Why I am blown away by Godox and IBIS

Godox

I’m going to start off talking about Godox (Flashpoint in some locations) and I’ll continue with the IBIS when I have given you some context. I’ve previously written reviews of Godox, but this weekend, the Godox gear blew me away. If you are looking for the information on IBIS, look at the end. The part on IBIS is short, so I’m not going to set your expectations too high.

As someone who does mainly sports and child photography, I don’t get to do formal model shoots so when I was invited to join some other photographers for a Madhatter’s shoot, I jumped at the opportunity. On Sunday, we took the drive to the Warburton Redwood Forest, about 2 hours from Melbourne for a model shoot. We had 4 photographers, 2 on Nikon and 2 on Fujifilm, along with a model and HMU artist.

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Fuji X-H1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR, ISO 800, Focal length 90mm, Aperture f/2, Shutter 1/30 – This is one of the locations where IBIS makes a huge difference on the X-H1

We took along a fair amount of lighting gear,  probably enough to light one hemisphere of the planet in a black out which included an AD600 Pro, 4 x AD200’s along with heaps of modifiers. Our plans of using elaborate lighting setups failed dismally when it was pouring with rain the entire day and even within the confines of the forest, everything was getting soaked.

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Fuji X-H1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR, ISO 1600, Focal length 90mm, Aperture f/2, Shutter 1/125

In the end, we used 2 x AD200’s and due to the rain, decided to use a beauty dish and an AD-S7 softbox as we could easily protect these and the AD200’s from the rain. As you can see in the photos below, even with the waterproofing on the gear, we had to use plastic bags on bodies, triggers and strobes to make sure we didn’t end up destroying our gear.

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20180415-DSCF3244 6000 x 4000-2

As you can see from the photographers on the day, the conditions were less than favourable.

I have to admit, I was apprehensive about having some many photographers working off 2 small strobes. I had some concerns about battery life and overheating. The two Fujifilm users (another photographer and myself) were using X Pro F triggers, one of the Nikon shooters was using an X1N trigger, and the other a Godox Speedlight, all of which were controlling the same set of strobes.

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Fuji X-H1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR, ISO 800, Focal length 90mm, Aperture f/2, Shutter 1/60

The lighting inside the forest pretty horrible so if you wanted to get good ambient light, you were shoot at between ISO1600 and ISO2000 at midday, and closer on ISO6400 at around 4pm. The 2 x AD200’s performed admirably. I probably took somewhere in the region of 300 photos and I’m guessing the other photographers would have been the same. We picked up a combined total of 1000-1200 pops out of the two lights without running out of battery.

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Fuji X-H1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR, ISO 640, Focal length 90mm, Aperture f/2, Shutter 1/125

One of the incredible things for me was how seamlessly the lights switched between the photographers. With people constantly changing settings which result in ongoing power changes on the strobes, I would have expected problems but we had very few other than when one accidentally shifted the strobe to manual mode and we had a couple of overexposed photos.

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Fuji X-H1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR, ISO 1600, Focal length 90mm, Aperture f/2, Shutter 1/125

We originally started with each photographer taking 5 photos in rotation, but as we got to later in the day, we had multiple photographers shooting together, and the AD200’s were incredible in their ability to keep up with multiple people firing off less than a second apart from different triggers. Ultimately I had 5 photos which were over exposed as a result of what I can assume was one of the other photographers firing at the same time as me and using a smaller aperture whilst I was shooting at f2.

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Fuji X-H1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR, ISO 640, Focal length 90mm, Aperture f/2, Shutter 1/60

I was also impressed with the lighting balance achieved given we were using a small beauty dish and 50cm octa from some distance back. there were some occasions where we had some harsh shadows on the face but it wasn’t as big a problem as I was expecting.

On a final note, if you are considering an X-Pro trigger vs X1, don’t! Get the X-Pro. I used the two side by side on my X-T2 and X-H1 and the X-Pro just felt like it was 10 generations later. Don’t even think about it, get the better trigger, usability, quality, it’s worlds apart.

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Fuji X-H1 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR, ISO 2000, Focal length 90mm, Aperture f/2, Shutter 1/125

IBIS

I hear people harp on about IBIS and I’ve ignored it as background noise but on this day I was blown away and it came as somewhat of a shock. Absolutely incredible on the day in the dark forest, particularly on a day where its raining and you’re cold.

When you are using flash, you forget that you still need ambient to be at an adequate level to take advantage of it so having the flexibility of dropping to 1/60 or 1/30 with the 90 and knowing it will still come out sharp was amazing.

I love the fact that at no point did I consider needing a tripod when dropping the shutter. I could probably have gone down to 1/15 or used 1/30 if I was alone but for a model having to switch between 4 photographers, it’s harder to expect them to keep still.

Notes:

On a separate note, if you are doing a shoot like this, I’d highly recommend bringing in a model a HMU artist. We worked with a model @Oliviahughes198and a HMU artist @thammatornying and both of them were incredible on the day. It was very trying conditions with the rain and they had to sit in the car doing makeup in cramped conditions before enduring hours in the rain. A big thanks to Zoe for organising the model and HMU and Andrew for organising the outfit on the day.

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