Awhile back when I was stumbling my way around portrait photography, I discovered the mystery that is ring flashes. Ring flashes deliver a lot of punch for the money. They give off a beautiful light in the eyes of the model and that is a huge part of what the fashion world values now days.
If you look at the present, ring flashes are still very popular. Terry Richardson has fine tuned this look and it has yet to go away. However, that doesn’t mean that the ring flashes can only master that sort of such work, in fact, ring flashes, are capable of a whole lot more.
In recent years, Godox has come out with Witstro AR400. This is a ring flash compact solution that is an alternative to some of the more expensive versions available on the market today. However, there are a few drawbacks.
- At $499 to $599 with warranty, it’s not a bad price.
- Very spectacular light output.
- Nice compact packaging.
- Adjustable modeling light which works well for video.
- Quick recycle time.
- It’s heavy, especially after you’ve been holding it for awhile.
- There isn’t a location to mount the radio trigger in lieu of plugging it in.
Direct from the Godox Website.
Versatile and Even Illumination
With shadow free illumination, the ring flash AR400 easily adopts the ring head. It can also use an LED video light. It’s equipped with LED lights in order to help adjust the brightness of the light. This in turn allows it to easily stabilize the light for meeting all of the demands that outdoor flashes require. Easy to use and portable. It readily meets all of the demands for outdoor photography.
Abundant Functions and Strong Power
The AR400 boasts over 400W of strong power and has 22 steps to control the power. From 1/1 to 1/128 you’re sure to locate the exact depth you’ll require. Supports a S1/S2 slave trigger. It also supports RPT stroboscopic flash and high speed sync.
Professional Lithium Battery
Professional lithium battery with the AR400. You’ll have over 450 times the power output and you’ll appreciate the 0.05-2.8s time for recycle. A battery charger comes included with the accessory kit to ensure that you’ll never be without.
There’s nothing more disconcerting than having to work around wires. The FT-16 wireless power control flash (sold separately) allows you to easily control the flashes power output as well as all other flash functions.
This unit comes fully equipped with a folding light bracket as well as an umbrella bracket and a diffusion cover. All of the accessories are very easy to install and detach and that is very helpful to achieve creative light effects.
Godox Witstro AR400 is a fairly large unit for those who are used to light modifiers that are used for hot shoe flashes. However, if you’ve shot with a genuine ring flash, it’s not too challenging of an issue. This flash is characterized by a giant ring. It’s large and fat and very heavy, but yet more compact that others that are on the market today. The large white area ensures that proper diffusion is solid.
If you turn the top around, you’ll see a complete method of mounting the camera to the flash by using a rain system which can raise and lower the entire camera as well as bring the unit into the donut circle. For good results, make sure that the front of said lens is entirely through the flash ring.
You’ll find the ports on the side of the flash ring. One will work for connectivity and updates to the firmware. The other two will be for radio trigger ports when using a wireless flash trigger. You could even spot mount the triggers after they’re plugged in.
At the back of the unit, you’ll see the battery near the bottom along the rails that are used when connecting the unit to the flash. You’ll want to ensure that these are tightly connected so the camera won’t fall out.
At the back, you’ll also locate the controls to the flash. You can adjust them very easily.
The AR400 ring is built very well. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how sturdy and the great quality that it has. The sturdiness is also rather hefty. You’re going to need to be strong armed to use this puppy. Your wrist is going to get a workout. Thankfully, the Godox has a variety of tripod mounting options so you can take advantage of them.
If you’re using a light in this fashion, you should use a good lens as well which increases the weight.
Ease Of Use
When you use the light to shoot a photo, it’s pretty easy. If you have a PC port we suggest that you always choose that option. Simply hook the PC cord to the camera and the end of the cable to the light. From there you shouldn’t have any issues.
I chose my Canon DSLR Camera and the company didn’t have a PC port in my unit. We had to add a PocketWizard Plus III transmitter to it. The receiver fell out several times so we had to wrap our wrists around it to hold it in while shooting.
Setting aside the Canon DSLR Camera issue, the ring flash worked to accommodate the camera with a mounting system. We simply changed a few settings and shot quickly and easily. We suggest using the light as a handheld meter to get the best possible results.
We discovered that we needed to have the light up close and personal to get the best results with the Godox. To do this we had to have the light along with the shadowless light in the eye. We had to use the right exposure settings and catch the light correctly in the eye to get the best results.
The farther from your subject, the more powerful your light is going to have to be. You may need to stop down the lens as well. With a bit of practice you’ll get the hang of it in not time at all.
At 400 watts of power you’ll not have to crank it up much, if any.
We ran into a few issues here. A few of the times the light wasn’t warm and other times it was too cool. If this isn’t an issue for you then, great. However, if it is, you’re going to have to get Profoto or Broncolor to even it out a bit more. It is expensive to have things just as you like, but oh so worth it if you’re a picky photographer like many of us are.
Godox Witstro AR400 flash ring is gorgeous and sturdy and it can do a great job. It’s best when professionals use it as they are more familiar with the overall functions of such a piece of equipment. It’s a great investments for the pros to have their hands on. Those just learning will take some time getting the hang of it but all in all it’s a great investment for fashion photographers, semi professionals and photo booths.
Things I Liked about the AR400 Ring Flash
- Fair and reasonably priced.
- Powerful light output.
- Excellent quality.
Things I didn’t’ like about the Witstro AR400
- The color consistency issues.
- Heavy to carry around and use.