A couple of years ago, Godox released the AD600 (also known as the Flashpoint XPLOR 600), a battery-powered 600ws TTL HSS capable flash that took the industry by surprise. Sure, other brands had battery-powered strobes too, but not at that flash power with TTL and HSS and a price point that low.
I was interested to find out exactly how long the battery lasts for the Godox AD600.
In our testing, the AD600 battery lasted 470 full power flashes. That is just 30 flashes shy of the 500 that Godox promises. If we consider that the battery we tested is more than two years old, we can conclude that the battery lasts at least as advertised, often more.
In this article, I tested the AD600 battery life in a controlled environment. And I’ve also included some of my personal experiences, as a professional photographer, on how long the battery lasts in real life.
As with most products, especially of Chinese origin, what is advertised, doesn’t always translate to what you actually get. In this case, Godox made sure that you got what you paid for. Just to be sure, we tested their claims.
Battery Life Varies on AD600 Model
One thing to note is there are two different AD600 models. And they both have different advertised battery lives.
AD600B or AD600BM – this is a manual strobe with no TTL. Godox claims the battery lasts 500 full power flashes.
AD600 PRO – this model is very similar to the AD600BM. The difference is it has faster recycle times, TTL and the battery lasts 360 full power flashes.
How does this compare to Profoto? The Profoto B1 advertises 220 full power flashes, the B1X is rated at 325 flashes, and the B10 claims 400 full power flashes.
The methodology I used to test the flash was quite simple. I’ve set the camera on a tripod to take a shot at equal 15-second intervals. The flash was set at full power, and the air temperature was 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius).
I left the battery to fully charge overnight and left it to stabilize off the charger for a couple of hours. The intent was to simulate as close to real-world scenarios as possible.
Bear in mind that this is my own personal unit, which has been used for nearly two years now. So the battery has some wear, but I never let it completely discharge, which extends the battery’s life.
The modeling lamp was turned off the whole time. The display LCD light was on.
I also used a Canon camera for this shoot. In case you’re wondering if Godox strobes and flashes are compatible with Canon, they are.
Check out this article for a full run down on what you need: Are Godox Flashes Compatible with Canon Cameras?
The results from the test were excellent.
At full power, the AD600 flash managed to shoot 470 shots before running out of battery power. Keep in mind that Godox advertises 500 shots, and the flash has been used extensively for around two years. So in that time, it lost only 6% of the advertised capabilities.
As with most battery-powered products, one would expect power or performance loss as the battery drains. I’m happy to say that with this flash, that is not the case. The difference in the amount of light from the first shot to the last shot is just 0.06EV.
In other words, if I were not looking at the histogram and switching between the two photos, the difference wouldn’t be noticeable. That is within the margin of error. A difference that small can easily be a slight aperture variation (aperture not closing down completely) or sensor exposure shift.
In the user manual, Godox states that the color temperature can vary by +/-200K. In my testing, +/-200K shift occurs very rarely. The shift almost always stays within +/-50-100K if a color shift even occurs.
During the testing, the flash didn’t overheat, but the fan did kick in on full blast to keep the flash temperature in check. That is great.
I extensively use the AD600BM for my professional shoots and have found it reliable and to have excellent performance. Below are my experiences using this strobe.
Although these experiences document the battery performance of the AD600B and AD600BM. I think you can somewhat translate this to the battery performance of the AD600 PRO. The battery life will be about 30-40% less.
Shoot 1 – AD600 Battery Life
I often shoot with a second photographer, which means the flash is fired from two cameras. We both shoot bursts, and our shooting style is a bit faster than usual. That means the flash is often around 1/16th power, and we easily shoot 5-10 shots per second bursts.
I’ve never managed to discharge the whole battery, even on dynamic shoots that last for a couple of hours. The other photographer and I have done more than 2000 shots on a single battery charge, and the battery still had plenty of juice left.
It seems that full-power flashes eat up the battery significantly more than flashes that are less powerful, and it doesn’t seem to be a linear increase/decrease.
Shoot 2 – AD600 Battery Life for a Product Photography Shoot
Another example of battery life is an office furniture shoot I was commissioned to do by a furniture manufacturer. For this particular shoot, I was shooting large office desks on a white background (straight product photography).
When it comes to product photography, most of the time I shoot at small apertures, that is f/9 to f/16. As I want as much of the product in focus as possible. Additionally, I usually shoot at 100 ISO to minimize any noise or grain in the photo.
What that means for my lighting is I need powerful lights or strobes at near full power – especially when the products are big products. Like furniture.
This shoot took just me over 3 hours and during that time I shot 334 exposures. I used a pair of AD600’s and had the power set at between half and full power for the entire shoot. This was the AD600BM model.
That works out to about 2 flashes per minute on average. At the end of the shoot, one battery showed 2 bars out of 3 at the end of the shoot, whilst the other showed 1 bar out of 3. Not bad at all!
Shoot 3 – AD600 Battery Life for a Corporate Photography Shoot
One final real-world battery life experience is a corporate portrait shoot, combined with a product photography shoot. This particular client engaged me to take portraits of their 16 staff, along with some team shoots. And to finish off, a whole bunch of shots of their products.
Usually, I wouldn’t bother to use the AD600 for corporate portraits, as it tends to be overkill. More power than I need.
The AD200 is perfectly suited to headshots and portraits and is much more compact and lightweight. But because this shoot involved large products in addition to corporate portraits, I used the AD600.
At the end of the shoot, I shot 614 images. In most of the portraits, the power level was on about ¼ or 1/8. For the products, a power level close to full was used.
The end result was that I comfortably got through the shoot without needing any additional batteries.
Since I drained the battery for the test, I had the chance to measure how long it took to recharge fully.
With the included charger, the AD600BM battery took 4 hours to recharge.
The included charger is the fastest charger available for this battery. Even though Godox states that the charger should charge the battery in approximately 2 hours, in my experience, it has never been that quick.
Replacing the charger or getting a second battery charger shouldn’t cost you more than $40, depending on the store.
There are two batteries available for the AD600. In addition, there are AC adapters available for both the AD600B or BM and the AD600 PRO.
- WB87A – 9000mAh for AD600B or BM
- WB87 – 8700mAh for AD600B or BM
- WB26 – 2600mAH for AD600 PRO
- AC26 – AC power adapter for the AD600 PRO
- AD-AC – AC power adapter for the AD600B or BM
All are made by Godox, and they differ a little.
The WB87, is the older battery model for the AD600BM. It is nearly identical to the WB87A, which is the revised one. The WB87A is a 10.8V 9000mah battery, while the older WB87 is 8700mah. So you get a little bit more juice with the newer one, but nothing significant. They cost $150 to $200.
The WB26 is for the AD600 PRO model and is not compatible with the AD600BM. It’s a 28.8V 2600mAh battery and costs around $170 to $200.
Replacing the battery or getting a spare one will cost you between $150 and $200.
The AC26 is the AC power adapter for the AD600 PRO. It plugs into the wall and is an alternative to the AD600 battery. You’ll get the added benefit of faster flash recycle times. It’s suitable for both 115V and 230/240V AC power outlets. It’s around $130.
The AD-AC, the power adapter designed for the AD600BM or AD600B will allow you to remove the battery and plug the strobe directly into an outlet. This will give you slightly faster recycle times along with continuous power. It works for 115V and 230/240V AC power sources and costs around $100.
Should You Get a Spare Battery?
I have found on dozens of commercial shoots I have done that I do not need a spare battery. But that is just me.
Remember, though, I use the AD600BM. This model is rated for 500 full-power flashes Vs the AD600 PRO which is only rated for 360 flashes. If I were using the AD600 PRO, I would personally keep a second battery in my kit.
Should you get a spare battery? Here’s what you should consider:
- How many flashes do you fire per shoot?
- The power level you generally work with (portraits generally use low power, products use high power)
- If you own the AD600BM or AD600 PRO
If you’re a portrait photographer that works in the studio, I would say you don’t need a spare battery. If you shoot large products and you use the AD600BM, you may need a spare battery but probably not.
If you shoot weddings and own either the AD600 PRO (aka Flashpoint Xplor 600) or the AD600BM or B, you will likely not need a spare battery.
But if you use the AD600 PRO and shoot at full power and shoot more than 300 shots per shoot, then a spare battery is a must. Or you could consider the AC power adapter (model AC26) if you have access to power.