Godox V1 vs Godox V860ii C

The Godox V1 vs V860ii

This article discusses the Godox V1 vs V860ii and the main differences between the two models. For a more in-depth review of each speedlite please see our webpages Godox V1 Review and Godox V860II Review.

The Godox V860II was released back in July 2016 so it’s been around for a while now. As far as value for money is concerned the V860II is still hard to beat and remains one of my favourite speedlites. The Godox V1 was released in April 2019. It sets itself apart from the traditional speedlites by having a distinctive round flash head. The round head design, according to Godox, produces a much softer and more natural looking light. In theory this is true but in practice I’ve found the difference to be quite small and difficult to see in the final image.

Godox V1 vs V860ii
Godox V1 vs V860ii

The advantages and disadvantages of using a round head flash head over a rectangular flash head have been discussed in a previous blog post Round Head Speedlites Vs Rectangular Speedlites so I won’t repeat it all again. From personal experience I haven’t really noticed a significant difference in the results from the two designs but then I tend to bounce my flash off a nearby wall, ceiling or a strategically placed reflector when using my speedlite on-camera rather than pointing the flash directly at the subject. Using the bounce-flash method nearly always gets better results. When using my speedlite off-camera I usually place the flash inside a light modifier such as a softbox. This removes any small variations in the spread of light leaving the speedlite and creates a larger softer light source.

When I point both designs of speedlite at a plain background then I have to admit the round head produces a more rounded and pleasant looking pool of light (see image comparison examples below). I rarely point a rectangular flash head directly at a background, instead I usually attach a diffusion dome such as a MagSphere modifier to create a smoother, more even lighting pattern. (MagSphere is part of the MagMod Starter Flash Kit). The results from a rectangular flash head plus a MagSphere, in my opinion, look slightly better than using just a round flash head on its own. The obvious downside to using a MagSphere is that it costs more and tends to reduce the flash output by about 1 stop. You can find cheaper alternatives to the MagSphere on Amazon.

When lighting a background evenly many photographers will place their lights inside two reflective umbrellas placed just-out-of-frame on either side of the background. This set-up produces a nice evenly lit background. You won’t see any the difference to the results if you use a round-head or a rectangular-head flash.

Godox V1 vs V860ii - image showing the difference in lighting pattern at various focal lengths
Godox V1 vs V860ii. Comparison of the lighting patterns of the Godox V1 and V860II at 28mm, 50mm and 105mm focal lengths. The speedlites were positioned 0.5m from a white wall. The speedlites were set at 1/4 power and the camera exposure set to f/8, 1/125 sec and ISO 100. There were no modifiers attached to the front of the flash heads. The pink squares on the wall are post-it notes set at 0.5m apart to give a sense of scale.

If the Godox V1 and V860II were priced exactly the same and the only difference was just the shape of the flash head then I’d probably choose the round-headed V1 purely on the basis that the light produced is more even in shape and fills a round modifier such as an umbrella, octabox or beauty dish just a little bit more evenly than a rectangular head. However there are quite a few more differences between the two models which I’ve highlighted in the table below.

Table highlighting only the differences between the Godox V1 vs V860II:

FeatureGodox V860ii CGodox V1
Guide price£161/US$179£229/US$259
Date releasedJuly 2016April 2019
Shape of flash headRectangularCircular
Zoom head20-200mm28-105mm
Flip down 14mm diffuserYesNo
Vertical bounce angle90120
Magnetic flash headNoYes
Manual exposure output1/128 – 1/11/256 – 1/1
Manual exposure steps1/3 stop1/10 stop
Radio master/slaveMaster & SlaveMaster & Slave
Optical master/ slaveMaster & Slaven/a
Radio channel scanNoYes
LED modelling lightNoYes 2W, 10 steps
Auto Focus Assist IR beamYesYes
Lithium battery11.1V/2000mAh7.2V/2600mAh
Number of flashes 1/1650480
Recycle time 1/11.5 seconds1.5 seconds
USB update portYes Micro USBYes USB-C
External powerYesNo
TCM Mode (on-camera)NoYes
Hotshoe fittingScrew typeClamp type
Size64 x 76 x 190mm76 x 93 x 197mm
Weight430g420g
The Godox V1 has an improved “Select Dial” which now includes 4 easy-access push button functions: zoom, modelling lamp, mode and flash exposure compensation. This makes navigation and function selection just a bit more intuitive and quicker. The Godox V1 has a lock-release lever mechanism that locks the speedlite into the hotshoe. It has a plastic feel to it and doesn’t look that strong but it is better than the plastic screw-ring lock on the V860II.

Speedlite Power Compared

Quick summary of results: The results below show that the Godox V1 and the Godox V860II have pretty much the same maximum power output. At higher zoom settings the V860II does a better job at focusing the flash to a narrower beam of light making it appear brighter in the centre.

Focal lengthGodox V1CGodox V860II-C
20mmn/af/22
24mmn/af/22
35mmf/22 + 3/10f/22 + 2/10
50mmf/22 + 4/10f/22 + 6/10
105mmf/22 + 8/10f/32 + 2/10
200mmn/af/32 + 3/10
Results of light meter reading (Sekonic L-308S) taken 1m away from the speedlite set at full power. The meter readings can look confusing to many people because they are measured in full f-stops plus tenths of f-stops. If you remember that full f-stops are f/1 > f/1.4 > f/2 > f/2.8 > f/4 > f/5.6 > f/8 > f/11 > f/16 > f/22 > f/32 then f/22 + 5/10 is the same as f/22 + 0.5 and lies halfway between f/22 and f/32.

To compare the power of the Godox V1 and the V860II I fired them at full power and measured the brightness using a light meter held 1m away. I then repeated the measurement at the various focal length (zoom) settings of each model. The speedlite was set to its maximum output 1/1 throughout and didn’t change. You can see from the results that increasing the focal length of the speedlite (zooming in) has the affect of concentrating the light into a narrower beam and the brightness measured in the centre of the beam is also increased. If you look at the results at a zoom setting of 105mm you may be misled into thinking that the Godox V860ii is more powerful than the Godox V1. In fact both models have pretty much the same power output, it’s just that the V860II is slightly better at focusing the beam of light at the higher zoom settings making it brighter in the centre. The difference between f/32 + 2/10 stop and f/22 + 8/10 stop is only 4/10 stop so slightly less than half a stop of light between the two models at 105mm. At 35mm they are almost the same.

Similar Specifications

On the whole there are more similarities than differences between the V1 and V860II and both models are versatile and very capable flashguns. As shown in the table above they have the same maximum power output, can both be placed on-camera in the hotshoe, both have built-in Godox X 2.4GHz radio transceivers (can be used as a transmitter or receiver flash), both have auto TTL exposure , high speed sync, a removable lithium-ion battery, fast 1.5 second full power recycle time and infra-red autofocus assist beam. More than enough features to keep most flash photographers happy.

Godox V1 vs V860II

Godox V1 Good Points

  • The Round head provides a more even circular spread of light
  • Includes a dedicated LED modelling lamp which helps focussing in low light and helps to show where the shadows from the flash will fall. The LED can also be used as a continuous fill light for either video or stills but it’s not very powerful.
  • The flash head can be moved upwards and backwards to 120 degrees in one action which saves a bit of time if using bounce flash regularly. A typical flash head only moves upwards by 90 degrees (i.e straight up). If you want to point it backwards you have to rotate the flash head horizontally by 180 degrees and then vertically upwards to your required angle. This just takes a little bit longer.
  • Includes the TCM function. TCM stands for TTL-Convert-to-Manual. When the speedlite is positioned on-camera and you take a photo using TTL exposure you can just press the TCM button and the speedlite with convert the power output used in the last TTL exposure to the equivalent manual power output. You can then continue to shoot on manual flash power using the same output this obtaining consistent results throughout a series of shots (as long as the flash to subject distance remains the same). For off-camera work you will have to use a radio trigger which has a TCM button such as the Godox XPro.
  • Includes a radio scanning function which allows you to select the best radio channel with least interference.
  • Accepts the Godox AK-R1 set of magnetically attached light modifying accessories

Godox V1 Bad Points

  • More expensive than the V860II
  • The LED modelling lamp is only 2W and not really powerful enough for video work or to be used as a continuous light.
  • No battery socket so you can’t attach an external flash. However you do get 480 full power flashes from one lithium-ion battery charge so this may not be a big concern for many.
  • The round head doesn’t fit many standard light modifiers or the original Godox S-bracket. You will need to buy the new Godox S2 bracket to accommodate the V1.
  • The round head doesn’t have a built-in pull-out 14mm diffuser panel or a flash bounce card that you frequently get with other models. You will just have to buy the Godox AK-R1 round head modifier kit and remember to take it with you.

Godox V860II Good Points

  • It’s cheaper than the V1
  • Better zoom range of 20-200mm (vs 20-105mm)
  • More full power flashes per battery charge (650 vs 480)
  • Has a socket to accept an external battery.
  • The rectangular flash head design fits the majority of speedlite brackets and modifiers designed for speedlites. If you really wanted to use the Godox AK-R1 accessory kit you can buy a Godox S-R1 round-head adapter bracket.

Godox V860II Bad Points

  • No dedicated LED modelling light.
  • No TCM function. This means that TCM function can’t be used when the speedlite is on-camera. To use this function off-camera you will have to be use a radio trigger that offers this function such as the Godox XPro

Conclusion

Whether you prefer the V1 or the V860II will depend on your budget and requirements. The difference in lighting patterns between the round head and the rectangular head personally wouldn’t make much difference to me but I did find the LED modelling light a useful addition to the V1 and I also liked having the TCM function available on the V1. Would I pay 40% more for the V1 though? probably not but if I a could get a good deal on the price of the V1 then I might be persuaded.