AN AMAZING LIGHT THAT PACKS EASILY
Prior to the pandemic, in September of 2019, I had the opportunity to photograph a friend’s wedding in a remote mountain location in Tennessee. I was concerned about needing to replace batteries in my flash while I was shooting, so I ordered the Godox V1 Camera Flash. It is a rechargeable flash that is extremely versatile. I was thrilled with its performance and from that time on, I have been a fan of Godox lighting products. Just a few months later in January of 2020, I attended ImagingUSA in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the most rewarding parts of the event was being able to network with Canon Explorer of Light, Vanessa Joy. I had been following her work for quite some time, but at this event, I had the opportunity to not only speak with her but also to attend an evening photo walk with a focus on off-camera lighting.
During this walk, Vanessa’s colleague utilized a small handheld strobe as the only external lighting source. I was impressed by how well this tiny flash worked for all the shots we took and I immediately wanted a portable strobe like it. Some lighting options are too cost-prohibitive and while I wanted quality equipment, I wanted it to be affordable. Fortunately, Godox offers such a product — the AD300 Pro Outdoor Flash.
Godox was founded in 2009 with the purpose of offering a full line of studio photography equipment to consumers at affordable prices. Godox has dedicated engineers that focus on the research and development of Godox products so that the company stays up-to-date with the latest technologies and keeps their products at the forefront of what customers want. So, if they don’t have a product that fits a need, they will custom-design items to suit customer requirements.
The AD300 Pro is a portable strobe that provides 300 watts of light for photographers allowing them to have more options for adventure photography while still traveling light. The light only weighs 2.75 pounds (with the battery included). The strobe also features a bi-color LED modeling light to assist with pre-visualization or to use as a short-term 12W continuous light. The modeling light has a color temperature range of 3000K-6000K.
The AD300 Pro has a built-in receiver that is designed to work with triggering and power control with a 2.4G X system. It’s compatible with 7 camera brands and will work seamlessly with the Godox X2 or Xpro triggers. The flash is also set up to be manually adjusted via its control panel. The light comes with a lithium battery included. It has the capacity to provide up to 320 full-power flashes on a full charge. It will recharge within about 2.5 hours using the included charging dock.
The AD300 Pro is designed with the smaller Godox-mount front so that it will work with any Godox-mount modifiers without needing an attachment. The strobe is also equipped with an integrated Godox reflector so that it can be used without add-ons. The AD-E2 bracket is also included with the strobe, which makes it possible for photographers to adjust the angle of the flash quickly and easily. The base of the light has a ¼-20 female screw mount that the AD-E2 attaches to. Without the bracket, users can simply mount the light to a stand or tripod.
What’s in the Box: AD300 Pro, Flash Tube, Glass Lamp Cover, Reflector, AD-E2 bracket, Charger, Power Cord, Battery, Carrying Case, Instruction Manual
|Wireless Slave Unit Mode||Radio transmission mode (compatible with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, FUJIFILM and Pentax camers)|
|Flash Mode||Wireless Off: M/MultiSlave Unit of Radio Transmission: TTL/M/Multi|
|Flash Duration Time t0.1 (approx)||1/220s ~ 1/10200s|
|Power Output||9 steps: 1/256 ~ 1/1|
|Multi Flash||Times: 90; Hz: 99|
|Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC)||Adjust via the 2.4G remote control|
|Sync Mode||HSS (up to 1/8000s), First-curtain sync, Second-curtain sync|
|Delay Flash||0.01 ~ 30s|
|Modeling Light (LED)||12WsColor Temperature: 3000K – 6000K +/- 500KBrightness: 1 ~ 10 steps|
|Optic Slave Flash||S1/S2|
|Flash Duration Indication||yes|
|Wireless Flash (2.4G wireless transmission)||Wireless Flash Function: Slave, OffControllable Slave Groups: 5 Groups – A, B, C, D, ETransmission Range (approx): 100mChannels: 1 ~ 32ID: 01 ~ 99|
|Power||Power Supply: Lithium Battery (14.4V/2600mAh)Flash Times in Full Power: 320Recycling Time: 0.01 – 1.5sBattery Level Indicator: yesEnergy-saving: Power off automatically after 30 mins (adjustable) of idle operationSync triggering mode: 3.5mm sync cordColor Temperature: 5600K +/- 200KStable Color Temperature Mode: Assure +/- 100K over the entire power range|
|Size||Dimensions: 190 x 100 x 90 mmWeight: 1.25kg (including battery)|
PACKAGING AND BUILD QUALITY
The AD300 Pro comes in a standard retail package with Godox branding on it. The box is primarily white with orange and black graphics included. When you open the box you will find the travel case with the light and its accessories stored inside. There is some paperwork that comes along with it including an instruction manual. Although instructions are included, the basic operation of the light is fairly self-explanatory and intuitive.
The build quality of the AD300 Pro is outstanding. The case is made of plastic, but it feels very sturdy and solid. Even though a hard fall from a decent height would probably be bad for this little powerhouse light, it doesn’t feel fragile at all. The control panel on the back is quite exposed, however, and should it fall on its back, I would imagine that it would sustain damage. All that said, no light is indestructible and the AD300 Pro is definitely a tough item.
SIZE AND SHAPE
The first thing I noticed about this handy little light is its size. It is literally the same size (if not a bit smaller than) as my Tamron 70-200mm lens. This makes it incredibly portable and convenient to haul around. And, because it’s the same size as a lens, I don’t have to reconfigure the dividers in my camera backpack in order to bring the AD300 Pro with me. I can just toss it in the bag and go. In addition to being a convenient size and shape, it’s also incredibly lightweight. Again, comparing it to my 70-200 lens, it’s approximately a full pound less than the lens. The weight makes it perfect for sitting atop a stand or even a monopod, but it’s not too heavy to use handheld, which was a huge plus for me because we do a lot of ‘run-and-gun’ shoots where we don’t always take the time to set up a stand. My assistant definitely appreciates the weight as it’s not too bulky to hold for longer periods of time and it’s got an easy enough form factor where it’s easy to grip.
USER INTERFACE AND CONTROLS
The AD300 Pro can be controlled remotely or directly on the light itself. Anyone who is familiar with the X series interface will be comfortable with it. This interface is actually one of the things that drew me into Godox lights. It’s intuitive and requires minimal set-up — especially when you already work with that triggering system. The back of the light features a display that shows basic information like the channel, mode, battery level of the light, and power setting of the light. The buttons on the light control the group and channel, test fire, power, and mode selection. There is also a button to turn on the modeling light and a dial to allow you to change the color temperature. If you have the X2 trigger, you can also power on the modeling light from it but you cannot adjust it unless you are using the dial on the back of the light. You can control the light in 1/256th increments and even though it’s billed as an ‘outdoor’ flash, it can be used indoors, as well.
POWER AND BATTERY
As I mentioned, one of the main reasons I switched over to Godox flashes in the first place was because they offered a rechargeable on-camera flash. I hate the idea of having to cart around AA batteries with me everywhere (which is what my previous Canon flash required). So moving to a rechargeable flash just made sense. I now use the Godox ecosystem of rechargeable, battery-powered flashes for all my on-the-go and studio set-ups.
The battery provided with the AD300 Pro is backward compatible with the AD200 or AD200 Pro. The battery itself has a capacity of 2,600 mAh. This should last approximately 320 flashes unless you are also using the modeling light as a continuous light source in between charges. I’ve been impressed with the amount of power there is behind this strobe. It’s strong enough to light up a nighttime shot, but not too powerful to still provide softer light during daylight conditions. The flash recycles quickly at less than 0.01 – 1.5 seconds depending on the power being used during the shoot. I didn’t have any issues with the strobe being ready for me to shoot – even when I completed some rapid-fire shots.
In my opinion, the BEST feature of this and every Godox light is its compatibility with the Godox ecosystem. If you are working with the X2 TTL Wireless Flash Trigger, you will be able to connect with the AD300 Pro with no problems. I loved being able to pull the strobe out of its case and immediately connect to it without any need for additional set-up since I already had the X2 trigger on my camera. The X2 trigger is set-up to work with Godox camera flashes out of the box as it uses the built-in Godox X wireless radio system. The X2 also has Bluetooth support so it has the ability to connect to iPhone and Android-based mobile phones through the Godox Photo app.
ACCESSORIES AND MOUNTS
One of the most recognizable features of this strobe is that it utilizes the Godox mount for accessories and modifiers. While this limits the AD300 Pro as far as Godox-brand accessories go, there is the Godox S2 adapter available to use with Godox lighting systems to make them compatible with Bowens mount light modifiers. During one of the shoots I used the AD300 Pro on, I actually used a Bowens mount adapter so that I could use the strobe with one of my Glow domes. I actually used a 34-inch Beauty Dish modifier with this light while it was mounted to a light stand and even though it’s a smaller light, the larger modifier worked great with it. Just make sure you have a counterbalance on the base of the stand.
MODELING LAMP AS A VIDEO LIGHT
Some photographers might be tempted to use the modeling lamp on the AD300 Pro as a continuous video light, but I would actually recommend against this. While yes, it can be used this way in a pinch, it isn’t preferable. Using it as a continuous light will eat up the battery and while the light is on continuously, the fan is going to run. So, it’s terrible for sound. I really love that the modeling lamp is included, but don’t think it’s wise to use it when recording video. If you are looking for something this size for video production, I would recommend the Godox ML-60 video light.
When I took the AD300 Pro out for a spin, I was not disappointed. In addition to the V1 camera flash, I also have the AD200 Pro and AD400 Pro off-camera flashes and so, the AD300 Pro was a welcome addition to my lighting family. I have not had any connection problems with the AD300 Pro whatsoever. I’ve used it for a couple of dedicated photoshoots at this point that both lasted 1-2 hours each. I did not experience any misfires during those events. Controlling the strobe was super simple thanks to the X2 trigger. I think there may have been one time that I adjusted the strobe from the control panel on the light, but the remainder of the time, I was able to use the trigger to make adjustments. The quality of the light is fantastic. I didn’t notice any shifts in color and it has a really strong range with great power output. The shoots I used the AD300 Pro on were outdoors and it worked really well with the ambient light from the sun. I even had the chance to use the light in pure darkness after the sun had set. The light did not have to be super close to the subject in order to get the job done, but it could be set close to the model if needed because it could be adjusted to the point where it wasn’t overpowering a subject close-up.
The AD300 Pro has been on my ‘wish list’ of lighting products for a while now and since I’ve had the time to work with it, it feels like a dream come true. It’s pretty much the perfect little light for the work I do and it’s ideal for location shoots where you have multiple, quick set-ups. In addition to being a very functional, versatile light, it is also very affordable at $499 (competitors can be more than $1,000 for a light this size). This light is perfect for photographers looking to keep a minimal lighting kit.