Summary of Godox X System components and interoperability
My objective is to produce a resource for interested photographers about the components and interoperability of the recently released Godox X system without it sounding like an advertisement for Godox.
A bit of background; I started doing commercial photography with photofloods. It was a big deal when halogen bulbs became available with reasonable color temp consistency. The first strobes I used was a pack and head system from Speedotron. I rarely used flash on camera. When it was required it was a Honywell “potato masher”. Now fast forward to 2005. I started shooting weddings again, along with commercial and portraits. I had a collection of Canon speedlites and then acquired several monolights. I started using the monolights with the TTL speedlites at wedding receptions. Over the years I tried several approaches to adding TTL capabilities to the off camera lights I used at wedding receptions and other large event venues. These included Quantum and Pocket Wizard ControlTL. Finally, Canon introduced the 600EX-RT system. It worked well. It probably has the best thought out and implemented user interface for Gr control on the camera mounted controller. One thing that was missing was something more powerful for use outside during the day for fill. I was asked by Cheetah Stand’s Edward Tang to test the the Cells IIc trigger with the Godox AD180/360 to confirm its ability to work with Canon 600EX-RT compatible cameras. That process led to a higher Ws solution that was useful outside for fill.
About 18 months ago I migrated from Canon cameras to Sony A7 series. Now I shoot only the A7RII. Making that move required that I abandon TTL as a means for metering strobes. It meant dusting the cobwebs out of the part of my brain with all the experience about managing manual flash exposure with or without ambient contributing to the shot. Eventually Nissin introduced the Air Commander system which I immediacy added to my kit. Its a good speedlite solution for weddings and events.
Earlier this year, hopefully at least partly because I kept chiding Edward Tang, Godox introduced the X system and announced that Sony TTL would be added to the Canon and Nikon TTL offerings. Simply, this is the first time that a manufacturer has offered a strobe lighting system that extends from speedlites to 600Ws battery powered strobes. Along with, soon, an AC powered strobe as well.
(The picture at the right was shot with an AD600TTL in TTL mode)
X system light options
TT685, V860II; are functionally the same TTL capable speedlites. The only difference is the battery power source. The TT685 uses AA cells with a power plug for an external battery to improve recycle time and number of flashes before the batteries have to be replaced or recharged. They both can act as an X system Master or slave. They have internal X system radios. They come in Canon, Nikon and Sony versions.
AD360II; is now the only bare bulb option. It includes TTL capabilities that is firmware updatable. There are camera manufacturer specific base plates with appropriate hot shoe. There is also a base plate with a 1/4-20 receptacle for more secure nightstand mounting. A light can be converted from one camera version to another by changing the baseplate.
AD600M, AD600TTL; This is a new light design. It has a battery that attaches to the back of the light. It is available in either Manual or TTL versions. There are also two options for modifier mounting. B is added to the designation if the light has the Bowens S mount. There is a remote head accessory available that turns the light into a pack and head configuration. This permits having the weight of the light moved off the top of a light stand. Godox has intimated that there will be remote head options available that will permit 2 or 4 power packs to be attached to a single flash tube. This means 1200 and 2400Ws options with TTL capability.
X system control options
X1T Controller; As with the speedlites this comes in three variants with specific a camera specific hot foot. It offers a Godox Group mode that permits using slave devices in up to 5 groups. As expected, there are some camera manufacturer specific characteristics.
Speedlite as controller; The speedlites have the capability to act as an X system controller. The specific capabilities are influenced by the camera manufacturer capabilities incorporated into a specific version.
XTR-16, XTR-16s; These receivers permit first generation lights like the AD180 and AD360 to be controlled by the X system controllers. There are a couple of transmitters as well in the Godox literature but its unclear at this writing which will be offered and when. The limited information available about the transmitters is that they will support HSS but not TTL metering.
More to come… Godox has already announced AC strobes that will incorporate X system control capabilities, including potentially TTL in all three varieties. There are also a number of currently available Godox AC powered strobes with a USB socket which will accept an XTR-16.
About the images; The three images included on the page were shot recently using the AD600TTL strobe, controlled by a TT685s speedlite. The speedlite was only used to control the AD600. All three were shot using TTL for flash metering. The shot below is a composite of two shots. Each made with the AD600 in TTL. For the two images the AD600 modeling light was useful to control glare on the amp and the CD cases. The Amp and its stand were clipped from a cluttered background that was made black using the max sync shutter speed. The CD library was processed in Photoshop using Topaz Impressions to create an illustration look to help accentuate the Amp. TTL flash metering was used to evaluate how it can be utilized to simplify on location shooting. The shot of the Frame My TV installation used the strobe to balance the lighting camera left. There was a large floor to ceiling window camera right. I commonly shot multiple exposures in similar situations for blending. Here I added an exposure with strobe fill as an additional resource. TTL metering meant I got the exposure I wanted without having to either meter the light, or take multiple flash exposures at different power settings.