The Godox VING V860III Speedlight Flash is an excellent mid-level hot shoe flash gun that will suit the needs of higher-end enthusiasts and semi-pro photographers.
The flash follows the traditional boxy hotshoe design and is available in dedicated fits for most of the major brands, including; Canon, Sony and Nikon; I’ve looked at the Sony version in this review.
Being dedicated means you have full access to all the camera’s flash TTL exposure leaving the camera to adjust the flash brightness, so you don’t have to. There is a manual override if you want to take full control and HSS.
The flash proves to be a powerful tool with a good even spread of light with decent control over the power and duration. The inclusion of the LED modelling light gives the flash an added boost, and the colour temperature remained constant throughout the test.
Aside from the power, the wireless connectivity options with the X1 wireless trigger and receivers add a further dimension to the use and it sync’d easily with the system.
Overall a very impressive flashgun with some nice added features that for the most part, sticks to the traditional design and follows the usual conventions of a high proficient modern-day hotshoe flash.
Excellent battery life
No AA battery option
What is the Godox VING V860III?
The Godox VING V860III Speedlight Flash Kit is a powerful lighting solution for your camera and is aimed at the mid-level. For most enthusiasts and Semi-pro photographers, the Godox VING V860III SPEEDLIGHT has the benefit of following traditional design conventions with the direct-to-the-camera mount, and box-like design, that integrates bounce card and diffuser.
Along with full tilt and rotation control of the head, as you would expect, the body of the flash also features a forward-facing adjustable modelling light. This is a handy tool when composing your shot, but it isn’t bright enough to be used properly as a video light.
The flash has several features, including wireless control options, a dedicated battery, TTL and HSS. The addition of TTL means that the flash you buy will need to be for your camera’s brand, and Godox offers versions for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Fuji, Panasonic and Pentax. This TTL integration works for the automatic and semi-automatic control of the flash’s brightness and the modelling lamp with compatible camera models.
A nice touch is that the flashes wireless system is designed to be compatible with much of the present Godox range. You can partner the Godox VING V860III SPEEDLIGHT with the X1 wireless trigger system and higher-end V1 flashguns. Another nice touch, especially for Pros, is that if you have the V1 as your main flash, these cheaper V860III are fully compatible with communication and even share the same battery type.
That battery enables impressive stats, including supplying enough power for 0.01 – 1.5 seconds recycle times and up to 450 full power flashes at 76Ws. All in all, for what looks like a pretty traditional flash, the V860III packs in power and enough advanced features to make it very interesting.
GN : 60 (m ISO100)
Flash Duration: 1/300s – 1/20000s
Flash coverage: 20-200mm
Multiflash: up to 100 times
Sync Mode: High Speed up to 1/8000, first and second
Full power flashes: 480
Recycle time: 1.5 seconds
Weight : 530g with battery
The flash arrives in a decent fabric protective case and includes a simple flash stand which will come in use when the flash is used off-camera. This stand features a standard 1/4-inch thread on the base, so it is easily mountable on a standard tripod.
Being of the standard box style design, anyone familiar with a standard camera flash will recognise the main controls and features. There’s also plenty of adjustment in the angle of the head and it’s all of really high quality.
Popping the flash onto the camera, in this case, a Sony A7 III, the contacts on the flash connect directly with the data port on the camera’s hotshoe. Again this simply means that the flash is dedicated, so this Sony version will only work with Sony cameras. Once in place, the lock collar can be rotated to hold everything securely in place. This collar is the only thing that feels a little cheap about the whole flash.
Switching on through a small slide switch on the back, and after a second, the screen flashes to life. Before looking at the settings, a quick check on the side and another switch enable you to flip between manual and TTL. At the start of this test, I’ll stick to TTL and then migrate to manual later.
Firing off a couple of test shots and it’s instantly apparent that this flash has some serious power, and tilting the head up to bounce off the ceiling with the bounce card extracted the fall of illumination from the flash does the job of lighting my subject a couple of metres away. The tilt and bounce have exposured the subject well using the TTL function. Overall illumination and colour temperature all look good and natural.
Further playing with the flash reveals this flash’s depth of quality. The refresh rate at around 50-75% power is far less than a second, and only after several hours of shooting did that refresh rate start to slow. In most use I didn’t have to wait for the recycle time, it was just primed and ready.
A big part of the reason for this is the large capacity battery that slots into the side of the flash and is the same as the one used in the Pro level V1. The overall performance is excellent, and for most people, and quality-wise is enough to rival many manufacturer’s mid-range models at half the price.
In TTL mode, the flash can quickly compensate with the direct controls of your camera, if compatible. The process for on-flash adjustment is very easy, just push the set button, then the +/- to adjust the compensation and set it again to select.
The next check was to take the flash beyond the standard flash sync speed by utilising the HSS function. Activating this will drop the power of the flash, but as HSS is designed to be used when you need to boost the shutter speed beyond the cameras native flash sync speed, that’s more than acceptable.
As with other Godox products, it’s worth taking the manual with you on initial expeditions as some of the access to the functions and features can be a little tricky to locate. To access HSS, you push the second button in from the left below the LCD – when you look at the screen, it does make sense, but as with many flashguns, it does take a while to find all the additional features.
Once you push the button and the HSS icon appears, you’re ready to shoot. Open up the aperture, increase the shutter speed to 1/8000 and take the picture. Again this all works smoothly. The front and rear curtain flashes are two other features along a similar vein. Again pushing button two flips you through the options, and a quick manual check shows whether you’ve opted for the right one!
Switching the flash to the manual is pretty straightforward and enables you full control over the use of your flash with a good amount of adjustment that should suit most users.
The final big feature is the wireless control, the Godox VING V860III SPEEDLIGHT is shown to work with the X2, but in this review, I’ve been using it with the older X1 wireless trigger with good results.
As with any wireless trigger system, selecting the right channel and group is just a case. The channel is the main communication, and the group feature enables you to split multiple flashes into groups. So you could have two main lights at 50% power in Group A, Two at 25% doing some back illumination in group B and one flash for a bit of fill-in at 10% in group C.
What I like about the Godox products is that there is good compatibility across their range, so this flash will communicate with other Godox Wireless flash triggers and flash guns. This means you can start with the V860III and then add to the system with the V1 and other larger studio units when you need.
The Godox VING V860III SPEEDLIGHT is absolute value for money; it doesn’t have the looks or modern, sleek feel of the V1, but when it comes to quality and use, the V860III provides.
Used as a dedicated flash, there is little to separate this from Sony’s offering but at half the price, and the same goes for the other manufacturers. Of course, this is no ProFoto A1 or Nikon SB-900 of Canon EL-1 this is very much mid-range. Those flashguns are at the next level up, but for most enthusiasts and semi-pro photographers, the Godox VING V860III SPEEDLIGHT will provide you with the quality of illumination you need.
When it comes to downsides, there are a few; the lock collar isn’t up to the build quality of the rest of the flash, and while it does the job, I feel like this may be a weak point in the long run. The other issue is that, as with most flash guns, the interface is complex and will take a while to navigate all the settings and functions so having the manual in your back pocket is a very good idea.
However, this is a sub £200 flash with a big power rating that offers well over 300 flashes at full power and creates a good clean, even spread of illumination with expansion. Options are further expanded through Wi-Fi connectivity which means that at the end of the test, there really is very little to fault.
Godox VING V860III SPEEDLIGHT
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