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Godox V1 Round Head Flash Review

Dustin Abbott

June 19th, 2019

The Godox V1 is a unique take on the portable flash design.  Instead of the traditional rectangular flash head, it has a round head that produces a softer light spread and more pleasing light pattern than competing flashes.  Here’s how Godox illustrates it:

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Does this bear out in real life?  The short answer is yes…though with some limitations.  I’ve been primarily shooting Canon in the past and now shoot a hybrid kit that features Sony, Canon, and Fuji bodies, though my primary tools are Sony.  The one area that I hadn’t transitioned was in my portable flash units.  I’ve been using Metz 64 AF-1 units for their extreme power output and also their ability to match zoom up to 200mm.  But there’s no question that the light spread, the resulting color temperature, and even the TTL function was superior with the Godox V1 unit I used for a comparison:

I used identical settings (shutters speed, ISO), and an 85mm F1.8 lens on both, though I allowed the cameras (Canon 5D Mark IV for the Metz; Sony a7RIII for the Godox) to utilize their TTL function.  Clearly the Godox delivered the far more nuanced lighting.  One has to remember, however, that this is still a very small light source putting out a lot of power (78Ws), so there is a limit to how soft such light will be without modification.

My favorite thing about the Godox V1, however, is a Godox trait in that it utilizes Godox’ Wireless X system, meaning that wireless capability is baked into the flash unit itself.  I’ve used flash triggers and receivers for years, and being able to ditch some of those components really simplifies the workflow.  The Godox V1 can either be used as a command unit to control a variety of other light products:

It can also be controlled as a wireless slave unit from a command unit on camera like the Godox X-Pro.  This allows one to control multiple light units in a variety of ways and to get far more pleasing lighting results (and also total control over the direction and intensity of the light).

The Godox V1 is compatible with the AK-R1 accessory kit, which gives you a lot of options for shaping and coloring the light:

Godox V1 Observations

I recommend that you watch this video for my full review, as this text companion piece is more of a mini-review and image gallery.  The video will give you all the details and demonstrate the capabilities of the flash unit:

One other advantage of the Godox V1 that I do want to highlight is its ability to position the flash head in a broader range of positions than competing units.  You can go from a -7 degree position to a 120 degrees, which definitely exceed the typical 0-90 degree range:

Here are a few images of the flash unit itself, showing off the round head, the built-in modeling light (which can be controlled off camera as well), and (thankfully!) a nice locking mechanism instead of a tightening dial!

Two others areas are worth highlighting.  The Godox V1 utilizes a proprietary lithium ion battery pack.  The pros of this include that the battery pack delivers 480 full power shots per charge, and, in my experience, delivers very stable power delivery.  I’ve had at times inconsistent performance from my flashes utilizing AA batteries, but this battery pack seems more predictable in its run-time and power delivery.  The downside is that if you are doing an intensive shoot (a wedding, for example), you might need a battery replacement.  It’s not so simple as just feeding in more AAs; you are going to need a second power pack, and that will run you about $60.  Good news is that the tiny charging cradle is USB-C powered, which means you could charge it off a portable power-bank on the fly if needed.

The Godox V1 is also firmware upgradable, so that helps to avert any “buggy” behavior and/or deal with any system changes.

Here are some examples of using the flash on camera for portraits:

The Godox V1 obviously gives you a lot of bounce angles, and if you are using the flash on camera and have something to bounce off of (above or even behind, now), this is a great approach:

I included a few shots where I was lighting a mantle that a friend built for us.  I wanted to highlight the rich color and the grain, and the V1 did a great job of providing the light I needed without blowing out the subject.

Getting the flash off the camera gives you all kinds of options for lighting a scene.  Here’s a series where I used rim lighting, backlighting, remote bounce, and even a bit of mixed lighting with another light source at low power to give subtle variations on the scene:

One final mix that I love is the getting the flash off camera (on a stand), and then using one of my favorite light modifiers – the Lite Genius Super Scoop 3 – to help spread the light for a nice, natural group lighting that mixes well with the ambient light.  I reviewed the Super Scoop here.  Here’s a few of my and my family from Father’s Day.

The Godox V1 is available for Canon | Nikon | Sony (as tested here) | Fuji | and Olympus at a reasonable price point of $259 USD.  That undercuts most competitors by a fair bit while adding more functionality.  I’m really enjoying using the Godox V1S (the first Godox product I’ve used) along with the X-Pro control unit, and it will probably become a mainstay in my own personal workflow.  I’m already considering letting those Metz 64 AF-1 units go…

You can purchase the X-Pro Control Unit for around $70 for Sony | Canon | Nikon | or Fuji

Purchase an additional VB-26 Battery
Purchase the AK-R1 Accessory Kit

Images from the Wireless X Portraits (2 V1S units + X-ProS)

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Keywords: Godox, Godox V1, V1-S, V1-C, V1-F, V1-O, V1-N, Round Head, Godox V1 Review, Flash, Camera Flash, Dustin Abbott, Photography, HSS, Wireless, Godox X, X-Pro, X-ProS, Sony, Portrait, Sample Images, Godox V1 Review, Godox V1-S Review, AK-R1, VB-26

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