Finally I’ve received the highly anticipated Godox AD400 Pro for a review, which is the smaller brother of the previously tested AD600 Pro.
We have the AD600 Pro review here. That article says that Godox is trying to aim a new target group with the PRO series. Those professional photographers who tend to use the big brands in studio lighting like Broncolor or Profoto. The concept is not just a dream of the company since the PRO series strobes were really good ones, were professional tools. Although their price is not very low but lower than the European and American brands. They are not cheaper because they miss anything but because the big brands are made in the EU or in the US and have huge marketing costs, while Godox is made in China and they do not spend too much on marketing. These good products market themselves for a long time now.
The Godox AD400 Pro is not an exception either with its 675 EUR price tag. A studio strobe with such quality and knowledge used to double the price.
I’ve started this section in case of the AD600 Pro with a line that this is a big and heavy strobe but it is stylisgh. In case of the AD400 Pro I don’t have to say such.
After unboxing it you’ll find a nice rigid case. When you open it, you’ll find the strobe very small. However this is a bit tricky because when you attach the reflector and battery, it will be bigger but still not too much. It is hardly bigger than a 70-200/2.8 lens in your bag. This means you can carry the AD400Pro in your camera bag if you want.
Size comparison: Godox TT685 speedlight, AD200 flash and AD400Pro strobe (unfortunately I did not have the AD600Pro for comparison)
I’d rather not to go into details of the build quality since it was exactly the same as the perfect AD600 Pro (described here). Unfortunately it is also true for for the AD400 Pro that the default umbrella-reflector is also the flash tube protector so you’ll have to carry it with you all the time even if you do not ever use it. Fortunately it fits into it’s case with Bowens adaptor and umbrella reflector mounted, you’ll only need to remove the battery.
AD200 and AD400 Pro with default umbrella reflectors
Let’s talk about the design instead. While the Godox AD600 Pro is equipped originally with Bowens mount, the AD400 Pro needs an adapter because it has an own, smaller diameter mount that looks like a Broncolor mount mutation. I would be happy if such a smaller mount replaced the ‘worldwide Bowens standard’ because the huge light-shaper mounts (like Bowens) from the previous century work nowadays as a limitation in flash/strobe design. The AD400 Pro is a good example for this limitation.
So when you want to fit a Bowens S-mount light shaper to your AD400 Pro, you’ll have to remove the umbrella reflector first, mount the Bowens adapter with four screws after.
You can still use the umbrella reflector when the adapter is mounted on the flash but you’ll have to remove a spacer ring from the refector in order to fit. However it will look strange like this.
You’ll receive the Bowens adapter by default with your AD400 Pro but there are other adapters available too (optionally): Profoto, Broncolor and Elinchrom. So if you plan to change a complete system, you’ll not have to throw your old light modifiers away, you can still use them with the Godox AD400 Pro.
These adapter have 2-2 screw holes on the top and the bottom so they will be mounted without wobbling, moving or any issues. They are stable and they have a smart system to adapt the modifier release button.
But how about the design? Well the AD400 Pro equipped with any modifier adapter will not look so cool and harmonic as without it because the adapters have bigger diameter than the flash. This is our heritage at the moment, I mean these ‘ancient’ modifier mounts from the previous century. I guess in short or mid-term the manufacturers will try to replace these with new, compact sized mounts.
Anyway look at the pictures below: this is how the AD400 Pro and and the AD200 look like with Bowens adapter. To be honest the AD400 Pro’s solution is still a more sophisticated one.
There are several add-ons for the AD400 Pro available. Most of these fits to the basic reflector, only the optional (bigger) umbrella reflector has its own mount.
The photo above shows the default accessory also framed with orange, all the other accessories are sold separately. As you can see you can combine some of them eg. the barn-door add-on with the honeycomb grid and/or the gel holder. Using these accessories are very easy and they are made of quality material (plastic).
The AD400 Pro already has a grab handle from factory – maybe you remember that the AD600 Pro got this useful accessory later. The grab handle can be dismounted if needed, although it is not bigger than the light stand adapter folded.
As for the battery, it lasts for approx. 390 full power pops. This is only 30 pops more than the 600Ws version because the battery is smaller. Thus the AD400Pro’s battery is not compatible with the AD600Pro and vice versa. The battery has a charge indicator on the top but the activating button is quite hidden: you need to push it with your nail.
The AD400Pro surprised me with the key lock mechanism. The AD600 Pro has the POWER button on the bottom, while the AD400 Pro has it among the other buttons. But you cannot turn the flash on by simply pressing it, you have to turn a main dial a bit too. With this ‘key lock’ trick you can avoid the unwanted turn on in your bag.
Anyway handling the AD400 Pro is exactly the same as the AD600 Pro: same button layout, same menu system. Simple, quick and intuitive. Obviously we can switch between TTL, Manual and Multi modes (plus S1 and S2 optic slave modes), and we have also HSS flash sync as well. The AD400 Pro is compatible with almost every camera brand, the user have to buy only the concerning transmitter (XPro or X1 triggers) to his/her camera brand.
One of the main features of the Godox PRO series is the perfect color spectrum during the pops. So also the AD400 Pro has the optional Color mode (available via menu) besides the normal mode. In Color mode the flash provides stable color (+/- 30-40K difference) between the highest and lowest power. I haven’t tested it with the AD400 Pro but it must be the same as the AD600 Pro (due to the same technology) which has produced only 37K difference on our test.
By the way the flash power can be adjusted within 9EV range, from 1/1 full power to 1/256 minimum power.
The flash has an LED modelling light which is 30W instead of 38W found in the 600PRO. On paper it provides as much light as a 150W halogen bulb. I’d say it is strong enough when using it in a studio even with softboxes, however our model will not tear because of the strong light. I’d say it provides the minimum level of a usable modelling light, though it is much better than the those glimmering craps in old battery powered studio strobes. AD600 Pro has a somewhat stronger modelling light, and of course the regular 200-250W halogen modelling lights are still way stronger.
If you are interested in more details, I’d suggest to read the AD600Pro review too. Most of the details written there are applicable for the AD400 Pro too.