector. One downside– it is the bulkiest head option for the AD200 when packing if you leave any of the reflectors or diffusers attached. I was pleased with how smooth and omni-directional the dome diffuser was, although it looks a little blue in color temperature (all the images above were processed with the same white balance), so keep that in mind if you are mixing that with other types of heads or modifiers. Maybe a little CTS 1/8 inside the dome would bring it closer to the other reflectors, but I haven’t tried that yet so I’m not sure.
I have two AD200’s that I use at every shoot with the bulb heads and umbrella or standard reflectors attached, mostly for wall and ceiling bounces. This is great in most scenarios, but if the walls and ceilings are stained wood or bold paint colors, I’ll use things like umbrellas, beauty dishes, and dome diffusers rather than ceiling or wall bounces. The beauty dish is useful if you need it outdoors and are concerned about wind knocking over an umbrella, or if you want to fit into smaller spaces than an umbrella.
- Has a variety of low-cost accessories and reflectors than can be easily attached
- Light spread is pretty even regardless of which accessory is being used
- Works great with umbrellas (using the umbrella reflector)
- Is included with the basic AD200 package
- Bulkiest head when packing into a case regardless of which reflector is attached
- The other heads are easier to gel
- Reflectors must be purchased separately, but don’t cost very much
Using the AD200 on a Monopod with a Base
Disclaimer: If done properly, it is quite stable… but I take no responsibility if you knock over your monopod or damage something. =)
There have been many times at past photoshoots where I would be in a house and think to myself, “man, a monopod with a base would be perfect for this spot here!” I would want to put light stand behind the bathtub by the window, or hide a light stand in a shower, or put one on the dining room table, but not be able to due to the footprint of the legs of my normal light stands. Finally I bought a monopod, and I must say, it is very handy. I used to use cheap camera tripods as light stands for situations like this, but a monopod can double as a hand-held light that can be extended over objects if I want some overhead lighting– i.e. a “light on a stick.” It also is easier to carry around than a full-sized light stand or tripod because the legs aren’t clunking around, and by using the extension head, I can keep the heaviest part of the light at the center of the base for stability. The feet of the monopod are also softer and bigger than tripod or light stand feet, so they are less likely to damage things. Having the feet as one solid unit is also very nice because they don’t slide around.
You could probably find cheaper monopods with bases for this use, but I got a decent one because I’ll probably also use it as an actual monopod for my DSLR as well. I put the AD200 in a pouch that attaches to the bottom section of the monopod, then run an extension head up to the top, where I have the bulb head with a reflector. The extension head is nice because the top has screw threads for attaching to light stands, tripods, or monopods, and can be rotated (without unscrewing) and tilted. This setup is less top-heavy and more stable than a speedlight on a monopod would be. My setup is the following:
I leave it assembled and keep it in a cheap tripod bag.
Below are a few example photos where the monopod was used in places I wouldn’t have been able to hide or even place a full sized light stand:
I typically setup five lights at photoshoot locations, and use 1 to 5 lights to produce each image depending on the complexity of the shot. I certainly wouldn’t put all my lights on monopods (most of them are on normal light stands), but it has been incredibly handy to have something that works both as a small footprint, freestanding light stand and also a handheld light on a stick. Now that I’ve gotten used to it, I wish I had done it sooner!
The Heads & Accessories
Below are links to the heads and accessories mentioned in this post. The Godox and Flashpoint version are the same product, but if it says “Flashpoint” you would get a warranty from U.S. based Adorama Camera, and if it says Godox you would be dealing with Godox for technical issues if they arise.