Great primary on-camera flash – even for tough environments.
A few years ago, I found myself on the precipice of photographing my first wedding. It was a daunting task, but exhilarating at the same time. As I planned how I was going to shoot the event I realized that I was missing a key piece of equipment – a rechargeable on-camera flash. I turned to Godox and added a V1 TTL Li-ion round Head Camera Flash to my kit. It was an amazing investment and it really changed how I was lighting events like weddings. Since that time, I have switched all my lighting gear over to Godox, and earlier this year – just a few months ago, in fact – they released a new version of their V860 on-camera flash. I decided it was time for an upgrade.
The Godox V860III TTL Li-Ion Flash Kit is designed to take shooting efficiency to ‘the next level’ for photographers. It is the upgraded version of the V860II and comes complete with added functionality. The V860III is available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, and Pentax cameras. It has several shooting modes including TTL, Manual, and Multiflash, and functions such as HSS (up to 1/8000s), FEC, FEB, and rear curtain sync built into the flash system. The flash head is zoomable (20mm to 200mm) automatically or manually for convenient adjustment of the light range. The flash is designed to help photographers light a scene naturally whether it’s in a broad or focused space. The head of the flash swivels between 0º and 330º horizontally and from -7º to 120º vertically. This provides shooters options for direct or bounce flashes. Just like other Godox light systems, the V860III is compatible with the Godox 2.4Ghz Wireless X System. It can be used alongside Godox triggers such as the X1 or X2 seamlessly. The V860III does actually act as a transmitter and receiver – together. This makes it very easy to work with other Godox lights in any capacity.
- Modeling Light for Pre-visualization: The modeling light was added to help photographers preview a lighting effect. This helps to ensure that when the flash fires it has a perfect result. The modeling light has a 10-level dimmable brightness.
- Quick Switch for Smooth Control: The quick switch was added to provide a switch between manual and TTL modes without having to sift through digital menus while you are shooting.
- Optimal Battery Performance: The V860III has an upgraded Li-ion battery with a large capacity. It provides a 1.5s recycling time and 480 full-power flashes. This battery is interchangeable with the V1.
- Quick Release Lock: The quick-release lock has also been updated to include a quick lever. This ensures that the speedlight is locked safe in place while on the camera. When it’s off-camera, this design helps photographers unlock it easily and quickly.
|WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE KIT||Flash Unit x 1 |
Charger x 1
USB Cable x 1
Mini Stand x 1
Lithium Battery x 1
Protection Case x 1
Instruction Manual x 1
Wall Charger x 1
Flash Coverage: 20 – 200mm (zoom function)
Power (1/1 output): 76Ws
Flash Duration: 1/300s – 1/20000s
Multiflash: Provided (up to 100 times, 199Hz)
Sync Mode: High-Speed Sync (up to 1/8000 seconds), First Curtain Sync, and Second Curtain Sync
Exposure Control System: E – TTL autoflash and manual flash
FE Lock: With <FEL> button or <*> button
Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC): Manual FEB +/- 3 stops in 1/3 stop increments (manual and FEC can be combined)
Transmitter Groups: A, B, C, D
Transmission Range (approx): 100m
Modeling Flash: Fired with camera’s depth of field preview button
Wireless Flash Function: Transmitter, Receiver, Off
Channels: 32 (1~32)
Controllable Receiver Groups: A, B, C, D, E (E group can be controlled by X series flash trigger)
Auto Focus Assist: Effective range – Center (0.6 ~ 10m/2.0 ~ 32.8 feet), Periphery (0.6 ~ 5m/2.0 ~ 16.4 feet)
LED Modeling Lamp: Power – 2w, Color Temperature – 5300K +/- 200K
Full Power Flashes: Approx. 480
Recycle Time: Approx. 1.5 seconds. Green indicator will light up when flash is ready
Power Source: 7.2V Li-ion battery
Power Saving: Power off automatically after approx. 90 second of idle operation (60 minutes if set as receiver)
Sync Triggering Mode: Hotshoe, 2.5mm sync line
W x H x D: 195 x 75 x 59mm
Weight without Battery: 410g
Weight with Battery: 530g
2.4G Frequency Range: 2413.0MHz – 2465.0Mhz
Max. Transmitting Power: 5dbm
The Godox V860III TTL Li-Ion Flash Kit comes in a Godox-branded box. The brand and name of the product are clearly marked on the front of the box and a nice product image of the flash is also included. I appreciate this type of packaging because it makes it easy to identify if consumers are searching for it on a retail shelf. The box is heavy cardboard and there is a plastic insert in the box to keep all the parts of the kit safe and secure. This is a complete kit that makes it possible to use the flash right away. The first thing I do after making sure all the pieces and parts are in the box is to charge the battery. As mentioned above, the battery used in the V860 III is the same battery that is used in the V1 flash. This is very convenient in my opinion because you automatically have a backup battery if you are only using one of the flashes at a time. The battery did have some charge out of the box, but I prefer to start with a battery 100% full.
I am working with a Canon EOS R5 as my main camera. I acquired it earlier this year and love how well it works with my other Godox equipment. I was ecstatic to discover that the V860III connected and worked with my camera seamlessly. For this shoot, I had the V860III as my on-camera flash, but also had the Godox AD300 Pro, AD400 Pro, and AD100 Pro has standby off-camera flash support. Godox does an amazing job of ensuring that all their lighting gear works well together. This is one of the main reasons I switched over to using Godox exclusively. I set up the V860III with the main settings I wanted to work with and then made the other lights match it.
In the chapel area, I primarily used the V860III but ended up using the AD400 Pro at the end of the ceremony. The room was poorly lit and the natural environment outdoors was cloudy/overcast so there was no natural light spilling into the room. Because the room had very little ambient light, I was concerned about only using the on-camera flash during the ceremony. Fortunately, The V860III was powerful enough to capture the event. It basically saved the day. I was moving around a lot during the ceremony so that I could get photos of all the important moments. The flash’s ability to swivel horizontally and shift angles vertically made it possible for me to be able to shoot the wedding the way I wanted to without extra lighting. The chapel had a lot of odd angles in its structure and I knew that might be difficult for bouncing the flash off walls, but fortunately, the flash’s physical flexibility helped to work around that issue.
I shot portraits of the couple outdoors and then shot their reception in a separate building. Both of these environments proved difficult as well. As I mentioned, the outdoor environment was cloudy and then the reception area had heavy fluorescent lights. The V860III held its own quite well in both environments and I was able to capture some really nice images of the couple, their guests, and the reception table settings. The picture below is an example of one of the shots I captured during the ceremony.
Because my main on-camera flash was the V1 before the V860III, I found myself making some direct comparisons between the two. They have the same recorded recycle time although, in practical application, I felt that the V860III seemed faster. Both flashes have the same approximate power shot count for their respective batteries. The head adjustment angles – horizontal and vertical – are also the same. After reviewing the specs for both flashes, they even have the same weights and very similar size (dimension-wise). The biggest differences between the two include – round versus rectangular head and flash coverage area (V860III has the larger of the two). If you are trying to determine which of those on-camera flashes would suit your needs, you should focus on those two areas because both flashes have a very similar physical design and function set.
The V860III is a wonderful addition to my Godox lighting ecosystem. It is easy to work with and provides a powerful lighting option – even in tough environments. I would recommend it as a primary on-camera flash option and could see it doing a great job as a secondary flash as well. It’s a great investment for any photographer.
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