So I recently upgraded my speedlight system from a single, low-power Nissin Di466 to the Godox V860II-N/Flashpoint Li-On R2 speedlight system, which comes with a lithium ion battery unit advertised to deliver 650 full-power flashes on a single charge.
I bought two of these things because they come equipped with built-in 2.4ghz radio transmitter/receivers to allow one shoe-mounted flash to trigger the other flash off-camera, and this is the case for multiple speedlights in up to three groups. I haven't purchased a separate transmitter yet, but after experimenting with a single off-camera flash, that'll be my next purchase so I can get both speedlights off camera and take my photography to the next level.
I won't be showing any samples of these speedlights in action in this post, but I will have another post in the future that talks about my early experiences with OCF and I'll include samples there. What I want to talk about here is the speedlights themselves.
Aside from the allure of a lithium ion power brick that advertises 650 full-power flashes on a single charge and the built in transmitter/receiver, the price and build quality of the unit is what ultimately sold me on Godox/Flashpoint (Flashpoint is the Adorama-branded version and is otherwise identical) and I've gotta say, I was hesitant at first but after playing with my new toys for a little bit, the quality is impressive.
Not only are the speedlights well built and heavy without the power brick, but once you put the Li-On battery in, that adds enough weight to use your speedlight as a weapon. They're very well put together for the price - $200 regular price, I got them for $130 each on sale at Adorama - and I already dropped one and there's not a scratch on it and it still functions perfectly. Not only that, but the full power output is top notch. It's not as powerful at 1/1 as Nikon's SB-900 or SB-910, but why pay $500 for a speedlight just for the name and a little extra power that you'll likely never need or notice?
I personally have only used my new system at full power once or twice, and the batteries are holding up very nicely so far. They're still showing a full charge despite a couple straight weeks of solid use at 1/2 or 1/4 power, both on camera and off, and the unit is incredibly easy to use. You've got your standard buttons on the back of the flash that allow you to change your mode - I-TTL, Manual and repeating whether you're using it on camera or off, as well as master and slave radio modes - indicated by a green LCD for master and a red LCD for slave - to use the flashes off-camera either in conjunction with a trigger or using one shoe-mounted speedlight to fire others in up to 3 groups.
Using one speedlight to trigger the other off camera works very well, and I've been experimenting with it on both editorial shoots as well as just for fun. I think I'll be picking up a trigger to use both speedlights off camera, and very possibly picking up a third one of these things to expand my creativity. Many Nikon - and Canon - gear snobs will tell you "always buy name brand everything". That's crap. There is plenty of great third party gear, and I got two speedlights with radio triggers for less than the price of one Nikon speedlight. If you're looking to save some money and still build a quality speedlight system for off camera flash, you can't go wrong with the Godox/Flashpoint Li-On speedlights. I'll have another post next week talking about MagMod and showing some sample photos.
That's all I've got for now. Deuces.