Robert Hall does a series of videos comparing Westcott FJ lights with the Godox equivalent

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Richard Hopkins
Richard Hopkins Contributing Member • Posts: 501
Re: Robert Hall does a series of videos comparing Westcott FJ lights with the Godox equivalent

kli wrote:

Richard Hopkins wrote:

... On Rob Hall's Westcott/Godox review, the FJ400 looks like a very good unit, with a little more power and faster flash durations at max output than the AD400Pro (a common weak spot for Godox IMHO) and both those things are well worth having.

He did a great job at being unbiased in evaluating the two lights, and showing monumental restraint in not mentioning the Jinbei rebranding, since he got that off his chest in an earlier video.

Pros for the FJ400/HD400 Pro seem to be:

  • More power (+0.4EV at full power)
  • Slightly faster recycle at same output (i.e., specs same recycle at full power)
  • Faster T.1 times
  • Comes with AC option since charger can simultaneously power light
  • Bigger battery capacity (480 vs. 390 full power bursts) 'cause physically much bigger battery
  • Better handle for securing tilt on stand
  • Better umbrella holder (screw-down+spring, not just a spring)

Pros for the AD400 Pro are:

  • Better color consistency (roughly half the variance of the FJ400)
  • More compact
  • Bigger system
  • Extension head (FJ400 has separate cover+tube, vs. single-unit tube)
  • Modifier mount options for Godox, Profoto, Broncolor, and Elinchrom as well as Bowens

Overall it's a pretty close contest but while the competition is welcome, there's nothing ground-breaking with Westcott/Jinbei in the way that there was with Godox when they launched against the Old Guard a few years ago.

Agreed, creating the AD180/AD360 with li-ion gave Godox a huge head start over everyone else, and then the X triggering system pushed them even farther ahead. But Jinbei's been on their heels most of the time. And there are differences worth noting and describing between the two systems. In particular those of the FJ80/HD2-Pro vs. the V1, and the FJ-x2M/TR-Q7 vs. the R2 Pro II or XPro. Jinbei's been developing pretty much along the same timeline as Godox, but has mostly been hidden because Jinbei didn't create speedlights, aside from the Caler 600EX-RT (600EX-RT clone) and the HD2-Pro/FJ80, and speedlights are the gateway drug to a cheap 3rd-party flash system ala all the newbs who find the Strobist.

But the HD2-Pro has a color touchscreen, a completely different UI, and a universal TTL foot vs. the V1. And the Jinbei TR-Q6 (previous generation transmitter) could use an app and bluetooth before the Godox XPro was even released. And the app looks like it grants full transmitter control: TTL and HSS settings, 1st/2nd curtain, beep, modeling light, and TTL group ratio control over six groups. Compare that to the GodoxPhoto app which can't make up its mind if it's for flash or LEDs, and that only gives you M group power control access. And the Jinbei RT/Westcott FJ system has full integration with Canon's RT gear. The TR-Q7 adds the universal TTL foot and the ability to tilt the whole unit to adjust viewing angle. Just saying, Jinbei has never been a Godox imitator/follower. They show plenty of innovation of their own.

I'm hoping Hall will compare the transmitter and app UIs. He doesn't like the integrated li-ion battery (I agree) but the utility of the universal foot and the FJ80 and the different functionality are things I'm curious about as an armchair enthusiast but have had no visibility into since everybody went Godox instead :).

Westcott deserves some success - and I think they'll find it, especially in the US - but in the intervening years Godox has simply piled on stacks of excellent new product at a relentless pace, building a seemingly impregnable market position with a very comprehensive ecosystem.

Definitely Godox's strength. but OTOH, sometimes it feels like the mad Chinese product proliferation keeps them from creating a coherent focused system. Their AC manual monolight line is still completely out of control with too many overlapping barely-different models. The AD600s can still only be Bowens mount. Why doesn't the S2 come in Profoto/Broncolor/Elinchrom flavors? They're getting into video lights and microphones and a bazillion CoB LED video lights/panels and now gimbal mounts.

Sometimes, they could do with taking a breath, having a little more focus and mapping out some standards [say, for batteries/chargers] and longer-term strategy for product development like, say, maybe realizing the Godox mount had too small a throat to create a bracket for speedlight users before putting it on their AD lights to create a smaller/lighter modifier system. Or creating speedlight UIs with some uniformity of labelling and button placement. And, of course, more/any customer support or an app that actually lets you use your phone as an additional transmitter wouldn't go amiss.

Westcott may provide the focus and the customer support Jinbei could be missing. It's an interesting race, and we're all going to benefit from the competition.

Interesting comments

I agree that the Godox range can be pretty confusing and there's plenty of room for rationalisation in some areas (I'm not sure that Jinbei/Westcott/Orlit are any better though!) but on the important stuff, ie the AD-range of battery strobes, Godox has hit the mark with frequent and unfailing accuracy and clarity. Godox is good on its priorities and I guess not many folks are too bothered about the app or a missing Broncolor adapter.

But if Westcott products are at least as good as Godox and competitively priced - which they are - why have they not made a big splash? The FJ400 is a couple of years old now, and the FJ200 and FJ80 have been around for a year. In Jinbei form they've been available even longer but remained stuck among the industry's best-kept secrets.

It can only be the business model and marketing. Jinbei has tended to address international business via multiple small third-party over-brands that have lacked impact and consistency. When they finally hooked up with a big player like Westcott, it was rather too little and too late, but Westcott also made some serious blunders in trying to take credit for developing products in the US that everyone knew were actually just Chinese over-brands. Their aggressive smoke and mirrors campaign was ill-conceived and back-fired, even creating some enemies along the way. It's going to be a hard road ahead, which is a shame - our loss frankly, and the market badly needs the competition.

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